Thursday, September 11, 2008

Honor, To What Extent?

Excerpt from "The Garden of Peace":

One of my students was preparing to say Mincha, the afternoon prayer service. His wife phoned him and asked him to come home immediately. He told her that in two minutes he was about to pray Mincha with the other students at our yeshiva, and asked if she agreed that he'd come home in another half an hour. She said no and asked him to come home immediately - that's just what he did, and rightfully so, even if it meant praying alone at home.

Let me qualify - the above example is talking about an upright young man who's not looking for excuses to shirk his responsibilities, such as prayer in a minyan with ten other men. Our sages said that sometimes we fulfill Torah by putting our Torah books back on the shelf. Once a wife has the security that she's first place and that her husband will be there when she needs him, then she'll allow her husband to virtually whatever he wants.

My esteemed and beloved teacher Rabbi Eliezer Berland would always tell those of his pupils that had marital problems, "Listen to whatever your wife says. If she tells you to come home, go right away, stay with her at home, and afterwards she'll give you a month's vacation."

If Jewish law can be stretched for the purpose of peace at home - in other words, if the Torah is willing to allow a person to miss a Torah lesson or prayer in a minyan - then a husband should certainly be willing to put aside his own plans, work, or hobbies to fulfill his wife's requests.

When a husband complains that his wife locks him jail, then that husband hasn't given her the feeling that she's first place. When she perceives that other things are more important than she is, she fights against them. Not only that, but her anguish is indescribable when he prefers other interests rather than being with her. So, as soon as he gives her the feeling that she's highest priority in his life, his "jail cell door" becomes unlocked.


At September 11, 2008 at 2:11:00 PM EDT, Blogger Rambler said...

Very nice post. Thank you.

At September 11, 2008 at 4:45:00 PM EDT, Blogger Alice said...


At September 11, 2008 at 5:59:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if the wife is very neat, and wants her (not so neat) husband to always remember to be neat, also--and takes his slips as evidence of his lack of love? Speaking from personal experience...

At September 11, 2008 at 11:56:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(This is just my personal advice. I would recommend speaking to Rav Arush if possible)

Above all else, pray to Hashem that you should be able to show your wife completely that she's number one and that you greatly wish to make her happy. Then, do your best and keep praying.

Also, be careful to never ever criticize her. Even if you know you're right, don't criticize her. Pray more to Hashem for help.

And always do your best to be joyful, especially around your wife.

Best wishes! :)

At September 13, 2008 at 7:33:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'd like to revise my advice a bit. I'm reading G of Peace right now, and Rav Arush actually speaks of his teacher R'Levi Yitzchak Binder z"l saying a wife who is meticulously clean is a "nasty" wife, but the thing is when there's a fault we see in our wives, it's a reflection of something in ourselves that we need to fix.

But please, if it's possible,read the Garden of Peace or talk to Rabbi Brody or R'Arush. All are far better sources than I am, and will help you to find answers to any questions you may have regarding marriage.

Best wishes! :) :)

At September 17, 2008 at 6:34:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Torah tells us to honor our wives, not to become their slaves.

I think Rav Arush's approach and that of Rav Berland is too extreme.

A woman also must learn to be self-critical and to strive to spiritually improve herself.

Perhaps this passage from the Rav's book has a "shadow," too -- that women are a "lost cause" when it comes to self-transformation, and that their behavior is merely a reflection of their husband's good or bad middos. Which I do not believe!

At September 17, 2008 at 7:30:00 PM EDT, Blogger DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Space Cadet,

Very intersting thoughts! I'm going to ask my wife what she thinks and get back to you with whether or not I can agree.

-Dixie Yid


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