Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Av 5766 - August 23, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
The Foundations of the Torah Home: How to Establish a Stable and Successful Jewish Marriage

Based on the sichos of Morenu veRabbeinu HaGaon HaRav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, Shlita

Part One

Reality: First Marriage, Then Simchah

Marriage is a process, not an event. People who are caring, giving and understanding will live, grow and build together. Spouses who work together to build a Torah home, will enable the Tzelem Elokim within them to flourish. Simchah and shalom will fill their lives.

The achievement of such grand and lofty goals as these takes time and effort. It is a mistake to believe it all happens right after the wedding. Shalom bayis requires patience, determination and also training. Therefore, it is important to enter marriage with an honest determination to seek ways of achieving and maintaining shalom bayis.

Training must take place long before marriage. Patient understanding of the spouse is essential for every Torah home. Marriage requires that we care for our spouse even more than we care for ourselves. Shalom bayis requires us to abandon our selfish attitudes and concerns.

Shalom is a vague term. We generally think of peace as being the lack of conflict between people. Shalom bayis is obviously much more than the lack of conflict between husband and wife.

If we realize this and train for this, we will accept the fact that the true joy we will have in our marriages depends on our patient understanding of our spouse. This takes time and effort. Therefore, when we get married we should realize that the wedding day is not the ultimate joy of marriage. How do we know this?

The posuk in Shir HaShirim (3:11) refers to HaKodosh Boruch Hu's "wedding day." The same posuk also speaks about the day HaKodosh Boruch Hu had a "gladness of heart." The gemora (Taanis 26b) elaborates and explains that Hashem's "wedding" took place on the day when He gave His Torah to Klal Yisroel. This gemora teaches us a very basic lesson about the correct attitude towards marriage.

We should not expect perfection, joy and harmony from our marriage all at once — particularly right after the wedding. Even though Klal Yisroel accepted the Torah, Hashem did not rejoice immediately. Hashem "waited" to see how Klal Yisroel would prove their loyalty by observing the Torah and fulfilling its commandments.

When Klal Yisroel received the Torah, Hashem, the chosson, became wed to Klal Yisroel, the kallah. The true celebration of this bond occurred much later on, after the completion of the Beis Hamikdosh. If we remember that marriage is a process of change and adjustment, then Chazal's lesson will be relevant and our marriage will be successful and lasting.

This is a new idea. If asked, most people would certainly say that the wedding day is the happiest day of a person's life. It is the day when so many dreams come true.

Of course, the wedding is a very happy occasion. In fact, it is such a glorious, wondrous event that Chazal need to teach us that it is just the beginning. Real happiness, lasting simchah, takes years to achieve.

As the young couple matures, they will realize who they both are — not as chosson and kallah, but as husband and wife. This realization will bring a new and different simchah to their lives — a happiness that is due to their relationship and not due to an event. A happiness that is not the result of dreams coming true, but happiness because of the effort they put into creating and maintaining their life together.

This happiness is because of the truth: a clear and unshakable mutual understanding of their relationship. A realization of what they truly are: a glorious, living expression of Tzelem Elokim. This takes time and effort. It is the culmination of marriage, that which they set out to achieve on their wedding day.

The posuk states, "And I [the Shechinah] will dwell within Bnei Yisroel . . ." (Shemos 29:45). From context, the posuk is referring to the mishkan. However, if we examine the posuk we will notice that the posuk says that the Shechinah will dwell within Bnei Yisroel.

The posuk does not say that Hashem will dwell exclusively within the mishkan. Clearly, Hashem's Presence was not limited to the mishkan. From the focal point of the mishkan, the Shechinah radiated outward and influenced Klal Yisroel. The purpose of the Beis Hamikdosh, as with its forerunner the Mishkan, was that the Shechinah, the Presence of Hashem Yisborach, should be present within the midst of Klal Yisroel.

There were special times when Klal Yisroel would reciprocate and visit the Shechinah. On Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukkos, Klal Yisroel would come, willingly and happily, to Yerushalayim. At those times, we would stand before Hashem in the Beis Hamikdosh. This was a demonstration of Klal Yisroel's desire to fulfill the Torah, a demonstration of our loyalty to Hashem.

Klal Yisroel, because of the influence of the Shechinah in the Beis Hamikdosh, was inspired to serve Hashem even more. It was evidence that the "wedding day," the day of kabolas haTorah, was a true and worthwhile beginning.

The full, absolute joy of giving the Torah to Klal Yisroel had to wait until Klal Yisroel journeyed to meet the Shechinah. In the Wilderness; the mishkan was close by. We lived with the Shechinah. After we came into Eretz Yisroel, it was different. We had to make an extra effort to visit the Shechinah.

Likewise, time will test the new couple's preparedness to change themselves from being chosson and kallah into being husband and wife. Marriage is the commitment of two people who set out to realize what they really are — a mutual expression of Tzelem Elokim!

Therefore, when we get married, we must be patient. Only the future will reveal the truth about how hard the chosson and kallah are willing to work to build their marriage, build their home and build their life together. The result of this effort is simchah.


The Rambam (Hilchos Me'ilah 8:8) writes about the obligation for everyone, each person according to his ability, to reach a full understanding of mitzvos of the Torah HaKedoshoh. The Rambam also cautions us not to treat lightly or ignore any of the mitzvos — even if we encounter something that is not easily understood. As an example, the Rambam cites the prohibition of me'iloh; the improper usage of hekdeish.

The Rambam points out that the Torah is very stringent about misusing any building materials that were set aside for use in the Beis Hamikdosh. Once designated, the most mundane objects, such as wood, stone and cement, become hekdeish and hence have kedushoh. Their usage for any mundane purpose is prohibited and punishable. If someone misuses anything of hekdeish, a korbon must be brought to atone for this transgression.

With this preface, the Rambam explains why we have to be very careful and respectful of the mitzvos. If a stone can have kedushoh, making us accountable if we misuse it or degrade it, then mitzvos, which are the will of Hashem Yisborach, certainly have kedushoh.

Therefore, the Rambam warns us that we dare not treat Hashem's mitzvos lightly or ignore them because we lack a satisfying comprehension of them. We must not, chas vesholom, disparage any mitzva of the Torah.

Serious halachic consequences result from the sanctification of a stone. Can we imagine how much more serious our behavior must be when we sanctify our lives and devote ourselves to our spouses within the kedushoh of a Torah marriage!

Today, we live in a very materialistic world. The concept of kedushoh has very little or no meaning. A stone is a stone. Klal Yisroel, however, is an Am Kodesh, a holy nation. We are a nation governed by the Torah. As such, we must understand the importance of mitzvos. We need to value the kedushoh that they impart to our lives.

Mitzvos have infinite potential. If we would give proper thought to what life is, and what we are supposed to do with it, we would value mitzvos much more than we do. If we had clear spiritual goals — and a strong, unshakable desire to achieve them — our lives would be very different. Our lives - - and our marriages — would be truly successful.

If we accept the fact that we have spiritual goals to accomplish in life, then we can start to fulfill them. This realization will automatically bring us to a state of menuchas hanefesh. The wedding day is a time to make new commitments and marriage is our best opportunity to put these commitments into practice.

However, if we approach marriage with a materialistic attitude, then we will face countless challenges. If we seek gashmiyus, we cannot expect to be satisfied. The world offers us more pleasures than we can ever hope to enjoy. The more we have the more we will want. We will have a difficult time achieving and maintaining menuchas hanefesh.


Chazal (Ovos 4:1) teach us that the person who is satisfied with what he or she has is truly rich. Moreover, the Torah commands us to desist and not be envious; "Do not covet your neighbor's house. Do not be envious of your neighbor's wife, his slave, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor" (Shemos 20:14).

The Ibn Ezra, in his commentary on Chumash, writes that many people wonder about this commandment. They ask: How, in the depths of our hearts, can we stop ourselves from being desirous of something beautiful and attractive to our eyes? If something pleasing automatically interests us, then once we see it, how can we control ourselves from wanting it? The desire for pleasure is instinctive. How can we stop ourselves?

The Ibn Ezra uses an analogy in order to explain that we can: "When a peasant villager sees the king's beautiful daughter, if he has common sense, in his heart he will not desire to be with her, since he knows that it is impossible."

The king would never marry off his daughter to a peasant. Therefore, the clear, straight-thinking peasant, knowing the pointlessness of such yearning, entertains no such desires. Something that is beyond our ability to reach, beyond our ability to enjoy, we do not covet.

The peasant realizes the absurdity of fantasizing about the princess. He has no passion for her, "even though," as the Ibn Ezra writes, "she is beautiful . . . because he has been trained from the time of his childhood to know she is forbidden to him."

Likewise, we can control our inborn, automatic desire to seek pleasure — as long as we realize the forbidden status of the object of our desires. However, if we think that somehow, someway we can obtain the object of our desires, we will do anything and everything in our power to fulfill our desires.

The beauty of the Ibn Ezra's moshol is, that just as the peasant knew his limitations, likewise, every intelligent person must realize that everything, whether a spouse or the most common personal possession, comes to a person according to the Will of Hashem Yisborach.

Everything we own is ours because Hashem has assigned it to us. This is the foundation of our emunoh. Therefore, it is foolish to covet anything else that belongs to someone else. If we really took this belief to heart, we would not be envious of anybody or anything in the world.

Emunoh can govern our thoughts, our deeds, even our most basic physical needs. By giving priority to ruchniyus, we can accomplish a lot. In contrast, because the world lacks Torah, the world lacks these spiritual concepts, values and goals. Without emunoh, people act according to their feelings. The result is chaos.

However, if we seek kedushoh that comes from the mitzvos we do, then seichel, the pure understanding of what is right and wrong, will triumph over the vulgar, instinctive motivations of jealousy, lust and pride.

If Torah governs our homes, then just like the Beis Hamikdosh, our homes have kedushoh. Guided by seichel, we will fulfill the purpose of our lives. We will achieve — ashrecho vetov loch — you are fortunate and it is good for you; you are fortunate in this world, and it is good for you in the next. We will have menuchas hanefesh.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.