Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: AVODAH Category:BNEI BAYSCHA Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Some Shidduch Questions From Rav Shmuel Rozovsky

One day a Yid from Yerushalayim traveled to Bnei Brak to ask the legendary Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh, Rav Shmuel Rozovsky, about a boy in the Yeshiva for his daughter who reached eligible age.

He asked the Rosh Yeshiva how many hours a day the boy learned. Was he punctual in arriving to Seder and did he spend his time diligently. Did he come to davening on time and did he actively participate in Shiur. Did he ask relevant questions and did he understand the answers.

After receiving a favorable report in regard to his questions he thanked Rav Shmuel for his time and began to leave. At that point Rav Shmuel in his gentle and noble manner turned to father and said, until now you asked me questions, is it okay if I ask you some questions? The father agreed.

It seems to me that you are inquiring about the boy for your daughter and you seem happy with the report I gave you. You obviously think that all your daughter needs to know is whether he comes on time and he is a Lamdan. However it is entirely possible that your daughter would like to know if he is a mentch.

It would seem fitting that you ask me, how often does he brush his teeth. Is he pleasant to sit near. How does he behave in the dining room. Does he arrive first to the dining room and take the biggest portion, or does he linger after mincha for a few minutes to learn with a Chavrusa and eat whatever portion is left.

What does he do when the pitcher is empty on the table, does he sit patiently waiting for someone else to fill it up for him or does he run to fill it up himself? Does he occasionally go into the kitchen to thank the staff for preparing the food? Does he eat the food even if he doesn't like it and thank them graciously for preparing it or does he just go to the nearby kiosk to buy something he likes?

You came to the conclusion that he is a masmid, did you ask what he does when he finishes learning late at night and his roommates are sleeping? Does he take off his shoes and tiptoe in so as not to wake them or does he walk in noisily? Does he make his bed and keep his things neat?

I think, said Rav Shmuel that you need to check these things out. If he is spoiled and he arrives home in the afternoon and does not like the food your daughter worked hard to prepare, his face will crumple in obvious dissatisfaction. Will your daughter then be happy that her father checked the boy out with the Rosh Yeshiva who told him that he knows every Ktzos and Rebbi Akiva Eiger in Bava Basra? Will you daughter say, it's true that he has no manners and no social skills but I respect him anyway because he knows all the intricacies of the sugya of the bees and the mustard in Bava Basra?

This was Rav Shmuel's approach to finding a fine boy for your daughter.

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas VaYakhel: Rav Shimshon Pincus - When Money Doesn't Matter

In Parshas Vayakhel the Torah tells us about the mad rush to donate to the Mishkan. Men and women came, and came... and came. They brought all their finest items including the jewelry that they were wearing at the time. They brought so much that Moshe Rabbeinu had to send messages throughout the camp commanding them to stop bringing.

Were they so generous by nature? Did money have no value to them? Rav Shimshon Pincus says that on the contrary we find that when it came to giving money like by the Korban Tomid, Moshe had to persuade them to give. We also see that by the Eigel the women refused to part with their jewelry.

So what was the secret of the Mishkan that made everybody wildly generous? It was the chance to have Hashra'as HaShechina, says Rav Shimshon. When the Shechina dwells among us everything is beautiful and life is wonderful. It is the ultimate state of being in this world and there is no pleasure that compares to it. They knew this and therefore they eagerly emptied out their vaults for this opportunity.

Rav Shimshon adds that even today there is an opportunity for Hashra'as HaShechina. How? "Ish V'Isha Zachu... HaShechina Beineihen", if a man and women build a harmonious home Al Pi Torah, the Shechina dwells with them. Interestingly, says Rav Shimshon, most domestic discord is over money. Either the husband gets angry when he feels his wife spends too much or the wife is angry because her husband refuses to allow her to spend.

If we understood that we have a chance to bring the Shechina to our homes and live in bliss, every husband would throw all his money at his wife and the wife would spend nothing, simply to merit Hashra'as HaShechina. Our forefathers also deeply cared about money but they knew where to draw the line. They knew that even money doesn't compare to harmony and and bliss.

By putting Sholom in our home and sholom with our business partners and friends ahead of money, we to will be zocheh to Hashra'as HaShechina and a Bais HaMikdash Bimheira Biyameinu.

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Shimshon Pincus - The Secret To Sholom Bayis

The Tomer Devora says that on Shabbos it is forbidden to display any anger whatsoever. During the week, for Chinuch purposes, there are time that you may show an angry face. "Shabbat Shalom" says Rav Pincus was not a term coined by the creators of modern Hebrew, but has its roots in Chazal (see Shabbos 12b).

Yet on Shabbos there is often extra friction in the house, explained by a Balabus to Rav Shimshon Pincus as follows. "During the week I am at work and my wife is out of the house. We meet only on Shabbos and that's when the fighting starts." Why is Sholom so important on Shabbos and how do achieve it?

Rav Shimshon explains that both the husband and wife are independent people from distinct upbringings with their own ideas of how things should be done. It is perfectly natural that when they join together to create a new home, a power struggle begins and dominates life in the new joint home. However when the husband and wife are guests at someone else's house, they are in harmony. Neither of them call the shots and therefore they remain husband and wife in unity, as they both concede their power to rule, to their host.

On Shabbos, Hashem comes to our homes. Each one of us must feel like we lose our identities and submit to the will of our important guest. If we truly feel Shabbos then there will be no fighting in the home and we will be on our best behavior before Hashem.

The same can be said for the rest of the week. Each home can be a Mikdash Mi'at, if we keep it in a way that Hashem feel comfortable resting his Shechina in our home. If we keep a home like that and feel it, both us and our spouses can feel comfortable being there together more often, and living in perfect harmony.

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, Still Thoughtful Long After The Honeymoon Ended

A few years ago when Rav Michel Yehuda was in his mid nineties he needed a little break. A generous American with an apartment in Yerushalayim gave the apartment to Rav Michel Yehuda to use. After his short respite, to repay this gentleman's kindness, Rav Michel Yehuda invited this person to his home to spend a Shabbos with him.

Shortly after beginning the meal Rav Michel Yehuda turned to the man with a big smile and asked loudly, making sure his wife would hear, have you ever tasted such delicious Challos in your entire life?

We take many things for granted and forget that there is an Eishes Chayil who has been doing the same laborious tasks for many years despite that the compliments have long ago ceased. Not in the case of Rav Michel Yehuda. Even after 70 years of marriage he still knew whose efforts stood behind the Challos and had the thoughtfulness to express his appreciation in a meaningful way, time an time again.  Yehi Zichro Boruch.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Naso: Chasam Sofer - How To Wreck A Good Marriage

Rashi brings Chazal that the reason why Parshas Sotah comes right after the commandment to bring our Matnas Kehuna is because the Torah is teaching us that if someone does not bring his dues to the Kohen, he will eventually bring his wife as a Sotah. What is the connection?

The Chasam Sofer answers that there are two things that Chazal say bring wealth to a person. One is Maaser (Shabbos 119) and the other is spending generously on your wife (Bava Metzia 59a). A person may say why should I give Maaser, I will just spend lavishly on my wife and that Segula will make me wealthy.

To this the Torah warns, if you spoil your wife and skimp on Maaser, your gifts will create disaster and you eventually bring your bejewelled Sotah to the Kohein, instead of the money that belongs to him.

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bishalach - Shidduch Advice From Krias Yam Suf

A father came to Rav Yechezkel of Kuzhmir to ask him advice about a Shidduch for his son. In their converstation it came out that the father was debating whether to proceed right away or to hold off a bit.

Rav Yechezkel told him that the gemara says (Sanhedrin 22a) Kasheh Zivugo Shel Adam K'Krias Yam Suf. That means that we can compare Shiduchim to Krias Yam Suf. During Krias Yam Suf when the Bnei Yisroel were trapped and didn't know what to do, Hashem told Moshe, "Daber El Bnei Yisroel V'Yisa'u", tell Bnei Yisroel not to stand around and cry, tell them to keep moving.

There is your answer, said Rav Yechezkel, when it comes to Shidduchim don't stand around deliberating. Move forward!

Fri, 14 Jan 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Nachum'ke Of Horodna Teaches The Chofetz Chaim A Lesson In Sholom Bayis On Chanukah

It was time to light the Chanukah Menora and a young Chofetz Chaim waited expectantly for his great Rebbi Rav Nochum'ke of Horodna to light the menora. He waited and waited but Rav Nochum'ke didn't budge. Finally Rav Nochum'ke's wife walked in and shortly thereafter Rav Nochum'ke lit the Menora.

Rav Nachum'ke addressed the surprise look of the Chofetz Chaim who was perturbed how Rav Nochum'ke could let the zman slip through his fingers after waiting a whole year for this momentous event. He said that Rava said (Shabbos 23b), "Pshita Li Ner Baiso V'Ner Chanuka Ner Baiso Adif Mishum Sholom Bayis". If one can only light either Neiros Shabbos or Neiros Chanuka it is obvious to all that you must light Neiros Shabbos at the expense of the Mitzva of Chanuka since they bring about Sholom Bayis.

Certainly, said Rav Nachum'ke, in this case where I can be yotzei my mitzva of Chanuka albeit not in the most L'Chatchila time, should I hurry my wife and not fulfill my obligation of Sholom Bayis?

When lighting Neiros Chanuka inevitably over the eight days there will be some friction in the home. Something was lost, knocked over, disturbing, or the like. Remember Neiros Chanuka arevery important but every one with a brain knows that Sholom Bayis is more important!

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Chayei Sara: Malbim - An Important Shidduch Lesson

Avrohom had three good friends who believed in Hashem, Aner Eshkol and especially Mamrei who gave him advice to go through with his Bris Mila. Yet not only did Avrohom reject their daughters as suitable matches for Yitzchok, but he went as far as making Eliezer swear that he will not turn to them for a Shidduch. Instead Avrohom told him to to go to his own family, to the land Nachor his brother, where Idol worship was rampant. Why did Avrohom, the battler against avodah zara, show such a degree of nepotism?

The Malbim brings from the Ran that aveiros in the Torah come in two forms, those that destroy the neshama such as bad hashkafos, and those that affect the guf as well, which include bad middos such as jealousy and anger that make the body stir. In the latter case this nature is passed down through the generations, as children often can suffer from the same character flaws as their parents. This was the case of the Kenanim and therefore Avrohom did not want to be Mishadech with them.

Nachor's problem was purely religious philosophy. This affected the soul and not the genes. It was a mind problem that would not necessarily affect future generations, who may reach thewir own conclusions. Religion is more easily reparable and parents are not an indication of their children. Bad middos are trickier and not likely to disappear. Something to keep in mind when choosing a Shidduch. Avrohom did!

Tue, 26 Oct 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Lech Licha: Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky - What We Would & Wouldn't Do For Family

Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky points out a very fascinating dichotomy in Avrohom's relationship with his nephew Lot in Parshas Lech Licha.  On one hand Avrohom showed Lot incredible love, to the point where he was willing to wage a suicidal war in attempt to rescue Lot who was kidnapped by the mighty armies of the four kings.  

Not only did Avrohom risk his life but he was even willing to risk his eternal reward for his life's achievement, as Rashi says (15:1) that Avrohom feared that he used up all his zechusim with the Nissim that happened to him in the war.

On the other hand earlier in the Parsha when Avrohom sensed the slightest beginning of Machlokes, he put aside all familial feelings and obligations and immediately commanded his orphan nephew who he cared for all these years, to go away from him immediately without any second thoughts.

From here we see, says Rav Yaakov, that for family one must give up his life and his afterlife, but to become embroiled in Machlokes and sacrifice ones Ruchniyos one must not do.  In that case all family obligations can be quickly ignored and forgotten.

Mon, 11 Oct 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Ki Seitzei: Maharal Tzintz - Marrying Rich May Make You Poor
The Torah tells us that when a person has a wife that he hates and a wife that he loves, he may not favor his younger son from his favored wife when it comes to inheritance.  The Maharal Tzintz explains that Chazal tell us that if you marry a woman for money, the money will disappear in very short order.  Sometimes because of money or other non-integral issues, a person will even marry a girl he does not like. 

When this husband loses all his money he will blame it on the wife that was not truly appropriate for him.  It was Chazal's curse, because of this marriage, that turned his fortunes sour.  Therefore he will not want to leave his inheritance to her son, when his mother was the cause of his downfall.  

The Torah hints to the poor financial situation that he will find himself in by saying (Ki Seitzei 21:17) that he must leave the Bechor of the hated wife double, "BiChol Asher Yimatzei Lo", whatever he finds left of his dwindling money.

Mon, 16 Aug 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein - Hamotzi On Your Wife! A man came to Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein with the following shaila (V'Haarev Na Parshas Shlach).  "My wife bakes Challah every week but it is not enough for our large family so I supplement her baking with Challos that I buy from the bakery.  The truth is that the bakery challa tastes much better to me than her Challah.  Of course we eat her Challah and I make a big deal about how good it is. However with regard to Hilchos Brachos, when choosing which challa to cut when making the  bracha of Ha Motzi one should  choose the challah that is Chaviv, more desirable to you. The man  asked the Rav " if the bakery is  the more desirable one to me, which challah should I cut?"

Rav Zilberstein answered that his interpretation of Chaviv is rather narrow.  The Mishna in Pirkei Avos (3:18) says "Chaviv Adam SheNivra BiTzelem", a person is Chaviv, beloved because he is created in Hashem's image.  This Pasuk  refers to every human  and certainly includes your own wife.  Since your wife is more Chaviv than a bakery challah you should make Hamotzi on her challah.

Rav Zilberstein then related the story of Rav Eliyahu Dessler who came home from his wife's levaya and on Friday night did not use the Kos that was his wife's sacred family heirloom and came from Rav Yisroel Salanter but rather a different Kos.  His talmidim were surprised as this was a Kos he used for so many years.  Why now after his wife's petira did he choose not to use it? He answered that his wife's Kos had a more lenient shiur of revi'is, while the one that he chose that night contained a larger shiur.  While his wife was alive he did not want to insult her, and chose to use her Kos since the Kos was clearly accepted by her illustrious ancestor. However now that she passed on he wanted to be machmir and use a kos that held a bigger shiur.

When it comes to our Lechem (wife - Rashi Vayeishev 39:6), we shouldn't be so concerned about our Challah!


Thu, 03 Jun 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Naso: Maharal MiPrague - We Do Not Erase Hashem's Name For The Sotah

The Gemara in Chulin (141a) says that Shalom between a man and his wife is so great that we can even erase Hashem's Holy name in the water of the Sotah in order to create harmony between spouses.

The Maharal MiPrague views this from a different perspective.  Chazal tell us that when a man and woman live in harmony the Shechina rests upon them.  This being the benefit of domestic harmony, we aren't actually erasing Hashem's name.  When we erase the name of Hashem into the water, we are striving to create harmony among this couple.  Once that is achieved Hashem's name will rest upon them, the name of Shalom, which is also a name of Hashem.   Therefore we have created a new Shem Hashem and a place for the Shechina to rest.

Furthermore we can add that the difference in letters between Ish and Isha is a Yud by a man and a Hey by a woman which spells the name of Hashem.  When they live peacefully as Ish and Isha, Hashem's name and presence dwells among them.  By achieving peace we are also creating the Shem Hashem of Yud and Hey.

Creating harmony in one's home is so much more than a domestic and social achievement.  It is the act of writing the Shem Hashem, an act that requires going to the mikva before hand and reciting L'Shem Yichud!  It is tantamount to building a Mishkan and bringing in Hashem as a tentant and a partner in your life.  It is a step that will surely bring bracha to your home.

Fri, 21 May 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Emor: Netziv - When No Shidduch Is Good Enough

The Torah states twice that a Kohen Gadol must marry a Bisulah. "He shall marry a woman Bivsuleha", and then in the next pasuk "Only a Bisula of his people (Besulah MaiAmov) shall he take as his wife."

The Netziv explains what the second pasuk comes to add that the first pasuk did not tell us. Typically a Kohen Gadol should seek an exceptionally special wife for himself (a Mitzuyenes). This would fit the honor of the Kohen Gadol.  However, if he cannot find that special wife, it is better for him to marry a regular woman - "Even a Bas Hedyot" - the daughter of a plain person, in order that he should not be alone without a wife. This is the meaning of the second pasuk - "Ki Im Besulah MaiAmov Yikach" - even a Besulah who is ordinary, just another girl among his people.

If a Kohen Gadol who must be top of the class across the board in every Ma'ala (money, brains, appearance) can marry a simple girl, surely the rest of us need not think of ourselves or our children as too good for the market.

Fri, 30 Apr 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Chaim Zaitchek: How The Wife Brings Bracha To The Home The glorious day of Hakamas HaMishkan was a study of contrasts, says Rav Chaim Zaitchek.  First "Vayavo Moshe V'Aharon El Ohel Mo'ed" (Shemini 9:23).  The Medrash (Koheles Rabba 4:9) says that when Moshe gave a bracha to the people, the Shechina didn't rest on the Mishkan.  Similarly Aharon with his avodah did not bring the Shechina.  Only after Moshe and Aharon both came together, like the pasuk says, "Vayeira Chvod Hashem El Kol Ha'am", did the Shechina finally rest on the Mishkan.  Tovim HaShnayim Min HaEchad!

On the other hand says the Medrash (Vayikra Rabba 20:8), Nadav and Avihu made four mistakes that caused their death.  One of them was that they did not consult each other.  They acted independently without talking it over.  This is mind boggling, says Rav Zaitchek.  Two people doing the exact Avodah together but acting totally independent of the other without the slightest meeting of the minds.  Had they spoke it over, say the Meforshim they would have quickly realized it was a bad idea.

In a marriage the gemara clearly says that the Bracha in the home comes on account of the woman.  Hashem created her specifically for man's benefit.  A man must realize that his success comes from consulting with his wife.  Tovim HaShnayim Min HaEchad.  A woman is not a magical recipe for success, but cooperation between a man and his wife is what brings the Bracha.  Success cannot be achieved by one person alone.

We learn from Nadav and Avihu that it is entirely possible for two people to live together an entire lifetime and jointly raise a family, but live in two separate worlds.  This is not Tovim HaShnayim Min HaEchad, says Rav Zaitchek.  It is a recipe for disaster and will turn the Bracha to Klala.

Marriage is a gift.  Use it wisely!

Sun, 11 Apr 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayikra: The Kemitza, The Secret Recipe To A Great Marriage The Yagdil Torah relates that at the Chasuna of one of the most Chashuv Chasidim of Kotzk someone wrote him a Bracha, using the words of the pasuk "VKomatz HaKohen Mimena", the Kohen should take a Kometz from the Korban Mincha (Vayikra 5:12).  

The meaning of this was that the gemara in Brachos (8a) says that in Eretz Yisroel after the Chasuna they would ask the Chosson "Matza" or "Moitza".  Matza from the pasuk Matza Isha Matza Tov (Mishlei 18:22), he who finds a wife finds good, meaning he found a good wife.  Or "Moitzei Ani Mar MiMaves Es HaIsha", in my wife I found something more bitter than death (Koheles 7:26).  The difference between Matza and Moitza is whether the Mem has a Komatz or Cholam.  The bracha was that the Chosson should have a Komatz like the pasuk, and have a wonderful marriage.

Rebbi Akiva Eiger was asked why by a Chasuna is there is minhag to grab the Challa of HaMoitzi from the Chosson.  He answered that we grab the "Moitzi" in order that the Chosson should have the Matza and have found a fine wife.

What is the secret to the Komatz that it signifies a good marriage while the Cholam tells a story of bitterness?  Maybe we an offer that Komatz means to restrict to close.  Our mouth takes on a very restrictive shape when we say the Komatz sound as opposed to the Patach which means to open wide and is the sound we are told to make when the doctor needs us to look inside.  The secret to a happy marriage is to close the mouth and not let everything on our mind come tumbling out.  Our words should be restricted like the three fingered Kemitza of the Kohen, and so should our expectations and creams.

On the other hand Cholam is the word for dreams.  If we have big dream and expectations from our spouses, we are surely to be disappointed and frustrated along the way as our fantasies are not played out in the tough place called reality.  These dreams if not curtailed will end in bitterness and finger pointing if we don't close our mouths.  With these dreams we will find a life more bitter than death.

It is up to us to take the Komatz route and close our mouths and then we will find a wonderful wife.  Or we can dream on about how it was supposed to be, and never realize the wonderful women on our side.  So, Matza or Moitza, what will it be?

Wed, 17 Mar 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bishalach: Rav Simcha Bunim Of Peshischa - Marriage & Money, My Way Or The Highway? Krias Yam Suf has gone done as the greatest Nes in the annals of history.  Chazal tell us that two other things are as hard a feat to accomplish as Krias Yam Suf, shidduchim and parnasa.  What is it about these two things that make it so difficult that we compare it to that history making event?

The Pninim Uparparaos Al HaTorah brings from Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa that when Bnei Yisroel was trapped with the sea in front of them and the bloodthirsty army of Mitzrayim behind them and no where to move on the right or the left they cried to Hashem to save them.  Out of all the plans and prayers they came up with, they never dreamed that the Yam Suf would open and provide them a safe passage.  Hashem saved them in a way they didn't daven for.  This was a very difficult feat.

Similarly when it comes to shidduchim and parnasa we all map out plans to reach our goals, and we execute our strategy as if we are in charge and it is our brilliant ideas that will bear fruit.  In this case since Hashem is not called in for any assistance, He theoretically should sit on the sidelines and let us fend for ourselves and see how far we get.  Even if we daven for success, we are knocking on the wrong door.  Nevertheless, Hashem in His rachmanus, brings the yeshua from where it is destined to come from, a place where we never dreamed it would.

Oy!  If only we believed, if only we would ask for help and would not dictate how it should happen, we'd make Hashem's job so much easier.  If we davened for a yeshua without any preconceived notions, splitting the sea would be easy as pie!

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Sholom Bayis A Multi Year Contract Reb Chaim Gelb was a unique individual - a tzaddik and gaon in chessed who spent his entire life strengthening Yiddishkeit and performing chessed for others. He was a resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn at a time when most Jews there were not frum, and he worked tirelessly to strengthen Shemiras Shabbos and all aspects of Jewish observance. At a young age, he quit his job so he could literally devote all his time to performing acts of chessed and tzedaka. His wife, who was a full partner in Rav Chaim's lifetime of chessed, willingly supported the family.

In the mid-twentieth century, modern American values were already slowly seeping in the frum community. Rav Chaim was not pleased with the increase in broken marriages, and was concerned with its negative affects on the future of Klal Yisrael.

As a man of action, he was not one to remain silent. At every wedding that he attended, Rav Chaim would stand on a chair after the chuppah was over, and announce in a loud voice, "A contract for 120 years!" The guests would shout "Amen!" and Rav Chaim would step down from the chair, satisfied that he had taken action to uphold the value of shalom bayis and a lasting marriage. (Reb Chaim Gelb: A Life of Chessed)

Mon, 21 Dec 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayeitzei: Rav Chaim Zaitchek - Where To Go To Have Children When a despondent Rochel turned to Yaakov and said, "Give me children or else I am dead", instead of answering her with soft and comforting words, Yaakov lashed out rather harshly by chastising her.  Not only that, but the Medrash says that he told her that if she so desperately wants children she should do what Yaakov's grandmother Sara did.  She should give him her maidservant to have children with.  Yaakov's enigmatic answer requires significant explanation.

Rav Chaim Zaitchek explains that Yaakov felt that Rochel was looking at him as if he had power to make children happen.  Adam HaRishon the Yetzir Kapav of Hashem, who radiated the Shechina from his face was mistaken for Hashem by the Malachim.  Yaakov had a similar radiance like Adam HaRishon and his imaged was engraved on the Kisei HaKavod.  Yaakov despite his deep love for Rochel and immense sympathy for her sorrow, felt he needed to eradicate even a hint of this from Rochel's mind.  He needed to explain to her that he is powerless and her assertions were the furthest thing from the truth.  "Ein Od Milvado"

He also wanted to dispel any notions that having children had anything to do with natural matters.  To this end he told Rochel there is only one way, to plea to Hashem.  To prove it he gave her clear direction as to how it can be done.  He pointed to his grandmother Sara.  She could not either have children.  How was she Zocheh at the end?  She davened and humbled herself before the Master of the World who grants children.  She let her slave have a child with her husband.  She disgraced and humiliated herself as an offering to Hashem, in an effort to show her sincerity and her keen understanding as to who holds the keys to childbearing. 

Sure enough Yaakov's sharp critcism and advice bore fruit, as Rochel then went on to have children through no intervention of any Tzaddik.  It was a matter purely between her and her creator!  

Wed, 25 Nov 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Yitzchok's Less Than Perfect Shidduch Avrohom was the prince of the world.  He was the generations leading thinker and had a multitude of followers.  He was fabulously wealthy.  Now it was time to marry off his son, the heir to his wealth and his legacy and an accomplished star in his own right.

Surely Yitzchok was offered many shidduchim from the aristocracy of Eretz Knaan.  None of these were good enough for Yitzchok.  In fact Avrohom forbade Eliezer to even entertain any shidduchim from Knaanin.  Eliezer swore to it.  Eliezer was then sent on a mission to Aram Naharaim to find the perfect girl for Yitzchok.  A girl who not only had sterling character but also had Avrohom's noble blood.

What happens if the perfect girl refuses to come back to Eretz Yisroel with me, asked Eliezer?  No problem says Avrohom, we can take from Aner, Eshkol, and Mamreh (see Rashi Chayei Sara 24:8).   But they are Knaanim and Shvua was made?  The Shvua will not apply if the perfect girl refuses to come, said Avrohom.

Everyone is looking for the perfect Shidduch, but sometimes it just isn't there.  Even before being desperate, Avrohom was realistic and part of his plan was that he knew he may have to compromise.  The future of Klal Yisroel hung in the balance with Yitzchok's shidduch.  Certainly Avrohom did not want to make any mistake or take in a girl with imperfect genes, but he understood that he may have too.  When it comes to our children we may think that we are perfect and so are our children.  Let's assume that were the case, we can learn from our great Father's that even so, the girl need not be.

Tue, 10 Nov 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayeira: Rav Pam - Your Spouse Doesn't Want To Hear The Truth Toward the beginning of the parsha, the visiting Malachim  delivered the message from Hashem  to Avraham: "I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold Sarah your wife will have a son. Avraham and Sarah were old and that the manner of women had ceased to be with Sarah." [Bereshis 18:10-11] Then in the next pasuk, Sarah asks: "After I have withered I shall again have smooth skin? And my husband is an old man." In other words, Sarah wonders how is it possible for her to conceive, when she is already past her years of childbearing. In addition, her husband was an old man as well.

However, when Hashem went back to Avraham and admonished Sarah for laughing, Hashem only mentioned her argument that she was old to Avraham. Hashem does not reveal to Avraham that Sarah had also doubted the news because "her husband was an old man." Rashi learns  from this - based on Chazal - that one change the truth  to preserve peace (between husband and wife).

Rav Pam asks the following question: Avraham Avinu was in fact 99 years old. Everyone knew that he was an old man. It was obvious to him that he was an old man. It would have not at all been news to Avraham that Sarah was surprised that she would conceive, because - among other reasons - her husband was old. Would Avraham really have been upset if he had heard the "full truth" from the Hashem?

Rav Pam explains that we see from here, that the whole world can recognize and tell a person that he is old, but he cannot hear that piece of news from his wife! The reverse is true as well. A woman can have gray hair. She can be a grandmother. But if her husband should tell her, "You know, you are getting up there in years." - it would hurt her immensely. Spouses are more sensitive to each other, and therefore care must be taken.

Mon, 02 Nov 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Adam & Chava - Marriage As A Humbling Experience Hashem saw that Adam was the only living creature living alone.  "Lo Tov Heyos Adam Livado, Eseh Lo Eizer Kinegdo".  Literally this means that Hashem saw it is not good for man to be alone, so He decided to make for him a mate to help him.  This would imply that the woman was created to help her husband.

Rav Yosef Ben Amram in Ali Be'er learns this pasuk B'Derech Drush quite differently.  Hashem was concerned that since Adam was completely alone with no one to challenge him, he would think very highly of himself and forget that he is subject to Hashem above.  Moreover without anyone needing his help, he would live purely for himself.

Hashem decided that it was not good for him to be a lone being with no one to keep him in check, and no one for him to be obligated to.  Therefore Hashem made for him an Eizer, someone who he can help and be devoted to.  Kinegdo, a person with independent views who could keep him in check and make him learn how to compromise and to learn what it means to submit his will to the will of another.

Thu, 15 Oct 2009 03:00:00 +0000
An Esrog For Your Wife? Rav Shalom Eisen, z’tl was a dayan and moreh tzedek in Yerushalayim more than fifty years ago.  He was also known as an expert in the kashrus and hiddurim of esrogim and lulavim.  As each Succos approached, hundreds of people would appear at his house to show him the arba minim which they purchased. 

One year, an avreich approached him with a beautiful esrog, mehudar in all its aspects, to receive R’ Eisen’s approval.  R’ Eisen examined it and then shook his head and said, “This esrog is not for you.”  The avreich was astounded.  He had delved into the halachos of the arba minim, and had spent a considerable amount of time purchasing such a mehudar esrog.  Why was Rav Eisen telling him that this esrog was not for him?

He asked Rav Eisen, “Is there an halachic problem with this esrog?

Instead of answering him, Rav Shalom asked him a question, “What do you do?”

The avreich answered, “I learn in a kollel here in Yerushalayim.” 

“How much do you get paid?”

The avreich answered him, and told him the exact amount of money he received from his kollel. 

“And how much are they asking for this esrog?” inquired Rav Shalom.

The avreich answered that they were asking a considerable amount of money.

Rav Eisen said, “This is what I thought from the beginning. You are right; the esrog itself is mehudar.  But if you listen to me, I would advise you to purchase a cheaper esrog, and with the remaining money, purchase something for your wife likvod Yom Tov.  This is true kavod Yom Tov.”    (Chayim Sheyash Bahem) 

Wed, 30 Sep 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Volbe Warns All Husbands Of The Dire Consequences

Rav Volbe (Kuntras Hadracha LaChasanim) brings from the Rav Chaim Vital the following incredible chidush. He says that a person's Middos are measured "Ach V'RaK" meaning exclusively, by the way he deals with his wife.

Rav Volbe explains that if a person does chesed his whole life with many people, he lends money, visits the sick, comforts the bereaved, gladdens the hearts of Choson and Kallah, surely he will reap the rewards for his many good deeds at the end of his life.

However, says Rav Volbe, it is a clear fact that in Shamayim they check how you acted towards your wife. If you were kind and caring with her as well then you are indeed very fortunate. However, if you were tough with her and ignored her needs, and in your home you were strict and became angry without mercy, and you didn't help and carry the burden, this will weigh your judgement for the bad. In this case when you get to Shamayim they will not remember even a single act of Chesed that you did with other people. (Holchei Nesivos)

Tue, 23 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Chaim Kanievsky - Before You Can Build A House A young lady learning in a seminary in Bnei Brak once came to the house of Rav Chaim Kanivesky for advice for herself and for her entire class.  The girls in the class had gradually realized that something strange was happening with their class.  Despite the fact that the girls were all of marriageable age and had long since started dating, not one of the girls from the class had become engaged.  The girls’ friends from different classes or schools were beginning to marry and establish homes, but their class seemed to be stuck.  The girls wanted to know what Rav Chaim's opinion was on this, and what he advised them to do.

Rav Chaim said that since this phenomenon was affecting the entire class then it must have been a “group sin” and it was necessary for the class to contemplate what the sin was.  He said that the two possibilities were that they insulted either a teacher or one of their peers.

The girl consulted with her classmates, and after discussing the issue, they reached the conclusion that they had not insulted any of their teachers, but it was very likely that they had hurt one of their peers.

One of their peers had an awkward appearance, and it was possible that the girls had treated her differently due to her appearance.  No one had deliberately hurt her, but it seemed that her feelings had been hurt.  The girls of the class sent a messenger to her with a request that she forgive them.  However, to their surprise, the girl sent back a message that she does not forgive them!

The girls in the class realized that she had been seriously hurt, and the entire class decided to go to her house to appease her.  While they were there, they promised her that they would personally become involved in finding her a suitable shidduch.  A father of one of the girls also promised to pay the girl’s shadchunus fee up to a thousand dollars.

The girl was impressed by the girls’ effort and sincere teshuvah, and forgave them with a complete heart.  Two weeks later, four of the girls were on their way to becoming engaged!    (Barchi Nafshi)

Wed, 03 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayakhel: Husbands And Wives Stand On Line To Donate To The Mishkan "Vayavo'u HaAnashim Al HaNashim" (Vayakhel 35:29).  Rashi explains the men came together with their wives to make donations to the Mishkan.  Why did the wives come with them?

The Be'er Mayim Chaim explains that the halacha is that a woman needs permission from her husband to give anything other than a small donation to tzedaka, and needed to bring her husband in order for her gift to be accepted.  The reason why the husband could not bring it himself is since they were donating their wives jewelry they could not do that without their wives consent.  Therefore the duo was needed for the donation to be accepted.

The Maskil L'Dovid says that the men did not want to come alone because only a short time before they had donated large amounts of gold to the Eigel and were afraid that their donation would not be accepted.  They therefore wanted to mix their donation together with that of their virtuous wives, who did not participate in donating to the eigel, in order that it would be accepted.

Thu, 19 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Shimon Schwab - The Ring That Binds Us The outer walls of the Mishkan, the Kerashim, were made of gold covered wood.  "Viyihiyu So'amin Milmata, Viyachdav Yihiyu Samim Al Rosho, El Hataba'as",  (Truma 26:24).  The Kerashim had two hands protruding from the bottom but on top they were one and connected with a ring.

Rav Shimon Schwab says that the Torah is teaching us what a married couple looks like.  On the bottom they are matching like twins "Toamim".  The bottom represents gashmiyus, the physical realm.  Although every couple comes together as one, in fact they are two separate individuals.  However "Al Rosho" on top, which represents ruchniyus, "Yachdav Yihiyu Samim", they are indeed one.  Their thoughts, goals, and ambitions must be the same striving to build a home that will be Mikadesh Shem Shamayim.

"El HaTaba'as", this spiritual union is made through the ring.  While we can effect a marriage by any article worth a prutah, nevertheless we get married with a ring.  This is the ring that will make this couple into a Mishkan Hashem and create a home that is heaven on earth, just like the Mishkan of old.

Thu, 26 Feb 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bishalach: Rav Asher'le MiRiminov - How A Man Supports His Wife One time a Chasid and his despondent wife came to Rav Asher'le MiRiminov.  The wife claimed that her husband did not make a decent living because he was so worried about ona'a, accurate scales, and every other minute halacha.  The wife complained that he had no right to be such a big tzaddik while his wife and children were starving.

Rav Asher'le MiRiminov answered that the obligation of supporting one's wife is derived from the pasuk (Bishalach 16:16), "Ish LaAsher B'Ohalo Tikachu", each man should take Man back to his home.  The Man in the midbar, said Rav Asher'le was acquired with pure righteousness without the slightest trace of impropriety.  Similarly in a Kesuba it is written, "V'Afarnes Yaschi B'Kushta", I will support you honestly.  A man is not responsible to break or even slightly bend the laws of honesty and business ethics as the torah prescribes it, to support his wife.  The extent of his effort and obligation is where the legal bounds are drawn.  The rest is up to Hashem. (Iturei Torah)

Tue, 03 Feb 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayeitzei - Vilna Gaon On The Value Of Physical Beauty The pasuk (Vayeitzei (29:17) praises Rochel's beauty.  Why, asks the Vilna Gaon, surely Yaakov the Bechir HaAvos did not marry Rochel for her good looks?

He answers that Yaakov definitely married Rochel to have children to fulfill Hashem's wishes.  He chose Rochel because of her stellar character.  However, says the Vilna Gaon, do not dismiss the value of beauty.  It has great value in keeping one's husband naturally focused.  The gemara in Taanis (23a) tells us that Abba Chilkiya's wife would greet him, all made up.

However, says the Vilna Gaon, the torah only praises beauty of an Isha Yiras Hashem.  Only if she is truly an Eishes Chayil is her beauty praiseworthy.  This is the meaning of the pasuk 'Sheker Hachen V'Hevel HaYofi", charisma is deceitful and beauty is nonsense, if that is the woman's only claim to fame.  "Isha Yiras Hashem", however if she is a Yiras Hashem then, "He" her beauty, "Tis'halal" is also praiseworthy.

This also explains the gemara in Taanis (31a) that there were four kinds of girls.  The pretty ones would say to the boys, "look at my beauty".  The ones from good families would say that marrying them will yield good children.  The rich ones would flaunt their money.  The less than good looking ones would say, "Marry me L'Shem Shamayim, but make sure to drape me in gold."  Why was marrying these girls "L'Shem Shamayim" since they obviously weren't from good families?  And why should they be draped in gold?

He answers that these girls would say that the boys should ignore the trivial reasons for marriage and marry a girl for nothing other than to fulfill Hashem's command.  But since you are humans and not malachim, just drape us in gold and you will have both, your L'Shem Shamayim and a nice looking wife.

Wed, 03 Dec 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Be Like Yitzchok, Give Your Parent A Second Chance I once accompanied a family friend whose wife had recently passed away, to Rav Chaim Kanievsky for a bracha and some words of comfort.  While we were waiting by Rav Chaim's study after Shacharis, the Rebbetzin walked in and went to the kitchen to prepare Rav Chaim's breakfast.  Having been familiar with the Rebbetzin's kind heart and power to comfort and inspire, I slipped into the kitchen and explained to her the plight of my brokenhearted friend and asked her if she can give him some chizzuk.

The Rebbetzin with a terrible sigh jumped out of the kitchen and went to comfort him.  She genuinely shared his pain and added that he must get remarried.  She told him that her late father-in-law the Steipler Gaon said it was very important to remarry.  He himself would have done it, she said, except for the fact that he felt he was already too old.

The biggest stumbling block to remarriage especially for a person with children who have reached the age maturity, is the children.  Often it is very painful for the children to see their surviving parent replace their deceased parent.  They cause all sorts of aggravation and agitation making the whole experience very unappealing to their parent, both before and after the second marriage.  Unfortunately it is not always limited to single children, but often even married children who have their own families but somehow cannot "Fargin" their parent to enjoy the same.

There is an incredible Rashi based on the Medrash in Parshas Chayei Sara.  The pasuk tells us (Bereishis 24:62)  that when Eliezer came back with Rivka, Yitzchok had just come back from Be'er Lachai Ro'i.  What was he doing there?  The Medrash says he went to bring back Hagar so his father Avrohom should not be alone (in the words of the Medrash).  Avrohom was no ordinary person.  He had plenty to do with his time.  He was world famous and a very wealthy man, whom Yitzchok would one day inherit.  Hagar was not only an Egyptian former slave but she was also the mother of Yitzchok's chief rival and she herself was the rival of his mother Sara.  Why did he need her back in the picture after Sara finally got rid of her?  Why did he need problems with Yishmael whom Hagar, as Avrohom's wife, would certainly lobby for on his behalf?  Did he need the seven more siblings that Hagar would eventually bare?

Yitzchok put his issues aside and looked after the best interest of his father.  More so than any of us, he had plenty of legitimate reasons not want Hagar around.  This wouldn't only affect him personally, her presence could cause the course of Am Yisroel to change forever.  Yet not only did he not stand in the way, he made sure to be the Shadchan.  After all why should he be happily married, and his dear parent, alone as a widower?

Tue, 18 Nov 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Shimshon Pincus - When A House Becomes A Home Whenever Hashem makes a promise to the Avos or to Klal Yisroel it usually is, that they will get Eretz Yisroel, the wonderful land and not that they will receive the Torah.  That was the promise to Avrohom in Parshas Lech Licha (13:15).  It is also the central promise of the Bris Bein HaBesarim.  Similarly, Hashem tells Moshe that he will save Bnei Yisroel from Mitzrayim and bring them to Eretz Yisroel.  What about Har Sinai?  Isn't this odd, asks Rav Shimshon Pincus?  Bnei Yisroel survived for 2000 years without Eretz Yisroel, but we cannot survive even for a short moment without torah.  The torah is our life blood, our oxygen, it is our only connection with Hashem.  Even in Eretz Yisroel, without torah, our presence is worthless.  It is like a lifeless body.  So why is Eretz Yisroel the central theme of Hashem's promises?

Rav Shimshon Pincus explains this with an analogy.  When a couple becomes engaged or married we wish them that they will build a Bayis Ne'eman B'Yisroel.  Is it so important, asks Rav Shimshon, that they have a "house"?  They can live in a hotel their entire married lives and raise a good family.  Is a house so crucial for a successful marriage?  Can we not think of something more substantial and meaningful to wish for them.  Why is a "house" our bracha to them?

The answer is that when we say "house" we don't mean a house, we mean a "home".  A home is a place of privacy between a husband and wife.  It is a place that their ideals are laid out and dictate the structure of their lives.  It is their exclusive domain where they are alone and enjoy each other's company, without intrusion from the outside.  Although what comes out of the house and what goes on inside is what is important, the house itself allows this to happen.  It is their operating theater.  A husband and wife can live together in the same house for 50 years each one in their own little world.  That would be a "Bayis" but not a "Bayis Ne'eman".

Hashem promises Bnei Yisroel that he has a beautiful house waiting for us.  A house where we be alone with HaKadosh Boruch Hu.  A house where we can learn his torah and do his mitzvos.  A house where we can enjoy each other's company and be devoted to each other.  A house where we can be alone with Him and shut out the "street".  Eretz Yisroel is our "Bayis" it is our house.  We need to turn it onto our "home" that is "Ne'eman".   The homes young couples start are their Bayis, and we wish them that it  should be home and it should be Ne'eman.  This encompasses all the brachos that we can shower them with.

Tue, 04 Nov 2008 03:00:00 +0000
One In A Thousand... Shlomo HaMelech the wisest of all men tells us in Koheles (7:28) “Adam Echad MeiElef Matzasi, V’Isha Bichol Eileh Lo Matzasi”; I have found one good man out of a thousand but one good woman I haven’t found at all.  What does Shlomo mean?  Why are there only good men and no good women?  

I once heard from my Rebbi from one of the Acharonim (although it escapes me now) that the pasuk is actually saying the opposite of what it appears.  “Adam Echad MeiElef Matzasi”.  Shlomo HaMelech is disappointed to find from one thousand men only a single good one.  What happened to the other 999?  The second half of the pasuk answers this question. “V’Isha Bichol Eileh Lo Matzasi”; among these other men there wasn’t a good women standing behind him.

The moral of the story is that each person is only half of a whole.  Each one may have their individual talents, traits, and qualities.  However no matter how great a man is, alone says the gemara, a man lives without bracha (Yevamos 62b).  There can only be Hashro’as HaShechina if both parts of the union merit it together (Sotah 17a).

A person who has accomplished a great deal in his life would be foolish not to recognize his wife’s role in it.  Look at Rebbi Akiva.  He returns to his hometown after 24 years away from his wife.  He left as an Am HaAretz and returns as one of the greatest figures in Jewish history.  His wife last saw him when he knew nothing and had no visible role in his transformation to greatness.  Yet when she comes out to greet Rebbi Akiva and the talmidim push her away, Rebbi Akiva stops them and says his famous words, “Sheli V’Shelachem Shela Hu”; my torah and your torah are all to her credit (Kesubos 63a).  How is that possible wonder the talmidim?  

We see from here that no matter how one sided the situation appears, no matter what the traits and qualities of each side of the marriage, rest assure, says the wisest of all wise men, give the wife credit for without her the husband would be just be another casualty of Shlomo’s statistics.

Mon, 26 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Nowadays You Get A Five Year Honeymoon!  Question submitted by Y: What is the mitzva of v'semach es ishto (make your wife happy) is it only for first year or is it beyond? What are the obligations? thanks

Answered by Rav Peretz Moncharsh:  The Chinuch in Mitzvos 581 & 582 writes that the 2 mitzvos mentioned in the Torah 1) Not to leave town and travel far away 2) To make ones wife happy, are still applicable these days.

The Aruch HaShulchan (EH 64/4) rules that included in keeping your wife happy is to give her enjoyment and satisfy her wishes as much as possible. Similarly the Sefer Yeraim (Mitzva 190) says that one is obligated during first year of marriage to do for his wife anything that will bring her simcha.

However the Chasam Sofer (EH 195) the Radvaz (1:231) and the Smag write that these two Mitzvos only apply when there is Malchus Bais Dovid and are therefore not applicable these days.

Interesting is that the Chasam Sofer points out (as does the Aruch HaShulchan EH 64) that it is forbidden for a husband to abandon his wife and go to war is only if the war broke out after they got married. Otherwise she entered the marriage with the understanding that he would be going to war. Similarly regarding business, if the husband was going on long business trips before their wedding he may continue doing so during Shana Rishona (after Sheva Brochos of course).

This is all the letter of the halacha, however one must take into account practical considerations. Today people are more emotionally delicate and often immature when getting married. For example I have heard that R' Volbe zatzal said that today shana rishona applies for 3-5 years. So use a healthy dose of common sense and remember that this is the foundation of a marriage and must be taken seriously.

This question and answer was submitted and answered at   Feel free to visit our site and ask our expert Rabbonim all your questions on Halacha, Hashkafa, Chinuch, Chumash, Daf, or anything else.

Wed, 14 May 2008 03:00:00 +0000