Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shalom Bayis

Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch zt”l writes that the Kohen Gadol embodies the moral ideal of the entire Jewish People. His is supposed to provide a role model to which every Jew can aspire—a model of moral excellence and completion. The foundation of this development and completion is marriage—the state that Chazal said is also the basis of all true happiness. This is why the Kohen Gadol may only perform the avodah of Yom Kippur while married. Having once been married is not enough; to do the avodah, the Kohen Gadol had to be living within the state of marriage.

The Ramak zt”l explains the depths of this law. Until one marries, it is obvious that the Shechinah is absent from a man’s life, because the Shechinah only rests upon a man in the merit of his wife. So if a man does not get along with his wife, it is clear that the Shechinah is not “living in harmony” with him either! It is important to realize how indebted we are to our spouses, and must work hard to ensure that they do not harbor any resentments against us. It is all too easy to take one’s wife for granted, forgetting that, “A woman of valor is her husband’s crown.”

A certain avreich went to the Stiepler Gaon zt”l for guidance in learning. After outlining to him how to structure his time by learning both for broad general knowledge while setting aside time for in-depth analysis, the Stiepler remarked, “You sound like a true masmid. However, don’t forget to help your wife around the house.”

The young man tried to deflect the implied mussar with an explanation. “My wife is in complete agreement with me that the main thing is my learning. She does not ask for me help, nor does she want it.”

The Steipler responded, “That is her mitzvah. Your mitzvah is to make sure to help around the house. She is your wife…you didn’t buy a slave when you married her!”

4 comments:

Neil Harris said...

Beautiful post. It reminds me of the story about R Gifter and the take out the garbage at the home of one of his married bochrim.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Thank you for your encouragement and for reminding me about that
truly amazing story.
The way I heard it, Rav Chaim Katz, zt"l, was the Rosh Yeshivah who took out the garbage instead of the foolish avreich.
Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if there were two (or more) such stories.

Long Beach Chasid said...

iy"H I will be married Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Thank you for this post as it is one of the most inspirational writings I have yet read on marriage.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Mazal tov, mazal tov!
Thank you so much for the chizuk.
Hashem should help you build a bayis ne'eman b'Yisrael!