Monday, March 10, 2008

Appreciating One’s Wife

One without a wife has no Torah or joy…True Gedolim appreciate their wives and respect them. As the Rambam, zt”l, writes, one should honor his wife more than he honors himself!

The Rosh Yeshiva of Be’er Yaakov, Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira, zt”l, always treated his wife with the greatest respect. On Shabbos, she would sit at the opposite end of the table. Whenever he would make hamotzi, he would get up himself to bring the challah to his Rebbetzin, and always with the same shining smile. He explained once to his students that he didn’t want to simply pass her the piece since she would feel more comfortable getting it from him directly.

Once, the Rav and the Rebbetzin were slated to travel to a wedding. When the student who was giving them a ride arrived, he found the Rosh Yeshiva (who was already in his seventies) ready and waiting. The Rebbetzin apologized for the delay and asked if it was possible for the Rosh Yeshiva to wait a few minutes until she was ready. The Rosh Yeshiva responded, “Rebbetzin! As long as you are not yet ready, we aren’t waiting because we are ready to go and you are delaying us. Quite the contrary! Until you are ready, the time to go has not yet arrived!”

One time, a close disciple, Rav Yisrael Meir Kohein Arzi, shlit”a, was with the Rosh Yeshiva at home just before it was time to go to pray Ma’ariv in the Yeshiva. The Rosh Yeshiva said to Rav Arzi, “Come let me show you how one should treat his wife.” He entered the kitchen and told the Rebbetzin, “I am going to Ma’ariv now and will be back right after the davening.”

When Rav Arzi asked what the Rosh Yeshiva had meant to teach him, Rav Shapira explained, “When you leave your house, it is not enough to tell your wife where you are going. You should also say when you will be back. And you should abide by what you said by coming home on time!”

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