Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rebbe, How Can I Have a Peaceful Marriage?

“Rebbe, how do I maintain a peaceful home? What if we have disagreements over furniture?”

The following is an insightful reply of the Rebbe to a chossan [bridegroom] who, several weeks prior to his wedding, wrote with many fundamental questions as to proper conduct after marriage. With special thanks to Rabbi Simpson, a member of the Rebbe’s secretariat.

The Rebbe Archive would like to present a beautiful photo of the Rebbe delivering an address to the lay leaders of Chabad together with their shluchim (emissaries). During this event, begun in the 1980s by Machane Israel, lay leaders were given the merit to meet with the Rebbe privately to discuss Chabad activities in their cities, as well as personal matters.

This e-mail is dedicated in honor of the wedding of my dear brother Shneur Zalman Kirschenbaum to Sara Leah Krinsky; may they build a Binyan Adei Ad.

Good Shabbos

By the Grace of G-d

Purim-Koton 5719

Brooklyn, NY
Sholom uBrocho:

I duly received your letter, and this is in reply to your questions:

A) Whether you should insist on having the chuppa “outside.”:

No doubt you mean having the chuppa under the sky, which is the important thing, and this can often be done inside, since many halls have a retractable, or removable roof, so that the chuppa can indeed be under the sky.

I trust you will not have to “insist” very much, but that this will be readily acceptable, for having the chuppa under the sky is something which is connected with mazel. Inasmuch as the question concerns marriage, which makes the foundation for the everlasting edifice (binyan adei-ad) for a happy home, surely everything should be done to fulfill all the aspects which are connected with mazel at the time of the chuppa, and this is one of them, as is stated in many holy books.

B) On the matter of disagreement regarding furniture:

Generally speaking, in matters connected with the house furniture and furnishing and the like, the matter which our Sages call the “mundane” aspects, one should consider the wishes of the future housewife. At the same time, it is clearly a matter of good sense not to get involved in debts which may be difficult to meet afterwards, all the more so as you have to undertake mortgage obligations, etc., as you write.

C) With regard to conduct becoming a yeshiva bochur:

The thing to keep in mind is that your conduct is bound to have an immediately influence on the conduct of your entire home, especially that of your wife, the akeres habayis.The father and husband sets the tone for the others to follow. In practice, when one tries to emulate someone else, even with the utmost effort, it rarely comes up to the full one hundred percent. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct oneself, that after making allowances the copy not fall too short of the original, so that at least the minimum requirements of the Shulchan Aruch (even without hiddurim) would be fulfilled.
This should be your guiding principle, also, and even more so, since in your meeting with other people, especially in your teaching position, and general standing in the congregation and community.

Referring specifically to the question of going to certain places of amusement, in view of the fact (in addition to the above considerations) that you have told your fiancée that you will discontinue this, you should bear in mind that if you do not practice as you preach, it will not only display a weakness on your part in matters of yiras shomayim,but your fiancée will consider it a precedent to further concessions and liberties in this direction.

D) You ask my advice as to how to ensure mutual peace and harmony in married life:

As you know, the Torah is the key to it, as it is written, “Its ways are ways of pleasantness and its paths are peace.” In matters of Torah pleasantness should be coupled with firmness, especially in such fundamental aspects of marriage as taharas hamishpacha,and all other things of Torah and mitzvoth, which the Torah requires with the utmost stringency. Yet, it is this very stringent observance that ensures the pleasantness and peace of married life, while capitulation or concession, even “temporarily” in these matters “in the interests of peace,” can only have lasting contrary effects.

Nowadays, environment and the people one mixes with have a considerable effect on one’s personal conduct and the conduct of the home. Therefore, one should always seek the company and environment of only such real friends as have a beneficial and encouraging influence in all matters of Torah and mitzvoth, and introduce your fiancée into a similar environment.

With blessing,