Ki Tetseh – Happy Marriage
It says in this weeks Parasha:
When a man takes a wife and has conjugal relations, If it happens that he does not like her because he has found a sexual flaw, he must write her a document of divorce and put it in her hand then he sends her from his house.
It is asked in the Mishna: what flaws can a man find which are grounds for divorce? According to Beit Shamai a husband must have witnesses who saw her committing adultery. That means that it is next to impossible for a couple to ever get a divorce. According to Beit Shamai even if they while away there evening in knock down drag out fights they can not get divorced.
Beit Hillel has a much more lenient approach and says that a Sexual flaw is even if she burnt his food. This is similar to the modern style of divorce where a couple may file for divorce if one spouse squeezes the toothpaste from the end while the other squeezes it from the middle, or even worse if he leaves the top off all together. (modern science has improved the situation with self squeezing cans of toothpaste which have no cover)
Rabi Akivah, whose life was changed by his wife, is even more contemporary. He says that you can get a divorce if you find a nicer one.
The Mishna which I quoted does not suggest that a person has to divorce his wife if she squeezes the toothpaste wrong. The Torah made divorce more difficult by instituting a divorce document. Previously a Hebrew could divorce his wife like the muslims do just by saying a phrase. The rabbis made divorce even more complicated by instituting a Ketubah which must be paid upon divorce.
Clearly, Judaism is in favor of people staying married. People should try to work through their problems instead of running to some ambulance chaser.
Today divorce is far more rampant than it has been in recorded history. What causes divorce and how can we prevent it?
A main cause of divorce is lack of foresight. People do not realize that if they work on their relationship it can flourish. Many people who get divorced do not realize how miserable loneliness is. Many suffer from the Newsweek mentality and do not remember anything good which the other has done. People are lazy and do not want to work at it.
I am sure that many have heard the term “work at it” with reference to marriage. (This advice is more vague than a politician answering a question.) How do you work on your marriage?
Great advice is also to be found in this weeks Parasha. When a man gets married it is forbidden for him to go away for the first year. He must stay home and make his wife happy for this year. Their are specific ways to fulfill this. they should have sexual relations as often as possible I would suggest that even people who have been married for many years should spend a lot of quality time together.
Most married people are together during the tired part of the day, at the end of the day after work. This is more conducive to fighting than to peace. I suggest that people should be together while they are awake and feeling well.
Many Jewish families make good use out of Shabat lunch. It can be a real tension reducer. Drinking the whole kiddush cup should lighten up the situation. For those who do not drive, garden, watch TV, (Tohu Vavohu) or answer the phone it is even easier to give full attention to improving marriage. This advice can fix your marriage before it gets to difficult.
Our rabbis have told us that we should strive to be like Moshe’s brother Aharon. He loved peace and chased after peace. When he heard that a couple were having marital problems he would go over to them to make peace. If the husband was the culprit he would force the husband to calm down and would then go over to the battered women and say that he personally guarantees that the husband will stop his abuse. If the wife was a shrew Aharon would force her to calm down and would personally guarantee to the husband that she will stop abusing him.
Aharon was so successful at this type of marriage counselling that after the couple would make peace the wife would give birth to a baby boy. She would name him Aharon. Our Rabbis said that over three thousand babies had the name Aharon.
I hope that I and everyone should be like Aharon and bring peace to others.