Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’


Rabbi Daniel Lapin: Thought Tools: When a Man Loves a Woman (part 1)

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Relationships

The Foundation Stone wishes a hearty Mazal Tov to Rabbi and Mrs. Lapin on the marriage of Miriam and A.J. May the young couple, guided by their parents’ wisdom and example of magnificent Midot and values, build a home that reflects the greatness of the Lapin legacy.

A few hours ago my wife and I stood beneath a wedding canopy gazing happily at one of our beautiful daughters, Miriam, and the young man she has chosen to accompany through life.  The ancient phrases in the prayer book I clutched appeared a little blurred through my teary eyes.  Actually, recalling the event now is making this computer screen a bit blurry too.

This wedding played my emotions like B.B. King played his famous guitar.  Just as each of his string-bending vibratos I once heard on Beale Street in Memphis sounded unique, so this wedding felt unique.  Which is strange because its format was virtually indistinguishable from 124 other weddings at which I have been privileged to officiate.

Obviously every couple was unique, but each ceremony closely resembled all the others.  At every wedding I followed the same traditional script, exercising no creative originality.  Furthermore, there was little of a personal and individualistic nature with which I could have embellished Miriam’s wedding.  The structure of a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony is tightly proscribed.

It would have been easy had I asked Miriam to prepare some personal prose for her chosen who, in turn, could have recited a few moving lines about his feelings.  That way we could have had a truly memorable ceremony.

But I am only the messenger of a Boss who issued clear directions that leave me little room for spontaneity or creativity.  These instructions specify how we introduce a man and a woman into the holy covenant of marriage.  Chiefly, the man formally accepts upon himself legally binding obligations.

You might consider this unsentimental process to be unduly legalistic; ignoring the rapture and romance of the occasion.  Yet, the ceremony’s structure is precisely what promises stability.  Ancient Jewish wisdom observes that legalities lead to love while love can sometimes end in legalities.

Business partners know that beginning with a firm contract is the surest way to a happy and durable partnership.  Though men and women usually feel the emotional intensity of love and longing, marriage can still benefit from listing all major expectations.  Love is a frighteningly unspecific sensation upon which to build a life.

Obviously love and attraction are a prerequisite for a man and woman considering marriage.  However, what distinguishes the covenant of marriage from the coupling of lust, are precisely the legal commitments.

A few hours ago a young man stood alongside his beautiful bride.  Before official witnesses, he pronounced his commitment to support our daughter.  He undertook to provide for her every need; emotional, financial, and physical.  My daughter then plighted her troth to him in affection and sincerity by allowing him to place his ring upon her finger.

Uttering personal vows alone on the beach in Acapulco or having barefoot ceremonies in a grassy meadow with guitar-playing poets is not sufficient for a Jewish marriage.

A legal ceremony binds together, not only my daughter and her husband, but also binds the two of them to the past, the present, and the future.  Present at the wedding today were both the visible and the invisible generations that carried the couple to this day.  Miriam and AJ looked out at all their family and friends knowing that their bond ties them also to the community.  And gazing into one another’s eyes the two of them knew they are forming a magical and mysterious bond with the future.

My wife and I smiled knowingly at one another.  This ancient legal ceremony precisely echoed our own wedding of a few years ago.  We pray that theirs will bring the knight and his lady the same joy, creativity, spontaneity, and romance that ours brings us.

God lays out His blueprint for marriage in the early verses of the book of Genesis.  Ancient Jewish wisdom reveals insights from the original Hebrew text and I present many of these permanent principles packaged in practical and useful ways in my audio CD set Madam I’m Adam—Decoding the Marriage Secrets of Eden.  It makes a wonderful gift for both the newly-wed and the long-wed eager to enhance their partnerships. We’re offering $10 off online orders this week. Next week we’ll explore the peculiar examples of love in Scripture.

Thought Tools byRabbi Daniel Lapin


The Dance of Tu B’Av: Shedding

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

Debbie has an interesting understanding of the borrowed clothing of the Tu B’Av dance: One of the most important stages of marriage is being able to shed certain self-perceptions ingrained from childhood and school, and learn to see ourselves as our spouse sees us, and grow into our own skin. The borrowed clothes are the Sages’ reminder that the clothes we wear when we first marry are borrowed; they are perceptions ingrained from the past that must be shed as we enter marriage which can help us discover ourselves.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.


Thought Tools by Rabbi Daniel Lapin: The Husband Always Rings Once

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

A couple we know was showing my wife and me around their newly built house.  I always feel a little awkward when proud homeowners display their master bedroom.    Because the bedroom is the special place for intimacy and privacy in a marriage, being there makes me feel like I’m trespassing. I don’t want to be in the sanctuary of someone else’s marriage. I usually can’t wait to escape the forced tour and get out to some other part of the house.

However, in this case, I stood in their master bedroom gawking.  I could not believe my eyes.  There was no wall between the master bathroom and the bedroom.  This wasn’t an en suite bathroom, this was an in bedroom bathroom.  No wall, no curtain, no fancy electro-chromic glass (yes, Agatha, that is glass that becomes opaque when you flick a switch turning off an electric current). No door, no nothing.  No privacy.  I gulped and fled.  Too much information.  TMI, as my kids say.

The public library was my next destination.  I perused some architectural and home design magazines.  It didn’t take long for me to discover that there was indeed an entire avant-garde movement for open plan bathroom bedrooms.  One particularly lurid example showed photos of a Hollywood couple (obviously) who placed the porcelain privy, tub, and sinks on a circular raised platform in the middle of their bedroom. “We have a very close marriage,” they smirked to the journalist.  I’ll say.  But I fear the duration of that marriage might be inversely proportional to its privacy quotient.

Getting married does not mean each spouse forfeiting all privacy.  Maintaining mystery and protecting privacy is vital to a durable and happy marriage.  Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that no matter how close the relationship, boundaries still exist.  For instance, if their wives are home, husbands should announce their arrival by knocking or ringing the doorbell.  This little courtesy is a gesture of respect to wives and reminds husbands to give their wives necessary space.

Consider this section of Scripture describing the special vestments and garments made for Aaron, the high priest.

You shall make on the hem (of the robe) pomegranates

of turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool on its hem all around

and gold bells between them all around.

(Exodus 28:33)

It must be on Aaron in order to minister,

its sound shall be heard

when he enters the sanctuary before God…

(Exodus 28:35)

Now wait a moment. Only Aaron is to enter God’s holy sanctuary, so who needs to hear the sounds of the gold bells tinkling? Ancient Jewish wisdom’s explanation is that they are for God to hear.  Aaron needs some method of announcing himself so as not to walk in unexpectedly, and the sanctuary was not equipped with a doorbell.

Does this make sense? God would know what Aaron was doing and when he was entering.

Like so many other details in Scripture, the idea here isn’t to give dressmaking design minutiae; it is a message to human beings for all time.  If Aaron is forbidden from walking in unannounced upon an all-knowing God, how much more should all of us avoid marching in unannounced upon a human being?  It is for this reason that knocking on a door before entering has always been standard procedure in the western, Bible-based cultures although it was unknown in many other early cultures around the world.

New military recruits are denied privacy precisely to diminish the individual personalities and weld them all into a single unit.  A marriage is not a military unit made up of people who have willingly renounced their individuality.  A marriage is a holy unit made up of precious individualism and separate but complimentary identities.

Knowing when togetherness results in the unity of a couple and when privacy and individuality are necessary are among the many crucial marriage sculpting techniques that the Bible reveals.  I explore more ideas in my audio CD program Madam I’m Adam: Decoding the Marriage Secrets of Eden. I invite you to save money this week while putting yourself or someone you love on the path towards a more fulfilling marriage.

Thought Tools

by Rabbi Daniel Lapin


The Love Triangle by Prof Gerald August

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in 613 Concepts, Portion of the Week, Relationships

This week’s parsha tells us that a servant goes out after six years of work, and takes only what he brought. If his master gives him a wife and they have children, he still goes out by himself. But the next verse introduces the love triangle. Verse five says,” If the servant shall say,’ I love my master, my wife and my children, I will not go out free.’ he does not go free.

Think about it. This man is about to get his freedom but he loves the people around him. He wants to stay with his master. He wants to be a responsible father and help raise his children. He wants to be a loving husband.

When he goes to the judges and they are witnesses to the fact he is not being held against his will, there needs to be a sign. After all, people will notice he has been with his master longer than six years. They may think he is being held against his will. So a hole is drilled in his ear to give witness to the fact that the judges heard him say he wants to stay with his master.

But I also think the hole in his ear is a badge of honor. Unfortunately, there are husbands who abandon their wives and children. And the loss of a father and husband can have grave negative consequences. This servant is actually a role model for fathers and husbands. If you love your spouse and children your first duty is to take care of and nurture them.

3300 years ago a provision was made for a love triangle. It allowed a man to stay with his family.

Sometimes familial servitude trumps the freedom to roam.


Which Child?

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in 613 Concepts, Portion of the Week, Relationships

“Matis! No, Aviva! No, Yehudis! No, Miriam! No, Naomi! Simcha! Take out the garbage!” I wondered whether my mother sylyt”a was certain of my name. It usually took her a few tries before she got the right name when requesting me to do something.

I was frightened the first time I went through a similar process: “Shoshana! I mean Betzalel! TL! Gilit! Anna! Oriel! No, Mikey! Take out the garbage!” I knew my children quite well. I named them. There I was having trouble getting the correct name. I’ve hear my siblings do the same thing with their children, but as with me, never with grandchildren.

I mentioned my experience to my friend Rabbi David W. who laughed as he remembered his mother going through the same process, although with a shorter list. His theory is that when parents are ordering their children to do something, they cease to see their offspring as individuals, and treat them as, in his words, “Child labor.”

One of my uncles, a wise and righteous man with nine children, was filling out a form on which he had to list all his children, and he forgot the name of one. (He never told anyone which name he forgot.) His theory was that he was so focused on his responsibilities at the moment, that he forgot to view his children as individuals.

I can’t count the number of times I heard parents tell a story about one of their children only to be corrected by their kids as to which child was the real subject of the story. I don’t believe that my friend’s theory about child labor, or my uncle’s explanation of responsibilities, explains all the instances when parents forget a child’s name.

Our portion tells the tale of a father who has forgotten his child’s name: The man who, in financial desperation, sells his daughter as a slave. I find it astounding that the Torah chooses this tragic story as the context to teach a husband’s obligations to his wife: 1) Love, 2) Food, and 3) Clothing.

The sale of a daughter comes with the understanding that the purchaser or his son will marry the girl/woman. The desperate father is compelled to consider his daughter’s future at that horrible moment. He may not sell her to someone who will simply use her as a maidservant. She may not work as a maidservant after she becomes a woman at twelve-years-old.

She may only be sold to work for a man who is willing to make a lifelong commitment to her. Only such a commitment allows the purchase of the maidservant. She is not “purchased” for her work; there are limitations to how much work we can expect from such a young girl.

The “Purchase” must be a statement of commitment: “I will care for you more than you experienced from your father. He may have forgotten your name. I never will. My commitment extends ‘beyond’ your father’s.”  That ‘beyond’ is inherent in every marriage; it is a promise of more, better, beyond. The ‘beyond’ means that a marriage will never remain what it was yesterday. It will always be a promise and an expectation of more.

The husband’s obligations are presented as a negative commandment: He may not deprive her of HER food, HER Clothing, Her Time. A relationship that lacks the commitment of ‘beyond’ will soon lead to deprivation – a loss of what is already there. The Torah is telling us that it is either “beyond” or “Do not deprive.” There is no middle ground.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.


Sharing The Extraordinary

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week, Relationships

It happened again: My wife did not like a food I love. It happens often that Debbie does not like something I love; a book, a painting, music, or an idea. At times she doesn’t like a class I’ve taught or an essay I’ve written. Chutzpah!

In the past, I was discombobulated whenever we didn’t connect in such moments. I didn’t know how to deal with not being able to share something with the most important person in my life. How could we not have this experience in common?

That is, until I remembered an offhand comment of my father zt”l: We were at a Get, the religious divorce of a couple. The woman asked to say something to the man before he handed her the Get; “You will never find someone who has so much in common with you.” My father whispered in my ear, “She’s right! Their relationship was “Common,” not as extraordinary as a relationship can be.”

When I recalled that remark, I realized that I am not interested in a “common” relationship, but something extraordinary. My wife and I do not need to have everything in common, other than the commitment to the extraordinary. I can enjoy music she does not. She can enjoy a food I dislike. I can love a painting she hates, and she can love a book for which I have no patience. She can even dislike something I write or teach without detracting from all the extraordinary things we share.

Joseph did not have much in common with his brothers. He liked colorful clothing. They were more practical in their clothing choices; they sold him for simple shoes. They disagreed over many Halachot. They differed over the role of the maidservant’s sons. The portion tells the tale of Joseph attempting to share connections with his brothers until he realized that they shared something more fundamental: The extraordinary, and it was only in the extraordinary position as Pharaoh’s viceroy that he could convey that connection.

He began, “He herded them into a guarded place for a three-day period.” (Genesis 42:17) The Brothers could have fought their way to freedom, as Judah threatens in next week’s portion, but something held them back: “So I will know that you are not spies, but truthful people.” (Verse 34) They were not truthful people! They had lied to Jacob about Joseph’s “death,” and continued to mislead him. The Midrash wonders how Egyptians could manhandle the Brothers of legendary power, and explains that, obviously, Joseph’s sons were of equal strength. Tzafnat Pa’anei’ach and his sons shared extraordinary strength with the Brothers.

“Peace with you, fear not. Your Lord and the Lord of your father has put a hidden treasure in your sacks. Your payment has reached me.” (43:23) The Brothers did not have much in common with Joseph, but they had shared a sense of God’s constant involvement in their lives with Joseph’s right-hand man.

“They were seated before him, the firstborn according to his seniority and the youngest according to his youth. The men looked at one another in astonishment.” (Verse 33) This Egyptian had extraordinary powers.

“Is this not the one (goblet) from which my master drinks, and with which he regularly divines?” (44:5) My master has extraordinary powers, acknowledged by the Brothers; “It would be sacrilegious for your servants to do such a thing!” (Verse 7)

Tzafnat Pa’anei’ach also worries about the sacrilegious; “It would be sacrilegious for me to do this.” (Verse 17)

“Anyone among your servants with whom it is found shall die, and we also will become slaves to my master.” (Verse 9)

“The man in whose possession the goblet was found, only he shall be my slave, and as for you – go up in peace to your father.” It is at this point when the Brothers realize that as much as they share with this extraordinary man, they do not share the extraordinary; they cannot fathom how the man who has heard their story and who was so interested in their father’s well-being, could imagine them returning “in peace” to their father with another brother missing from the family. They cannot deprive their father of a son, as they did when they sold Joseph, with whom they shared more than with this man; something even more extraordinary. They shared a father with Joseph, a Patriarch, a role in a family destined for greatness.

They were prepared to fight back.

Joseph was no prepared to reveal himself.

The Brothers and Joseph would still share little after his revelation, but they would always share the extraordinary.

I find it interesting that the only language other than Hebrew in which we can write a Torah, is (Ancient) Greek: We learned the lesson of sharing the extraordinary from the Chanukah story. By the time they gathered for the Chanukah, to rededicate the Beit Hamikdash, the people realized that they shared a powerful quality with their hated enemy: The extraordinary. The Greeks were definitely so, and the people who faced them in battle and who received the miracle of the Menorah appreciated that they too were extraordinary.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah


Why Did You Get Married? by Rav Moshe Stepansky

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

My good friend, the holy rebbi and Ba’al Tefillah, Rav Moshe Stepansky offered the following in response to “Abtu & Anet, Zaratan & Quilp“:

Here’s a good Rav Amital story:

Once at a wedding Rav Amital approaches one of the collelnikim present and asks him “Do you know why you got married?”.

Not really the type of question you’d expect.

So the collelnik fumphs and Rav Amital answers his rhetorical question:

“You are one of our top collelnikim and one day you’ll be a Rav someplace. People will tell you and speak about you as the ‘great Rav so-and-so’ AND you’ll actually begin to believe them.

But then you’ll come home and your wife will remind you who you REALLY are.


So, one of the fascinating things about Ya’akov Avinu is he is called ‘ Ish HaEmet’ the Man of Truth, which SEEMS to be at odds with so  many aspects of the Khumash narrative. Perhaps we have to view this in light of my suggestion that HaKol Kol Ya’akov v’HaYayim y’dei Eisav indicates Ya’akov’s internal essence always remains pure but when the hour requires it he puts on the y’dei Eisav.

The Holy Saraf, R’ Uri Strelisker lived by the dictum “The greatest challenge is to know what to do NOW.


Jacob’s Wedding Album by Prof. Gerald August

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

What if there had been a wedding photographer at Jacobs wedding. The pictures would show a beaming Jacob. After seven years of toil to earn the right to marry Rachel, the moment was at hand. Could he really restrain himself from beaming from ear to ear? Imagine what was going on inside. His heart pounded for joy. Ah, what a night!

But then he arose the next morning and found… Leah!! He had been deceived on a grand scale. Jacob’s anger would have known no bounds. At that moment he could have become violent. And imagine that at that moment an express camel had arrived with the wedding album. Jacob would have grabbed the album, taken a knife to those pictures of perfidy, cut them up and thrown them into a fire. And rightly so. He had been deceived on a grand scale.

But… But… But…

The unfortunate fact is that some people contemplating marriage end up deceiving themselves. They think they are in love, but do not really know the person. Or, they ignore signs that all will not be well in the relationship.

Let me give you an example. I have a friend who told me the following story. He had a close male friend who was a young and important Director in the Jewish community. He was introduced to a woman who was also a young and important Vice President of an important  Jewish charity. After four weeks they decided to get engaged. And they wanted their wedding to take place within two months.

The family recommended caution. What was the rush? Why not take a little more time? But the man and woman, both in their early 30s, said they were mature enough to make this decision. Neither one of them had been married before.

Three weeks before the wedding, my friend sat down with the woman to get to know his friend’s fiancée a little better. At one point he told her that her future husband was very stubborn. She recoiled and asked in an incredulous voice, “What do you mean?” My friend said to himself, she is getting married in three weeks and has no clue who she is marrying. It was the case of a Director marrying a Vice President, and vice versa. But they did not know each other.

Four weeks after the wedding my friend was invited to the new couple’s apartment for dinner. When he left the dinner he was heartbroken. He saw there was already friction in the marriage. And he knew what was coming.

Unfortunately, he was correct. They divorced within nine months.

They were so in love with the idea of being married, and married to a title, they did not take the time to know each other. They deceived themselves. What is the antidote to this situation?

You need to take the time to talk about your basic philosophies, goals, needs. Some people actually go into marriage without discussing how many children they want to have. You also need to talk to your friends and relatives to get their perspective on this person. They may see

things you don’t, or won’t, see. And you need to take seriously what they are saying. Read what experts advise.

Self-deception can be as destructive as someone else deceiving you. Try to overcome that if you can. Then your wedding album will last a long time.


Eshet Chayil – Singing With The Angels

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“Give her the fruits of her hand, and let her be praised in the gates by her very own deeds.”

The Zohar teaches that we create an angel with each positive action. These angels accompany us before God and attest to our accomplishments. The Woman of Valor is praised before God by the angels she has created.

We honor her angels, the same angels we welcomed in Shalom Aleichem, and join them in singing the praises of the Eishet Chayil of our home.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.


Eshet Chayil – Knowing How To Pray

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

“False is grace and vain is beauty, a God-Fearing woman – she should be praised.”

Rabbi Yose bar Jeremiah said: Why are the prophets likened here to a woman? Because, just as such a woman is not embarrassed to demand the needs of her household from her husband, so were the prophets not shy about demanding Israel’s needs from God.” (Midrash Mishlei)

I always read this Midrash as describing a woman who knows how to pray: She will pray to God, demanding the needs of her household just as she would demand the same from her husband. The prophets learned how to pray from such a Woman of Valor.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.