A Timeless Formula for a Happy Marriage
י״ז במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (15 בNovember 2019)
The institution of marriage is under siege. In the Western world, divorce rates hover around an unparalleled fifty percent.
Due to pressures of today and extraordinary social confusion, levels of discord in marriage are at an all-time high.
To meet this challenge, an enormous industry of researchers, analysts, and counselors has sprung up. “How to Save Your Marriage” manuals constantly top the bestseller charts. The Jewish people, dispersed among the nations, and all too often overintegrated, have also been affected by these phenomena. Many of them have recourse to non-Jewish sources for guidance, direction, and counseling in their marriages.
The story is told of a Russian nobleman who wished to experience rail travel for the first time. Dressed in fancy attire, he comes to purchase a ticket. The clerk recognizes a nobleman and naturally issues him a first-class ticket. Being a novice to rail travel, the nobleman blunders into the first coach he encounters, which happens to be third class. He is somewhat dismayed at the primitive furnishings, and his fellow travelers are rowdy passengers, but he doesn’t say a word.
With the train well on its way, the nobleman notices the peasants producing their tickets in anticipation of the conductor’s inspection. He cannot understand why all their tickets are blue while his is red. He asks his neighbor the peasant for an explanation. Seeing that he is a novice, the peasant decides to have some fun with this naive nobleman.
Enlisting his fellow peasants to the cause, the peasant and his comrades all caution the nobleman that he has not paid enough and those ruthless conductors will immediately evict him from the train. The nobleman gratefully complies when one of them suggests, just before the conductor enters, that he hide under the bench. As the conductor is about to leave the compartment after his inspection, one of the peasants points out to him the stowaway. After hauling him out, the conductor begins to berate him until the poor nobleman apologetically produces his first-class ticket. The conductor, realizing what had happened, says, “Foolish man, you could have been traveling first class in comfort. However, since you didn’t bother to find out the rules and regulations of rail travel, you are not only traveling third class, but third class under the bench!”
Too many Jews, unaware that Judaism has a timeless formula for a happy marriage, turn for help to the non-Jewish society. This society, floundering in its own confusion and responding to a promiscuous culture, has nothing to offer the Jew.
Very little concentrated literature exists on these matters, for the simple reason that these matters were once passed down from father to son. In the confusion of our times the chain was interrupted and the information is getting lost.
It is our prayer that every Jew should merit a proper education in these important matters and build a bayis ne’eman b' Yisrael — a true Jewish home.
Adapted from “Two Halves Of A Whole” by Rabbi Yirmiyohu & Tehilla Abramov. Available at www.jewishfamily.org
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