Wednesday, September 7, 2011

#119 - 22 Ways To A Peaceful Marriage

This post will be the last one on - for this year of 5771. It will be several weeks before I resume posting, G-d willing, immediately after Simchat Torah in Israel. Meanwhile, I hope that the following contents in this post will help enhance everyone's marriages.

This week's Parshat Ki Teitze contains the most Mitzvot/Commandments of all the Parshiyot - 74 Mitzvot, which is more than one tenth of the Taryag/613 Mitzvot. Among the Mitzvot of this Parsha is the Mitzvah of getting married. The ultimate purpose of Jewish marriage is to bear children - the first Mitzvah of the Torah; though if a couple is, G-d forbid, unable to have children, or are already above child bearing age, it doesn't prevent a couple of getting married or staying married. The Jewish marriage is in itself a special spiritual eternal connection and bond between a couple. Should G-d forbid, a marriage does fall apart, then there is another Mitzvah in this Parsha of giving a Get/divorce contract in a certain way.

To begin with, we all hope of course that none of us will ever have to get divorced. But even if divorce is not an option, we could all well benefit from utilizing ways of increasing our Shalom Bayit, which literally means "peace of the home", or translated as marital harmony.

But before I get into more details about this concept, I do want to point out that the numbers of the previous two posts - 117 & 118, have a uniqueness to the Tanach/Bible. Chapter 117 of Psalms is the shortest chapter of the 929 chapters of the Bible, the first and last verses of Chapter 118 of Psalms are the exact same words, and in relationship to this 119th Post...Chapter 119 of Psalms is the LONGEST chapter of the 929 chapters of the Bible - consisting of 176 verses.

Now, if we were to leave it at this, we would fail to note the uniqueness of this psalm, other than the fact of the amount of verses. You see, the first letters of these verses go in order of the 22 letters of the Alef Beit, but unlike other psalms or the final 22 verses of Mishlei/Proverbs where the following verse begins with the following letter, the first eight verses in Psalm 119 each begin with an Alef, the next eight verses begin with a Beit, etc., hence, it is 22 groups of eight verses per letter of the Alef Beit.

There is actually a special name in Aramaic given to this psalm - Temania Apin - eight faces. And so, while all 22 letters of the Alef Beit are being utilized, the emphasis here is on the number EIGHT. And so, the question can be asked - why particularly eight verses for each letter of the Alef Beit - and not seven or nine or whatever other number of verses?

As we know, the most outstanding feature of the number eight in Judaism is that a Brit Mila/circumcision takes place on the eighth day of a Jewish baby boy's life, pending his health. Among the reasons given for why it is particularly on the eighth day of his life is that he has to live through a Shabbat/Sabbath in order to be spiritually prepared for the Brit Mila. And for a baby boy who is born on Shabbat, his Brit takes place on the following Shabbat, even though he may have been born near the end of Shabbat, and the Brit on the following Shabbat takes place in the morning, not living through 24 hours of Shabbat as other baby boys do when born on other days of the week.

And speaking of "eight faces", the repeating stanza of the Lecha Dodi poem that we recite during the Friday evening services is "Come my beloved to meet the bride, we will receive the FACE of Shabbat". And in terms of the first week of a Jewish marriage for the newly wed couple if either husband or wife was married for the first time, they continue the marriage celebration in the form of Sheva Berachot (literally means seven blessings) which are recited at the end of a meal that they eat usually in the home of a friend who invites others to partake of the celebration when there is a Minyan/quorum of men, just as there is for a public prayer service. Part of this celebration, in which the Sheva Berachot can be recited, is that there is at least one new person "face" that wasn't present until now in the celebration of the week celebrated marriage. However, if a Sheva Berachot takes place on Shabbat, it is not necessary to have any new person in order for the special blessings to be recited since it is the "face" of Shabbat that is considered the new guest.

And indeed, the bridegroom is compared to a king and a bride is compared to a queen; and there is in fact a Shabbat queen that is an actual existance. And just as we all wish one another, especially the Sephardic Jews or in Israel - "Shabbat Shalom" - a peaceful Shabbat, so too, we realize that Shalom Bayit, marital harmony, is absolutely crucial for a Jewish marriage.

And since this is Post 119, why not mention something related to this from Page 119a of Tractate Sabbath of the Talmud where it mentions that Rabbi Chanina - whose name is the Gematria of 119 - would wrap himself (in Shabbat clothes) and stands towards Shabbat evening and say "Let's come and go out to greet the Sabbath Queen. Rabbi Yannai - whose name is the Gematria of 71, noting that this Post 119 will be the last one in this year of 5771 that ends with 71 - would don his (Sabbath) clothes towards Shabbat evening, and say "Come O Bride. Come O Bride."

Now getting back to the Bible chapter Psalms 119 with the most verses alongside the Parsha (of this week) with the most Mitzvot which includes the Mitzvah of getting married, we have mentioned the numbers of seven in connection to Shabbat and eight in connection with the Brit Mila.

Now, while the word Brit, which is translated as covenant, is used especially as part of the name for circumcision, this is not the sole Mitzvah that is called a Brit. Both the Shabbat and the Torah are also called Brit. In fact, both the Mitzvot of circumcision (Genesis 17:13) and the Sabbath (Exodus 31:16) are called Brit Olam/everlasting covenant. And regarding the Torah, it states "If not for my covenant - day and night, I would not have set the statues of heaven and earth" (Jeremiah 33:25). In other words, if it wasn't for the Torah being learned day and night, Hashem would not have created the world to begin with.

Now, the word Olam, which is usually translated as world, is also at times translated as everlasting, as in the phrase Brit Olam. In fact, the word Olam is related to the word Hellam/concealed. This tells us that "the world", this finite world which is slated for existance of a total of only 6,000 years, is in fact a world of concealment, because what looks real isn't really so. The only reason why this world and everything in it is even in existence is because Hashem wills this to be, having created this world with the 22 letters of the Alef Beit. However, this is not comparable to when someone creates an object that it continues to be in existence after the object is finished being made. Even as Hashem created this world, it is constantly being remade or renewed so to speak (actually, it is not so to speak because Hashem does constantly recreate this world, it's just that we fail to see it as such), because without Hashem's constant life force that He instills into this world, the world would simply cease to exist. Hence, this world the way that we see it is in fact an illusion that appears to be real, but is painted as such, and creates a situation of free choice where we can either follow the base desires of this world because "it is natural", or follow what Hashem says even if it doesn't make sense or sound logical to us, just as the world to come - though it may be hard to imagine as real - is the REAL world, while this world, which is not only finite, is but a mere physical illusion of what the real spiritual world is like.

However, a question begs to be asked. How can the word Olam have the meaning of both worlds - which includes the finite Olam HaZeh/this world, and the word eternal? But as we know, Hashem created this materialistic, finite world in order for us to utilize this world to serve Hashem that will earn us the rewards of the eternal world of Olam Haba. And along these lines, both the Mitzvot of Shabbat and Brit Mila relate to the concept of Hashem creating this world. Shabbat represents the concept of Hashem creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh; and hence, we do likewise, and as such, we are considered as having a part in the creation of the world. And the concept of Brit Mila is that while Hashem created this world, we are left with something to do ourselves, which is removing the foreskin of the male member, which is really how Hashem wants it to appear. So in both Mitzvot, we see that in one way or another, we partake in the creation, or recreation of the world, as Hashem Himself constantly renews this world.

And getting to Gematriot, the world L'Olam/forever, adding the letter Lamed to the front of the world Olam, is the Gematria of 176, the number of verses in Psalm 119, which is all about the Torah, which is eternal, and as the greatest of the Mitzvot, is the greatest reward earner for us in the world to come. And it is hardly coincidental that it is the letter Lamed of all the letters that is added to the front of the word Olam to indicate this, as the meaning of the word for the letter Lamed is the connotation of both learning and teaching - Lilmod & LeLamed, which are the actions of the greatest Mitzva of Talmud Torah.

In relationship to this, on Friday evening at the Shabbat table, we recite the final 22 verses of Mishlei that begin with each of the 22 letters of the Alef Beit in order called Eishet Chayil/Woman of Valor. This unique part of the Tanach refers to the righteous Jewish wife, the Shabbat, and the Torah (The first word of this set of verses - Eishet, spell the first letters of the words Eisha/woman, Shabbat, and Torah). And as the number 176 is divided by 22 times 8, the number eight refers to the concept of what is above nature, as even the number seven as represented by the Seventh Day of Shabbat is still within the confines of nature as the number seven is a recurring number as a weekly thing, as Hashem created this world as a world of nature, which hides the concept of Hashem's abilities from many, including atheistic scientists. However, when miracles happen, then it becomes evident to many that Hashem, or a "Higher Power", had something to do with what happened beyond what normally happens, even though nature are nothing less than Hashem's daily miracles, except that they are easily able to be taken for granted, since they happen on a constant basis.

The miracles that are what we call above nature, represented by the number eight, is rooted in Olam HaBa, the eternal world, what is above the materialism that Hashem created for a finite period of time, as demonstrated with the word HaBa (literally means coming, as the coming world after our lives in this world) is the Gematria of eight. And indeed, as the Brit Mila ceremony, as soon as the baby boy is brought into the room, the Mohel/circumciser, immediately begins the opening prayers with Baruch HaBa - "Blessed is the one who is coming (the baby)", being called HaBa as being the baby being circumcised at eight days old.

There is another connection between the numbers 8 and 22. The holiday of Shemini Atzeret, which is really a one day holiday according to the Torah as celebrated in Eretz Yisrael/Israel, we read the last Parsha of the Sefer Torah, hence giving this day - the nickname of Simchat Torah/Rejoicing of the Torah (outside of Israel, there are two days of the holiday, and it is the second day that is specifically called Simchat Torah when the Torah is concluded). This holiday falls out on the 22nd of Tishrei, corresponding to the 22nd and LAST letter of the Alef Beit - Tav, which begins the word Torah and the name of the month of Tishrei, and is the EIGHTH day counting from the beginning of the holiday of Succot. And while in fact, Shemini Atzeret is a separate holiday, as we do not perform the Mitzvot of Succah & Lulav that we performed during the seven days of Succot, it is called Shemini/Eighth, as it is the culmination of the spirituality of Succot, in which there were Korbanot/sacrifices that were offered in the Temple during Succot that represented the 70 nations of the world, but it is on Shemini Atzeret that a single animal sacrifice of the same type of animal that was offered representing only the Jewish people, for it is on this final holiday that we are alone with Hashem so to speak, and while the Torah does not tell us to conclude the final part of the Sefer Torah on this day, it is obvious that on the final day of all the holidays beginning with Pesach/Passover, the holiday celebrating the birth of the Jewish nation, that this day of Shemini Atzeret is the FINAL expression of our special relationship to Hashem in time; and accordingly, we reciprocate Hashem's love for us by reading the FINAL section of the Torah - Hashem's holy wisdom, accompanied with celebration, dancing and rejoicing both before and after the reading of the last Parsha of the Sefer Torah, the holiest object in this world.

On this special day of Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, the dancing that we perform is called Hakafot/encirclements, which are performed around the Bima/reading stand on which the Sefer Torah is placed and read. Actually we do this on all of the seven days of Succot, going around once on the first six days of Succot, and seven times on the seventh and final day of Succot that is called Hoshana Raba. However, on this final day of the holidays, we do this both at night and daytime. Though we dance around many times over, there are technically seven Hakafot at night, and seven Hakafot in the daytime.

The word Hakafot is related to the word Tefuka, which means cycle, as in the cycle of the day. Just as a circle goes around and continues on ad infitum, so too with the structure of the year in which an anniversary of an event is celebrated, or a season occurs, and then is repeated annually, being called a cycle.

As related to this, just as this post is the concluding post near the end of the third year since I began; so too, at the very end of the third chapter of Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers, it states "CYCLES (of the year) and GEMATRIOT are appetizers to wisdom."

With this said, the root of the word Hakafot or Hakafa (in singular) are the letters Hei, Kaf, Pei/Phei, which add up to the Gematria of 185. And indeed, counting the days from from the first day of the first holiday of Pesach marking the birth of the Jewish people through the final holiday of Shemini Atzeret, there are exactly 185 days. Hence, it is on the final eight days of this season, and especially on the final day, the 185th day, that we perform the most Hakafot, representing the climax of the relationship between Hashem and the Jew.

In the "off season" when we do not have Yomim Tovim, holidays in which work is forbidden besides cooking and utilizing a fire that already exists, aside from a leap year, there are either 168, 169 or 170 days. Now, the average is 169 days, as when you add 169 to 185, you have a total of 354 days, the average amount of days of the lunar cycle in twelve months time, being around 11 days less than the solar cycle of 365.2425 days. Thus, considering 169 days, the square root of 169 is 13, or 13*13, and as we know, it is both the Gematria of the words Echad/one and Ahava/one, both words representing the close relationship between a couple. And under the Chupa/bridal canopy, the bride encircles the groom seven times, just as seven Hakafot/encirclements are performed around the Bima on Hoshana Raba and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, for we are reaching the final preparations of the Chupa under which Hashem and the Jews get married so to speak when the Torah is concluded, symbolized by the Talit that is spread over the congregants at the Bima at this time.
Indeed, the one who is called for the Aliya of the last part of the Torah is called Chatan Torah/Bridegroom of the Torah, and the one who is called for the Aliya of the beginning of the Torah immediately following this is called Chatan Bereishit/Bridegroom of Bereishit, being named after the first word of the Torah. And indeed, this first part of the Torah, which is about the seven days of the week of creation, contains a total of 469 words, and the word Chatuna/wedding is the Gematria of 469.

And as for Psalms Chapter 119 itself which is all about the Torah, the word HaMelamed/the teacher, as at the end of the first Beracha/blessing that we recite for learning Torah in the morning blessings each day where we say HaMelamed Torah L'Amo Yisrael "The One (Hashem) Who teaches Torah to His nation Israel", is the Gematria of 119. And while Hashem commands us to learn Torah, which is the greatest of all the Mitzvot, by reciting blessings for learning Torah each day, we come to appreciate the great value that the Torah represents. In similar fashion, Psalm 119, the longest chapter in verses in the entire Tanach, helps us achieve this appreciation as well. And as this psalm is composed of 22 sections of eight verses each, Shemini Atzeret as it occurs on the 22nd of Tishrei and the eighth day from Succot as the first word of the name of this holiday indicates, is the date that we celebrate our appreciation of the Torah to the maximum level possible with rejoicing and dancing, even more than on Shavuot that celebrates the giving of the Torah when our main service of the day is learning the Torah, but Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah is the holiday that is the ultimate expression of our feelings for the Torah.

Anyways, as for the long term lesson that we can learn from all this is that just as we see with the climax of Shemini Atzeret which marks the Chatuna/wedding of Hashem and the Jews (Note: Shavuot also represents this concept, but the difference between these two holidays and in terms of this concept will, with the help of G-d, be dealt with in another post), that it is followed with a non-holiday period (aside from Chanuka and Purim, which are not Yomim Tovim), mostly ordinary days in the cold of the year; so too, we reflect on our past from when we were born until we met our love and finally got married, this is followed by years of being married, with its various challenges of raising a family, making sufficient money to pay for all necessities, etc.

And so just as with the holidays, we are supposed to carry the holiness, spirituality, strength and encouragement that we received from the special holy days into the coming months when they are mostly ordinary days, sometimes in the freezing winter, busy with making a living which is a challenge on our time to serve Hashem in reciprocation of what Hashem did for us; so too, we have to remember that just because we got married out of love is no guarantee that things will always feel this way. We will indeed encounter our "cold" days, when things seem bleak - and we have to find a way to deal with it, to work together in unity and harmony, not just as Echad being the same Gematria as Ahava, but that the Echad - the ONE feeling, not just being in bed together, but truly feeling that as husband and wife, that we are one person, and so just as one person, unless he/she commits suicide, finds a way to solve problems regardless of the issue, so too, we have to realize as married people that divorce or arguing because we think in our own person that we are right is not an option. We have to look for the common good, because without everyone's opinion and discussing what will work best for everyone, then even a marriage with much love can be disrupted with needless strife at the very least.

Indeed, the final word of the Shisha Sidrei Mishna/Six Orders of the Mishna, is BaShalom/with peace, for it is only through peace that we can truly have order in our lives. Yes, there may be things that will attempt to disrupt our lives, to disrupt or marriages, but we have to bear in mind that these challenges exist for us to overcome them. There is no magic formula, but if we do our best, then certainly, Hashem will give us the assistance and strength to maintain what we have. Regardless of how little money or how much trouble is involved with raising children, the rules of Shalom Bayit has kept the Jewish marriage to stay together for the most part for nearly 4,000 years since the time of Abraham and Sara, which include the laws of Taharat Mishpacha/family purity, in which when a woman becomes a Niddah, receiving her period, husband and wife do not even touch each other until she is able to go to the Mikva/ritualarium nearly two weeks later. Through this, the bond between husband and wife are renewed, not taken for granted, giving them a chance to be best friends during the wife's impure period, giving them the chance to relate each other without needing to show romance, rather then be fizzled out when things don't turn out right, as it happens so often in the non-Jewish world.

Indeed, it has been only recently that divorce has touched the Jewish community big time, first with non-observant Jews (which didn't happen even much with this group two generations ago in the time of my grandparents), and then with Modern Orthodox Jews, and finally divorce has seeped at a much higher rate even in the Hasidic community. It seems that even observance of Taharat HaMishpacha is not much of a guarantee anymore. The reason for this is because most of us are affected to some degree by the non-Jewish world that we are all too exposed with. It wasn't like the times in the Jewish ghetto in Europe, for example, when the Jews were mostly living and working in the close knitted towns, and while most of them lived in poverty, it wasn't looked at as something that could brake up a marriage due to lack of money, but rather being Hashem's will, as most of them had faith and trust in Hashem, and if they had anyone to blame, it was the non-Jews who used to look for ways to make life unbearable for Jews.

Yes, there is an impurity that affects us that could G-d forbid affect our marriages as well, but we have to remember that the word Kiddushin, the act of marriage, is based on the word Kodesh or Kadosh, holy, and that our physical marriages echoes the spiritual marriage between Hashem and the Jews, and not what the Hollow-Wood world, rather than the Holy-Wood world, wants to portray what marriage is like when the actors in real life seem to have a hard time maintaining their romantic marriages, despite how much money or good looks that are propped up by expensive make-up. Indeed, this world is a true make-up of reality, but if we use this world as a spiritual means of getting closer to Hashem, then and only then do we give meaning to the existence of this world.

On a personal note, I am presently in my 512nd month of life, and the Gematria of the names of the letters for Chaf Beit is 512 (Chaf=100, Beit=412). And as I had mentioned the 22 Eishet Chayil stanzas as referring to the wife of valor, this 512nd month of mine is the month of Elul, and one of the phrases whose acronym spells Elul is Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li - "I am to my beloved, and my beloved is to me" (Song of Songs 6:3).


The number 119, the number of this post and the number of the chapter hosting
the most verses in the Bible, is composed of the numbers 1 & 19. The number ONE represents Adam, as the first letter of Adam's name is Alef=1, and indeed, he is called Odom HaRishon - Adam the First (of mankind); and his name of his wife Chava/Eve, the First Lady (yes my friends, there is only one First Lady) is the Gematria of 19. And as we mentioned earlier about the significance of the number eight in relationship to the 176 verses of Psalm 119, the first letter of Chava's name is Cheit=8. Moreover, the phrase Ba'al Tov/good husband (Note: This phrase is similar to the title of the founder of the Chasidic movement, the Ba'al Shem Tov) is the Gematria of 119.

With this, I want to conclude this post with 22 concrete ways of improving and maintaining one's marriage. This is a loose translation, or rather, adaptation of the Hebrew of a chapter in a Sefer/book called Shalom Bayit. While the author called these pointers "small ideas"; as we know, one small step sometimes goes a LONG way. Note that each pointer here begins with a capitalized word that begins with the first letter that corresponds to the English equivalent of the corresponding Hebrew letter in order of the 22 letters of the Alef Beit from Alef to Tav, just as there are 22 pointers here. Good luck!

1) ALWAYS maintain a warm and happy ATMOSPHERE in the home and prevent any atmosphere of sadness and depression wherever possible. ACCEPT everything with love, even when, G-d forbid, there is a crisis, and show a laughing and smiling face.

2) BRING a Shabbat atmosphere at the Shabbat table. Don't ever forgo Shabbat songs even if tired or rushed (sing at least one song). Speak words of Torah, and get the family to do the same.

3) GIVE your assistance in times of pressure and tiredness, such as on Fridays and the days on which Yom Tov/holiday begins in the evening, especially on the day on which the Seder night begins that evening. This will prevent pressure and tension in the home.

4) DO honor and praise each other, especially in front of the children, for three reasons: 1)Your worth will be much more meaningful to them. 2)They won't degrade you. 3)This will train them to respect their spouses when G-d willing they get married one day. DO tell your children from time to time, "You merited a good and precious mommy/daddy."

5) HOWEVER better the food or orderliness may be at other homes, do not ever mention this at your home. Likewise, women should not praise other men in front of their husbands, because doing so causes jealousy and hatred (and of course, men should behave the same way towards their wives).

6) VAST amounts of self control help prevent one from criticizing the other. Likewise, don't get involved with your spouse's affairs more than absolutely necessary. Don't undermine your wife's role as the mainstay of the home.

7) Zzzzz - You want to make sure that your wife gets a good night's sleep? Don't give her reason to worry more than absolutely necessary. For example, when you know that you will be arriving home late one evening, let her know beforehand so she won't be upset. For good news, such as improvement in one's health or financial situation, be sure to tell her immediately, so she won't continue being in tension and pain.

8) CHEMISTRY! It's not reserved just for the good ol' dating days, but it is something that you can maintain throughout your marriage. Make every attempt to surprise your wife from time to time with something that will make her happy. This can mean even a simple, cheap gift, but this shows that this gift is fitting for her and that you thought of her. Find good news to tell her from time to time, even if it means, for example, if you are in school and you learned well or did well on a test, or you were successful with a business deal.

9) TIRED of the same ol' thing every day? Not if you remember your spouse's birthday, or your wedding anniversary. Express your thoughts on the happy occasion and buy your spouse a gift.

10) YOU do not want to make a crisis in the home based on imaginary financial worries. Do not go overboard with the home expenses or follow your wife about every small purchase that she made. On the contrary, give her with a wide hand. Whenever possible, give her money that will cover the cost of the home needs, so she can purchase as per her wishes.

11) CALL out in praise of your wife's work - Cooking, Coordination (orderliness), Cleanliness, Clothes making such as sowing, etc. so she can see that her work is all worth it and will also give her the will and motivation to want to always work in this fashion.

12) LOW in cash when your wife asks you for money? Don't get angry at her. Just apologize to her that at the moment, you aren't able to fulfill her request, but at the moment that you have the money, you will give her money with an open hand according to her wishes.

13) MAKE sure to honor your spouse's parents and relatives. Even if you do find yourself in an argument with your spouse, do not ever put your spouse's family members in a bad light. Instead, find positive ways to put an end to conflict.

14) NOW for bonus points, praise your spouse in front of his/her parents that they merited to have such a good child and that you merited to have such a spouse. This will strengthen the peace between both families, and certainly between spouses.

15) SO what do you do after a long, hard day of work? After the children are asleep, from time to time, go out together for a short walk near home so you can talk together calmly about home matters, what needs improvement, education, etc. SPEAK about relevant Torah matters such as Jewish law or ethics that can lead to a discussion. This walk will calm your wife very much and will give her the strength and energy throughout the following day to work rather than be tired, as she waits for these precious moments all day long.

16) ALWAYS looking for improvement? Good. Have a weekly meeting with your children for a few minutes. This will crystallize the family very much. Make sure to speak quietly and calmly about what needs improvement at home and school.

17) PAY close attention to when your wife speaks, even if you come home sometimes being tired from work or school. It's important that your wife sees that you pay close attention to her and that you encourage her wherever possible.

18) TSURIS (Yiddish for trouble, G-d forbid)? Dear wives, you don't need this from your husband. Think of dressing up with something new or attractive matching clothes as making TSIMMES - another Yiddish word for a cultural Jewish dish consisting of various types of foods that you sweeten. I don't mean when you dress to go out, but when you dress to be attractive to your dear husbands. In fact, when you do dress accordingly, you should think to yourself that the only reason that you are doing this is for your husband so he will find your attractive. Make sure to do the same at home and not just outside. If anything, you should look better at home, since your husband finds himself right next to you. Your goal of dressing good needs to be for him.

19) CAN you fulfill your wife's request now, such as clothing or home furniture? Yes? Then do it now. Don't fool your wife telling her that you will do what she wants and then push it off for some other time. Behaving in the wrong fashion in this regard involves not only the violation of the Torah prohibition of stealing someone's mind (fooling someone), but also causes your wife great disappointment when she is waiting for the particular item for nothing. Therefore, if you think that you are not able to fulfill her request at this time, then tell her straight out. Pacify her by saying that at the moment, you aren't able to fulfill her request, but when
G-d willing, you will have much more, you will make your best effort with G-d's help to fulfill her wishes.

20) RIGHT? Wrong when it comes to fighting with your spouse. If you do find yourselves, G-d forbid, fighting with each other, do not ever boast about your parents, saying such as "Do you know who my parents are? My family is very important and educated, etc". You see, if you aren't behaving well yourself, boasting about your family is not going to help you look very good. If anything, if what you are saying is true, this makes it all the more important to improve yourself even more so. Boasting as per your family, especially during a fight, is also your lowering your spouse's parents, family, etc. So, in order to be really right, examine your own behavior, and behave according to the Torah way, and in the ways of Jewish law.

21) SHOULD you hold back from telling your spouse things that you should be telling him/her, you won't be making things better in the long run. Right from the start of the marriage, be frank and open with your spouse. Especially for husbands, don't attempt to hide matters from your wife, especially when it comes to money matters. In a game of hide and seek, there is no hiding without seeking, and certainly not in real life, when hiding crucial issues from your wife will only peek her curiosity more and more, as well as disrespecting her honor and standing.

22) TRUE to your wife at all times? Of course you need to respect her and make her happy. In doing so, it may be tempting when you come home from work or school and you see your wife crying because a neighbor or a relative annoyed her, to hurry and fight with that neighbor or relative due to your love for your wife. However, you must remember to always do things in a calm manner, listen to both sides of the story, and behave according to what the Torah commands.

That's it for this year of 5771. If we conclude this year with making peace with one another, then we will have a very good chance of Hashem granting us the following year with peace, despite what is presently going on in this world as of late. For peaceful marriages, it is a LONG journey in this world, but making it a peaceful marriage will be well worth it, as you will see when you are sitting in your rocking chairs in your old age seeing your grandchildren playing happily.

See you next year right after Simchat Torah in Israel, G-d willing. Have a happy and peaceful new year.

EIGHTH Day of Elul, 5771 - TWENTY-TWO days to the end of Year 5771