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Dedication

Read This First

Part 1:
Perspectives

Part 2:
Secrets of the Married Soul

   Chapter 1:
Why Be Married?

Chapter 2:
True Love

Chapter 3:
Do You Love Chocolate?

Part 3:
Secrets of Garments of the Soul

Epilogue

The Second Ladder Up
Secret Steps to a Happy Jewish Marriage

Part 2:
Secrets of the Married Soul

Chapter 1:
Why Be Married?

R. L. Kremnizer

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  Perspective VChapter 2:
True Love
 

Armed with the first five perspectives but prior to our turning our attention to the various particular steps to finding fulfillment in marriage, a question must be answered. The question is an obvious one. Why be married? Interviewing subjects will disclose a variety of differing answers disclosing a fairly consistent pattern of reasons. Some of the more common and repeated reasons given by people are:

  1. To have children

  2. To have a good friend

  3. To have caring support in old age

  4. To have a regular source of satisfying intimacy

  5. To share expenses

  6. To own a cook/house keeper/home maintainer/ oney provider.

The reality of life in today's secular society is that not one of the reasons given above actually necessitates marriage. People are quite happy to have children out of wedlock, to live with a person of the opposite gender and be good friends; to have one or more regular sources of satisfying intimacy without marriage, often realizing in these partners shared expenses or a dominion over a cook/home maintainer/money provider. Indeed the media fields endless discussion on the pros and cons of achieving the above in or out of marriage, usually judging in sage wisdom that marriage may no longer be necessary for the modern sophisticate. Why should a man be held back from professional fulfillment by commitment to a woman? Can a woman juggle profession and children by access to professional child minding, so obviating the need for a life partner?

So why then be married?

The answer for a Jew is simple.

It is a Mitzvah (command by G-d) to be married .It is a Mitzvah to be fruitful and multiply, to give birth to children in marriage. Like all other Mitzvahs there may be reasons but the reasons are always secondary. The first and foremost reason we perform a Mitzvah is because we are so commanded.[6]

Not always understood by non-observant Jews, is the truth that the keeping of Mitzvahs is in fact a bonding process with G-d. As an example[7] of this imagine a teacher appointing Yanky to clean the blackboard as a special prize for being good. Yanky is delighted to have been chosen and feels privileged to do the job. The job is important from Yanky's perspective but more important to him is that he has been favored and privileged with the appointment with the teacher. Furthermore by being so chosen the boy has a special bond with the teacher during the recital of the task which the other children in the class do not share for the time being. The example demonstrates the obvious; Am Yisroel have been chosen from amongst all nations to be a people privileged to perform a specific mission in this world by introducing G-dliness into physicality. The task is to make a dwelling place for G-d in the lowest of all worlds, the physical world. This mission is achieved through Jews learning Torah and performing Mitzvahs so elevating the world.

Some Mitzvahs make sense (e.g.: not to murder, not to steal). Some Mitzvahs make no sense whatsoever (e.g.: Kashrus, shatnes). The point of performing a Mitzvah is that we are commanded to do so. Reasons come later, if at all. The aim is to obey G-d's commands. In obeying these commands interdependence is forged, a connection to G-d established. We "touch" G-d's will by carrying out His will.

So why be married? Because marriage is a Mitzvah.

All Mitzvahs have a body and a soul. The body of the Mitzvah is the action; the soul is the mindset of the person performing the Mitzvah. The Mitzvah of tefillin for example is the action of donning the tefillin, the mitzvah of shabbos candles is the action of lighting the candles, the Mitzvah of mezuzah is the affixing of the scrolls on the doorposts. But although by performing the action the duty has been discharged, the action remains a body without a soul. The soul of tefillin, shabbos candles and mezuzah is the intention and focus of the person when performing the various commands.

The Mitzvah of marriage also has a body and a soul. The body is the marriage, the being married, the birthing of children. The soul of marriage is the mind set, the focus of the partners to the marriage.

The mind set, the focus, necessitates the perspectives we have learned. It is helpful for the partners to know and remember that they are each the completing half of the other's soul offered to each other by Divine guidance. (Perspective I) It is deeply important to be aware that everything G-d does is for the best ; that every descent is a precious opportunity for ascent, diamonds not stones. (Perspective II) It is vital to try to bring to the marriage a focus of Yisroel and not function merely as Yaakov. (Perspective IIII) It is significant to the marriage to measure long term perspectives against short term benefits (Perspective IV). Finally, there needs to be a realization that the environment of the marriage needs the dominion over emotions rather than the enslavement by them. (Perspective V)

With these five perspectives the body of the Mitzvah of marriage is enlivened with a throbbing and palpable soul. The general overview of the marriage is then not only the due performance of a command, but a state of happy and purposeful G-d serving being. The specific methods of achieving this we will learn together in the following chapters.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Sefer HaMaamarim Meluket, Vol. II, p. 55ff.

  2. (Back to text) HaYom Yom, entry 8 Cheshvan.


  Perspective VChapter 2:
True Love
 
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