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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Hubby won't keep Shabbos!

Yoma 88

What do I do if my spouse doesn’t want to be as religiously observant as me?

If one had the name of G-d inscribed on his body, he may not bathe, nor smear lotions on his body, nor stand in an unclean place; for doing so would be a desecration of the Holy Name.  What if a woman needed to ritually immerse herself?  The definite mitzvah of mikvah would override the potential concern that perhaps the Name may be erased. 

What if the current in the body of water was particularly strong and the chance that the Name would be erased was more probable?  The Tanna Kamma says that she should find a piece of reed and tie it around the Name, just enough to protect it from the current, but not too tight that it would become a chatzitzah, an obstacle to complete immersion.   Rabbi Yossi disagrees.  One should immerse immediately without taking time to look for a reed as that would delay the performance of the mitzvah, and it is vital that one not delay the mikvah immersion.

Thus, according to Rabbi Yossi, the timely immersion in the mikvah is more important than the sanctity of G-d’s Name!  This is an instance in the Talmud where G-d says, ‘Let My Name be erased for the sake of shalom bayit [peace in the home].’   The Almighty would rather see His Name be erased in the mikvah waters than have the physical reunification of husband and wife delayed even momentarily, so great is His regard for shalom bayit, the peace between husband and wife.

Imagine the conversation at home.  “Honey, I can’t go to the mikvah tonight. I wrote G-d’s name on my arm and I need to first find a piece of reed.”  Hashem doesn’t want to be the cause of friction between husband and wife.  Marriage is fraught with enough tension without G-d being part of the problem.

If G-d cares so much about shalom bayit, think how far we must go to promote peace and tranquility between wives and husbands.  Certainly, in my own marriage, I need to be extremely careful never to place Hashem in between myself and my spouse.  My religiosity shouldn’t be a cause of friction with my spouse.  The ultimate blessing that G-d desires is strong, healthy marriages.  In many instances, He is even willing to put His own honour to the side to help the cause.   


I must be passionate about my spiritual yearnings, but never at the expense of the covenant to which I have bound myself, with my spouse, my children and Hashem, the guarantor of all relationships.