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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Did your spouse settle for you?

Moed Katan 2

A friend of ours, Yitz, always possessed an average build.  During his college years, however, he stopped playing sports and was eating terribly and managed to gain quite a bit of weight.  Nevertheless, when it came time to get married, he worked hard on his diet and exercise regimen and returned to his old fit and slim self.  He married Shaindy, a lovely girl from the Bronx. 

Unfortunately for Shaindy, however, it was downhill all the way from there.  Shaindy thought she’d married someone who looked after his health and physical fitness.  Yitz figured he’d accomplished what he’d set out to achieve.  He got the girl and now he could let himself go.  In no time at all, he’d returned to his old bad habits – he stopped exercising and eating right and gained fifty kilos.

Pesach and Sukkot are weeklong festivals consisting of days at the beginning and end when all types of work are forbidden similar to Shabbat, and days in between when certain activities are permissible while others are proscribed.  Generally, activities that are necessary in order to avoid significant financial loss are permissible on the intermediate days of the festival.

The Mishnah states: One may irrigate a thirsty field on the intermediate days of the festival.  Rashi explains that the Mishnah refers to a field that is, for example, on the side of a mountain.  Due to the slope, it does not retain water and must be watered regularly, otherwise it would dry up. 

The Gemara expounds: No matter whether we are dealing with a newly emerged spring or one that is not newly emerged, one may irrigate a thirsty field, whereas one may not irrigate a ‘bais habaal’ – settled field.  Rashi explains that a settled field is one that is in a valley and does not need watering.  As such, there will be no loss if one does not irrigate it during the festival.

The Gemara asks: How do we know that this terms ‘bais habaal’ refers to being settled?  The Gemara answers with the verse in Isaiah, which states, “As a young man shall ‘yibaal’ a young lady…” The Targum (Aramaic translation) interprets this verse, “As a man settles down with a young lady…”

We all look forward to the day we can find our basherte (Divinely intended partner) and settle down.  Of course we strive to maximize our chances at finding that person by being on our best behaviour, looking our best and being the very best we can.

Sadly, however, many people get married and ‘settle’ into patterns of behaviour that are unhealthy.  They’ve worked hard to get the guy/girl and now, with the chase over, they feel that they can settle back into their bad habits.

But marriage is about a lifetime of chasing one’s spouse.  You must endeavour to always look the best for him/her. You must never stop courting them!  Settling down doesn’t mean settling back into poor behaviour.  It means becoming settled in your mind because you have finally found the right person.

But the person you have chosen to spend your life with is the person you have chosen to dedicate yourself to being your best for.  That means acting your best, it means looking your best, and it means aspiring to be the best you can for them.

Your spouse deserves the very best!  Why should s/he settle for any less?

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