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Monday, 13 October 2014

Stop cheating on your spouse!

Daf Yomi Yevamos 9

Jennifer was concerned about hubby Ben’s TV viewing habits.
“What’s the big deal?” Ben asked coyly, “So I like watching Baywatch.”
“I think it’s highly inappropriate for a married man to be watching scantily-clad women parading their goods around the beach,” responded Jen. “You should have eyes only for me.”

The Torah states, “The citizen of the Children of Israel or the stranger who lives among them, there shall be one Torah law for you, for he who acts unintentionally.  But the person who [worships idolatry] acts with a mighty hand, from the citizen or from the stranger, it is G-d that he blasphemes, that soul shall be cut off from the midst of its people.”

Rabbi Joshua explained the verses to his son:  The entire Torah is juxtaposed to idolatry, meaning that negation of any commandment of the Torah is akin to idol-worship.

Maimonides explains that idolatry originates in the false notion that G-d needs agents or helpers.  The sun shines and so idolaters would worship the sun as G-d’s agent for light and heat.  Of course that’s nonsense.  There is nothing besides G-d in this world and so any suggestion of agency implies that the Almighty is not the sole existence. 

And the same is true of any sin you commit.  For that moment, you are denying G-d’s Omnipresence.  He is everywhere, watching everything.   When you sin, you not only deny G-d’s Omnipresence, you actually cut yourself off from the Divine flow of energy and start feeding off the forces of impurity.  And that’s why committing any sin in the Torah is akin to idolatry.  By sinning, you’re choosing to feed off the ‘other side,’ instead of choosing G-d.

Concerning the sotah, the wife who secludes herself with another man, the Torah states, “If his wife shall turn (tisteh).”  Our Sages comment, “A person does not sin unless a spirit of folly (shtus) enters him.”   

What is this spirit of folly?  In the case of the woman who met with her guy-friend, she knew that she was doing nothing wrong.  ‘I’m just spending time with him.  I didn’t do anything.’   The truth is that her husband had every right to feel jealous.  You should not need any other male-female relationship than the one you share with your spouse.  The sotah’s need to spend time with this other bloke shows that her marital relationship is lacking. 

The spirit of folly says that it’s okay for a wife to have a relationship with another man.  The spirit of folly says that it’s okay for a husband to look at other women.  ‘I didn’t do anything.  I just looked.’  Wrong!  You must have eyes only for your spouse!  You must be able to share your most intimate feelings with your spouse!  Resorting to people outside of the marriage to get your kicks is, on a smaller scale, cheating on your spouse!  It demonstrates that your spouse isn’t everything to you.

And that’s why committing any sin is akin to idolatry.  “A person does not commit a sin unless a spirit of folly enters him.”  The spirit of folly is that this little sin is no big deal.  But it is a big deal.  At that moment of sin, you are having a relationship with the ‘other side’ which is idolatry!  You’re saying: My relationship with the Almighty doesn’t satisfy all my needs and so I’m taking a time-out with Satan!

Your spouse must be your everything.  The Almighty must be your everything.   You need nothing outside those two relationships.  Don’t ever let the spirit of folly enter and convince you that it’s no big deal.  You’re more committed than that.  You’re not a cheater.