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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Do you Hyde at home?

Daf Yomi Nedarim 6
Of our patriarch Jacob’s four wives, all had children except for his dearest wife, Rachel. 
One day, in a moment of intense frustration, she vents to her husband, ‘Give me children, for if I not, I am like dead!’
Jacob gets angry at Rachel and blurts out, ‘Do you think I’m G-d, that I am the one who has withheld the fruit of the womb from you?’

Concerning inconclusive partial oaths, Abaye deems them to be binding while Rava deems them non-binding.
The Gemara asks: Was this matter not already debated by the Mishnaic Sages?  For we learned: The essence of a gett is ‘Behold, you are permitted to any man.’  Rabbi Yehuda maintains that it must further state, ‘And this gett shall be a document of separation, a document of release, and a document of leaving.’  Thus, the Gemara suggests that Abaye would accord with the Rabbinic (first) opinion that the implied partial declaration suffices, whereas Rava would accord with Rabbi Yehuda who maintains that an inconclusive declaration is not binding! 
Rava answers: I could even agree with the Rabbis, for the reason why in the case of the gett, they did not require a conclusive declaration, is that a person would never be divorcing his friend’s wife!  (i.e. the bill of divorce must be referring conclusively to his wife, because he could not be divorcing anyone else).

The Torah calls Jacob ‘wholehearted.’  He was pure, he was the ‘choicest of the forefathers,’ he was a refined individual.  No doubt, when he spoke to people, when he dealt with them, they were moved by his piety, his gentleness, his wholesomeness.  He was, the Torah tells us, a soft-spoken, thoughtful, G-d fearing individual, whose father recognized his ‘voice.’

And then suddenly his wife gets him ticked off and he responds in a fit of rage.  What happened to the gentle Jacob that we all knew?  Where is his patience?  Where is his forbearance?  The Torah is teaching a very important lesson: sometimes we are harshest upon those closest to us. 

Rava teaches, ‘a person would never divorce his friend’s wife.’  In other words, you need to ask yourself: Would the language and tone that I’m using with my spouse and children be acceptable outside my home?  Would I talk like that to a friend?  Or a stranger? If the answer is no, then you need to work on how you are speaking to your loved ones.  You wouldn’t divorce – use harsh language – with your friend’s spouse, why would you treat your own spouse any worse?

Sadly, many people are like Jekyll and Hyde.  They are the nicest people to everyone outside the home – from community members to strangers in need – but they are curt with their own family members, hardly even giving them the time of day, let alone showing them the love they need and deserve.

Remember, charity begins at home.  Never take your loved ones for granted.  Any time you raise your voice in the house, ask yourself if that is how you would speak to your neighbour, colleague, or a stranger.  Your spouse and children, at the very least, deserve the manner in which you deal with strangers!  Nay, your loved ones should be seeing the most beautiful side of you!

Don’t take the ones you love for granted.  Appreciate them, cherish them and show them the best you, the gentle, kind, patient soul that nobody else gets to see, in the rough and tough world out there.  You know how much your loved ones mean to you.  May you merit that they too appreciate at every moment, how much they mean to you as you treat them with the ultimate kindness and respect!