By Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss
One of the beauties of learning Torah is that, if you apply yourself, you will see new things each time you study over-again any subject of the Torah for the Torah is the wisdom of Hashem which is Infinite. “Ein cheiker lisvunoso – there are no boundaries to His understanding.” So this year, when I was studying Megilas Rus, I uncovered a gem that I never noticed before and which I am excited to share.
When Naomi tells her daughters in-law, Rus and Orpah, to return back to their Moabite roots, she makes the following statement. “Mitzena menuchah isha beis isha – May you go back home and may you each find rest as a wife in the house of her husband.” The great Naomi is here crystalizing for us a mission statement for a husband. That is, to create ‘menuchah,’ an aura of contentment, serenity, and rest for his wife in their home. She repeats this sentiment a second time later on in the Megilah. When Rus comes back and informs Naomi of the kindness that Boaz had shown her, Noami tells Rus “Biti, halo avakesh lach manoach asher yitav lach – My daughter, I seek for you rest which will be good for you (for Boaz to become her husband).”
The author of Rus, the great Shmuel HaNavi, is sharing for the ages this idea, that the successful husband will create out of his home an oasis of peacefulness and tranquility. To create this kind of atmosphere is easier said than done. First of all, one has to avoid at all costs screaming and shouting even when one is frustrated and wrongfully treated. A home where one’s wife is constantly walking on eggshells can hardly be called a place of menuchah. The Gemora in Taanis relates that they asked Rav Ada bar ahava, to what merit does he ascribe his longevity. He answered, “L’olam lo hikpaditi b’soch beisi – I never showed that I was upset in my home.” Another requirement in the making of a content home is to avoid constant criticism. We cringe when we are criticized. Criticism is a downer and if it’s done often, the home becomes a place to escape from and not a place of serenity.
When Yakov gave the blessing to Yissachar, the Tribe of Torah, he said about Yissachar, “Vayar menuchah ki tov – He saw that rest was good.” We thus see that Torah promotes menuchah. This can also be seen from the following anecdote. A man once came to the Netziv, Zt”l, Zy”a, the famed Rosh Yeshiva and Rav of Volozhin, and told him that he was having marital problems. The Netziv asked him if he learned Torah at home. The man answered, “Rav, I know you’re a Rosh Yeshiva and you like to talk about Talmud Torah, but now I’m discussing my marriage.” The Netziv told him that if you learn more Torah at home, you’ll have more peace at home. The study of Torah helps to create a tranquil home.
During the first week of creation, it says, “Vay’chal Elokim bayom hashvii – And Hashem finished the world on the seventh day.” This begs the questions, Wasn’t the seventh day Shabbos, the day of rest? Didn’t Hashem finish the world on the sixth day? Yet here it says that He finished the world on the seventh day. Rashi answers “Bosa Shabbos, bosa menuchah – Shabbos arrived and rest came into being.” In other words, the final creation was rest. This teaches us that you have to create menuchah; it’s not simply the absence of fighting and stress. It’s a creation of being available for one’s spouse when they need you. It means knowing the ‘little things’ that put a person at ease like a favorite snack or scent. It means that a backrub or an affectionate compliment is the magic of creating an aura of contentment.
Although in this article I zoomed-in on a husband’s responsibility, the truth is that this is an important mission for a wife as well. As it states clearly in Eishes Chayil, about the woman of Valor, “Tzofiah halichos beisah – She oversees the ways of her home.” Many wise women are masters at turning a ‘regular’ home into an oasis of warmth and coziness. May Hashem bless us with success in this all-important mission and in this merit may we be blessed with long life, good health, and everything wonderful.
Please learn and daven for the refuah sheleima of Miriam Liba bas Devorah, b’soch shaar cholei Yisroel.
Sheldon Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.
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