Beha'aloscha: The Joys of Shalom Bayis

I was speaking to one of the members in the kollel and I asked him where the person who he learns with is.  It’s been a few days since I saw him.  He said that he wasn’t so sure himself, but he knew he had a lot of things to take care of.  So I said, “So, he’s like Batman…you just never know where he is and what he’s doing.”  He gave me this look, and I said, “You do know who Batman is, don’t you?”  “I've heard about him, but I don’t know who he is."


So, we discussed this a bit, being that THE ENTIRE WORLD knows who Batman is, except for the Ultra-Orthodox Israelis (my kids included).  He finished off with, “I do remember as a kid, seeing something about the ‘Zavei Ninja.’”  I took me a second to get through with that translation: “Ninja Turtles.”  I said, “You probably thought it was some weird, crazy, American thing, right?” “Oh, yeah….”


This week’s parsha opens up with the mitzvah of the lighting of the Menorah every morning in the Beis HaMikdash.


The Gemara (Shabbos 23b) says that a person who regularly lights the candles will merit that his children will become Torah scholars.  The Gemara continues to explain that these candles are the candles of Shabbos, Chanukah, and the Beis HaMikdash (or today, the synagogue).


He explains that there are several ways one can do this.  One is to help pay for the electric bill of the synagogue.  By doing so, he is enabling people to daven and learn Torah.  Also, by being the first in shul in the morning, by turning on the lights, you are also "enabling" people to daven and learn.


He cites a Midrash that states that Shaul was given the kingship in the merit of his grandfather who used to light torches in the streets so the public had lit streets to walk through at night.  Rav Pincus suggested (and this is really only applicable in Israel), that in residential buildings where there are no lights at night in the stairwell, many people put up lights for the building and connect it to their personal electric network.  So, while they are paying a bit extra, every other family in the building benefits.


I want to add my own non-novelty.  The Gemara, further down the page, writes that the main reason for Shabbos candles is Shalom Bayis (Peace in the Home).  By having a lit home, people will simply not bump into each other!  Things can be accomplished!  If the house is dark, nobody will be happy.


So, I suggest, and obviously it’s nothing new under the sun, but if Shabbos Candles = Shalom Bayis, then Shabbos Candles = Shalom Bayis => Children who are Torah Scholars.


Of course, it’s not a sure thing.  There are plenty of couples who have good Shalom Bayis, but whose children have not turned out the way they wanted. But I have noticed in life that many people who have turned out to be Torah scholars, tend to credit both parents and a warm home to their success.


The Torah world is not a big fan of, what we called in high-school, PDA (Public Displays of Affection).  Married couples in the Torah world should not, and do not, display affection for each other in public or even within the home in front of the children.  However, we were always taught that it was important that SOME levels are shown to the children, that show some subtle hints that there is a bond between the husband and wife, which they alone share.  Simple things like when sitting on the couch, sitting together and not opposite ends.  Things like pats on the back, taps on the shoulders (or in my case, putting a plastic cockroach on her shoulder).  True, they don’t seem like anything “romantic,” but when children see these acts, subconsciously, they see that there is a special connection between their parents.


Of course, true Shalom Bayis goes far, far deeper than that, and requires far, far more work (especially for the woman who has to put up with the man), but the important part is that having this Shalom Bayis and the children's KNOWING that there is true Shalom Bayis, will certainly help you raise children who are Bnei Torah.


Have a great Shabbos!


Michael Winner