The Short Vort
The Short Vort- Shalom Bayis (6/13/11)
Today is Monday the 11th of Sivan 5771 and June 13, 2011
Every once in while someone comes into my office and tells me a story of greatness.
Often they themselves fail to realize just how impressive their story is.
The other day a man came into my office and related to me such an incident.
So sit back and relax and listen to a simple person who reached the heights of greatness.
Yakov Greenstein lost his first wife after 22 years of blissful marriage.
She was the mother of all his children, a devoted wife and an exceptional balas buster.
When she passed away a few years back Yakov could not believe he could survive.
However, through the help of the Kehilla and with the support of his family, Yakov not only survived, he succeeded in life.
He eventually married off his last two children and leaned to be independent and not reliant on his married children.
About two years ago Yakov called me and said he ‘gets a Mazel Tov’.
When I asked for what, I was surprised to hear that Yakov was a Chasan!
I was shocked and gladdened. After all, the prospect of living the rest of his life without an Eishes Chayil was certainly not an enviable one; therefore I was full of Simcha for Yakov.
I was really surprised to hear that the woman Yakov would be marrying was never before married.
As the Chasunah loomed closer Yakov asked to come in a ‘chap a schmooze’ before the wedding.
He entered my office looking somewhat ‘down’ and ‘out of it’.
This was not usual for Yakov, as he was almost always chipper and joyful.
"What’s wrong Yakov?" I asked. "I hope you are not having second thoughts about the Shidduch?"
"No, not really; however, there is something that is bothering me. You know I was married for 22 years, I know what it is to share and be considerate. However, Shaindel has never been married. She has never had to take care of anyone else. How can I assume that she will be able to be a good and caring and considerate wife?"
I thought about Yakov’s concerns and realized he had a point. After all, how can a woman who has never been a care-giver to anyone, be a good and considerate wife?
Notwithstanding my hesitation; since the wedding was only one week away I told Yakov the only advice which I could think of on the spot.
"Yakov, don’t worry about your wife. Worry about yourself. I am confident that if you constantly display a sense of caring and concern for her, she will reciprocate in kind."
A week later Yakov was married and I assume he was busy as I barely saw him for the next month or two.
Finally after three of months of marriage I cornered Yakov after davening and asked him how ‘things’ were going.
He told me that my advice was working a ‘like a charm’ and he was very pleased with his new wife and home.
In truth I had no idea what he was referring to so I asked Yakov to explain.
"Rabbi, I took your advice and decided that I would make sure to be a caring, considerate and forgiving spouse; and I hoped that Shaindel would follow.
Well, about two weeks ago we spent Shabbos in Lakewood.
Since I would go directly to Lakewood from work, I told Shaindel that I would leave my Shabbos suit and hat on the easy chair in the living room and asked her if she can bring them with her in the car when she drives to Lakewood.
Since I would arrive first, I told her to call me when she arrives in Lakewood and I would meet her at the car to help her with the luggage.
As soon as she arrived she called me and I proceeded to unload the car and bring in her Shaitel box and her three outfits for Shabbos and her two different pairs of shoes. After I brought everything in, I turned to go out to the car once more.
"Where are you going?" She asked me.
"I am just going in to bring my suit and hat", I replied.
At this point, Shaindel turned red and sheepishly mumbled, "Oh, your stuff. Oh, sorry I forgot them".
I looked down at her three outfits, her two pairs of shoes and at her Shaitel in the Shaitel box.
I then thought of myself wearing my blue stained and sweaty weekday suit to the Lakewood Yeshiva on Shabbos with a semi crushed weekday hat.
I then remembered your words about teaching by example and looked at my wife and simply said, "Oh, you forgot them? No, problem, anyone can make a mistake. What’s the big deal? After all, it’s not like I don’t have a suit. Forget about it and let’s have a great Shabbos together!"
Rabbi, her forgetting the suit was the best thing which could have happened to me.
I now have the most committed, considerate and forgiving wife in the entire world; how can I ever thank you?"
"Rav Yakov, you have thanked me in ways you can never imagine. Yakov, because of you, I saw greatness tonight!"