Sunday, August 9, 2015

Baal Shem Tov: A man should love his wife just as he does his tefilin

update: added ...R Silberstein
Baal Shem Tov (Tzavas Ribash 123:2): A man should love his wife in the same manner that he loves his tefilin – that is solely because the tefilin are an instrument for fulfilling G-d's commandments. He should not think about her as a desirable physical being. This is explained by the following. A man who wants to travel to the market and he can only travel there by riding a horse - should his need for the horse cause him to love the horse? Is there any greater nonsense to think such a thought? Similarly in this world a man needs a wife in order to fulfill the service of G-d in order to be able to merit the future world. And if he neglects his service of G-d in order to think about her – is there any greater nonsense than that? Rather he should view her as physically repulsive. Therefore if he sees a beautiful woman he should realize that the white components of her body come from the father's semen while the red components are from the mother's blood which is repulsive and if he places such on food – the food would be disgusting. In fact he should realized that whatever beauty that her father contributed is in fact from the higher Father i.e., G d in the World of Love. And the beauty contributed by the mother is an extension of the supernal Mother in the World of Awe. These supernal aspects are his wife's true beauty. Therefore it is best to always be attached in love and fear to G d alone. And if he can bring himself to despise this sin he will be able to despise all sin. That is because from her was man created and a man has 365 component parts that correspond to 365 negative commandments and this nullifies all of them. Furthermore the Baal Shem Tov asked why does the desire for a woman arouse such strong lust? That is because woman is the source of man A man is born with inherent pleasure in eating and other physical things. And thus all pleasures are from the original drop – and therefore there is an inherent desire in man for physical pleasures and that which is mundane – it is much better to attach one self to G-d than to lowly physicality.

Love for wife is qualitatively  no different than that of  fellow man
Rav Yitzchok Silberstein (Chashukei Chemed Yoma 2a): Question: It says in Yevamos 62b) that one who loves his lives as himself and honors her more than himself....will have peace in his tent. The Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:19) writes that the Sages commanded that a man should honor his wife more than himself and love her as much as himself. But this requires an explanation as to why they gave such a command since we already are commanded to love our fellow man and a person's wife is obviously included in this Torah command? Answer: I asked this question to my brother -in-law Rav Chaim Konievsky and he replied that it was because there are times when a person is not obligated to show love from the Torah command of "love your fellow as yourself." For example it says in Nida (16b), Rav Shimon bar Yochai said there are 4 things that Gd hates and I don't like. 1) A person who suddenly enters into his house and surely into the house of another person [because person they are involved in intimate matters - Rashi]. The Maharasha writes, "G-d hates them because these are matters of pritzus (immorality) but regarding himself Rav Shimon just says I don't love them. That is because it is possible that these things are not pritzus that would justify violating the prohibition of hating another." Consequently in such a case if the wife suddenly enters into the house then at that moment there is no obligation to love his wife from the aspect of the Torah law of "love your fellow as yourself." However in regard to the command that is derived from "you will have peace in your tent"- there is still an obligation to love her. Furthermore there is a question regarding what the halachais when a wife sins. There is no longer an obligation to love her from "love your fellow" - in fact the opposite is true and there is an obligation to hate her. Is this rabbinic command "of peace in your tent" still applicable? It would seem that even if there is no mitzva to love her there is still a mitzva to honor her. That is because the obligation to honor her is because of gratitude because she raises the children and saves him from sin. This gratitude is still obligatory even if she sins. Therefore it is correct to honor her and to buy her appropriate clothing - even though she sins. Rav Shmuel Arvah gives an additional answer why there is a special verse to love his wife. It is based on the Maharsha (Shabbos 31a) which explains the answer of Hillel to the goy who wanted to learn the entire Torah while standing on one foot and Hillel replied that what is hateful to you do do to your fellow. The question is why he worded in a negative way that he should be good to his fellow as he is to himself? He answers that the Maharsha says that the verse of "loving your fellow as yourself" only applies to negative commands such as not taking revenge. However not to the positive commands of the Torah to do good to others. That is because your life always comes first. Consequently we can say from the obligation of loving your fellow as yourself - there is no obligation to be good to your wife as to yourself. However from the obligation to honor your wife - there is an obligation to honor [sic] her as yourself.
Orchos Tzadikim (Shaar 5 – Love): The love of women should be in the following manner. He should think that she is saving him from sin, and keeping him distant from adultery and through her he is fulfilling the mitzva of having children, and she raises his children, and she works for him the entire day, and she prepares food and other needs of the household. Because of her activities he is free to learn Torah and to be involved in other mitzvos. She is helping him to serve G d.

Kedushas Levi (Bereishis 224:67): And Yitzchok brought her into his mother’s tent and she became his wife and he loved her. What was the reason that the Torah tells us that Yitzchok loved Rivkah? A possible answer is based on the fact that there are two types of love a man has for a woman. The first type is the physical lust that a man has for a woman because he wants to satisfy his desires. Because this type of love is solely concerned with what he wants, it is actually not love for the woman at all but entirely love of himself. The second type is the love which is not concerned with satisfying his physical lusts but rather is because she is an instrument that enables him to fulfill the commands of his Creator – thus he loves her just as he loves the other mitzvos. This is called love of his wife. That is the meaning of “And Yitzchok loved her.” He had no thoughts regarding physical lust but only loved her because she enabled him to fulfill the mitzvos of G d.

Pele Yoetz (Love between husband and wife) : It is obligatory that there be strong love between husband and wife. We will begin with the love of the man for his wife because there is an explicit gemora (62a), A man is obligated [sic] to love his wife as himself and to honor her more them himself. Nevertheless he is not permitted to allow this love to interfere with his love of G d. Avos (1:5) already warned, Do not speak too much unnecessary chatter with a woman. This mishna says the warning was directed to speaking with one’s wife because anyone who does so causes evil to himself and it diminishes his involvement in Torah and in the end will inherit Gehinom. Our Sages also said (Bava Metzia 59a), One who follows the advice of his wife falls into Gehinom. Because of these concerns every intelligent man was use commonsense in evaluating the proper approach. As it says (Sanhedrin 107b), The left hand pushes away and the right hand brings close. However the primary love is that concerning the soul. Therefore the husband has the obligation to chastise his wife with pleasant words and to guide her in the ways of modesty and to keep her from gossip, anger, cursing, mentioning G d’s name in vain and other halachos found in the Orders of Nashim and Nezikin. He should caution her regarding the details of mitzvos – in particular those concerning prayer, berachos for food and observing Shabbos, etc. How pleasant it is for him to teacher her ethical ideas and to tell her words of the Sages in all matters that are relevant to her and their seriousness. For then her heart will tremble and she will be even more careful of these things than a man.

Aruch L’Ner (Kerisus 28a): ...This that the Beis Shmuel says that a man should honor his wife – we do not find that this means an obligation. In fact in Yevamos (62a) and in Sanhedrin (76b) it says that if a man honors his wife more than himself... the verse You shall know that there is peace in your tent is applied. This language implies that it is only a act of piety (midos chasidus) to not be insistent on one’s honor against her. In fact according to the straight law she is obligated to honor him more than he honors her.

Yad Rama (Sanhedrin 76b): The braissa says that if a man loves his wife as himself – that means that he should have mercy on her as he is merciful to himself but more than himself is not relevant. That is because love is something which is in the heart and a person is not able to love another more than he loves himself. However regarding honor that is something for which it is possible that he can honor her more than himself with clothing which is nicer than what he gets for himself.

Ibn Ezra (Mishlei 5:19): Tishge – mistaken, If a person is constantly obsessed with love with wife and surely if it is a another woman (as they say in Avos (1:5), “With your wife they say and surely this prohibition applies to other men’s wives.”). That is because a person who is involved a lot with the love of his wife and he is constantly talking with her – more than is appropriate – he is mistaken. That is because love of a woman takes a man away from serving G d.

Orchos Tzadikim (Shaar 5 – Love): The love of women should be in the following manner. He should think that she is saving him from sin, and keeping him distant from adultery and through her he is fulfilling the mitzva of having children, and she raises his children, and she works for him the entire day, and she prepares food and other needs of the household. Because of her activities he is free to learn Torah and to be involved in other mitzvos. She is helping him to serve G d.

Be’er Mayim Chaim (Parshas Vayetzei 30:26): Give me my wives and my children for which I worked for you… It would seem that his work was done only for the women and not for the children. Therefore he should have said, “Give me the women for which I worked for you…”. In fact it is well known what our Sages (Bereishis Rabba 70:18) say regarding (Bereishis 29:21), “Give me my wife so I can have intercourse with her. But even the coarsest person doesn’t speak that way. But rather Yaakov was simply saying he wanted his wife in order to have children.” That is because Yaakov had total control over his bad impulses and he had no lust or desire other then to do things for the sake of G-d to fulfill the mitzva of having children. Therefore just as a man is not embarrassed to say to his friend to give him tefilin to put on – in the same way Yaakov was not embarrassed to say to give him his wife in order to fulfill through her the divine mitzva of procreation. That is why it says here that Lavan should give him his wives and his children for which he had worked – that is because all his work was only for the sake of the children which his wives had produced.

ספר אורח לחיים - פרשת אחרי 
כמו המניח תפילין כוונת המעשה הנחה של תפילין הוא טפל לכוונת מצות תפילין לקשר עצמו במוחין עם השי"ת לקבל עליו עול מלכותו ומצותיו, כן הוא ממש בכוונת מצות פרו ורבו לקיים מצות בוראו בדחילו ורחימו הם י"ה, והתקשרות גופא בגופא, כמו כל הנבראים הם טפל לקיום המצות עשה של פרו ורבו:

שולחן ערוך (או"ח סימן רלא:א): אם אי אפשר לו ללמוד בלא שינת הצהרים, יישן. הגה: וכשניעור משנתו א"צ לברך אלהי נשמה (ב"י); וי"א שיקרא קודם שיישן: ויהי נועם (תהילים צ, יז) (כל בו); ובלבד שלא יאריך בה, שאסור לישן ביום יותר משינת הסוס שהוא שתין נשמי, ואף בזה המעט לא תהא כוונתו להנאת גופו, אלא להחזיק גופו לעבודת השי"ת; וכן בכל מה שיהנה בעולם הזה, לא יכוין להנאתו, אלא לעבודת הבורא יתברך, כדכתיב: בכל דרכיך דעהו (משלי ג, ו) ואמרו חכמים: כל מעשיך יהיו לשם שמים, שאפילו דברים של רשות, כגון האכילה והשתיה וההליכה והישיבה והקימה והתשמיש והשיחה וכל צרכי גופך, יהיו כולם לעבודת בוראך, או לדבר הגורם עבודתו, שאפילו היה צמא ורעב, אם אכל ושתה להנאתו אינו משובח, אלא יתכוין שיאכל וישתה כפי חיותו, לעבוד את בוראו; וכן אפילו לישב בסוד ישרים, ולעמוד במקום צדיקים, ולילך בעצת תמימים, אם עשה להנאת עצמו והשלים חפצו ותאותו, אינו משובח אלא א"כ עשה לשם שמים; וכן בשכיבה, א"צ לומר שבזמן שיכול לעסוק בתורה ובמצות לא יתגרה בשינה לענג עצמו, אלא אפילו בזמן שהוא יגע וצריך לישן כדי לנוח מיגיעתו, אם עשה להנאת גופו אינו משובח, אלא יתכוין לתת שינה לעיניו ולגופו מנוחה לצורך הבריאות שלא תטרף דעתו בתורה מחמת מניעת השינה; וכן בתשמיש האמורה בתורה, אם עשה להשלים תאותו או להנאת גופו ה"ז מגונה, ואפי' אם נתכוין כדי שיהיו לו בנים שישמשו אותו וימלאו מקומו אינו משובח, אלא יתכוין שיהיו לו בנים לעבודת בוראו או שיתכוין לקיים מצות עונה כאדם הפורע חובו; וכן בשיחה, אפי' לספר בדברי חכמה צריך שתהיה כונתו לעבודת הבורא או לדבר המביא לעבודתו. כללו של דבר, חייב אדם לשום עיניו ולבו על דרכיו ולשקול כל מעשיו במאזני שכלו, וכשרואה דבר שיביא לידי עבודת הבורא יתברך יעשהו, ואם לאו לא יעשהו; ומי שנוהג כן, עובד את בוראו תמיד. 

It is on pages 68-69 #123.2 in the Kehot edition. This is a from the Menashe Freedman edition 1934 also found on Hebrew Books

This is the Chabad version

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