In a continuing series of lectures on shalom bayis (marital harmony), the Los Angeles community was treated to several great speakers on the subject. The topic this time around was”Tools and Tips from the Wisdom of Torah”.
Michal Horowitz, a highly sought after speaker from New York, graced the audiences in the Valley and Beverly Hills with her warm and heart felt stories. Mrs. Horowitz is no stranger to Los Angeles, having spoken last year at the YULA shabbaton and the OU west coast convention. A speaker in great demand, she was recruited to speak in Denver, Fort Lee, Five Towns and Los Angeles just in the month of November alone!
Speaking first at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in the Valley on Sunday November 17th and then at Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills on November 18th, Mrs. Horowitz related a number of Torah based examples of how we should relate to our spouses. She pointed out that there are only two places in the Torah where the words “lo tov” (not good) are used. Now, one can think of many unpleasant events that the Torah relates, but, yet there are only two instances where this phrase is used. The first is in relation to Adam who, before the creation of his wife Chava, was all alone in the world.
The second instance was when Moshe Rabbainu had taken upon himself to judge every single case of dispute among the Jewish nation., His father in law, Yisro, related to him that it is “lo tov” that he assumes all of the responsibility alone, but he should delegate authority to others to judge the lesser cases. In each case the phrase “lo tov” is followed by the use of the word alone. In Adam’s case, it was physical loneliness. He did not have a partner. In the case of Moshe, it was quite the opposite, he was inundated with work and was anything but alone.. How, then, can we say that Moshe was alone?
Mrs. Horowitz pointed out that even if we are in a relationship such as marriage, we can still feel alone and isolated from our spouses. Lack of communication, lack of feeling are signs of loneliness in a marriage. Just going through the motions of earning a living and raising children is quite a painful existence without a connection to our spouses. That is why the Torah singles out loneliness as the prime example of “lo tov”.
Mrs. Horowitz brought in other Torah based examples of how to communicate and appreciate our spouses despite the troubles and travails that encompass our lives.
Rabbi Jonathan Rosenberg delivered a passionate lecture in his own shule, Shaarey Zedek, on Monday November 18. In a smooth and calming manner, Rabbi Rosenberg quoted various Torah sources for maintaining shalom bayis, as issue that he deals with on a constant basis as a congregational rabbi. His well received talk ran over the allotted time due to the voluminous material that he presented. But all participants stayed to the very end due to the great presentation and subject matter.
The next evening, November 19, Rabbi Dov Heller enthralled his audience at Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills by enumerating the 4 Torah principles of shalom bayis: namely; chesed, love, joy and patience.Rabbi Heller, a practicing psychotherapist, quoted the Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Luzzato) in stating that one should give love and avoid giving pain to others. In quoting many rabbinic authorities of past and present, Rabbi Heller weaved in many practical suggestions based on his years of family therapy. Make time to be together, be a good listener, do not be self centered by just focusing on what is bothering you, He emphasized the importance of coming home from work in a good mood and leaving your troubles at the office. As with the other speakers, the audience was riveted to their seats even as the talk ran overtime.
Dr. David Stoll, the organizer of the events, says that the series will continue to grow with new speakers and new topics in the future. For more information, please go to the web site myshalombayis.com.