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Essays and Insights

More than 50 essays and readings on the practical and mystical meanings of marriage, marital harmony, and the Jewish wedding experience.

All You Need Is Love? Wrong!
Is it true that love is the best medicine?
10 Pieces of Advice for Husbands
Before you criticize, ask yourself if it really matters in the long run. Are you better off letting things slide?
Love her for who she is, and not for what she does for you.
Moses vs. Freud
In the 70's, people challenged the concepts of monogamy and fidelity, naively believing that they could be truly caring and faithful to multiple contemporaneous partners. That simplistic innocence has been replaced in the 90's by a hard cynicism...
What to Look for in Spouse
No other decision you will make in the course of your lifetime will affect you as deeply and as irrevocably
The Search for a Soul Mate
What are the first qualities one should look for in our search for their soul mate? A lesson from approach Eliezer, Abraham's messenger to search for a bride for Isaac
Finding Love
"I want someone who's kind but not the too-kind type that lets himself be walked on, smart but not haughty, assertive but not overbearing, handsome but not vain.." The Rebbe laughed. "It sounds like you want to marry more than one person"
Holy Matrimony?
If the Torah tells us that a particular union is not kosher, rather than resenting the interference we should consider it as if the Almighty Himself came down and whispered a word of loving advice in our ears: "Trust me; this one is not right for you..."
Human or Beast?
The Torah's views and safeguards against sexual abuse
To many, these laws appear extreme, over-reactive and unnecessary. A little 1st-grader can't hug her daddy's best friend? Two adult co-workers of the opposite sex can’t work alone in the office to finish an important project?
An Arranged Marriage
Had Isaac and Rebecca met in the modern age, their courtship might have looked something like this. Isaac would notice Rebecca at the well . . .
Marriage: Destiny or Chance
Who is the Ultimate Matchmaker?
Does everyone have a bashert? If yes, why is it so difficult to find one's mate, and why do many never succeed? Is bashert an inevitable absolute, or are there exceptions? To what extent a role does human effort and decision making play in the process?
From the Writings of Our Sages
Selected excerpts from the Midrash and Talmud
Stories and insights from the Talmudic sages which shed insight on marriage and specifically the search for a soulmate.
Yiddishe Nachas
The "singles" phenomenon is arguably the single biggest social problem in the Jewish world today. We could well take a cue from the first Jewish father who needed to find a shidduch for his son - Abraham
The Rebbe Speaks to College Students
1963
The Lubavitcher Rebbe answers questions posed by a group of college students on dating and marriage, Jewish identity, religion and ethics, moshiach and the future
Split Your Sea
If you were given a glimpse of your subconscious personality, what would you find?
Secrets to a Successful Second Marriage
One would think that an individual who has gone through a divorce would have “learned his lesson” and will, therefore, not repeat the mistakes of the past. But often this isn’t the case.
The Wedding Jitters
You are engaged. You are definitely glowing, though you're not sure if it is from joy or sweat. Where is the fairytale that you pictured for so many years? What is wrong with you?
Did You Marry for Beauty or Money?
There's an old stereotype when it comes to marriage. Men marry women for their looks. Women marry men for their money. There are of course many exceptions to this rule. But there is some truth to it too.
Marriage and Family Life
A treasury of thoughts and aphorism gleaned from the wisdom of the Torah and the Jewish sages which will enrich your wedding and marriage.
Tzimtzum
The text of the traditional engagement contract alludes to the cosmic energies which are unleashed by a Jewish marriage, a throwback to the supernal mechanisms which led to the creation of the worlds.
The Power of Acceptance
One of the reasons for the ancient Jewish custom to cover a bride's face during the marriage ceremony is to symbolize the complete acceptance that is integral to any enduring relationship
What Do We Do About the Relationship Crisis?
Genuine love not only respects the individuality of the other, but actually seeks to cultivate it. Love, like the act of creation, is the courageous act of creating space for the presence of the other.
Ring, Round and Roof
The three mysteries of marriage
Eliezer gave Rebecca a ring, betrothing her to Isaac; ever since, rings, circles and enveloping structures have facilitated the union of man and woman. The Kabbalistic masters delve into the mystery of the circle to understand the unifying force that violates all the laws of ego and identity.
Samech
The fifteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet
The shape, meaning, and numerical value of the Hebrew letter samech, teaches much about marriage, and the spiritual powers which powers the marital institution.
A Wild Idea: The Kabbalah of Marriage
Marriage is a pretty bizarre concept. It must have been G-d's idea. Who else could think of such a whacky plan like bringing together two opposites and putting them under one roof to share a life?
Men are from Chochmah; Women are from Binah
She'll ask about his day. He'll answer that it was good or bad. If he remembers to reciprocate, he'll soon be wondering when or if she'll ever finish her litany of endless, intricate and irrelevant details and get to the important parts
The Chochmah/Binah Dichotomy II: “Joe, We Need to Talk”
"Joe must be feeling pressured at work," Sara muses. "He's not saying anything because he doesn't want to worry me. Oh, I wish he would just talk about it!"
Kabbalah of Love
We all yearn for the intimate touch of another soul. So why are we forever repelling love with our anger and criticism?
Adam
It is truly an impossible discovery: that there is another "I" in this world, one who is not "me," who does not confirm my concept of the world, who is the opposite of me in so many ways and who I can therefore never truly know...
Marriage
On the sixth day of creation, So G-d divided "man" into two entities, male and female. And then joined them in marriage. Why, then, we must ask, did G-d not create them as two in the first place?
Why Do We Fall in Love?
Is the mystique and the romance, the music and the moonlight, just nature's way of hoodwinking men and women to reproduce?
Love at First Sight: Five Biblical Examples
In five instances, the Torah describes the phenomenon of love at first sight: in the love of Adam for Eve, of Rebecca for Isaac, of Jacob for Rachel, of David for Abigail, and of David for Bathsheba. These five, in their historical order, are descending examples of how the intensity of love at first sight can be focused into mature, rooted love
Intimacy
You're going to allow someone into that part of you that you're not so comfortable with yourself. And you don't know how the other person is going to treat it. But that's the whole meaning of a relationship
An Intimate View on Intimacy
To be intimate means to go into a place that is private, that is sacred, that is set aside. It means one person entering into the private, sacred part of another human being's existence...
The Grammar of Love
Are you searching for love in the present, or in your past? Are you looking for your soulmate or are you looking for yourself?
The Kabbalah of Man and Woman
Ancient wisdom, practical advice
Each man stands between two females: the corporeal woman below to whom he must provide sustenance and affection; and the Shechinah which stands over him to bless him with these so that he may turn around and provide them to the woman of his covenant
The Marriage Prerequisite
Why did Isaac wait so long to marry; denying his mother the joy of seeing grandchildren? Was it the fear of commitment, or perhaps the desire for a perfect marriage commitment?
Nuts, Raisins and Self Deception
The older I get the more apparent my lies have become. I barely believe myself anymore, especially when I make grand statements like, "I’ll never do or say that again." Too often the future robs me of my honesty
The Lifelong Marriage
Going through life with a spouse we love is one of the greatest satisfactions in life. A small percentage of us have a natural gift for it—the rest of us have to learn it. So how is it done?
Glue
The Rebbe’s prescription for a troubled marriage
Do What You Want Done
One of the ironies of life is that we do the same things over and over again, but expect different results...
How to Agree to Disagree
It is possible for two people to see and hear the same event and yet each has a totally different experience of what actually took place...
Winning the Battle but Losing the War
"I got my way in the end," a friend of mine announced proudly. "He'll never start with me again. Aren't you happy for me?"
What I Learned from Michael Schiavo
Imagine that the story had been in the reverse--that the parents wanted to remove the feeding tube and the husband was the one who insisted that he would take care of her and keep her alive. Realistic?
What Makes a Marriage Tick?
Newlyweds think the question doesn't apply to them and never will: they are the first to discover marriage and the final authorities on it too.
The Weave of Woman and Man
Kedoshim
Isn’t marriage between man and woman a violation of the laws of kilayim, which prohibit the intermixing of divergent species?
Tasting Life's Bitter Waters
Naso
You are married, or intensely committed, to a vision, a goal, a dream. Then along comes life . . .
Coffee Break
Masculine and feminine modes of communication reflect our respective arenas of spiritual expertise. Unfortunately, the differences can sometimes result in unintended discord
Love at Second Sight
"Love at first sight" is a monumental bobba meise
The Paradigm of Happiness
We've all met unhappy beauty queens and discontented millionaires. Marriages break up and dream jobs go sour. Is life just an endless conveyor belt of unmet expectations?
What to Do with a Stale Mate
“Nothing new under the sun,” wrote King Solomon in Ecclesiastes. And so, we discover this week that infidelity and other marital problems aren’t exactly a new societal phenomenon . . .
Benjamin Franklin was a Wise Fellow
"Keep your eyes wide open before marriage," Ben Franklin quoted, "and half shut afterwards.'
The Spousal Put-Down
The wife who pokes fun at her husband's clumsiness proves nothing about him other than that he was unlucky enough to marry an unsupportive spouse...
The Ten Commandments of Marriage
When we look more deeply into the Ten Commandments, we will find not only spiritual advice for enhancing our marriages, but very practical and essential guidelines as well.
Man and Woman
Together, a man and a woman form a single being.
How To Be a Man That Women Respect
The Female Admiration Test
Some Guidelines for a Jewish Wedding
Learn some practical guidelines and laws related to a Jewish wedding.
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