One of the very popular blessings extended to a Chatan and Kallah is that they merit to build a binyan adei ad — an everlasting home, in the Jewish community.

In the Torah reading designated for this week, parshat Ki Teitzei — there is an important detail to observe when building a home. The Torah commands, “Ki tivneh bayit chadash ve’asita ma’akeh legagecha” — “If you build a new house, you shall make a fence for your roof (22:8). That is, the Torah requires the owner to erect a protective fence around his roof to avoid a mishap that may, G‑d forbid, occur when the roof is not protected with a barrier.

The Zohar says that the etymology of the word Torah is hora’ah, which means teaching and guidance. Torah is not merely a compilation of various laws and statutes, but also teaches a person how to conduct himself throughout his life.

Like all other parts of Torah, this law, too, contains and conveys an important lesson.

A roof is the essential part of a house. This can be seen from the way people express themselves concerning the house: they call it “a roof over my head.”

The importance of the roof of the house can also be derived from the halachah that a newly built house does not require a mezuzah on the entrance or the rooms inside as long as the roof was not constructed (Yoreh Dei’ah 286:14).

In Hebrew, a roof is called gag (גג), and thus, the pasuk says to make a fence “le’gagecha” (לגגך) — “for your roof.” The word gagecha (גגך) has the numerical value of 26 which is also the numerical value of G‑d’s holy four letter Name — the Tetragrammaton.

The message to the Jew is that one must always bear in mind that just as a roof is the highest part of the home, likewise, the highest and supreme authority in your home is gagecha — your G‑d.

The uniqueness of the Jewish home is that in addition to its physical gag —roof — similar to all houses, it also has gagecha — a G‑dly roof. In the Jewish home Hashem is exalted to the extent that He is above and on top of everything going on in it.

How does a person accomplish that G‑d should be a part of his household and that His word should be cherished above all? The answer is, by making a ma’akeh — a fence around it.

A fence is a boundary, and it serves as a barrier not only to protect those on the roof, but also to prohibit entry to intruders.

For G‑d to remain in and above the new house one builds, it is imperative that there be fences and boundaries — restrictions and limitations of what can come into the house. A Jewish house is distinguishable by the fact that not everything that is welcome and admitted into an ordinary house comes into the Jewish house. Not everything that is practiced in an ordinary house is acceptable and practiced in this Jewish home.

The Torah goes on to say that through the fence you will achieve that “velo tasim damim bebeitecha ki yipol hanophel mimenu” — “so that you will not place blood in your house if a fallen one falls from it.”

Now the word “damim” — not only means “blood” but also “money.” (Perhaps, because one sheds much of one’s blood to earn money.) The message is that in your house you should not place the emphasis on damim — monetary achievement — but rather your goal should be spirituality.

The simple reason for this is that money is not permanent. It comes and goes and it is something which can, G‑d forbid, be lost entirely. Moreover, the Torah gives the reason “ki yipol hanofel mimenu” — sometimes money unfortunately, has an adverse affect on one’s spiritual level and religious behavior. It can, G‑d forbid, cause a degradation in one’s level of Torah observance and Yiddishkeit in general.

Hence, my blessing to you, dear Chatan and Kallah, is that the new house you are setting out to build in Israel should be one in which G‑d will be the prevailing authority. May G‑d bless your home with affluence in abundant measure, but at the same time your goal and aspiration shall be that it be permeated with a spiritual atmosphere. Such a house will be blessed by G‑d to be long lasting and everlasting.

"כל כלה שעיניה יפות כל גופה אין צריך בדיקה"
“Every Kallah, as long as her eyes are beautiful, the rest of her body need not be checked.” (Taanit 24a)

QUESTION: Why is so much emphasis placed on the eyes? Can’t there be many other faults in the bride even if her eyes are beautiful?

ANSWER: There are people who are kind-hearted and good natured. They look at every person with a “good eye” and judge others favorably. In Pirkei Avot (5:19) such people are considered the disciples of our father Avraham. There are also, unfortunately, people who always “see” people and things with a bad eye. They always take a negative view of other people and they are disciples of the wicked Billam.

Hence, our Sages are not discussing the physical beauty of one’s eyes, rather they are advising that when seeking a life companion one should seek a person who looks at things with a “good eye.” Such a person possess refined character and will do acts of kindness to all people. This is the most important prerequisite to take into consideration. If one finds such a person there is no need to investigate her any further; he can be confident that he has found the ideal mate. In fact this is the only thing Eliezer looked for when he set out to find a suitable wife for Yitzchak.

(כלי יקר בראשית כ"ד: י"ד)