Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.

Rabbi Doniel Staum - Parshas Chayei Sarah 5774 "The Lucky One"
by Rabbi Doniel Staum, LMSW

Not Rated Yet   |   Viewed 6618 times since 10/24/13   |   0 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend





Adar 5762/February 2002.

It was the day before my wife and I celebrated our first anniversary. At the time I was a member of the Kollel of Yeshiva Shaarei Torah where I was learning full-time.

I approached Rabbi Leibel Reznick shlita, one of my Rabbeim from Yeshiva, to seek some advice and encouragement. Rabbi Reznick is not only an author and a scholar of note, he is also a beloved pedagogue whose wit and insight are legendary. I explained that for the previous fifteen months my life had been a constant wave of excitement. Since my wife and I had been introduced, there was dating, engagement, parties, constant good wishes, preparing for the wedding, culminating with the wedding itself followed by the weeklong sheva-berachos festivities. Even after the sheva-berachos were over we still retained a special status of being in ‘shanah rishonah- the first year’.[1] Thus, throughout the previous twelve months we were still blissfully - as the expression goes - ‘on cloud nine’. Now that our anniversary was imminent, that special status was ending. In effect, “the elongated honeymoon” was over. Undoubtedly, I was excited to spend the rest of my life with my wife, but I still felt that there was a certain magical aspect of the marriage that was slipping away.

Rabbi Reznick insightfully replied that as long as we did not lose perspective that everything was a chessed (a kind deed), the magic of the first year would continue. He explained, “When you first married, everything you did for each other was viewed as special, an act of love and kindness. You must never allow that feeling to dissipate! Every time she folds your laundry you must view it as a special favor and thank her earnestly. When she makes you supper, or works hard to prepare the Shabbos meals, remember that she is doing a chessed out of dedication for you. The same holds true if she brings your children to the doctor or does carpool, it is all chessed. As long as you never ‘get used’ to it and can maintain the feeling that everything you do for each other is out of love and devotion, the euphoria of your marriage will never fade. The only difference is that until now that spark came naturally, and from now on you will have to work to maintain it.”

Maseches[2] Kiddushin is dedicated to the laws and procedures of halachic marriage. It commences by stating that one of the three ways in which a man can marry a woman is by giving her money[3]. As its source the Gemara (4b) employs a gezerah shavah[4] in which the use of the same word in two distinct parts of the Torah allows the application of a detail from one case to the other unrelated case.[5]

In regard to marriage, the verse[6] states, “כי יקח איש אשה – When a man will take (marry) a woman…” The expression used to refer to marriage is one of ‘taking’.

When our Patriarch Avrohom returned home and was informed that his beloved wife Sarah had died, he immediately set out to purchase the Cave of Machpelah, which housed the burial plots of Adam and Chava. At that point the cave was owned by the B’nei Chais and their leader, Ephron. Avrohom knew that Ephron was wily and devious and so he insisted on paying top dollar for the cave, to ensure that his ownership could not be contested at a later time.

When they settled on the price – four hundred silver shekel- Avrohom declared (Bereishis 23:13), “אך אם אתה לו שמעני נתתי כסף השדה קח ממני ואקברה את מתי שמה – Rather, if only you would heed me! I give the price of the field, take it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” The Gemara draws a parallel between the ordeal with Avrohom and Ephron, where the verse utilizes the root-word “take”, and marriage where the same root-word is utilized: Just as in regard to Avrohom the word was used to refer to a monetary transaction, so too in regard to marriage, money (or an object of monetary value) is a valid means with which to betroth a woman.

The Bobbover Rebbe, Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam zt’l, questions the parallel that the Gemara draws between these two diverse concepts. It seems inappropriate to learn about the acquisition of marriage - the most sublime, joyous, and holy union - from Avrohom’s business venture with a most duplicitous individual. What is the philosophical connection between marriage and Avrohom’s purchase of the Cave of Machpelah from Ephron?

The Rebbe explained that there is an invaluable message about marriage to be extrapolated from Avrohom’s purchase of the Cave of Machpelah. If we had to guess the thoughts of Avrohom and Ephron after the transaction was completed, we can imagine that both pitied the other. Ephron and the B’nei Chais did not care much for the significance of the cave. To them it was a mundane plot of land, worth no more than the land itself. But when Ephron saw how valuable it was to Avrohom he deviously raised the price.

To Avrohom however, the plot was priceless, holy ground. He would have just as quickly paid double the amount they agreed on if necessary. In other words, each side felt that he had gotten the better end of the deal. In Ephron’s mind Avrohom was a fool for throwing out his money; in Avrohom’s mind, Ephron was an imbecile for failing to realize the treasure he owned.

This idea can be beautifully applied to marriage. A successful marriage is predicated on an inner feeling of appreciation for the internal value and greatness of one’s spouse. Both spouses must always feel in their hearts that he/she got the better end of the deal. “How lucky and undeserving I am to have such a wonderful and special spouse!” It is not the business venture of Avrohom and Ephron itself that symbolizes marriage, but the feeling that each side had gotten the better end of the deal.

When we sent out invitations for our wedding during our engagement, I requested from my Rabbeim that, along with their response card, they enclose a personal written blessing to us. Those letters were and are particularly dear to me. Every now and then I take out the folder and re-read all of the beautiful, personal messages they wrote.

My Eleventh Grade Rebbe, Rabbi Aryeh Feuer, wrote (in-part) the following thought: On Friday Night when we sing the beloved lyrics of “Lecha Dodi”, the melodious hymn with which we usher in the sanctity of Shabbos, we state, “All those who ravaged you will be ravaged, and all those who seek to swallow you will be distanced. Your G-d will rejoice over you as a groom rejoices over his bride.”

The joy of a groom and bride is temporary and fleeting. In fact, the title “chosson (groom)” and “kallah (bride)” is really only applicable from the actual moment when the marriage takes effect until the conclusion of the week-long Sheva Berachos festivities. How can we compare G-d’s rejoicing over us to the transitory joy of a groom with his bride? Shouldn’t G-d’s joy be analogized to something that has permanence?

My Rebbe answered that we must conclude that the joy of a bride and groom need not be ephemeral. It is indeed feasible to maintain the joy, passion, and elation that newlyweds feel for each other, throughout their married lives. But it requires work and dedication, no less than our connection with G-d. The joy G-d feels with us is also contingent on the investments and efforts that we put into the relationship.

One of my older brother’s friends once asked his Rebbe, “How long am I considered a chosson? The Rebbe smiled, “As long as you treat her like a kallah!”

“I give the price of the field, take it from me”

“G-d will rejoice over you as a groom rejoices over his bride.”

Sign up to receive Stam Torah via email each week at:

[1] [The Torah (Devorim 23:5) instructs, “When one marries a new wife, he shall not go out to the army, nor shall it obligate him for any matter; he shall be free for his home for one year, and he shall gladden his wife whom he has married.”]

[2] Talmudic Tractate

[3] or anything of value

[4] Lit. "a comparison of equals"

[5] Gezerah shavah is not simply a philological method; it can apply unrelated details relating from one context to the interpretation of the other instance of the word.

[6] Devorim 24:1

To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.

Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:       Not Rated Yet
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.

Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593