Saturday 16 December 2017

A House of Peace

Shalom bayit in its literal sense means “peace in the house” and it is the Jewish concept of domestic harmony and good relations between husband and wife.

Throughout the history of the Jewish people, Jews have held an ideal standard for Jewish family life that is manifested in the term shalom bayit. Shalom bayit signifies completeness, wholeness, and fulfillment. Hence, the traditional Jewish marriage is characterized by peace, nurturing, respect, and chesed, (loving-kindness), through which a married couple becomes complete. It is believed that God’s presence dwells in a pure and loving home

In Jewish culture, a marriage is described as a “match made in heaven,” and is treated as a holy enterprise. For example, the Jewish betrothal ceremony is referred to in classical rabbinic literature as Kiddushin (sanctification/ consecration). By declaring the marriage union sacred, a couple stands sanctified before God. It is in a relationship where both husband and wife recognize each other as creations in God’s image and treat each other accordingly that true sanctity emanates forth. Moreover, this sanctity of the marital union reminds the Jewish husband and wife to express their holiness through marriage and to build a home based on mutual love, respect, and chesed.

The first mention of shalom bayit in the Torah is when God tells Sarah she will give birth to a son, she expresses disbelief, saying: “After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my husband being old also?” But when God speaks to Abraham, he says: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?” (Genesis: 18:12-13). The rabbis comment that God omitted Sarah’s mention of Abraham’s age out of concern for their shalom bayit. 

Joe Bobker’s book Shalom Bayis with a Twist of Humor is both insightful and entertaining with stories and tips for a healthy Jewish marriage, sprinkled with humor and Torah anecdotes.

Click here to purchase.

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