By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
When Hashem sent the Jewish nation out of Egypt, he did not take them through the land of the Philistines. The Torah says that they could have gone out through the desert or through the Philistine land. The Philistine land had food and shelter, but there was a danger in going that way. The Jews were already at the 49th level of impurity and the Philistine land would be a negative influence. That risk was too much, so Hashem decided that it was better to take them through the desert and provide food and shelter for them by other means.
The Chofetz Chaim says that this is an answer to all the people who find livelihood through inappropriate means, such as by selling things that are not fitting for a Jewish person or by working in an environment that is not proper for a Jew. If Hashem could bring down food from the heavens to satisfy the Jews in the desert because He did not wish to take them through a land that would be a negative influence, certainly Hashem can provide livelihood for those who refrain from earning a living in ways contrary to the Torah.
When a person tries to build his marriage using means that are not in accordance with the Torah, he is treading on a slippery path. There are things, places, and activities that are proper for a religious person and are great tools to build a marriage and to create a Jewish home. Unfortunately, there are also too many things out there that have no place in building a marriage.
The basis of our marriages is meant to be al taharas ha’kodesh—on a foundation of holiness—and we need to remember that doing our part to build our marriages is effective only if done in a kosher and appropriate way, filling our homes with what Hashem would want to see there. Ultimately, Hashem provided food and shelter for the Jews in the desert and can also provide for us and enable us to have the most wonderful marriages. v
Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00–11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail firstname.lastname@example.org.