By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
The parashah of Bechukkosai describes the blessings that will be received if we follow the commandments of Hashem: “If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them, then I will provide your rains in their time, and the land will give its produce and the tree of the field will gives its fruit. Your threshing will last until the vintage and the vintage will last until the sowing; you will eat your bread to satiety and you will dwell securely in your land. And I will grant shalom in the land . . .” (Vayikra 26:3–6).
Rashi questions what “I will grant shalom” is adding to all these blessings. He explains that the fact that peace is listed after all the other blessings teaches us that peace is equal to all that proceeds it.
Rabbi Frand (in The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation Tishah B’Av presentation A Time To Heal 5761) presented a powerful suggestion to increase shalom and decrease machlokes based on an idea of the Chofetz Chaim. He explains that every person should have a “shalom fund,” an amount of money set aside for the sole purpose of helping to avoid getting entangled in an argument and to increase shalom. When a matter arises, the money is taken from the fund and the matter is settled without machlokes and without the resentment that is otherwise common in such situations.
As useful as this idea is in a communal sense, it can be even more useful in the home between husband and wife. Your spouse dropped a vase, bought the wrong brand, got a parking ticket, forgot to have the car home when you needed it and you needed to take a taxi . . . . Instead of creating stress, when the money comes from your “shalom fund,” it takes the edge off the incident and reminds you to focus on what is really important.
Let us learn from the lesson of “v’nasati shalom ba’aretz” that shalom is the biggest berachah we can have. Let us try to strengthen our home by increasing shalom between us and our partner, and may we be zocheh together to enjoy our increased state of shalom and the wonderful berachos that Hashem bestows upon us. 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.