Can a husband bring down his wife (take her farther from Hashem)?

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  • #1765165

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Rabbonim speak of how a wife can bring down a husband’s Yiddishkeit and closeness to Hashem.

    Is it possible for a husband to bring down his wife’s Yiddishkeit or closeness to Hashem?

    If a man is struggling in Yiddishkeit, is it always the wife’s fault?

    Recently, I had a Rav talk to me about how a wife is responsible for her husband’s mitzvah observance. He said that the wife has a power to lift him up or down. Does that mean that a husband’s closeness to Hashem, or lack thereof, is generally regarded as his wife’s doing or undoing? Would it be disrespectful for me to ask the Rav (or another Rav) this question?

    Thank you

    #1765275

    The little I know
    Participant

    Lightbrite:

    I found your question humorous, and I first wondered whether you were being serious or sarcastic.

    In reality, adults are responsible for themselves, not each other, not anyone else. If someone goes downward, or falls in madraigo, it is their own bechira involved in responding to the challenges of the environment, which may involve others’ behavior. But I found several statements equally appalling, and am serious in questioning whether a real Rav said these things.

    “Rabbonim speak of how a wife can bring down a husband’s Yiddishkeit and closeness to Hashem.” Really? Who are these rabbonim, and how did they say this? How can anyone kidnap someone away from closeness to Hashem?

    “If a man is struggling in Yiddishkeit, is it always the wife’s fault?” Are you joking? So who says viduy on Yom Kippur – only married women, but not their husbands? What ever happened to bechira?

    “Recently, I had a Rav talk to me about how a wife is responsible for her husband’s mitzvah observance. ” So all men’s aveiros are attributable to women? When they divorce, do the women recite “Boruch Sheptorani”? This statement cannot possibly come from anyone who deserves a leadership position in Klal Yisroel who is purportedly a talmid chochom. Are women supposed to be mashgichim over their husbands’ davening with minyan, kviyas ittim, and shmiras einayim? That’s utterly insane, and found nowhere in the Torah. If you can find something relevant in any Torah source, please share it, with citation instead of anonymity. No one says that there is no influence by a spouse, but this never did or will usurp the bechira and responsibility of any Jew anywhere.

    Posing such a question might not be disrespectful if asked innocently. But I would personally be embarrassed to ask a question based on a premise that tests the limits of absurdity.

    #1765309

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “Recently, I had a Rav talk to me about how a wife is responsible for her husband’s mitzvah observance.”
    I think he meant more mitzvas aseh. I don’t know to which talk you refer, but I presume the point was that the wife gets credit for soliciting her husbands mitzvos such as allowing him to learn in yeshiva, reminding him to daven, etc. That speech is quite common and is used for chizuk for women who might be brought down by the fact that the Torah gives more mitzvos to men. I’ve never heard it having anything to do with issurim; are you sure you didn’t just assume that?

    As for the title question, obviously the answer is yes as well as vice versa. People can bring each other down. I don’t believe that was supposed to be the take-away of the talk you heard though.

    #1765331

    Nechomah
    Participant

    I think you have to be careful how you define a “Rav”. A lot of people have thoughts on Torah subjects, but you must know from whom you are getting your information.

    A woman is not responsible for her husband’s mitzvah observance, not the positives or the negatives, unless she is serving him something with bugs in it, but then he is onus (did it without wanting to) and she is at fault.

    A marital advisor I heard speak said that the wife is not supposed to get involved with what minyan her husband goes to (or whether he goes to minyan at all), whether he sits and learns, etc. All she can do is daven that he want to do the mitzvahs and come closer to Hashem. She can create an environment of wanting to grow and going to learn, showing a desire to change, but she is not responsible for him. As stated above, a person is only responsible for him/herself, no one else.

    This is one of the reasons why it is very important for a person in shidduchim to make sure that the person they are dating has similar values of growth and general mitzvah observance as they do. It is not so easy to change these things after marriage.

    #1765330

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    OOh so many questions!
    LB
    “Is it possible for a husband to bring down his wife’s Yiddishkeit or closeness to Hashem?”
    Of course!

    “If a man is struggling in Yiddishkeit, is it always the wife’s fault?”
    Of course not

    “Does that mean that a husband’s closeness to Hashem, or lack thereof, is generally regarded as his wife’s doing or undoing? ”

    I woudn’t go quite that far. People are influenced by their teachers/rabbeim parents friends all these play a role in shaping a person and in a normal situation a wife’s influence superseded them all, but that doesnt mean thats all there is.

    Would it be disrespectful for me to ask the Rav (or another Rav) this question?
    not at all

    TLIK

    “Rabbonim speak of how a wife can bring down a husband’s Yiddishkeit and closeness to Hashem.” Really? ”

    Yes
    “Who are these rabbonim, and how did they say this?”
    almost every single Rav I’ve ever heard speak Parshas Korach, thye love the contras tbetween Korach’s wife and On ben Peles’s ver yclassic speech.

    ” How can anyone kidnap someone away from closeness to Hashem?”
    Lots of ways.. for example, ” here try this forbidden apple the snake told me its really good, try it you’ll like it, don’t be such a wuss I had some, If you dont have any I’m going to cry etc etc” (I’m not saying this ever happened, just an example, the forbidden apple was orlah btw)

    “If a man is struggling in Yiddishkeit, is it always the wife’s fault?” Are you joking? So who says viduy on Yom Kippur – only married women, but not their husbands? What ever happened to bechira?”

    I dont understand the question. Being a meissi (convincing others to do avoda zarah) is an aveira. tha tdoesnt mean the sinner doesnt say vidui

    ” So all men’s aveiros are attributable to women? ”
    nope

    “When they divorce, do the women recite “Boruch Sheptorani”?”
    nope

    Hope that helps1

    now tone it down a notch, take a deep breath you sound unhinged.

    #1765464

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Correction in the title: Meant to say take “him” farther from Hashem and not “her”

    #1765446

    Sam Klein
    Participant

    Sure there are many sins that a wife can get her husband involved that are very bad to do and can C”V bring her husband’s spirituality down way dowwwwn
    I won’t mention them cause I’m sure you can think of many of them yourself.

    Every person has the gift of free-will and as a husband you have the job (more then a wife) to give mussar and stop things that are forbidden before they are done C”V

    #1765477

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Hi everyone… just to clarify, a real life respected Rav did tell me that:

    -A husband’s spiritual level and observance is dependent on his wife (thus connection/closeness to Hashem is up to the wife)
    -The wife has the influence and power in the relationship to bring him down [no mention of the man being responsible for bringing down himself or his wife]

    … Now for context, this talk was in regard to a specific shidduch match. The Rav, I am guessing, was warning me tht aa marriage can make or break a man’s connection to Hashem.

    Looking back at the conversation, this question came up in my mind… wait, is it always the wife’s fault? What if she is doing the “right” things and observing Yiddishkeit according to Torah Laws and her husband gets involved in something bothersome?

    Marriage is already scary and entails so much pressure…

    Anyway, thank you for your honest and sincere answers 🙏🏼

    #1765509

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    My humble opinion

    Yes!

    A wife is called an עזר כנגדו

    the wife has the power to grow her husband and the same power can destroy him and she is really כנגדו because if he wants to grow and she doesn’t want him to she will be כנגדו and he won’t be successful

    Examples are קרח , אחאב, and lehavdil און בן פלס

    #1765534

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    !!!

    Example:
    But what if a wife, who is not perfect, lifts her husband up to a level much higher than he was before marriage. Without her, he would have likely been keeping on keeping less mitzvot. Is she not helping him even though she’s not perfect?

    This example is about a couple that I know. Someone, who learns with this Rav, told me that the husband would be so much higher if only his wife was higher. Based on what I’ve heard, which I admit I don’t know the whole story and wouldn’t be able to judge, since having his wife in his life, he has committed and followed through with major mitzvot (top tenants of living a frum life) that he had no interest in keeping before meeting her.

    Do men and Jews in general judge wives more harshly than the men they are married to?

    As a woman, it sounds like being a wife comes with significant risks if one’s husband would ever dare veer off the path.

    I am not unhinged… I am working on making sense of what I’ve learned.

    Thank you

    #1765540

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Sorry misunderstood the question 😐

    #1765536

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Even though it sounds like a woman has to juggle both the responsibility of her own and also her husband’s observance (beyond Shabbat, Kosher, and TH), maybe it is just a reality that I need to accept (even if it sounds unfair/harsh to me)?

    #1765545

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    Coffee- i think you were right on.
    LB, i think there are some bits and pieces getting jumbled here. If you can wait til i can get to my laptop i might be able to ease a bit of your stress.

    #1765557

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Coffee addict, i value your feedback. All is good… Thank you!

    #1765608

    Redleg
    Participant

    I get the impression that the people who are having difficulty with the question have never been married. I cannot imagine a married man who doesn’t feel that his wife has made him a better person, both religiously and personally. Mrs. Redleg has certainly helped make me so. This is what Eizer Kenegdo means.

    #1765641

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    redleg said it well.
    What I think is getting muddled is the combining of two issues. To say a woman is responsible for her husband’s growth is NOT the same as saying the end results are her doing. We are expected/obligated to foster spiritual growth in our household. We are also capable of setting an environment for either growth or decline. Examples of these would be:
    If a husband has a long day of work and wants to set up a night chavrusa his wife can say, “that would be so wonderful. And I am impressed that you have that energy at the end of a work day” or she can say, “Oh…. is this going to mean I have to wait til 9 to eat supper with you or am I gonna be eating a lone every night”

    These situations come up CONSTANTLY in a marriage. And if going out to learn, taking on new things, being closer to Hashem, sharing struggles is met up with pride, encouragement and respect then it fosters growth. If those attempts are met with grumbling, sighs, resentment etc then it can either cause friction or outright discourage the behavior.( Just think of the teenager who decides to become frum in a hostile home. )

    Now if you encouraged learning and created an atmosphere for growth and shouldered some of the inconveniences (like forgoing walks with your husband on the beach even tho you would love to), then that was your part in it, your responsibility. But that does not mean you are the bearer of the burden of the result. You can be credited for his growth, but it is still his growth. And if he does not grow in the environment even tho you did right, then he fell despite you, not because of you.

    This isn’t a new concept and it is true for raising children as well. We set a tone in the house, we build up our husbands and chose what to give them positive or negative feedback for and decide what corners we are willing to cut for the sake of his growth. And these things can often determine whether or not he grows more, or whether his growth has to be a point of friction between you.

    #1765752

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Redleg and syag,

    I understand lightbrite’s original question as “we all know a woman can change a man but can a man make a woman less Frum or more Frum

    A question which I think wasn’t answered

    #1765757

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    The mashal I heard, which might not work for those unfamiliar with the business world, is the following:
    When a supervisor/manager has employees under him or her doing the grunt work, the manager receives some form of credit for the team’s accomplishments (even though they were done by the subordinates) and some form of backlash for when a team member makes mistakes (even though it wasn’t the manager’s own mistake).

    If you make a mistake, it’s nobody’s fault but your’s, yet it still reflects on your manager. You see the difference between fault and responsibility?

    By the way, I don’t say this in an attempt to start an argument, but the shittah Nechomah heard that a woman should not encourage her husband to make minyan/learn is absolutely not standard in any community I’ve ever heard of. While the OP is representing the rabbi’s talk in somewhat of a controversial way, he is much more in line with the standard approach to marriage. I really can’t imagine a kallah teacher telling a girl “your husband’s observance is none of your business,” or vice versa.

    #1765857

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    🍫Syag Lchochma, thank you!!! I love the way that you offered practical examples of how a wife’s influence can come into play in a marriage. Thank YOU for making the Rav’s words easier to digest.

    Everyone in general – THANK YOU ALSO. You’ve helped me appreciate the Rav’s message and take it to heart. <3

    Shabbat Shalom 🙂

    #1765864

    motchah11
    Participant

    Someone, almost forty years ago, told me there is a gemara that says that a man married a woman tzadekes, and she turned him into a tzaddik. Some time later he lost his wife and remarried, and married a rashanta, who turned him evil.

    But I have never seen it inside, and I don’t know where this alleged gemara is.

    #1765935

    Nechomah
    Participant

    NB, just for the record, I do not believe that I said above that “a woman should not encourage her husband to make minyan/learn”. I merely said that she should not “tell” him that it’s time for minyan, time for his chavrusa, oh he missed davening shacharis, etc. These would be along the lines of Syag’s grumbling comments. And this was not advice given by a kallah teacher to a girl before she gets married, but once married there are changes in the dynamics of the marriage and the woman is not her husband’s keeper. I hope I made myself clearer.

    #1765942

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I know of a few cases where the wife was falling religiously and brought her husband down with her.

    #1765947

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Is it possible or ever believed that the husband was responsible for bringing his wife down though?

    #1765978

    interjection
    Participant

    “I understand lightbrite’s original question as “we all know a woman can change a man but can a man make a woman less Frum or more Frum”

    Of course it goes both ways. When a man and woman live together, they are probably sharing ideas on a regular basis and they influence each other.

    A person is only responsible for his/ her own actions, but the surroundings (especially spouses) do have a major effect.

    #1793485

    Does anyone know the source for Motchah11? It does sound familiar.

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