I hope everyone had a fruitful week of inner work on the “why” in order to continue to do our part concerning those things Hashem has revealed He wants to repair in us.
This is week fifteen, and I feel like we’ve circled the wagons, completing a cycle, and in some ways, like we’re going back to the beginning. Not coincidentally, as I began to sit to write this week’s challenge, I realized that the fifteenth letter of the Hebrew alef-bet is the samekh, which just so happens to be in the shape of a circle. The root word of סמך samekh (15th letter) means ״to lean upon״, ״to uphold״ or ״to support״. Within the family structure it is the job of the husband and the wife to support one another. The number fifteen is represented by the yod (10) and the hey (5). In Hebrew, husband is איש (eesh) alef-yod-shin and wife is אשה (eeshah) alef-shin-hey.
As couples, we have many things in common–those things that brought us together–and yet we are different. How many times have we heard or said, “I just don’t understand you!” However, many of us rarely stop to think about the fact that the things that make us unique are the very things that are meant to reveal the name and presence of G-d in our in our homes and in the eyes of the world.
This week we want to focus on prayer for our husbands–the priests of our home, and our children–the future generation, from a different frame of mind as I hope you will grasp from the following.
Rabbi Shalom Arush in his book Women’s Wisdom, says this:
A woman’s main strength lies in her power to pray on behalf of her husband and children…the strongest power Hashem blessed women with is their capacity to pray…Through her prayers, a woman can bring her husband to repent, and even transform him from an evil man to a tzaddik (a righteous one). The power given to women to uplift their homes is manifested through their prayers.
Prayer is the epitome of giving…A woman knows how to pray fro her home because she is keenly aware of everything that happens within it; she knows exactly whom and what she should pray for…In comparison, the husband is usually too involved with his dual struggle of making a living and fighting his Evil Inclination. The wife sees the needs of the entire household best; she must take it upon herself to pray for their home.
What reflects that a wife truly loves her husband more than anything? When a wife says to herself, “It doesn’t matter what he does or doesn’t do. I want to fulfill my role; I want to give of myself to the people that I love. I want to learn to be the best possible influence on my husband. I want to understand what I can do to make him happy. I’ll pray that he overcomes all of his shortcomings and that Hashem will help him improve. I’ll give him plenty of encouragement and positive reinforcement.” (pp. 52-53)
As you have read, we women have incredible power to affect our the whole atmosphere of our home, to bring true and lasting change, and truly it starts with our own attitude of our hearts.
Concerning our children, R’Shalom Arush has this to say:
King Solomon, the wisest of all men that ever walked the face of the earth, makes a cogent observation: In the same way the surface of the water reflects an image, one heart reflects another heart. (Proverbs 14:17) The hearts closest to us reflect the us the most. With this invaluable principle in mind, we reach a landmark conclusion with far-reaching ramifications as to child rearing: A child mirrors parents…Before parents begin praying to Hashem that their child should become a great person, they first need to ask Hashem to help them improve in their own behaviour and character traits. (pp. 235-36)
For one final thought on prayer (some of my dear readers will be familiar with this thought on prayer, because this video was played at our congregation not too long ago, but for those who are not) here is Rabbi David Aaron explaining prayer.
Shalom and blessings for a fruitful week!