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The Wife's Ten Commandments for a Happy Marriage

by Mrs. Esther Piekarski


Library » Intimacy » Marriage | Subscribe | What is RSS?


When Eliezer sought a wife for our forefather Isaac, prior to even asking Rebecca her name, he offered her gifts: two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.

These allude to the two Tablets which contained the Ten Commandments.

Why did he give her these gifts at the very start? After all, he had been given signs to look for. The signs were there (she watered his camels, unasked). He saw she was kind; he saw she was pretty; he saw she was strong and healthy.Yet all this didn't tell him enough. What gave him the crucial information he was seeking? What was paramount? - The fact that he offered her the jewelry and she accepted it. Why?

Acceptance of these gifts verified the most important prerequisite for a wife of Isaac: "Do you accept a life guided by the laws of the Torah?" If she would not accept the two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels (symbolizing the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments, which in turn symbolize the entire Torah), there would be no point in asking her to marry Isaac.

The jewelry was, in a sense, the marriage contract - each of the Ten Commandments a condition thereof.

Every story told about our forefathers is a sign for the children, i.e. a lesson on how we should behave.

The Ten Commandments given to the Jews at Mount Sinai became the Ketubah, the marriage contract, between Hashem (the groom) and the Jewish people (the bride). Just as Rebecca agreed - as a prerequisite to marriage, to keep the Torah - so too must we accept and keep the Torah for the sake of our marriage with Hashem.

Let's see what the Ten Commandments can teach us about our  individual marriages today...

The Ten Commandments


Let there be no doubt

In my work teaching Family Purity and counseling couples, I have met many people who feel uncertain they are married to the right person. They may have been married for decades, but they are still not quite 100%... sure. Some were sure at a certain time, but then doubt crept in. "Was I too rushed or immature when I made my decision?" "Is he the right person?"  "Would I be happier with someone else?" "Did we both grow in different directions, become different people, in the years since our wedding?"

YES, you were immature when you got married but that is a good thing: You met when you were younger, still flexible, and you grew up together. He IS the right person, yes, as proven by the fact that you now find yourself married to him. You DID both grow and change since your wedding, but if you keep each other involved in the changes and the growth, they only serve to make you more interesting to each other.

Make no mistake: doubt can kill any good marriage; I hate to think what it can do to a shaky one. I have had experiences with women who became contented wives once it was determined that THIS IS IT: the man you are married to is the one you are intended to stay with, work with, live with, raise children with, pay bills with, figure things out with, grow old with and greet Moshiach with - this man and only this man.

The basis of keeping the mitzvahs is believing in Hashem Echod (the ONLY G-d).

Anochi means "I" in the Egyptian language. Now why would Hashem start the Torah, indeed the very first of the Ten Commandments, in a foreign language and not in the Holy Language, i.e. Hebrew?

At that time, we, the Jewish people had just come out of Egypt. Although we used our Hebrew language, Egyptian had also become quite familiar to us. Hashem, our groom, was looking for a common language -- some common ground with which to start off the relationship. This holds a lesson for us all.


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Life Cycle » Marriage » Married Life

(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
(Plural form of "bracha.") Blessings. A Jew is required to recite a bracha before gaining any sort of benefit or pleasure such as eating or drinking (and usually afterwards as well); or before fulfilling a Mitzvah (commandment).
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Second of the Jewish Matriarchs. Wife of the Patriarch Isaac, and father of Jacob. b. 1675 BCE, d. 1553 BCE.
1. A Hebrew priest and scribe, who, together with Nehemiah, revived Judaism in the 4th century BCE. He was instrumental in the building of the 2nd Temple. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which describes the events of Ezra's lifetime.
Wedding canopy. Under this canopy, the groom betroths the bride with the customary ring, and the traditional marriage benedictions are recited.
The soul of a Jew. This soul belongs to anyone who was born to a Jewish mother or converted according to the dictates of Jewish Law. The soul is a spark of G-d Himself.
The wedding contract which features the husband’s various obligations to his wife. The focal point of the document is the financial compensation due to the wife in the event of the marriage’s dissolution through divorce or widowhood.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.
Family Purity
Laws relating to intimacy between husband and wife. The primary point of Family Purity is the woman's purifying immersion in a ritual bath which allows the couple to resume intimate relations after the woman's menstrual period.