Halacha for Thursday 16 Av 5780 August 6 2020

“One Who Finds a Wife Has Found Good”

The Gemara (Berachot 8a) states regarding the verse in Tehillim, “For this let every pious individual pray to you in a time when you may be found”: “Rabbi Chanina said: “In a time when you may be found” refers to one’s wife, as the verse in Mishlei states, ‘One who finds a wife has found good.’” The Gemara continues and states that in Israel, when a man would get married, they would ask him, “One who finds or I have found?” This means that they would ask him which verse applied to him, the verse “One who finds a wife has found good” or the verse “I have found the woman to be more bitter than death”? This means that people would ask a new groom whether the first verse was applicable in which case the match would be good and successful or if the second verse was applicable which would not bode well for the future of this match.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l would quote the Sefer Iyeh Ha’Yam as saying that when a couple’s marriage is unsuccessful, there are commonly fights and arguments among the spouses at which point they decide to divorce. They then make peace and continue living together for a period of time until the next major argument arises at which point they fight again and once again make up. In this way, the wife is considered “lost” from her husband and it is for this reason that the verse states, “I have found the woman,” meaning that each time this happens, the husband must find his wife anew. However, if the woman is a good wife and compatible with her husband, finding such a wife can be classified by the verse, “One who finds,” meaning that it is sufficient for the husband to find such a wife only once and this will be good for him.

Maran zt”l would further explain these verses in the name of his friend Hagaon Harav Yehuda Tzadka zt”l (Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef) that the verse states “And I have found the woman to be more bitter than death” to hint that a woman also hopes for good and compatible husband and when the find is good from both sides and each spouse is happy with his/her find, the verse states, “One who finds a wife has found good.” This is why the verse uses the word finding twice in order to hint that both the husband and wife have found something good. Nevertheless, other times, the verse states, “I have found the woman” hinting to the fact that woman is in fact excellent and the husband has made a good find, however, the husband is a fool and the wife is dissatisfied causing the marriage to be as bitter as death, G-d-forbid.

Once, Maran zt”l spoke at an engagement celebration and said the following: In one of the blessings under the Chuppah, we recite, “You shall surely gladden these beloved friends just as you have gladdened your creations in Gan Eden.” What is the seeming connection between the gladness of Adam in Gan Eden and the joy of a bride and groom? Maran zt”l explained that Adam was extremely happy with his wife Chava because there were no other women in the world at that point and Adam was certain that Chava was the best thing for him. Similarly, a bride and groom must envision as if there are no other men or women in the world and that they are predestined for one another from the essence of their being and in this way, their marriage will be successful and joyful.

In a similar thought, Hagaon Harav Shmuel Yaakov Rubinstein zt”l (author of the Sefer She’erit Menachem and head of the rabbinical court of Paris approximately fifty years ago) told a group of Yeshiva students who came to visit him on Purim a nice explanation of the Gemara in the beginning of Masechet Kiddushin which states that the way of the world is that a man looks for a woman to marry because the woman is considered the man’s lost object and the owner of the lost object is the one who searches for the lost object. He explained that when one loses a monetary bill, when he finds the bill, he picks it up and continues on his way because he knows that this is the bill he has lost. However, if someone happens to be walking in the street and finds money, he does not merely pick it up and go; rather, he continues to look around that area to see if there are more bills that were lost or dropped so that he can pick them up. The same applies to marriage in that if one realizes that one’s wife is one’s “lost object,” he will happily take her home and this will be sufficient for him. However, if one does not believe in the words of our Sages, one thinks to himself that just as I have found this woman, there must be other woman who are compatible to me and maybe, my life might be better with a different woman. Thus, the verse states, “One who finds a wife has found good,” to teach us that when finds a wife once and is satisfied, he has certainly found good. However, if one is constantly searching more and more instead of being happy and investing in what one already has, the verse “And I have found the woman to be more bitter than death” will then apply. (Based on the words of Harav Shlomo Ben-Lulu Shlit”a)

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

Some Details Regarding the Prayers of the Days of Awe

Anyone who appreciates the loftiness of the Days of Awe customarily tries to recite all prayers of these days with much precision and care. There are many Machzorim on the market containing several versions for various texts, some which can be relied upon and others which cannot be relied upon at al......

Read Halacha

Lighting Candles on Rosh Hashanah and the Issue this Year

The Laws of Candle-Lighting on Rosh Hashanah On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we customarily light Yom Tov candles before the onset of Yom Tov similar to the way we light them on Erev Shabbat. If the candles were not lit before the onset of Yom Tov, a woman may even light the candles on Yom Tov i......

Read Halacha

Should One Cry on Rosh Hashanah?

Question: What is the proper way to behave during the prayers of Rosh Hashanah: Should one arouse himself to cry during the prayers in order for Hashem to pity us and grant us all of our requests or should one pray amid great joy? Answer: The Mitzvah to be Glad on Rosh Hashanah The Poskim deli......

Read Halacha


Eating and Washing One’s Self Yom Kippur

Some Laws of Yom Kippur All are obligated to fast on Yom Kippur, including pregnant and nursing women. Any woman whose health is at risk due to the fast should consult a prominent Torah scholar who is well-versed in these laws and he should render his ruling whether or not she must fast. One whose ......

Read Halacha

Preparing for the Day of Judgment

During the days preceding Rosh Hashanah, every single member of the Jewish nation must contemplate his/her actions and perform some sort of self-introspection in order to ascertain how one can improve one’s actions and Mitzvah observance so as to guarantee one’s self powerful defenders o......

Read Halacha

One Should Constantly View Himself as Half Innocent and Half Guilty

Our Sages (Kiddushin 40b) teach us that one should always view himself as half innocent and half guilty. If one performs one Mitzvah, one is praiseworthy, for one has tipped the scale to the innocent side. If one transgresses one prohibition, woe unto him, for he has tipped the scale to the guilty s......

Read Halacha

Repenting for Speaking Lashon Hara and Rendering a Mistaken Halachic Ruling

Question: If I have spoken Lashon Hara (evil slander) about my friend, must I confront him and tell him what I have done in order to request his forgiveness? Also, what is the law regarding a rabbi who has ruled stringently on a matter when, in fact, there is actually room for leniency, must he ask ......

Read Halacha