Halacha for Wednesday 18 Elul 5778 August 29 2018

Peace in the Home

One of the sins we must repent for is hurting others. One must be especially careful not to hurt the members of one’s household; indeed, all family members must take care not to hurt one another. The Ritba famously explained that the Torah’s command “Do not harm one another” primarily refers to a husband not hurting his wife.

Once, the saintly Rav Yechiel Michel of Zlatchov inherited a very valuable and expensive pair of Tefillin from his father (the Maggid, Rav Yitzchak of Darhovitz). Wealthy Chassidim wanted to purchase these Tefillin for a handsome sum, however, Rav Yechiel Michel did not agree to sell his heirloom, despite his difficult financial situation. His wife tried to convince him to sell the Tefillin in order to help support their family since he had another pair with which he would pray, however, Rav Yechiel Michel adamantly refused to sell the precious Tefillin.

One year, Etrogim for the Sukkot holiday could not be procured. On Erev Sukkot, a man appeared in town holding a truly magnificent Etrog for sale and he wanted a large sum for it. Rav Yechiel Michel felt he had no choice but to sell his father’s prized Tefillin for which he received a handsome sum in return. He then used this money and purchased the Etrog with great joy.

When his wife found out about this, she became very angry at him and told him “Your children are hungry for bread and you still did not sell the Tefillin but for an Etrog, now you sold it?!” In her rage, she grabbed the Etrog and bit the Pitom off, thus invalidating it.

Rav Yechiel Michel did not utter a word and did not even show any sign of anger or resentment. Rather, he quietly whispered to Hashem: “Master of the Universe! I no longer have the beautiful pair of Tefillin nor do I even have a valid Etrog anymore. Nevertheless, I accept your decree with love! I shall not get angry and I shall not disturb the peace in my home!

On the night of the Sukkot holiday, his saintly father appeared to him in a dream and revealed to him that his last action of overcoming his anger and resentment made a tremendous impression in Heaven and from now on, Hashem would shower him with an abundant livelihood and he would lack nothing. (Anaf Etz Avot, page 62)

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