Shalom Bayis Is of Primary Importance —
Not Who Is Right and Who is Wrong

.. I trust it is unnecessary to emphasize to you at length that the Jewish way of life, together with its customs, etc., is not only very significant in its generalities, but is also significant in all its details and in the very order and arrangement of matters.

In light of this, it is obvious how truly important are peace and harmony between a husband and wife, since the mitzvah of making peace between a husband and wife is counted among the mitzvos whose fruits a Jew enjoys in this world, while the “principal” remains for the World to Come.1

These are mentioned right at the beginning of the Siddur — together with the morning blessings, which are recited even before starting the actual morning prayers.

With this in mind, it will prove somewhat easier to understand that even if one party were to be completely in the right (or almost completely in the right), while the other party were to be completely in the wrong (or almost completely in the wrong), it would still be incumbent upon both parties to do everything in their power to restore peace and harmony.

Certainly this duty becomes paramount in the case of a husband and wife who hold prominent positions in the community, as a result of which other Jews look up to them for example and guidance.

Clearly, an outsider cannot know, nor can he be told, what compelling reasons there might be for such a situation. The outsider can only observe and draw his own conclusions, since he will not inquire about, nor is it possible to inform him of, all the factors and extenuating circumstances, should there be any. Add to this the fact that it concerns a couple, both of whom are active in the sphere of Jewish education.

Moreover, and of course this is also most essential, G‑d has blessed you with children, good children, who require the attention, love and upbringing of both parents. These children are surely entitled to receive what is due them from their parents.

Beyond a shadow of doubt, each of you must do everything possible not to further strain your relationship, but on the contrary, the two of you must endeavor to strengthen your relationship, restoring it to its full unity and harmony.

As to the situation itself, namely, who is right and who is wrong, I cannot, of course, go into this, nor is it necessary in light of what has been said above. For the important thing, as already stated, is to strengthen your family ties, this being the overriding consideration.

However, it would be well if the two of you could find a mutual friend before whom both of you could unburden yourselves in a frank exchange of grievances.

It is possible that an outsider, who at the same time is a friend, might see more objectively and find the best way to straighten things out, and [moreover, do so] as soon as possible, so that once again peace and harmony may reign in your home.

Hoping to hear good news from you,

(From a letter of the Rebbe, written in the year 5730)

Go All Out to Achieve Shalom Bayis

In reply to your letter of the 16th of Kislev:

According to the adjudication of our Rabbis, of blessed memory, concerning the greatness of peace between husband and wife, it is understood that you must try to do whatever you can in order to achieve Shalom Bayis [with your husband]. This is particularly so, as this also has an impact on the happiness of your daughter and your grandchildren sheyichyu.

The Torah commands us [to achieve Shalom Bayis], especially as stressed in Toras HaChassidus and in particular in the well-known Sichah of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, where he states:2

Man was created with both a right and left eye. Looking with the “right eye” means looking in a favorable manner — when looking upon a Jew one must look with one’s “right eye” to see his fineness and goodness, etc.

Since we were so commanded in our Torah, the Torah of Life, we have surely been granted the power and ability to perform this command. And “There is nothing that stands in the way of one’s will.”3

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 66)

Achieving Shalom Bayis by Looking at
One’s Spouse With the “Right” Eye

.. In light of the ruling of our Sages, of blessed memory, about the greatness of peace between husband and wife, it is understandable that as much as possible you should attempt to achieve Shalom Bayis, particularly so since achieving Shalom Bayis will also provide happiness and contentment to your daughter and your grandchildren sheyichyu.

We have been commanded in our Torah — especially as stressed in Toras HaChassidus and in the well-known Sichah4 of my father-in-law, the Rebbe — that man was created with a right eye and a left eye. The right eye, i.e., looking at an individual in a “right” and positive manner, teaches us that we are to view [all] our fellow Jews [and how much more so our spouses] with kindness and benevolence, etc.

Since this has been commanded us by our Torah, the Torah of Life, surely we have been granted the power and capacity to properly perform this commandment. And “There is nothing that can stand in the way of one’s will.”5

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 66)

Achieving Shalom Bayis Entails a Readiness
Of Both Parties to Compromise

.. Furthermore (and of greatest import, and it has a bearing on earning one’s livelihood as well):

It is imperative for the Shalom Bayis between you and your wife to markedly improve. It is therefore necessary that both you and your wife each give in and compromises a bit: do not insist on “winning” and “vanquishing” the other, and being “right,” (v’loi likoneis l’natzchonus) and the like.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, printed in Heichal Menachem III, p. 189)

It Takes Two to Battle

.. By and large in matters such as these [i.e., strife and arguments leading to a lack of Shalom Bayis], as well as with regard to conflicts — strife and war in general — there must be the active participation of both parties.

Thus, when one of the parties realizes that the other party is not taking the conflict to heart, neither being emotionally pulled in nor taking part in the arguments, then little by little, the fierce emotions and the desire for an argument and fight will ebb and ultimately completely fade away.

In your case as well, it is imperative that you contain your emotions and not enter into arguments.

Bearing in mind that women are of a more emotional nature (“Nashim da’atan kalah”)6 and “their tears flow more easily”7 [i.e., they have a more sensitive nature], you should forego those matters that are possible to do without and do not take the remaining matters to heart. As a result, the “good side” will ultimately emerge victorious.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VIII, p. 58)

An Indirect Approach Is More Efficacious
in Reestablishing Shalom Bayis

.. It is well known that with regard to familial matters between husband and wife, an oblique approach rather than a direct approach is more efficacious, as is verily observed.

Another point: an indirect approach minimizes the points of disagreement and arguments [between the couple], and if the possibility but exists to gloss over these differences, or at least to diminish them, so much the better.

This [non-accusatory and non-threatening approach] is very effective [in achieving Shalom Bayis] as it draws the couple closer together. For as the verse states, “As water mirrors the face to the face so does the heart of man to man.”8 This reflective approach [whereby tenderness begets tenderness,] is the natural inclination of each and every human being.

May it be G‑d’s will that the couple merit the [fulfillment of] the saying of our Sages, of blessed memory, that “When a husband and wife are meritorious, the Divine Presence dwells in their midst.”9

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 373)

Achieving Shalom Bayis Should Not Be Regarded as
Necessitating “Inconvenience” or “Self-Sacrifice”

Your letter reached me with some delay.

Although it is difficult to reply in detail to the issues you raised through the medium of a letter, I will, at any rate, answer briefly:

1) Concerning the establishment of a close relationship between two people, especially between spouses, which clearly is one of the most important aspects of human life, especially in the view of our Torah — the Creator, in His infinite kindness, has revealed and given to us certain directives and precepts.

The purpose of these directives and precepts is, on the one hand [i.e., on the positive side], to ensure the conditions under which the couple will be blessed with an abundance of blessings, and on the other hand [i.e., on the preventative side], to guide and protect them from undesirable acts and consequences.

In light of the above, it makes no sense to postpone the [good] things that have to be carried out, nor [does it make sense] to postpone those matters that should not be done, on the assumption that in the end the proper form of conduct will ensue in a measured manner. For, obviously, the Divine blessings are needed immediately in daily life, as is the [need for the] prevention of undesirable consequences.

2) The above would be valid even in a case where the said factors are presumed but not proven, inasmuch as there is so much at stake, while the effort would in fact involve only a certain inconvenience on the part of those who do not yet appreciate the importance of these matters.

Actually, there can be no question about the validity of this approach in the present case, where the Jewish way of life has been tested and proved over the course of thousands of years.

Moreover, Jewish history has shown that those who adhered to the Jewish way of life, in accordance with the will of G‑d, have been able to surmount all difficulties and to survive in the face of great odds, whereas those who chose to deviate from this way of life, even temporarily, suffered serious consequences.

3) Where there is a real desire, and a real feeling for one another, and a real quest for a harmonious life together, one clearly does not allow any inconvenience to get in the way of such important goals that have so great a bearing on one’s life.

Such inconveniences will not be considered a “sacrifice”; on the contrary, the good attained through this effort is all the more laudatory, bringing people closer together.

On the other hand, it is too much to expect of a person who believes honestly and sincerely in these Divine laws and precepts that he or she will compromise on such fundamental issues.

I trust that, without entering more deeply into all the aspects of the situation, the above comments will suffice, for they have a clear bearing on the matter of which you write.

May G‑d grant you the strength to disregard any difficulties and to order your daily life in accordance with the directives and imperatives of our Torah.

And if there really are any problems or any inconveniences involved — of what significance can they be in relation to the inner peace and inner harmony that a Jew attains when he follows in the way of his ancestors, and identifies himself with his great spiritual heritage.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, written in the year 5732)

Problems Regarding Shalom Bayis Connected
With Major Changes in the Couple’s Life

In reply to your letter in which you touch upon all that has transpired from the time you married until the present. You write about the effect this has had upon you, to the extent ... [that you are ready to divorce your husband]:

After reading your letter with due deliberation, my considered opinion is that notwithstanding all the untoward events that have occurred, they do not in any way serve as grounds to destroy, G‑d forbid, a Jewish home [and marriage] — whose purpose is, as stated in the text of the marriage blessings, to be “an eternal edifice.”

This is particularly so, as the [untoward] events transpired during the time that you were in the midst of a major move — not only in the physical sense but also in the spiritual sense. For the move from being single to being married and from Eretz Yisrael to the Diaspora, etc., entails major changes.

[The crucial importance of achieving Shalom Bayis and staying married] is especially understood when considering the great importance of peace in general and Shalom Bayis in particular, to the extent that G‑d decrees that His Name be erased by [placing it in] water so that peace can be brought about between husband and wife.10

You should submit your contentions to a local Rav who adjudicates on a regular basis. Understandably you should do this in the presence of your husband, so that the Rav will be able to hear both sides of the story as related both by you and your husband in each other’s presence, which is crucial in ascertaining the truth.

If the two of you but desire, you can surely find many ways of improving and enhancing your relationship with each other. This [necessary effort to achieve Shalom Bayis] is in keeping with the many directives and statements of our Sages.

Included in the above is the statement we make on a daily basis at the beginning of each day, that [achieving peace between husband and wife is among those matters that one] “enjoys the fruits in this world, while the principal reward comes in the World to Come.”

I hope that you will give due consideration to the above words — few in number [but great in import]; moreover, that you contemplate these words in a manner consistent with the seriousness and importance of the matter [i.e., keeping your marriage intact]. May G‑d grant you success.

With blessings for glad tidings with regard to all the above.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 225)

Problems Regarding Shalom Bayis
Connected With Financial Difficulties

When, with G‑d’s help, your husband’s financial situation will improve, his mood will surely improve as a matter of course. Both of you will then become less sensitive and the disagreements and bickering will evaporate.

In the interim, you on your part should make an effort not to pay attention at all [to your husband’s ill temper and moods]. This as well will serve to dissipate the disagreements and bickering.

[As to your question about the advisability] of accepting a part-time job — it is a sound idea.

(From a written response of the Rebbe, from the year 5731)

Problems Regarding Shalom Bayis
Connected With Differences in Degree of Observance

.. You write about your problem in regard to your relationship with your wife, having been married to her for fourteen years and having been blessed with children. You also indicate that the problem is connected with the observance of the Jewish way of life.

In the latter point lies the answer to your questions:

It is the Jewish way of life that dictates, in accordance with the Torah, that having been married for a number of years and having been blessed with children who are to be brought up to a life of Torah, chuppah and good deeds, it is imperative to do everything possible to preserve the peace and unity of the family to the fullest extent.

At the same time, it is also clear that inasmuch as the Torah is the Jew’s very life, there can be no sacrificing of it even in the hope of preserving the family; for a peaceful and harmonious Jewish family life is possible only if it is based on the observance of the Torah and mitzvos, the very same principle being found in reference to the Torah, “Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.”11

Needless to say, while it is necessary to insist upon the Jewish way of life, this should be conveyed to your wife in a pleasant way, taking her feelings into account, and not giving the impression that there is any desire to “boss” her around or to show her who is the master of the house.

Rather, it should be explained that this is really for the benefit not only of both the parents and the children, but also, no less important, of the entire Jewish people, since the family unit is the very basis of our Jewish people as a whole.

It is a matter of common experience, arising out of human nature, that when two people are involved in a personal disagreement, it is hard for them to discuss their differences dispassionately, and one or the other, or both, may get drawn into a heated debate where things are said which would otherwise not have been said.

Therefore it is customary in such a situation for the matter to be brought before an Orthodox rabbi, one who is experienced in these matters and also bound to treat such matters in strict confidence. Thus, the whole business may be discussed fully and openly in the presence of the rabbi, and hopefully straightened out in accordance with his guidance.

I would like to add one important point, which is that a Jew who accepts the Jewish way of life in his daily life, even where this is not spontaneous but has come about through the influence or even persuasion of another, sooner or later he will come to realize the truth.

The truth of the matter is, that all this was for his ultimate benefit, and whatever his original feelings might have been — even if he was reluctant or resentful, he will certainly be most grateful for being so influenced, as this has set him on the path of truth and true happiness.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, written in the year 5735)

Who Is to Make Concessions In Matters of Religious Observance

I am in receipt of your letter, in which you write about your background and also about the change in your way of life, since you were raised in an environment which was not one hundred percent Orthodox; however, in due course you underwent a change and became more observant of the Jewish way of life, and this has created friction between you and your husband.

I can well understand that your husband, who has not gone along with you on this path, or at any rate, has lagged behind, may sometimes be somewhat dissatisfied that his partner in life has made greater progress, while he has not yet found the strength to follow suit. On the other hand, in such a case it is clear who has to make concessions in order to avoid friction.

It is in fact easier for the non-religious person to make the concession, inasmuch as this does not involve any transgression or sin [on his or her part], or even any strong conviction or burden of conscience; at the very most it might involve certain inconveniences.

On the other hand, for the religious person, a concession means a breach of strong religious feelings and of convictions that go to the very core of the soul.

From the above it follows that your spouse will eventually change his attitude, especially if you follow the ways of the Torah, which are ways of pleasantness and peace.

The above holds true as long as your spouse perceives that there is no attempt by the other party to be domineering, but that the other party is motivated only by strong feelings and the conviction of having found the truth, and consequently want to see a near and dear person share in this new-found truth.

May G‑d grant that all the difficulties and friction will soon disappear, and that you and your husband may mutually go along the path of truth, the way of the Torah and mitzvos, with joy and gladness of heart.

May you together bring up your children to a life of Torah, chuppah, and good deeds, in good health and ample sustenance.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, written in the year 5725)

Difficulties of Shalom Bayis Are Often
Less Problematic Than First Imagined

.. I was unhappy to note — as indicated by the content of your letter — that your bitachon in G‑d, something that is expected from every Jewish daughter and particularly from a Chassidic woman, is somewhat lacking. Inevitably, this has an effect on your health and on your household.

Every Jewish man and woman must constantly remember that just as G‑d conducts the world as a whole — the macrocosm, so, too, does He conduct the microcosm that is each and every one of us.

Just as G‑d has a say in the world as a whole, so does He surely have a say in the microcosmic world of each individual. We are to rely on Him, realizing that He surely directs all matters in a positive and goodly direction.

This [positive direction] should not be impeded by evincing a lack of bitachon in blessed G‑d, nor by matters that are not in accordance with the Torah, one of which is the lack of proper Shalom Bayis.

Until after the arrival of Mashiach,there exists no individual who can possibly be perfect — devoid of all flaws. Thus, beyond a shadow of a doubt, just as the one person is flawed, so too is the other.

Just as we have no desire to have our own flaws revealed and pointed out, so too should we not emphasize and magnify the faults of others. The above holds true with regard to all Jews; how much more so with regard to husband and wife.

My purpose here is not to admonish you, but to make you aware that the situation is not as harsh and problematic as you imagine. Moreover, your situation is not as uncommon as you think.

Each of you should gloss over certain [negative] matters, for surely you would do better to [concentrate on and] find those ways that lead to enhanced Shalom Bayis.

When Shalom Bayis reigns, it serves as the receptacle into which G‑d pours His blessings and success, accompanied by good health, ample sustenance, and nachas from children.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 61)

Problems of Shalom Bayis Are Often a Consequence
Of Difficulties Regarding Earning a Livelihood

In reply to your letter in which you describe the [negative] state of the relationship, etc.:

Unfortunately, yours is not an exception; a similar situation exists in tens and tens of homes.

Experience has shown that the best way to ameliorate the situation is by not placing undue emphasis on this, and surely not to exacerbate the situation with sharp and cutting remarks.

Producing this positive change of behavior within oneself is easier than one imagines, as one sees how this positive manner of behavior leads in a very short time to goodly and beneficial results.

This is particularly so, since in very many instances, the true and inner reason for negativity and dismal moods and attitudes towards the other spouse stems from difficulties or stress with regard to earning a living.

It is human nature that at times such as these, the stress is expressed to a greater extent within the relationship that one has with those with whom one is close, rather than with those who are more distant or even strangers. Indeed, there are very few exceptions to this manner of conduct.

When you ponder and consider well the goodness that G‑d has granted you in the past few years, true and persisting goodness, this will strengthen your trust and assuredness that G‑d will surely continue to shower you with kindness and goodness.

You yourself will then come to the realization how small and inconsequential were these unpleasant chance incidents in comparison to the many kindnesses that G‑d has shown you.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 42)

Do Everything Possible to Achieve Shalom Bayis

It saddened me greatly to hear that the misunderstanding between your son sheyichye and his wife tichye has yet to straighten itself out. I am even more upset to hear that they are still living apart and that there are even those who speak of the possibility that they will divorce.

As you surely are able to influence your son, I therefore find it obligatory to write to you that you must realize that we are dealing here with a matter that will affect your son throughout his entire life. Thus, for you as well — as his parents — this matter is a life issue.

You must throw yourself into this matter and see to it that Shalom Bayis exist between your son and his wife, so that they construct a normal family life. They should live their lives independently, neither with her parents nor with his parents. This will make it easier for them to strengthen their Shalom Bayis, living their lives in a manner that is appropriate for a Jewish family.

I have heard about the various reasons that are offered as the cause of the difficulty in reestablishing Shalom Bayis. I have also heard the reasons your son related to me when he was here.

However, after all these reasons, I feel obligated to point out that we are dealing here with a life-matter relating to two young people. It is thus forbidden to mix other issues into this matter.

We must also remember that which our sacred Torah teaches us: G‑d says that in certain circumstance His Sacred Name may be erased so long as it is done in order to establish Shalom Bayis between husband and wife.

This itself leads us to understand how great is the danger to all who place obstacles in the path of Shalom Bayis and how tremendously great is the reward for those who assist in reestablishing the Shalom Bayis between husband and wife.

I surmise that since you are parents who desire the happiness of your children, I need not elaborate further regarding this matter. I trust that you will do everything possible to reunite your son with his wife and rebuild their Shalom Bayis.

May G‑d help you that as a result of your efforts, you be blessed with good health and Yiddishe nachas from these children as well as from your other children.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 433)

When Lack of Shalom Bayis Is a Result of Gossip and Slander

.. According to your description of the present state of your relationship with your second wife, and after having set forth all your complaints and all that transpired in your arguments, I am of the opinion that all the above lacks sufficient grounds and is merely a conflict of words.

Surely among the causes [of your difficulties with regard to Shalom Bayis] are that certain other individuals are meddling as well as spreading lashon hara [slanderous gossip] and the like.

Accordingly, it is my considered opinion you that should seek various means and approaches to bring about a rekindling of affection between you and your wife.

If at all possible, it would be best that you move your place of residence, so that you are not together with those whom one may suspect are spreading gossip and exaggerations. After that, one may look forward to a gradual warming of the relationship and a diminution of disharmony, until ultimately peace and tranquility will reign in your midst.

Understandably, in keeping with the saying of our Sages, of blessed memory, that “a women’s tears flow more easily”12 [i.e., they have a more sensitive nature], your words should be soft and gentle and will thus be more readily received.

[When you active in the above manner, you will perceive how] “And a soft response subdues anger”13 — even when there are grounds for the anger, and particularly in this instance when there are no real grounds, merely hurt feelings that resulted from mere utterance of words.

[Moreover,] our Sages, of blessed memory, have stated14 that “a second marriage is in accordance to one’s deeds.”

Aside from the simple meaning, one may infer from this that in a second marriage the relationship depends on one’s actions to a much greater extent than in a first marriage — since the second marriage is primarily according to one’s deeds.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. III, p. 438)

Priestly Efforts to Achieve Shalom Bayis

In reply to your letter of the 19th of MarCheshvan: I was astonished to read that you are angry (bi’kepeida) at your wife. Although our Sages, of blessed memory, do state that Kohanim tend to be irritable (kapdanim),15 [nevertheless, this should not be so in the present situation]:

Firstly, you need not embark on your service as a Kohen with this trait — there are so many [Kohanic] matters that take precedence. Additionally, this matter of irritability with others is out of place. Why use this trait with regard to another, when a person is closest to himself [and if you need be irritated, then be irritated at your own faults]?

This is particularly so when your ire has been aroused not regarding a stranger but regarding [your wife], the one individual who makes you complete and who transforms you from “it is not good [for man to be alone...]” into [“one who finds a wife, finds] good.”

Possibly, you still remember what I related to you concerning an individual [who was having problems with Shalom Bayis], at which time I mentioned that the state of one’s Shalom Bayis has an impact on one’s sustenance, as in the Mishnah, conclusion of [tractate] Uktzin and in Likkutei Torah, conclusion of the section of Berachah.

If it is necessary — according to the Torah — to make an effort via natural means to earn a livelihood, surely one must be diligent in those matters [such as Shalom Bayis] which, according to the Torah has an effect on one’s earning a living. It surely is unnecessary to go on at greater length about a matter that is so obvious.

I merely want to draw your attention to the fact that with regard to matters such as these, [i.e., controlling one’s temper, becoming irritable, etc.,] although people consider them trivial and picayune, it is specifically such matters that are the true test as to what extent an individual is truly a chassid — as is to be understood from many holy Sichos.

May it be G‑d’s will that in the immediate future you inform me that you have begun [not merely to make a perfunctory effort in this direction, but rather that you have begun] working on yourself in this area, at which time you will [see that you will] also merit [that you will be able] to inform me that your efforts are meeting with success.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 87)

Baseless Love as Remedy for Shalom Bayis
Even When There Are Legitimate Complaints

I received your letter dated Sunday, Parshas Behaaloscha, in which you describe the situation in your household — that this is your second marriage (your first marriage ended in divorce) and that the state of Shalom Bayis is not as it should be.

You do not write in detail about the divorce of your first wife, whether she also desired it or was forced into it. If it was the latter and you do not know where she is presently to ask her personal forgiveness, then you should assemble a quorum of men and ask her forgiveness before them.

Other things to do to enhance your Shalom Bayis: Check the mezuzos in your home. Act with forbearance to the greatest degree possible.

Also known are the sayings of our Sages that women are of a more emotional nature (“Nashim da’atan kalah”)16 and “their tears flow more easily”17 [i.e., they have a more sensitive nature], and “Is it not sufficient that they save you from sin?”18 and particularly since they raise your children.

Additionally, you write that your son learns in a yeshivah of Lubavitch — surely your wife has a share in this, for as you yourself write: she has always assisted you, etc. Moreover, “a second marriage is in accordance with one’s deeds.” 19

When you will act in this manner, it is hoped that your Shalom Bayis situation will improve and you will be able to convey glad tidings in this regard.

You should observe [the custom of] reciting Psalms (at least as it is divided according to the days of the month) each day following morning prayers — any addition to this is to be lauded. You should also study each day the daily section of the weekly Torah portion together with the commentary of Rashi.

Also, find friends who will influence your wife and children so that everyone will become closer to one another.

Even if — according to what you write — you have many legitimate complaints about your wife, one must always remember that the present exile resulted from the sin of baseless hatred.20 Consequently, the rectification of this matter is through baseless love.

That is to say, that we are to love a person even when this love is not at all warranted, and not even warranted according to the Torah. Nonetheless, [baseless] love of one’s fellow is required commensurate with the degree of baseless hatred — the reason why “we were exiled from our land and driven far away from our soil.”21

When each and every individual in your environs will conduct himself in this manner, this will have a corresponding effect on his portion in the world. And when the entire Jewish nation shall conduct themselves in this manner, this will refine the entire world, thereby drawing down the immediate revelation of Mashiach, as explained in chapter 37 of Tanya, see there.

You surely give tzedakah at least on Mondays and Thursdays. It would be appropriate for you to do so on a daily basis prior to the Shacharis prayer, (except, of course, on Shabbos and Yom Tov).

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 143)

A Marriage That Received a Rebbe’s Blessing
Facilitates Shalom Bayis

In reply to your letter of Sunday, Parshas Pekudei, in which you notify me that there is a lack of Shalom Bayis between you and your wife, and you ask my advice as to what you should do:

Since my father-in-law, the Rebbe, blessed your marriage with a blessing of mazel tov, and the words of tzaddikim are eternal, you should therefore appease your wife and explain to her the above.

Surely, if there be a need, the elders of Anash will assist you in establishing a state of peace between the two of you.

Through calm words and acts that will draw you closer to each other, you will surely find the path to her heart and there will be peace and tranquility in your domicile, and the two of you will be blessed with healthy and viable children.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXI, p. 121)

It pained me to hear that — for the time being — there is a lack of Shalom Bayis in your home. I hope that what I heard is not true, or at least only a short-lived situation. Please write to me about this (in whatever language is most convenient for you).

In any event, I wish to remind you that the Rebbe, my father-in-law, of blessed memory, blessed your marriage with your husband with a blessing of mazel tov. You and your husband must therefore serve as fit receptacles to receive this blessing; you should have a warm Chassidic home blessed with healthy and viable children.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXI, p. 122)

Shalom Bayis Is Accomplished by Concessions Made
by That Individual for Whom Concession Is but
an Inconvenience, Not a Matter of Principle

In reply to your letter of the 4th of Sivan, in which the two of you write about the problems that have developed between you as a result of differences regarding your beliefs in [the authenticity of] the Torah and its commandments; [the husband believing in the authenticity of the Torah and its mitzvos and the wife claiming that she does not].

Moreover, [you write that] these difficulties are particularly severe, to the extent that they have affected the state of your Shalom Bayis:

(a) It is important to bear in mind that in such a situation, when a religious and believing individual is forced not to perform mitzvos, then this has a strong effect on his conscience as he is forced to act against his beliefs and religion.

On the other hand, when a person who is — according to her thinking — not religious and not a believer and nonetheless performs mitzvos, it does not go against her conscience and principles — it merely involves inconvenience and the like. For example, this may cause her to refrain from eating non-kosher food; however, there are so many kosher foods that she is able to eat, among them delicacies, etc.

Shalom Bayis is one of the most lofty and important ideals — particularly when husband and wife have been blessed with children. For it is obvious how important it is for the children to grow up in a home where peace reigns, and to grow up in a whole home, a home where there is both a father and mother.

Therefore, it is patently obvious that even when it is necessary — to use the familiar expression — to forego important matters, and surely when it merely involves foregoing conveniences, that this be willingly done in order to establish Shalom Bayis, and particularly for the sake of the children.

Moreover, this is to be done with joy and gladness of heart, not with a feeling that a supreme sacrifice is being made under pressure, etc. Rather, the feeling is one that they are doing yet another good thing for the sake of the home and for the benefit of the children, in addition to it being for the benefit of the parents themselves.

The conclusion from the above points is clear and simple. It is my hope that at the earliest possible opportunity, the wife — who thinks she does not believe — will forego her comfort and do all she can to establish Shalom Bayis — moreover, [not only to establish Shalom Bayis, but] to strengthen the Shalom Bayis [that has been established], and to do so, as stated above, with joy and gladness of heart.

With blessings for glad tidings with regard to all the above — and the sooner the better.

P.S. Understandably, I must make my position known regarding your [i.e., the wife’s] writing that you are not a believer.

I will preface my remarks by stating that human beings possess the ability and free choice to change their deeds, speech and thoughts. However, people are incapable of changing their essence.

The essence of each and every member of the Jewish people — the heritage of all generations [of Jewry] — is belief in the G‑d of Israel, a simple and total belief.

[This belief] defines, affects and is the soul of the entire individual, affecting all his limbs and organs, although — as mentioned above — the Creator of man desired to provide him with free choice to conduct himself with regard to his deeds and speech in a manner that either is or is not consonant with his essence.

We understand from the above that ultimately the essence and foremost aspect [of the individual] triumphs over the [superficial] layers that conceal the essence, layers that result from [deficient] education, [inappropriate] environment, or many, many other external factors.

(Nitzutzei Or, p. 98)