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Best Advice Ever

Before the creation of Eve, the first woman, the Torah makes a very important statement. “It is not good for man to be alone.” Based on this statement, it is strongly recommended that one remain married throughout his life. Loneliness is not seen as being in a very positive state. Having a “helpmate,” or partner, sharing in one’s life, provides for a much healthier state of being. The love and encouragement each spouse gives to one another, will allow them to remain happy and content. This is the ideal that the Torah set forth for all human beings. The obvious objection to this position is that too often marriage does not provide this peace of mind. It can be a situation that is one of great strife and discontent. It appears that the high rate of divorce today is directly related to the general attitude of entitlement and the need to “feel good” at all times. Rather than put in the effort to make the marriage work, they go the easier route, and end the relationship.

The best piece of advice I ever received, came nearly forty-eight years ago. When I told my wise, old teacher, Rabbi Starr, that I got engaged, he had a strange reaction. He began interrogating me as to whether I was absolutely sure that this was the woman I wanted to marry. I felt like I was on a witness stand. Finally, he explained that I must remember to do everything possible to make this marriage work. He said never to even think of the word divorce. There may be difficult moments, but you must make every effort to make it work.

I have given this advice to numerous couples over the years. Many have come back and told me that this actually was the best advice ever. Even when I counsel couples who are at the point of divorce, I tell them that they must be honest that they absolutely did everything possible to make that marriage work. The Torah’s wisdom that it is not good for man to be alone, should never be taken lightly.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for more than twenty years. He has been teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach, Old Katamon, Jerusalem, for the nearly seventeen years. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles.
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