Eliezer Finkelman
Eliezer Finkelman

Marital Advice

I just learned a source for a family story.

The source: Bereshit Rabbah 26:4.  Rabbi Hiyyah’s daughter got married.  She said to him, “Abba, say a prayer for me.”

He said, “May you never come back here.”

She had a son.

She said to him, “Abba, say a prayer for me.”

He said, “May you always give a worried sigh.”

She said, “I have had two happy occasions, and I asked you to say a prayer, and you said a curse!”

He said, “I said a blessing.  May you never come back here, because you have peace in your new home.  May you always give a worried sigh. because as long as your son lives, you will worry, “is he drinking? is he eating? Is he going to synagogue?”

The family story:  Our mother recalled that when she got married, her parents told her: “You are getting married, but we want you to know, if you ever have trouble, if you ever have difficulties . . . don’t come back here.”

The point of that surprising end to the sentence: You married a good man.  If you have troubles, work them out with your husband.

I asked my sisters if I remembered the family story right, and they confirmed it.  One sister added: They told her “don’t come running back,” and she didn’t.

Apparently, Mom’s parents either knew the story of Rabbi Hiyyah, or invented it again on their own.

About the Author
Louis Finkelman teaches Literature and Writing at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan. He serves as half of the rabbinic team at Congregation Or Chadash in Oak Park, Michigan.
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