Kenneth Cohen

Shalom Bayit

The incident of the Sotah, the woman suspected of being unfaithful to her husband, is found in Parshat Naso. This is the only commandment in the Torah that is decided by something supernatural. The determination of the woman’s guilt or innocence, depends on her reaction to drinking the Sotah waters. If she is innocent, she is blessed with an easy birth, and beautiful baby boy. If she is guilty, her stomach explodes and she dies.

We learn a great deal from here about the importance of Shalom Bayit. It is so important that for it, we even erase the holy name of Hashem, with its ink being part of this concoction. We also see that the husband’s suspicions of his wife, are considered a positive thing. The רוח קנאה, “the spirit of jealousy,” that he feels, are viewed by the Rabbis as רוח טהרה, “a spirit of purity.”

There must not be secrets between a husband and wife. They must not allow anything to upset the strong bond they are meant to have. And they must keep their home, holy and pure. They cannot allow any form of impurity in the home from outside sources.

This is something that must not be compromised. If there is questionable or inappropriate behavior, it must be dealt with immediately. Once things are sorted out, they can resume building this bond, and as we see, they will ultimately be blessed. A happy and meaningful marriage takes hard work. The willingness to make this effort and asking for Divine assistance will reap great rewards for years and years to come.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at