Building a New World
It often seems that society is so sick, so lost, so corrupt that there is no chance of rehabilitation. But is that really so? Rabbi Arush offers a solution to heal our society.
Translated from Rabbi Arush’s feature article in the weekly Chut shel Chessed newsletter. The articles focus on his main message: “Loving others as yourself”.
Choose Only One Thing
Do you know the feeling of being so frustrated by reality that you want to wreck it completely and start afresh? There are neighborhoods in Jerusalem built so shockingly badly that it seems there is no way to make them suitable for our lives today. The only solution seems to be to destroy them and rebuild them from scratch.
Sometimes it’s a project you are working on that has gone wrong, a work of art that you have invested much effort in. Sometimes it’s really your entire life. You would like to dismantle it all and start from the beginning, avoiding all the mistakes you now know you made. Sometimes it’s the entire world. You feel that there is no possibility of repairing it, and it has to be destroyed, so to speak, and rebuilt.
The problem is that even when you rebuild something, you cannot be sure that you will not repeat your mistakes…
But let’s say you could rebuild the world, and you could choose only one thing that will certainly be corrected in this world – what would you choose? What is the most important thing for the existence of the world, for mankind and for the lives of each and every human being?
The Creator’s Choice
The truth is, that one doesn’t have to think too hard. The Creator has already told us the answer. He did it himself. The Creator saw a ruined world, destroyed it and rebuilt it anew. And when he built the new world, he had only one demand: Faithfulness and loyalty!
Being faithful is the secret of the world’s existence.
To be loyal and faithful – husband to wife, wife to husband.
The Creator demanded faithfulness even from the animals. About them, too, it says, “man and wife” – “From all the clean animals take for you seven-seven, man and his wife, and from the animals that are not clean two, man and his wife.” It is very unusual to call animals “man and his wife.”
It is true that animals do not have to show faithfulness, but when constructing a new world, Hashem yitbarach wanted to build the world only with those who had not been unfaithful and had not corrupted their ways, as Rashi says. This is the basic prerequisite for the new world, so that there will be at least some chance of having a repaired reality.
If you are not pleased with your life, you don’t have to destroy it and rebuild it anew. You can refurbish it, if you will only bring faithfulness and loyalty back into it. If only you will be truly faithful to your wife, and if only you will be truly faithful to your husband. The Torah belongs only to the Jewish People, but the matter of loyalty is universal. Even the Noahides (Bnei Noach)are forbidden to have relations with a married woman, because tarnishing loyalty is not only against Torah, but works against the world’s continued existence.
Even if there was no Torah and no mitzvot, one’s integrity compels one to be faithful and true. We see, most unfortunately, that the more the issue of loyalty and faithfulness is eroded and ruined – the more society suffers, falls apart, is sick, loses its direction, doesn’t know who the enemy is and who is an ally, what is good and what is bad. Society becomes completely disoriented …
To Give the Soul and the Heart
Loyalty obligates you to guard your eyes. Women, even those who are not Torah-observant, tell my wife how it pains them to see their husbands looking at other women. Not only an actual forbidden act is called a p’gam – a blemish in one’s soul, but even if you give your heart and your love and your attention to someone else, that too is extremely damaging to your loyalty, because the main point of loyalty is the internal loyalty and commitment, the love, the heart.
And faithfulness obligates you, the woman, to be modest, not only in your way of dress but also in your speech, in your perfume, in your behavior. Reserve yourself for your husband alone. Don’t sell your valuable loyalty short. For a bit of attention, for getting noticed, for the illusion that someone is looking at you…
This is true not only for married people, but for singles as well. Even if you are single, even if you are a young man – you have a mate waiting for you, who will show up at the right time. Reserve your love and your heart for your mate. And even if you, young woman, are single, you have a mate waiting for you. Reserve yourself only for that mate.
And when one remains faithful in one’s youth, one will have the privilege of starting a family quickly. Why? Because he was loyal to her, and she was loyal to him. Their loyalty is complete and so they find their other half very easily. Their home is fully built and healthy and whole.
But when he sullies the relationship and she sullies the relationship – there is no faithfulness, and when there is no faithfulness, everything is shaky and they move further and further away from each other. Walls rise between them and it’s very hard for them to find each other, not to mention maintain the relationship long-term.
And certainly, if you are married. As mentioned, do not spread your love. It belongs to your wife. And you too, wife – do not look for attention from any person other than your husband.
Loyalty is the Secret of Joy
Last week we spoke of the love between man and wife being the foundation stone of the world, and we see it once again in parsha Noah. A good world is a world in which the spouses are best friends, “loving friends”.
That is what we bless the bride and groom under the chuppa (wedding canopy): “Grant abundant joy to these loving friends, as You bestowed gladness upon Your created being in the Garden of Eden of old”.
The holy couple are “loving friends”, a love that doesn’t exist anywhere else, with any other person. And they are also friends – the best and closest friends, and there is no such friendship in the world.
But that is not enough, because one may ask: Why is it necessary to write “as You bestowed gladness upon Your created being etc.”? Bless them that they should be loving friends and nothing more. Why are examples and demonstrations needed?
But that is an integral part of the blessing. Adam and Eve were alone in the world. There was no woman other than Eve and no other man other than Adam.
Complete joy depends on there not being anyone else in your life.
And today, too, when the world contains billions of people, men and women – a couple that wants true joy must live like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. You have to know that there is no other woman, you don’t see any other woman, no other woman exists for you. You know only one woman in the whole world – your wife. And you, wife, have to know that there is no other man; no one else can provide you with love and warmth, no one else is allowed to want you or look at you. There is only one in the world. Your husband.
And, of course, that means that it is forbidden to compare the spouse to anyone else. If there is no other man and no other woman, there’s no point in comparing your spouse to anyone else. Because true joy is only the joy of he who is satisfied with his lot. And only when you don’t compare, can you be truly satisfied with your lot.
And so, faithfulness brings about real and deep joy!
And that is the beginning of the Torah. The Torah starts with the building of the world through marriage, through “be fruitful and multiply”, which means good children who are born only to mutually loyal parents who maintain a healthy and holy relationship, as mentioned in Sefer Hachinuch. And that is the beginning of our task to be faithful and to observe the laws of the brit and modesty. This opens the way to the world’s continued existence and to the study and observance of the entire Torah.