Vayeira 5770

November 1, 2009

7 min read


Vayeira (Genesis 18-22 )

GOOD MORNING! A pundit once said, "Marriage is grand.... Divorce is a hundred grand!" In this week's Torah portion we have the marriage of Abraham and Sarah, one of the all time great marriages. Perhaps the following words of wisdom from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin will help someone you know have a happier marriage!



  1. Keep your mind on your main goal, which is to have a happy marriage. Say and do what will enable you and your spouse to have a happy marriage. Avoid the opposite. Everything else is commentary.
  2. Keep asking yourselves, "What can we do to have a happy, loving atmosphere in our home?"
  3. Focus on giving, rather than taking. Say and do as many things as possible to meet your spouse's needs.
  4. Keep doing and saying things that will give your spouse a sense of importance.
  5. Frequently ask yourself, "What positive things can I say and do to put my (husband or wife) in a positive emotional state?"
  6. Before speaking, clarify the outcome you want. The meaning of your communication is the response you actually get. If the first thing you say is not achieving your goal, change your approach. Remember that mutual respect and happiness is your real goal.
  7. Show appreciation and gratitude in as many ways as possible. Say something appreciative a few times a day.
  8. Be a good listener. Understand your spouse from his or her point of view.
  9. Be considerate of the feelings and needs of your spouse. Think of ways that you have lacked consideration and be resolved to increase your level of consideration.
  10. Instead of blaming and complaining, think of positive ways to motivate your spouse. If your first strategies aren't effective, think of creative ways.
  11. Give up unrealistic expectations. Don't expect your spouse to be perfect and don't make comparisons.
  12. Don't cause pain with words. If your spouse speaks to you in ways that cause you pain, choose outcome wording, "Let's speak to each other in ways that are mutually respectful."
  13. Be willing to compromise. Be willing to do something you would rather not do in return for similar behavior from your spouse.
  14. Write a list of ways that you have benefited from being married to your spouse. Keep adding to the list and reread it frequently.
  15. Write a list of your spouse's positive patterns and qualities. Keep adding to the list and read it frequently.
  16. Keep thinking about what you can do to bring out the best qualities of your spouse. Reinforce those qualities with words and action.
  17. Focus on finding solutions to any problems that arise. Be solution oriented. Don't just blame and complain. Don't focus on who is more wrong. For a happy marriage, work together to find mutually acceptable solutions.
  18. Remember your finest moments. What did you say and do when you felt best about each other? Increase them.
  19. Look for positive activities you can do together.
  20. Live in the present. What went wrong in the past is the past. You create the present and future with your thoughts, words, and actions right now. Choose them wisely.

Lastly, it takes 2 to argue. It's up to you to have an argueless-marriage! Say nothing until your spouse is through venting and then with a soft voice (as King Solomon said, "A soft voice turns away wrath") tell your spouse, "You've made some good points. I need to think about them. Let's discuss this again later." Don't get drawn into an arguement. Walk away if need be. It's better than fighting.

If you would like more wisdom for a happier marriage, I highly recommend buying Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's Marriage - A wise and sensitive guide to making any marriage even better available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.

For more on "Marriage" go to!


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Torah Portion of the Week

Avraham, on the third day after his brit mila, sits outside his tent looking for guests to extend his hospitality. While talking with the Almighty, he sees three visitors (actually angels of the Almighty). Avraham interrupts his conversation with the Almighty to invite them to a meal. One angel informs him that in a year's time, Sarah, his wife, will give birth to a son, Yitzhak (Isaac).

God tells Avraham that He is going to destroy Sodom because of its absolute evil (the city is the source of the word sodomy). Avraham argues with God to spare Sodom if there can be found ten righteous people in Sodom. Avraham loses for the lack of a quorum. Lot (Avraham's nephew) escapes the destruction with his two daughters.

Other incidents: Avimelech, King of the Philistines, wants to marry Sarah (Avraham's wife), the birth of Yitzhak, the eviction of Hagar (Avraham's concubine) and Ishmael. Avimelech and Avraham make a treaty at Beersheva. Avraham is commanded to take up his son, Isaac, as an offering "on one of the mountains" (Akeidat Yitzhak). Lastly, the announcement of the birth of Rivka (Rebecca), the future wife of Yitzhak.

Do you want to know the reward for listening to the command of the Almighty? This is what the Almighty told Avraham: "... I shall surely bless you and greatly increase your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore; and your offspring shall inherit the gate of its enemy. And all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your offspring, because you have listened to My voice."

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Avraham invites three visitors to stay for a meal with the words:

"I will fetch a morsel of bread that you may sustain yourselves, then go on."

Yet, Avraham does not give them just a crust of bread, he serves them a lavish multi-course feast. Why does Avraham use such a humble invitation? Wouldn't a more descriptive invitation have been more enticing?

In the Talmud (Bava Metzia 87a) the Sages derive from here the principle that the righteous say little and do much. The wicked, however, say much and do little (as we see next week with Efron's false assurances to Avraham when Avraham wants to bury his wife, Sarah).

Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz, of the Mir Yeshiva, comments that talking about what you plan to do is negative. It is superfluous and often counterproductive. Talking is easier than doing. It creates expectations. And then, even with the greatest of intent, things happen which prevent doing. There is pleasure in talking about the good you intend to do, but it is a cheap way of getting honor and approval. Talking changes the focus from doing good for its own sake to doing good for the sake of approval - and there are those who make grandiose promises and then they forget... causing great heartache and pain.


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