Thursday, March 27, 2008

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by Akiva at Mystical Paths

A reader wrote, "I loved your latest cross-post. BUT MY SPOUSE WON'T BUDGE! I'm in a pickle. The Jewish Agency is offering the best stimulus package for new and returning immigrants/olim, even for a SPLIT ALIYA (which means one of two spouses). And the picture of Mr. Ederi had a smile that was just intended for me! I saw it in his eyes, as if he were speaking directly to me! My spouse is so tired of listening to me threaten to go ... but what can I do????

I'm super-tired of being here.

Languishing in Chutz L'Aretz"

Dear Languishing,

As I noted in my previous article, I'm not going to discuss the merits of living in Eretz Yisroel, nor those who take various positions for or against (such as the Satmar rebbe's). I will refer you to the sefer Eim Habanim Semecha.

But you asked two other questions which bear discussion. First, you have a major disagreement with your spouse on future life direction (to be in Israel or to stay in your current circumstance), how should you handle that? Second, you want to change your spouse's opinion on this major religious matter, how can you do that?

On the first, the physical world does a wonderful job being very physical. The human mind and body are programmed to build patterns into routines and filters. (This is why, for example, people in New York City can sleep through an immense amount of street noise, it's part of their normal pattern and therefore gets filtered out of their attentive consciousness.) The chachamim were and are amazingly aware of this relatively new area of brain science, and we see incredible wisdom in advice on how to make certain things rote for our children, and how to avoid certain things becoming rote for us.

So you're, thank G-d, living in a seemingly stable life situation, and you're approaching your spouse requesting to turn it all upside down. Naturally, you're spouse thinks you're nuts...

You could: spend a lot of time making very convincing logical arguments (it's almost never going to work), scream rant and rave (this is going to turn your current decent situation into an unpleasant one, and who wants to go into a new situation with such a spouse), threaten and/or even begin to leave (this might work but will create incredible future resentment, any problems in your future life will be your fault). None of the above is the answer.

You should present your logical arguments, and your spiritual ones. Discuss and make known your future desires for your united direction, and then leave it be. Because none of the above methods is going to work, but all of them will damage the holy marital relationship. And peace between husband and wife is exactly that, holy.

On the second, you want to change your spouse's opinion. Here's what to do...

1. Daven to Hashem. Ask, in your own words, that you two together be brought to the right decision and direction, and that if that is the right direction for the two of you, than Hashem bring your spouse to that understanding.

2. Find a reason to present to your spouse THAT MATTERS. Change is almost never driven by logical argument. The energy to actuate a change comes from emotion. Fear, love, desire, pain, they drive change. Love of Hashem and wanting to be closer to Him to fulfill His mitzvot in His given Land. Fear of what might happen in chutz la'aretz. Pain of family or religious situations that would be different in Israel.

Naturally, there's an emotion pushing against it that has to be overcome, fear of change and the unknown.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe once said if there were 10 people who REALLY wanted Moshiach, he would come today. Now, how can you possibly say there aren't 10 Chabad chassidim that really want Moshiach? But, is there really a desire that would drive them to drop whatever was necessary to drop to do whatever needed to be done to bring Moshiach?

Daven to Hashem. And find the emotional key. Then build upon it.

Do NOT damage or destroy your marriage over it. For you can't go up via a negative path.

Support the Path! - Posted at Mystical Paths,


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