Is it OK if I ask a hashkafa question? It’s not that I’m looking for new information, but I’m just trying to internalize some concepts. It’s really hard for me to relate to the concept of limud Torah, or, more specifically, to be machshiv my husband’s learning.
My husband definitely feels good about his learning. He learns daf yomi in the morning, with chazara, and “Kinyan Masechta” at night. He says that what keeps him feeling settled at work, and not antsy about moving onto something more exciting like a lot of his colleagues, over the years (he’s a professional) is that work isn’t his life. It’s basically just an eight hour bain hasedarim. I take on a lot of the household responsibility to allow him to maximize the time that he does have. I make a point of regularly telling my kids how proud we are that Abba is learning now, etc. I just don’t feel it though. My husband never “officially” learned in kollel, after we got married. He grew up dati leumi, and it wasn’t part of his mentality. He unofficially joined a yeshiva for a year or so, while he was looking for a job during the recession. I know intellectually that my job isn’t to financially support a husband who is learning, but to support my husband in other ways to make the most of himself.
I know that part of the issue is symptomatic of a problem that seems to plague our generation, which is that a lot of people have a hard time believing that what they do matters. I am definitely prone to this way of thinking.
How lucky you are that you have a husband that has his head screwed on straight, and is capable of keeping his eye on the ball, not letting the distractions of money and a career blur his vision of what is important in life! Your husband realizes that this world is a preparation for a longer, bigger and better life, and he is involved in preparing himself for it. This is even though he didn’t learn in kollel, but he understands the paramount importance of torah learning. In our society, where making money and the prestige of “a successful career” are at the top of our pyramid of ideas and life goals, your husband sees the world from the perspective that H-shem sees it. As the Mesilas Yisharim (chapter one) writes, “ma chovaso b’olamo” that a person has to have a clear picture what his goals in life are, and what he wants to attain and accomplish in this world. In our materialistic, pleasure-seeking society, it’s hard to keep a clear picture that our real objective in this world is; to prepare ourselves for a greater form of existence, and be able to enjoy olam haba. We know it intellectually, but it has to be very clear and in the forefront of our minds, in order for us to see it and live by it. Your husband does that, and your children see it and together with your encouragement, are absorbing this important message. How lucky you are.
Ok, that is fine for your husband, but what’s in it for yourself? What meaning does it have to you? Let me relate to you what the Chofetz Chaim writes in Chovas Hashmira chapter 13. He brings the gemorah (Kesubos 110) that says on the posuk “Tal oros talecha” “The dew of light is your dew” the gemora explains the meaning of the posuk. That whoever has the light of Torah, that light will make him live, meaning that he will merit techiyas hameisim, and whoever doesn’t have this light, will not have what to liven him. The Chofetz Chaim derives from this, that although the neshoma of all Jews have a part in olam haba, however in order for the body to be able to stand up for techiyas hameisim it needs the merit of torah study. For those who can study on their own, great, but for those who can’t, they will need the merit of supporting torah in order to be zoche to techiyas hameisim.
According to this says the Chofetz Chaim we can understand another perplexing gemora. The gemorah (Brachos 17a) (which is talking about techiyas hameisim), asks “nashim bmay zacyan” “what is a woman’s merit’ (to techiyas hameisim)? The gemorah answers; that they help their children go to school and help them learn, and that they wait for their husbands to come home from learning. This is puzzling, asks the Chofetz Chaim, women do plenty of mitzvos, kashrus, shabbos, chesed, tefilloh, tzedakah, and most of the mitzvos. So why do they need this in order to merit techiyas hameisim? According to what was already explained it makes sense, even though women have many mitzvos, but everyone needs the zechus or torah in order to benefit techiyas hameisim.
According to this, your husbands torah learning has a direct effect on you, and your future, and the more you support him, emotionally, physically, and if need be monetarily, that is your key to techiyas hameisim. Your words of encouragement, your patiently waiting for him and not pressuring him to finish, your showing him that you are happy that he is learning, all show him your emotional support, and help him in his learning. It is true, women are not obligated to support their husband financially so that they can learn, but many do, because they want to support their husbands learning in any and every way they can.
There are numerous other benefits that you have out of your husband’s learning, such as the atmosphere that it creates in the home, and the benefits that you have from his knowledge, but now is not the time for this.
Although it is hard to see, what you do, does matter … a lot. Take a good look at you children, at your husband, at your home, it is all because of what YOU do. IY”H your children will grow up and have their own families, and that will also be the fruit of what you toiled, nourished and nurtured. The main part of it however, we don’t see; it is “tzofun” hidden, but the time will come, (better later then sooner) and we will be zoche to see the tremendous rewards for all the mitzvos that we have done.