Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The Torah tells us, “Naki yihiyeh l’veiso shanah echas v’simach es ishto asher lakach – The husband should be free for his home for a year and gladden his wife whom he took.” Both Rabbeinu Efraim and the Baal HaTurim point out that the last letters of the words “naki yihiyeh l’veiso shanah” spells the Ineffable Name of Hashem (yud, kei, vav, kei).

Rabbeinu Efraim writes that the juxtaposition of Hashem’s name to “v’simach – and gladden” teaches us that “ein haShechina shora ela mitoch simcha – the Divine Presence only rests upon one who is happy.”


In my recent Q&A for Irgun Shiurei Torah, I was asked, “If the Divine Presence only rests upon one who is happy, how did Yirmiyah the Prophet write Eichah when he was in a state of deep mourning.” I answered that the appropriate default mood of a Jew is normally one of joy, as per the dictum “Ivdu es Hashem b’simcha – Serve Hashem with joy.” But, at the time of the destruction of the Temple, the proper mood was one of mourning, and therefore Yirmiyah was able to write Eichah even though he was melancholy.

The Baal HaTurim offers another explanation for why Hashem’s Ineffable Name appears next to “v’simach es ishto.” He writes that even behind closed doors, Hashem’s eyes are upon the couple watching how they behave with one another.

At the chuppah, at the end of the marriage ceremony, the chosson breaks a glass. Most people explain that he does so to remember the destruction of the Temple. But Rabbeinu Bachya gives another reason. He says breaking a glass recalls the breaking of the first luchos. The first luchos, which were given in front of millions of people, ended up in smithereens. But the second luchos, which were given very privately to Moshe Rabbeinu, endured. We want the new chosson and kallah to learn the lesson of the first set of luchos and realize that what they do behind closed doors is what will make the marriage strong and enduring.

I would like to add that the Ineffable Name appears next to “v’simach es ishto” because when a man gladdens his wife in the way that only a husband can, he brings the Shechina down to the couple. We know “ish v’isha shalom beineihem, Shechina shruyah beineihem” – that when peace reigns between husband and wife, the Divine Presence rests upon them. That is particularly true during a couple’s intimate moments. That is when the letter yud in ish (the husband) merges with the letter hei in isha (the wife), which synthesize to become the name of Hashem, Kah.

In the merit of improving ourselves in this vital area, may Hashem bless us with long life, good health, and everything wonderful.

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