A Marriage Saved

A Marriage Saved

Years ago, the following story occurred:   There was a young couple who had a very unhappy marriage, and they decided to divorce.  The wife's Mother, who lived in Eretz Yisroel, was devastated by this decision, and she flew in to New York to speak personally to her children.   They were determined to split up, as they had neither love nor respect for one another.  

I drove the Mother to 770 for Mincha with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. This was before the years that the Rebbe would distribute "dollars".  I wrote a kvittel (letter)for the young couple, saying that they were seeking a divorce, and submitted it to the Rebbe's office prior to Mincha time.  We stood in the lobby of 770, and merited to see the Rebbe as he went in and out of his office to daven mincha.   After mincha was over, I told the Mother that we would be going home, when all of a sudden the door leading to the Rebbe's room opened, and Rabbi Groner (the Rebbe's secretary) emerged, and told me "Mrs Karmely, you have an answer to your note".   He showed me the Rebbe's holy handwriting on the note that I had written.  He had written for the couple to "keep Taharas HaMishpocha Bidiuk". (To keep family purity meticulously).  I was so excited!   I immediately drove to the home of Chana, (the wife's name) and told her what the Rebbe had advised.   "Oh no, its too late" she answered, hopelessly, "We have already decided that its better to separate".  I was able to convince them to at least try to listen to the Rebbe's instruction, saying that it was worth it, and that there was no harm in trying.    She came to learn with me,  I taught her all the laws, and she promised to go to the Mikvah and keep what she was supposed to. 

Two days before her Mikvah night, she called me and asked me a question.  "Can I  go to the Mikvah with fake nails?"  she asked. "I went and had fake nails applied, and I really don't want to have to remove them.  Can I go with them still on me?"   Of course, I could have answered her that she definitely had to have them removed, as they formed a "chatzitza", an interposition between her and the Mikva waters, and would therefore not be permitted.   However, I told her that she should ask a competent Rav, who would be able to advise her what to do.  "Please, would you ask for me" she said, so I did.  I made sure to tell the Rav about her particular situation, that she had never ever observed the mitzva of taharat hamishpocha, and now she would be keeping it.   After some deliberation, the Rav took everything into consideration,and said that she would for this time only, be allowed to go to the Mikvah with the fake nails, but that she should make sure to clean them well, and remove any nail polish on them. "This special dispensation is because otherwise she would not go, and also once she starts to keep this mitzvah, she will continue to do so," the Rav said.   Of course, it is imperative to emphasise that this "heter", allowance, is ONLY FOR THIS WOMAN AND NOT FOR ANYONE ELSE.  Only a competent Rav can give permission for such a thing. I duly told Chana the Rav's decision and also informed the Mikvah lady, so she should not question the matter. 

Time went by,and the Mikvah lady asked me one day  "Mrs. Karmely, how come you told me about that lady who had permission to go to the Mikvah with fake nails?   Did you know that she actually had had them removed before she came to the Mikvah?"  I was surprised, to say the least, and I asked Chana what had happened that she had them taken off.  You had asked me if you could keep them on, and I got permission for you to do so, and then you had them removed.   What made you do that?"  I asked, curiously.    Her answer made me very happy!   "You told me that the Rebbe said that I should keep Taharas Hamishpocha BIDIUK" she said, earnestly.   "So I decided that if  I am to keep this mitzva, I should really keep it properly, otherwise I would not feel right.  The Rebbe knows more than I do." 

This is a true story.   Chana is my cousin, and I know for a fact that her marriage was a disaster.   However, the total change in her marriage after she started to keep the mitzva of Taharas Hamishpocha is dramatic and amazing!   She not only did NOT get divorced, she and her husband have become totally observant, keeping Shabbos, Kashrus, and taharas hamishpocha.  She wears a sheitel, and dresses modestly.   He has grown a beard,and learns Torah with great happiness and joy.   They made aliyah shortly after and have a marriage that is exemplary, full of respect and love.   Most importantly, Chana finally was able to conceive, and had 4 beautiful children.  One of the problems that she had was the fact that they were unable to have children before she started to keep Taharas HaMishpocha.  

Although this Mitzvah is a "chok", something that we cannot understand with our finite knowledge, the rewards are obvious - improved shalom bayis (family harmony), and the blessings of healthy children.  Surely this mitzvah is truly a gift from Hashem to His children, given to us by His great kindness and wisdom.   It is a blueprint for a G-dly marriage, a marriage that is true and everlasting.

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