The gemarra gives us a vital insight into the heights of spirituality that can be attained via a successful marriage. The gemarra (Sotah 17a) comments that ‘if a man and wife have peace between them, the Shechinah (HaShem’s Presence) resides within them. Whilst if they do not have peace between them then fire consumes them.’ In other words, a peaceful marital home is a conduit for bringing the Shechinah down; the Shechinah resides in such a home. Rashi reveals the depth of what our gemarra is saying. The word for ‘man’ in lashon hakodesh is ish (alef, yud, shin), whilst a woman is an isha (alef shin heh). Now both the words ish and isha have the letters alef and shin, which spell aish (fire), in them. However, the man has a yud, whilst a woman has a heh. Thus, if the man and woman bond in a proper, spiritual, peace-enhancing way then the yud and the heh which form HaShem’s Name come together and are expressed in full. However, if the peace and harmony is removed then the yud and heh are taken away from the words ish and isha, and the result is aish and aish - fire clashing with fire. Indeed, Rav Wolbe would say that this concept of bringing the Shechinah down is behind the mitzvah of making a chassan and kallah joyful. For if we make the new couple full of simcha then their marriage is likely to be more peaceful, which, in turn, means that we are making the Shechinah descend.

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