Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody
We can learn much about the way Hashem runs the world by observing modern technology. Man could not arrive at the age of cyber communications and instant messaging without Hashem revealing additional Divine wisdom to him. Our thoughts, nuances and inventions are all Divine abundance. So, if we see that with a few thumb-taps on a smart-phone keyboard we can send a message from Jerusalem to New York in a fraction of a second, then we can certainly understand that Hashem can send us instant messages. And, the devices He uses are much more sophisticated than Skype or Blackberry; Hashem programs our spouses and children to send us intricate instant messages by way of them.
The sooner we understand that Hashem does everything for a specific purpose, the happier we are. No one would want to stand in front of a group of people, raising your hand and lowering your hand for no reason. A human needs motivation to do things, for Hashem programmed us with incentive – the more we understand the purpose of what we're doing, the greater our motivation. So, if we understand that we wouldn't do anything without a purpose, why do we entertain the silly notion that Hashem does things without a purpose? Is anyone so presumptuous that he thinks he knows more than Hashem? Of course, not. So, when someone gives us a hassle – particularly our spouse or children – it's not only from Hashem, but it's for a vey good reason.
Together with reminding ourselves that everything comes from Hashem and that everything Hashem does has a purpose, let's also remember that our spouses and children are mirrors of us. Hashem especially enjoys using the media of wife and children to correct a person. For that reason, one is sorely fooling himself if thinks he can attain any measure of character improvement without getting married. Sometimes, people praise an unmarried man for being such fine Torah scholar; sure, anyone can get along with shtender (book stand) – it doesn't get morning sickness and doesn't ask him to take out the trash. Of course it's important to learn Torah earnestly and with seriousness, but Torah – like a fine wine – needs a clean and worthy vessel. That's why we say derech ertz kadma la'Torah – good character is a prerequisite to Torah.
A man's character is judged by the way he acts at home. Everyone is "on display" outside the house, but at home – by the way he speaks to and interacts with his wife and children – a man is in his natural habit and therefore behaves in his natural manner. Here is where we see who a person really is, for behind closed doors, no one is applauding him or giving him gold certificates of recognition.
The moment a person understands all the above principles, that a wife and children are simply Hashem's instant message system, he looks at domestic difficulties in a completely different light. Knowing that everything comes from Hashem, for his own good, and for a specific purpose, "grief" from the family is no longer grief. Don't think that I'm simply stating nice-sounding platitudes; I'm talking about my own life. Here's what happened in the Arush household a few weeks ago:
I was learning in my study, and my youngest son Yosef was playing in the adjacent room. I wanted to tell him something so I asked him to come to my study. He ignored me. I called him again, and he ignored me once more. Rather than being upset and scolding him, I started a self-assessment session and turned to Hashem: "Beloved Father in Heaven, I called my son and he is ignoring me. According to Your principle of 'a turn for a turn', You must have called me and I refused to listen. Please illuminate my brain and show me where I have failed to heed Your voice." Sure enough, with minutes, I realized something that I had done wrong and wholeheartedly repented for it. Within a few short moments, my son Yosef appeared in the doorway and said, "Father, did you call me?" I smiled and thanked Hashem; there was no scolding, no argument, no raised voices, and no hurt feelings. By doing teshuva and realizing that Hashem was messaging me, I not only maintained the peace at home but avoided punishing others for my own blemishes.
Once we learn to recognize and appreciate Hashem's instant messaging service, our homes become a haven of peace – no yelling, no threatening, and certainly no slapping. Hashem beats SMS anytime!