27 Av 5781 / Thursday, August 05, 2021 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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Three Partners    

Three Partners

Rabbi Massoud Gabai asks an interesting question: how can the Gemara say that there are three partners in creating a person? After all, everything comes from Hashem…


We must clarify - all souls are pure. Even the most wicked person must say the Elokai Neshama prayer when he wakes up: "My G-d, the soul You have given me is pure..."


The soul is a tiny spark of G-dliness with no blemish or impurity. The soul comes from Hashem. But, the body is a different story. The body houses the soul and the body comes from the parents. Consequently, our sages say that there are three partners in creating a person - Hashem, the father and the mother (see tractate Nida, 31a): Hashem gives the soul, the father gives the whiteness (bones, tendons, brain and nails) and the mother gives the redness (blood and flesh).


The parents provide the housing for the soul, which is the body. The more the parents sanctify themselves at the time of conception, the more pure and holy a body the child will receive. In other words, he'll be emotionally healthy without terrible character traits that torment him. His life will be much easier for he won't suffer so much from lust and bodily urges. He'll have an easier time in learning Torah, all thanks to the sanctity of his parents at the time of conception.


Rabbi Massoud Gabai asks an interesting question: how can the Gemara say that there are three partners in creating a person? After all, everything comes from Hashem! He answers his own question with a parable:


There was a rich man who wanted to perform charitable acts of the highest level. He would take a needy husband and wife and give them all the money they needed to start and run their own business. They'd do the work but he'd be the silent partner. At the end of each year, he'd split the profits with them equally - one third for himself, a third for the husband and a third for the wife. Even though the entire investment was his, since they did the work, he would regard them as equal partners.


As long as the husband and wife run their business faithfully, doing the best they can to operate efficiently and treat their customers courteously, not only making a living for themselves but generating profits as well, the philanthropic investor is delighted, happy to regard them as full partners. But, if they use the money he lends them for follies and their own personal pleasure, shirking responsibility, neglecting their business and thereby losing money, then he will leave them at the mercy of the creditors and the dissatisfied customers, all of whom have claims against them.


The parable is readily understood: Hashem is the philanthropic investor and the husband and wife are responsible for the "business" - bringing the child into the world. As long as they do their task faithfully - with prayers, modesty and holiness - they merit holy and pure children, emotionally sound, who want to get close to the Creator. Hashem is happy to consider such parents as His partners, for everyone benefits from the "profits" - the upright offspring - in this world and in the next.


But, those parents who don't "run the business" faithfully, for whom conjugal relations is a way to satisfy their bodily urges and nothing else, forgetting their obligations to the Divine   "philanthropic investor", will have a "losing business" of problematic children who torment them and torment everyone around them. Such parents will have to pay the price and suffer the consequences of their own lack of holiness, for they didn't do their job faithfully. This should be an incentive for all of us to enhance both our marital and personal holiness – the future of our children depends on it.

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