“What could he need?”

Do you remember the saying: “It takes two to tango?” I think you know that the tango is a pair dance. This phrase has become proverbial by the word “two.” A successful dance needs the efforts of both partners. Now let's replace the word “tango” with the word “family.” This and the following chapters are addressed to the wives, because sharing happiness depends largely on their family wisdom.

The very title of the chapter hints that here we will discuss men's marital infidelities. In this situation, public opinion traditionally condemns the cheating husband and gives pity to the wife as an “innocent victim.” I'm not going to justify the husband, but if “it takes two to family,” then we must consider the role of the wife in such a story. I am sure that most of men's infidelities can be prevented by intelligent actions of the wife. To begin with, I would like to remember the saying of Pythagoras. “Prudent wife! If you want your husband to spend time with you, take care that he should not find such pleasurable sensations and tenderness in any other place.” There is no need to be Pythagoras to understand the simple truth that the wife should attend to her husband. So, the attention of the wife (at least a part of it) should be aimed directly at her husband. Led down the wrong path, many women incorrectly think, “Really does he not understand that I'm busy with the home and children? And really don't I do it for him?” Certainly all this is very important. Every effort spent on the family is extremely valuable, but do not forget where all this began. The time when there was no home, no children yet, and all the attention was directed entirely at one another. It was a time of romance. A time when both were trying to please each other. The girl was trying to look beautiful in the eyes of her fiancĂ©... Years passed. Now there is a family “just like everyone else.” Continual troubles. The wife only “makes herself up” when going to work or “going out.” At home she can relax, be herself, thinking, “My husband already knows me!” Thinking of romance “is somewhat not serious.” And in such a “problem-free” family a clash of thunder “out of the blue” appears. But wasn't the sky clear and blue? Of course, there will be woman readers who will say, “What do you want? Life has changed. These days a woman studies and works and does not just sit at home. Husbands must accept this!” Ok, husbands will accept this. But then wives also should not be surprised if their husband “goes off the rails.” And if it happens, do not pretend to be an innocent victim and engage in self-pity like, “So, he didn't love me.” or, “So, he became a frivolous man.” or, “Well then, no luck.” Perhaps it sounds a bit cruel, but our goal is not to accuse or justify someone. Our goal is to prevent a situation in which they accuse and justify. If a strong family is also important for a woman, besides study, work, the home, children and anything else, then it's also necessary to allocate at least a modicum of time and effort for this. In the last chapter we already discussed that the delight of communicating spouses (here not talking about sexual delight only) is a necessary factor in maintaining a strong family. In other words, the family will either be happy or the danger of divorce will hang over them always. Even those families who have borne hardship are happy, if the husband wants to please his wife, and the wife wants to please her husband.

It is a good thing to take the reasonings above seriously because they are based not on worldly logic, but on divine revelation. The Torah describes how the Jews stop near the borders of Moab and Midian toward the end a 40-year wandering in the desert. Midian women lure Jewish men into them. The fee for a service is to worship an idol. This might seem cheap to some. Some of the Jewish men were ready to go for it. One went “out of courtesy,” one “tried” and returned to his wife, a woman took a liking to another, but with no idol, and to another both were tasteful. Of them there were 24,000 of most ardent ones, and they all quickly died from the outbreak of an epidemic 5. Although God punished them for their idolatry, that was clearly not the aim of these men...

This story does not fit in with the image of a good family man, which has been secured for Jewish husbands among the people of the Great Dispersion. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that we are talking about a generation of Jews who walked through the desert for 40 years on the Word of God, a people who ate manna every day! To understand the reasons of the fact of such a mass lechery by Jewish men in the Sinai desert, we should remember another story from the Torah, the story of copper mirrors (see Rashi's commentary on Exodus 38:8). It began when the Jews were slaves in Egypt. Slave work took away almost all their physical strength. A wife attracted the attention of her husband for only a short time after their wedding. In such a situation how the continuation of a family be provided for? Jewish women, having in their arsenal no cosmetic products like those available to the Egyptians, devised their “woman tricks.” They caught a fish in the Nile and brought something delicious to their husbands for dinner. (Note that slaves in Egypt were fed, but something brought by the wife is another matter!) Then they sat side-by-side with their husbands and peered together in a copper mirror. It was the beginning of the love games... Thus Jewish women became pregnant and gave birth to children. They became pregnant during the dinner break, because by evening their husband no longer had energy! Now we do not remember all their little tricks, but the results were impressive. The Jewish families were most strong and the birth rate was very high.

With the escape from Egypt, the situation changed drastically. The men, no longer employed in slave labor, gained more strength, and their attention to their wives increased dramatically. The wives breathed freely. They no longer had to invent ways to please their husbands as they were already surrounded by their attention. Copper mirrors became unnecessary, moreover, they reminded them of the terrible life in slavery. And Jewish women gave their copper mirrors to build the Portable Temple in gratitude to God the He made their lives so much easier. For a while everything was quiet, but one day young Midian girls appeared...

I think the conclusion is clear for all. And the question, proposed in this chapter's title has found a simple answer— “He needs attention!”

  1. To comprehend the scale of the tragedy, recall that in the story with the golden calf “only” 3,000 people perished (Exodus 32:28).