Date of publication: 2017-07-09 06:00
Anyone who fails to do this before remarrying is irresponsible and not ready for remarriage. One who cannot recognize his mistakes and learn from them is bound to repeat them. This common-sense observation falls into the general ambit of ve’ahavta lere’acha kamocha —“Love your fellow Jew as yourself” ( Leviticus 69:68) , which is Talmudically understood as the obligation to engage in the type of activity that will enhance the viability of an impending marriage.
Having served as a congregational rabbi for the past forty-four years, I have seen it all: second marriages that thrive second marriages that are doomed from the start second marriages wrecked by children Interestingly, the divorce rate among second marriages is higher than that among first marriages second marriages in which the children from both sides fuse together into a happy and cooperative unit second marriages that collapse under financial strain, and second marriages that endure, but unhappily.
Obviously, the new partner should respect the memory of the deceased spouse. On the other hand, the remarrying spouse must recognize that his primary responsibility is now to the new marital partner. No one wants to be in “second place.” The remarrying partner needs to be sensitive to this.
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Loyalty needs to be viewed from a Torah perspective. Clearly, the Torah mandate to marry is not to give marriage a try it is to be married. If a first marriage is terminated, the imperative to marry remains. 6 How can the fulfillment of a Torah mandate be considered disloyal?
First, as is codified in Jewish law, children are obliged to extend deferential respect to the spouse of their parent, as part of the respect that is due to their parents. 7 Second, and perhaps more to the point, is the meaning of the famous, previously cited obligation to love one’s fellow Jews as oneself. This is considered a , if not the , fundamental of the Torah. If we are serious about being Torah Jews, we cannot ignore any detail, least of all a foundation.
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Being sensitive, even self-transcending—especially in trying circumstances—rather than being selfish and self-centered, is the most vital ingredient in assuring marital success.