Why does the gemara (Yevamos 63b) say that קשה אשה רעה כיום סגריר – a bad wife is like an unpleasant rainy day? Isn’t a rainy day a good thing?
Let me explain this to you. There was a man, Rabbi Yehuda, who had a second wife, and this wife always tried to countermand him, to do the opposite of what he asked. All the time she was doing the opposite of what he asked. So once, Rabbi Yehuda’s son, said to him, “You’re praising the benefits of a good wife so much. Is your wife also included in that praise?” Rabbi Yehuda said, “Absolutely! Because מגדלת את בני – she raises my children and also מצילתו מן החטא – she saves me from sin; she’s my wife. And therefore all the good things should be said about her.”
Now it means this. If a person has the sense to utilize a rainy day – he looks up to the gray sky and he sees that water is falling min hashamayim and he’s happy, that man knows how to utilize a rainy day. They’re diamonds those drops that fall from the clouds. Each drop is another diamond! Al kol tipah v’tipah – there’s a nusach that you say: “For every drop I thank You.”
It’s a miracle. Where does rain come from? It comes from the ocean. But we can’t drink ocean water. And still, it’s distilled by the sun – it rises up like water vapor, and now it’s beautiful clear water now, perfectly clean to drink. And we eat only because of that rain that’s falling. So if you understand what a blessing rain is, so certainly a rainy day is a great blessing. It’s a great opportunity to become impressed with the Hand of Hashem.
But still many people are unhappy on a rainy day. They’re not able to go out. They’re restrained from doing good things; so in a certain sense a rainy day can sometimes be a disadvantage. If you don’t make use of it the way you’re supposed to, it’s just a dreary day for you.
Now a rainy wife is a big brachah if you make use of her. Certainly, you appreciate her. She’s done so many good things for you. The fact that she opens her mouth frequently and scolds you, what about it? L’fum tzara agra – the more you’re able to control yourself, the more reward you get.
Toleh eretz al blimah – the world stands on the merit of mi sh’bolem piv besha’as merivah – someone who keeps his mouth closed in the midst of a quarrel. How big is the zechus of a man who keeps his mouth closed in the time of a quarrel! It’s a very big zechus to keep your mouth closed. You’re the winner! You gained tremendously! If you didn’t have a wife like that, you wouldn’t have that zechus. Every time she scolds you and you keep quiet, toleh eretz al blimah; that zechus is tremendous.
Of course, if you have a wife that encourages you all the time, who praises you and gives you kavod, all right, there are certain benefits there too; I won’t say not. But there are absolutely benefits to a difficult wife if you know what to do. And so it’s a beautiful mashal to compare a scolding wife to a rainy day.
TAPE # E-138 (May 1998)