regarding a home.

“The person who is friendly with strangers has not yet passed the test of Shalom. For he may be motivated by praise or self-interest. Perhaps he can be friendly disposed to the stranger simply because of his infrequent contact with him. At home, the same person may flare up at the slightest provocation.

Home is the true test of Shalom…

Ordinary mortals are expected to live in Shalom, run-of-the-mill people incapable of sustaining an idyllic state. The paradox is that Shalom is to be found where people differ in fundamental respects – in behaviour, in aspirations, in desires – where love is not quite pure, and anger presses for expression…

“Who makes peace in His high places…” – reads the passage. Our sages said: “An angel of fire and an angel of water stand side by side and do one another no harm. For God has put one desire in both their hearts: to stand before and serve Him who created both fire and water.””

*

“The desire to achieve greatness is one of the most human of characteristics, and many who do not succeed in attaining the recognition which they think they deserve become embittered and broken in spirit. Few and rare are those individuals who do not care for greatness and are content to live modestly and happily; who may be engaged in works which benefit the whole of mankind, but avoid publicity…

And the Holy One Blessed be He, found no vessel more suited to motherhood and to act as a source of everlasting influence, than modesty. That is why He implanted modesty in womankind.”

*

“A quiet house is a tranquil house. Everyone is heard, no one is overpowered. Words go from mouth to ear, ear to heart. And the habit of soft speech is easy to achieve, requiring only moderate effort. Newly-weds who practice restraint in speech from the very beginning are on their way to turning their home into a haven of serenity and a fortress of security.”

*

“He who shows respect to his fellow man will, in turn, be treated with respect. This esteem and respect will continually grow…

Esteem does not spring up spontaneously. It is a plant that requires cultivation, effort, constant tending before its roots take hold in the hearts of men. The most suitable years for the cultivation of the sentiment of esteem are the years of youth – for youthful love allows a young couple to crown the heart’s affection with respect.

The rule is: Say every word, do every deed that is a mark of respect for both the sayer and the one to whom it is said, the doer and the recipient; avoid any word, any act which is disrespectful to the sayer and the one to whom it is said, the doer and the recipient.”

(A. E. Kitov)

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