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    The Recipe for Harmony in Marriage

    There is something about marriage that unites the two experiences of good food and good music. When dating, a couple should try to get a sense of how the marriage is going to "taste" and what good "sounds" are going to come out of their relationship. They should ask whether they are able to 'sing in harmony' with one another. In Jewish tradition the deepest enjoyment of the soul is good music.

    What is Harmony?

    The word, "harmony" comes from the Greek word, harmonia. "Hashem will give harmony to Yefet, yet He will dwell in the tents of Shem1." Etymology is a Torah-oriented endeavor. The word "harmony" means an accord, or an agreement. When a couple is in agreement, then it ought to be expressed at every level of the soul: agreement at the level of kindness, of understanding, and indeed, in all ten soul-powers.

    One of the reasons why the halachot - the codified Jewish Laws of marriage - include the drafting of a marriage contract, is to ensure marital harmony.

    How does a couple sing in harmony, and what does it mean to have harmony in the home?

    To answer, we need a little taste of music theory. First of all, the couple can be envisioned as a duet, singing a line of music. There are harmonious intervals of tone, of pitch, which create good chords, a good sound. The couple isn't necessarily singing the same note. The most harmonious sound in music is called a perfect fifth. As an example, let us take playing a C and a G together on a piano. This most harmonious interval of two different tones sounding at the same time gives a pleasurable sound to the ear. A pleasurable chord is consonant, since it does not arouse tension in the soul, while two disharmonious notes played together are dissonant. To have a harmonious relationship, a couple should try to have consonance in the different pitches of "voice" - the spiritual sound and communication between them.


    1 Yefet is the progenitor of the Greeks, while Shem is the progenitor of the Jewish people. The Tents of Shem means the holy Temples, and the Jewish home of each couple. When beauty is put into its pure context then the resulting harmony brings down the Shechina, Divine Presence, into the family and the world.

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