Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Yitzchok Isaac Sher

Rabbi, Founded Slodbodka Yeshiva in Bnai Brak, Author

"A person easily becomes a slave to his habits. The most difficult habits to break are the habits of thinking in a certain manner. You can have a large amount of control over yourself by working to obtain positive habits. Even with habits of thoughts, we have the ability to utilize the power of habit to form the habit of thinking rationally and productively, and to elevate our thoughts to such a degree that we will have changed our entire thought patterns for the better."

"As for the bad habits that many of them have adopted in error, believing that in order to maintain themselves in holiness they must refrain from talking to their wives—the rabbis must strive to make them realize that this kind of holiness is the very essence of impurity… and that the husband must speak to his wife, addressing her with wondrously affectionate words of placation."

"I have heard that some pretended God-fearing and pious men [mithasedim] take great care to fulfill this mitsvah for the sake of Heaven, without any desire. Such a person would busy himself half the night with Torah and prayer… and only then, aftermidnight, would he come home and wake up his wife, prattle to her placatingly in order to fulfill this mitsvah. [Naturally,] she allows him to do with her as he pleases, and he is proud of having managed to fulfill this commandment without [succumbing to] the evil inclination, [namely], without any impure lust. He later wonders why the sons he has produced in this way have turned out to be wicked or stupid! Surely, the reason is the false belief that it is wrong to perform the commandment [of onah] with desire, whereas [the truth is that] a son conceived without desire turns out to be foolish, as is well known, and when intercourse takes place without the wife’s full consent or desire, that is, when she would rather be asleep and is angry with her husband for disturbing her and doing with her as he pleases rather than as she pleases, then he violates a Torah prohibition, and his sons will possess the nine evil traits of the rebellious and sinful."

"One does not observe the mitsvah [of onah] properly if one performs it only in order to fulfill one’s obligation. ... In truth, he who performs coition without ardor violates [the commandment] “her duty of marriage [= onah] shall he not diminish” (Ex. 21:10).78 ... Just as it is prohibited to abstain altogether from the act itself, which is the husband’s duty of onah in respect of his wife, so it is prohibited to refrain from physical intimacy with her, which is what the wife craves—to enjoy her physical intimacy with her husband. This entails desire that goes beyond what is required for [the performance of] the act itself. The husband is commanded to satisfy her desire as she pleases. And see [B.] YevamotOne does not observe the mitsvah [of onah] properly if one performs it only in order to fulfill one’s obligation. ... In truth, he who performs coition without ardor violates [the commandment] “her duty of marriage [= onah] shall he not diminish” (Ex.21:10).78 ... Just as it is prohibited to abstain altogether from the act itself, which is the husband’s duty of onah in respect of his wife, so it is prohibited to refrain from physical intimacy with her, which is what the wife craves—to enjoy her physical intimacywith her husband. This entails desire that goes beyond what is required for [the performance of] the act itself. The husband is commanded to satisfy her desire as she pleases. And see [B.] YevamotOne does not observe the mitsvah [of onah] properly if one performs it only in order to fulfill one’s obligation."