Rabbi Nachman (Ben Faiga of Breslov) is quoted (see source below) as saying that by beautifying a wife to her husband you are causing them to separate.
How is one to understand this?

My guess:
If I use the translation below I can guess that that the problem is that by doing this you are making her grater then him and you have the problem of (Yevamot 63a) "Come down a step in choosing your wife." ( A wife of superior position or rank might put on airs, or not be contented with her husband's social or financial position.) (רש''י נחית דרגא ונסיב איתתא. לא תקח אשה חשובה ממך שמא לא תתקבל עליה)

But it is still hard to understand, since it says in Ketubot 17a that calling a bride "Beautiful and graceful bride" is a good thing.

Sefer Hamidot. MONEY. Part Two

27 [or 17]. One who makes a separation between a man and his wife -- that is, he goes to the man and praises his wife to him, but goes to the wife and defames the husband in her eyes, until a separation is created between them -- he becomes troubled (preoccupied, overtaken) by his expenses (for food or sustenance)

ספר המידות - ממון חלק שני

כז. מִי שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה פֵּרוּד בֵּין אִישׁ לְאִשְׁתּוֹ, הַיְנוּ שֶׁהוֹלֵךְ לָאִישׁ וּמְיַפֶּה אֶת הָאִשָּׁה בִּפְנֵי הַבַּעַל, וְהוֹלֵךְ אֶל הָאִשָּׁה וּמְגַנֶּה אֶת בַּעְלָהּ בְּעֵינֶיהָ, עַד שֶׁנַּעֲשֶׂה פֵּרוּד בֵּינֵיהֶם, עַל יְדֵי זֶה נַעֲשֶׁה טָרוּד בִּמְזוֹנוֹתָיו

Please help me understand this quotation from Rabbi Nachman.


3 Answers 3


Just to clarify:

one is causing a rift by going to the husband and saying your wife is wonderful!, while simultaneously going to the wife and saying your husband is awful!.

The result is that he really wants her, while she really doesn't want him. That's a recipe for disaster.

  • +1 as the idea "a woman wants to get married more (then the man)" but how to understand the (kesubos 17a) "Beautiful and graceful bride"
    – hazoriz
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 21:49

There are two parts in this sentence. May be that the combination of the two is the problem. "והולך אל האשה ומגנה את בעלה בעיניה". If he makes the beautifying more reciprocal: "והולך אל האשה ומייפה את בעלה בעיניה ", so all will be good.

But our man is siding with woman and reinforces her to hate her husband, demonstrates a lack of empathy for the husband distress. So the husband feels that nobody understand him and will be anger.

  • +1 What does the first part add? If there was only the second part it will not be enough?
    – hazoriz
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 21:23
  • @ thanks for +1. the first part generate asymmetry. If e.g. he will make the same in both sides, it may be helpful or by Aharon Hacohen Method or by paradoxically method enhancing the oppositional reaction of both that lead them to Shalom.
    – kouty
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 21:31
  • How will saying "your wife is ugly" helpful?
    – hazoriz
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 21:41
  • @hazoriz He will get angry over you. And beginn to think that she has no problem, but you are a bad man, and the will make the same. And they will coalesce against you. all this is only supposition in way to understand the R.N. statement
    – kouty
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 5:54

My understanding:

שֶׁהוֹלֵךְ לָאִישׁ וּמְיַפֶּה אֶת הָאִשָּׁה בִּפְנֵי הַבַּעַל,

"He goes to the man and praises his wife to him".

We know that in Ketubot 17a, calling a bride "Beautiful and graceful bride" is a good thing. That's referring to a newlywed, and everyone knows that the compliments are merely intended to enhance the groom's perception of his new wife.

However this is a long married woman, and the compliments that the person is showering on this person's wife, may plant seeds of suspicion in the husband's mind that something illicit might be going on between his wife and this person. These seeds of doubt fester in the husband's heart, until they cause discord between husband and wife, since he thinks that she's somehow involved with a stranger.

On the other side, this interloper goes to the wife and defames the husband in her eyes, which also leads to marital discord.

The sum total of the actions of this wicked person, is the wrecking of a marriage.

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