Shir Ha-Ma'alot #36

On Sheva Berachot -
It once happened that a newly-married young man came to our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, and told him that it was difficult for him, since only half of a month is "a time to hug," while half of a month is "a time to distance from hugging" (when a woman is a niddah - menstruating and counting the clean days before she is able to immerse in a mikvah - a husband and wife are not allowed to have any physical contact). Our Rabbi said to him: Look what is written [in the Sheva Berachot]: "Who created joy and happiness, a groom and a bride etc." - You see, marriage is not just hugging and kissing, but before all else a soulful connection of love, brotherhood, peace and friendship, which apply equally at all times. The essence is friendship, to be good friends.
It once happened that a Chasid inherited the tefillin of the Baal Shem Tov. He was a great Torah scholar and rabbi, but was terribly poor. His family suffered from a lack of everything including food. But these tefillin were the diamond in the house and they brought out the light of holiness in it. The day arrived and there was no choice, the Chasid decided to sell the tefillin in order to buy an etrog for the holiday of Sukkot. When his wife returned to the house, she was filled with great pain: When the children were hunger for bread, we didn’t sell the tefillin, and now you sold them for an etrog which in a week’s time will worthless! Greatly distressed, she threw the etrog on the ground and the pitom (tip) broke off and it became invalid for use. What the Chasid felt at that moment is beyond description. What his wife felt is also beyond description. What type of things were about to be said – we can only guess. But the Chasid said this: At first we had the tefillin, but we did not have an etrog. Then we had an etrog, but we did not have the tefillin. Now we have neither the tefillin nor the etrog. But we do have one thing: I have you and you have me, and I love you. Come, I love you.

Be-Ezrat Hashem – we have now completed translating Rav Aviner's commentary on Birkat Ha-Mazon!