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Mixed marriage (secular/observant)


Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

Adar II 10, 5768
My husband and I were both observant when we married. Since then, he has become an atheist. As a result, he does not like to attend shul for anything more than a quick kiddush--nor does he like to socialize with people from the minyan. We do not have children. My question is this: how should I spend Shabbat under the circumstances? If I do not go to davening we can spend most of the day together as a couple and my husband is less likely to break Shabbat. However, I would prefer to leave the house for davening in the hopes of bringing something of Shabbat into the day beyond a quick meal. What would you suggest?
In the particular issue of Shabbat, I believe it is crucial that you not only observe the letter of the laws, but also have, to the extent you can, both the personal feeling of tranquility and holiness of the day, and also the atmosphere of Shabbat in the home. This can only be done if you attend shul, plan a special meal, study, and consider ways to make Shabbat a special day. (Guests? something your husband especially likes, etc.) If your entire Shabbat experience is dedicated to preventing your husband from being alone, ultimately you will lose the beauty of Shabbat entirely. I am wondering, though, whether your situation couldn't benefit from some advice about your husband's lack of faith and what it means to him and you. I am not suggesting that you should reconsider your relationship with your husband, but rather that your own relationship to Torah and halacha should be deepened. I believe that if your husband understands the depths of your committment to Torah, he will respond with respect, and this will give more meaning both to Shabbat and to your marriage.
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