[I did the kollel's two-minute parshah video this week; you can find it here.]
I felt like I was back in the rabbinate this morning: Daf shiur at 6 AM, then a bris, then a navi shiur, and then a 10 AM levayah.
And someone I had tried to help was angry at me . Like I said, felt like the rabbinate all over again. (Although, there is something to be said for attending a levayah as someone other than the mesader and the niftar.)
I’ve been thinking about Shanah Rishonah (literally "the first year") lately.
Shanah Rishonah is the practice of having a newly married couple remain at home, or go out together, every night during their first year of marriage. It is built on Devarim 24:5, which states that a newly married man does not go to the army for the first year after marriage; rather, “he shall be clean [of outside obligations] to be home for a year, and he shall gladden the wife he has taken.” In one example of Shanah Rishonah adherence, kollelim often tell their avreichim to stay home from night seder for their first year of marriage.
This practice is important, I think, in order to set a certain foundation and default setting for the marriage even beyond the shared experience that occurs during the first year. It is far more valuable than a honeymoon, to me. If a couple starts out with the assumption that they will spend time together, that the place they belong at night is with each other, then they become more apt to fulfill that going forward.
The Rebbetzin and I never had a “shanah rishonah.” We got married on August 17, signed the contract with our first shul during the week of sheva berachos, and started in that shul on August 31. My rebbetzin spent the next two years commuting to law school, and I was running the shul, teaching in a local high school, translating the Aruch haShulchan and transcribing tapes of Rav Soloveitchik’s Tisha b’Av shiurim. There was no break.
Thank Gd, we made it through and we’re doing fine almost fourteen years later, but we really should have taken some time that year, as a quasi-shanah rishonah. That we didn’t do this was a mistake.
On the other hand – shanah rishonah isn’t really an option for many couples. Jobs and school often require late nights in the workplace, or the library, and that’s just the way it is.
What was your Shanah Rishonah experience? Did you have it? No? Either way, what was the impact?