In Bereshis (2:18), we find that G-d decided that Adam needed a wife: “and the L-rd G-d said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help to match him (ezer k’negdo).”
The expression “a help to match him” is a bit odd. How is it that a person who helps is a person who is a match, who is opposed to the other as well. The commentator Rashi explains that “if he is worthy, his wife is an ezer, a helper, and if he is not worthy she is k’negdo, opposed to him.”
The Lekach Tov is puzzeled by this explanation. It appears that Rashi is talking about one individual, who may or not be worthy. Shouldn’t Rashi more properly term the example as two different scenarios: two husbands married to two wives, one who is an ezer, a helper and one who is k’negdo, against him?
The answer is that one wife can be both eizer and k’negdo at the same time. If she is there to help her husband grow spiritually and fight his Yetzer Hora, evil inclination, she both a helper and a match to him. She is an eizer, a helper, because she is helping him gain reward in the World To Come, and k’negdo, because she chalenges him when he is tempted by his evil inclination, and opposes his desires to succumb to his passions. A person with a wife like this is the one who Rashi describes as worthy. The one who Rashi describes as not worthy has a wife who lets her husband do all that he wants. She is not interested in his spiriual growth. She does not desire to challenge him to strive for spiritual greatness. While she might outwardly appear to be a “helper” to her husband, she is truthfully against him, for she allows and permits his spiritual decline. She can be a helper, one who allows her husband to fulfill his earthly desires, who is against him, for she allows for his self destruction.
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