Blog - Torah Insights

The Newlyweds

It was Inevitable.

Yes, I know you invested so much in this relationship. I know it's the most important thing in your life. I know you spent the last two years planning the wedding and the honeymoon. I know all this. And I still think that the fact that you were so insensitive to her and offended her to her core of her soul sending a knife straight to her heart was inevitable.

Think about it. You are different people with different backgrounds, experiences, and expectations. In fact, the differences in your personalities is what attracted you to each other in the first place. No surprise then that after the magnificent wedding, when you finally got back to real life, and fell back to your old habits, did you offend her so deeply.

What should you do now, you ask? Pay attention. Should you buy her chocolate, roses, or take her out to dinner? Well, try everything you can think of, but keep paying attention.

If she loves you then after the pain subsides, she will tell you just how you should console her. If you listen carefully you'll hear her tell you what she wants you to do to show her that you really care about her, that you cherish the relationship, and that you are just as willing as before to invest in her. Listen carefully and you will hear.

If you don't trust me then take a look at what is the most dramatic story of newlywed betrayal recorded in the Torah. Just forty days after the most powerful wedding in history – the covenant and display of love that G-s showed his bride the Jewish people at Sinai - and the people betrayed the bond. They served the golden calf, striking the heart and foundation of their bond. G-d, justifiably, is furious. How can this betrayal be overlooked? To the bride it seems that the relationship is doomed.

And yet, somehow, the relationship survives. And it's not only because of the story you heard in Hebrew School, about Moses threatening G-d and saying forgive the people “and if not erase me from your book which you have written”. It's also because of the lesser known continuation of the story. It's because Moses asked G-d “show me your glory” - meaning please reveal your essence so we know how to restore our relationship. And G-d agrees. And in what may be one of the most convoluted verses in all of the Torah, G-d says “you will see my back (but my face will not be seen)”. The Rabbis understand that this is a powerful description of a deep mystical truth, and they give a little hint to help us understand what G-d meant. They explain that the meaning of “you will see my back” is that G-d showed Moses “The knot of the head Tefilin”, as Rashi explains that G-d was metaphorically wearing the Talis and Tefilin, he turned his back to Moses and showed him his back. What Moses sees is the metaphorical Talis and the knot of the Tefilin that rests on the back of the head.

Moses listened. He listened and learned how the Jews can save their marriage with G-d. He listened as G-d explained to him that for our relationship to thrive we must remember. We must constantly remember how important, meaningful, and crucial the relationship is to us. And, like the Talis and Tefilin whose purpose is to remember G-d, we must display to our beloved that we remember. To recreate the connection, there is one thing our beloved must know, and that is not how impressive we are. Not how talented, successful, rich, popular and amazing we are .All she wants to know is that we cherish the relationship more then anything we have and that we always remember this truth. To survive emotional betrayal, our beloved must have no doubt that we constantly remember that this relationship is the most import thing in our life, yes, more important then are hobbies and even more important then our career.

“Remembering”, however, may be a bit abstract, and that's why we also need the “knot of Tefilin”, which represents action. We need to demonstrate by action that we are prepared to make a “double knot” at the place we severed the rope binding us to each other. Taking out the garbage, or buying flowers, or booking a vacation to the Bahamas, won't do it unless it's an action that expresses the deep emotional commitment.

Listen carefully and she'll tell you how you can show her that you are “wearing the Talis” - that you remember that she is the most important think in your life. Listen carefully and she'll tell you to show her “the knot of your Tefilin” - that you are prepared to do something extra to, not only rehabilitate, but to intensify the bond.  

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