By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
The following pasuk in this week’s parashah is the source of the halachah of saying Birkas HaMazon, the grace after meals: “V’achalta v’savata u’berachta es Hashem Elokecha”—“You will eat, and you will be satisfied, and you will bless Hashem, Your G‑d” (Devarim 8:10). As is obvious from the pasuk, the biblical obligation to say Birkas HaMazon applies only when one has eaten one’s fill.
The wording of the commandment to say Birkas HaMazon can seem puzzling. While in general we bless Hashem before we eat food, here we are commanded to bless Hashem after we have eaten and are satisfied. The Torah is teaching us a powerful lesson. While it is important to express our gratitude while we are “in the need,” there is a higher level in gratitude, and that is expressing gratitude after the need has already been met. When our stomachs are full and we are no longer hungry, then we again thank Hashem, and this time at much greater length, for the food He provided us.
This lesson is tremendously important in life. Most people remember to say thank-you at the time of need—such as while the man from Chaverim is changing your tire, or when your neighbor lends you $20 to pay the babysitter, or when the secretary squeezes you in between two appointments to see the doctor. But how many people go back and say thank-you again a few days later, when they don’t have the flat tire, the waiting babysitter, or the screaming feverish baby?
Let us try to work on showing our spouse sincere appreciation by expressing our appreciation after the fact for what he or she does. May we merit experiencing the rich positive feelings in our marriage that come when each person both appreciates and feels appreciated by his or her spouse. v
Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00–11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail firstname.lastname@example.org.