By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
The parashah begins with the counting of the Jewish nation and the separate counting of the tribe of Levi, including the Kohanim and the Levi’im. The Torah was given to the Jewish nation as a whole. There are commandments that only the tribe of Levi can do, and there are commandments that only Israelites can do and the tribe of Levi cannot do. The Kohanim and Levi’im alone cannot fulfill the Torah, and the rest of the nation alone can’t either, but together as one nation of Kohanim, Levi’im, and Yisraelim it can be fulfilled properly. When all members of the Jewish nation recognize that without the others we are incomplete, then it is easier for us to focus on what the others are adding to the nation as a whole and to overlook differences between us.
The lesson of the counting, that each of us is a part of a greater whole and we are incomplete without others, is one that is vital in a marriage. When a couple focuses on what each spouse contributes to the relationship, it makes the relationship stronger. By putting in effort to recognize the ways in which your spouse is impacting the relationship for the positive, it becomes easier to both appreciate your spouse more and overlook the nuances of his or her personality that bother you.
When the Jewish nation was camped at Mount Sinai in preparation for getting the Torah, the verse says (Sh’mos 19:2) “vayichan sham,” and he camped there, as opposed to “vayachanu,” and they camped there. Rashi explains “k’ish echad b’lev echad,” they camped as one man with one heart. The Jewish nation at this point was in complete unity. This unity was vital to their getting the Torah, which the entire nation was required to fulfill. As we approach the holiday of Shavuos, the time of the receiving of the Torah, let us focus more on what our spouse, family members, and community members add to our marriage, family, and nation and appreciate each person for the unique role that he plays. May this bring us closer to achieving the level of unity that the Jewish nation experienced that first Shavuos when they received the Torah. 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.