By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
The parashah begins with Hashem telling Moshe to accept donations from the Jewish nation for the building of the Mishkan: “V’zos ha’terumah asher tikchu me’ittam: zahav va’kesef u’nechoshes; u’techeles, v’argaman . . . shemen la’maor . . . avnei shoham v’avnei miluim . . . ,” “This is the portion you shall take from them: gold and silver and copper, and turquoise wool and scarlet wool . . . oil for the light . . . shoham stones and filling stones” (Sh’mos 25:3–7). The donations are listed in descending order of value, with the exception of the listing of the precious stones, which are placed all the way at the end.
The Dubno Maggid questions why the gems, whose intrinsic value is far greater than all the other items on the list, are placed at the end of the donation list. He explains that because the stones were given at the end, without the enthusiasm and devotion of all the other donations, in the eyes of Hashem their value is the least of all the donations and they are listed last.
Chazal teach us “Rachmana liba ba’ey,” Hashem wants your heart. Hashem values the thought and giving of oneself that goes into an act of giving more than the actual value of the item.
In marriage, this is a vital lesson to take to heart. How you give is as important as, if not more important than, what you give. There are different forms of giving that arise in marriage. In all forms, how you give is critical.
There is a special art to giving a gift to one’s spouse. A good gift should make your spouse feel that you are connected to him. It should give across the feeling that you are in tune with her likes and interests. When you give a gift that shows you remember your spouse’s interests, favorite team, favorite color, favorite author, favorite singer, etc., it means that much more.
There are other types of giving as well. When you do something to help your spouse, outside of what you usually do, it’s a type of giving. When a husband tells his wife he is doing the dishes tonight because she looks tired, or because she had a hard day, he’s giving something much greater than just clean dishes. This gift shows his wife that he is thinking about her, he is in tune with how she is feeling and what she is going through.
When a wife cooks a special supper because her husband finished a project at work, it’s much more than a nice meal. It’s giving him the message that she appreciates and acknowledges all the hard work that went into this project and recognizes the achievement in its completion.
Let us learn the lesson of the listing of the donations of Klal Yisrael and understand the proper way to give. Let us try this week to perform one act of giving to our spouses in a way that shows we are thinking of them and understand them. May we be zocheh to increased closeness in our marriages that comes from giving properly. 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.