By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
In this week’s parashah, Ki-Sissa, the pasuk (Sh’mos 32:32) says, “V’atah im tissa chattasam v’im ayin mecheini na misifrecha asher kasavta.” Moshe tells Hashem that if He will not forgive the Jews for their sin with the Golden Calf, it is preferable for Moshe to be erased entirely from Hashem’s book. Moshe clearly was referencing the Torah, and we learn from this pasuk how much power is inherent in the words of our sages. Since they are so careful with what comes out of their mouths, and since they are on such an exalted level, Hashem does not take their speech lightly. So although Hashem did forgive the nation, Moshe’s statement had to be actualized to some extent. Therefore, Hashem had the name of Moshe erased from one parashah, the parashah of the previous week, Tetzaveh.
There are many explanations for why the previous week’s parashah was chosen to be the parashah where Moshe’s name would not be mentioned. Two explanations are exceptionally beautiful (told over by R’ Yair Nussbacher). One is that Tetzaveh talks about all the garments of the kohen. Moshe did not merit becoming a kohen, and Hashem did not want him to feel jealous. For this reason, his name was not mentioned in this parashah. We see the sensitivity that Hashem displays even for a seemingly remote possibility that someone might become jealous. How much more so should we be cautious about arousing the jealousy of others.
The second explanation for the choice of Tetzaveh is that Hashem knew that Moshe’s name would be left out of one parashah, but He did not want to remove it until He had no choice. So it came to be that the parashah preceding Ki-Sissa was the one chosen for the job of not having Moshe’s name. Since removing Moshe’s name was a negative action to take, it was pushed off as long as possible, until the reading of the Torah comes full circle and it is the last opportunity to do the deed. We too should be slow to be harsh and strict, even if we know it’s necessary. We should not be fast to punish, condemn, and mete out justice.
With these two traits—of being cautious of arousing jealousy and being slow to mete out justice—we should merit to improve our interpersonal relationships and our marital harmony. As we become better people, our spouses will see and experience the difference it brings to us and to the way we interact with them. 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.