By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
In this week’s parashah, Naso, the pasuk tells us, “Vayhi b’yom kallos Moshe l’hakim es haMishkan . . . va’yakrivu nesi’ei Yisrael . . .”—“And it was on the day that Moshe finished putting up the Mishkan . . . the princes of Israel brought offerings . . .” (Bamidbar 7:1–2). Rashi explains that this time the princes donated first because at the time of the building they donated last, saying they would fill in whatever was missing. By the time their turn came to provide their portions, all that remained to give were the Avnei Shoham and Miluim. Therefore, they made sure to donate first this time, having learned from what happened in the past.
The lesson of the nesi’im, the princes of Israel, is one of learning from missed opportunities and training oneself to “catch the moment.” Marriage is full of opportunities to do for one’s spouse. In many ways a spouse can do things for his or her partner that no one else can. Spouses have the ability to build, create closeness, listen to, encourage, help, nurture, and give strength to their partners. Opportunities to give to our spouses come in all shapes and sizes. They can range from an extra hour of sleep or a Danish, to giving a spouse the courage to face the world when things seem dark or helping a spouse pick up the pieces and go on when their world comes crashing down.
At times, we miss an opportunity to give to our spouses in the special way that only we can. The opportunity may have been missed for any number of reasons. We were too busy, tired, sad, or lazy; we were overwhelmed or in too much pain and didn’t realize how much our spouses needed us or how much saying the right thing, stopping to listen, or lending a hand would do for them. However, once we do realize that we missed an opportunity, we should make a sincere commitment to catch opportunities when they next arise.
Let us learn the lesson of the nesi’im—how to make up for missed opportunities. Let us realize that as spouses we have tremendous power to give to our partners. Let us utilize our realization of missed opportunities to train ourselves to catch future ones. May we each be zocheh to have a close relationship with our spouse in which we are there for each other at all times and in every situation. 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.