By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
In Parashas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us, “It will be when all these things come to you, the blessing and the curse which I have given before you, and you shall take it to your heart” (Devarim 30:1). The commentators question why the Torah includes the words “you shall take it to your heart.” Rabbi Yonasan Eibeshutz explained that every situation in life contains within it a unique test of our character and can either be used as an opportunity to grow or as a breeding ground to develop new faults.
The classic example used to explain this concept is that of money. Wealth can bring with it opportunities to serve Hashem without distraction, opportunities for loving-kindness, and for charity. At the same time, a person can use his money for the wrong things and in the wrong ways, thereby distancing himself from Hashem and from people. Poverty, as well, contains possibilities for growth and potential pitfalls. Therefore, the Torah adds the words “you shall take it to your heart.” Each person has the choice of how to respond to the life situations he has been given.
Marriage, in particular, brings with it many challenges and opportunities. Each situation that a couple encounters contains within it the potential for growth and the danger of falling, both on a personal level and as a couple. Rav Grossman of Migdal Emek explained that challenges in a relationship can be viewed as a jigsaw puzzle. A person who purchases a 500-piece puzzle would be disappointed if he found all the pieces were numbered. The puzzle may no longer have any potential frustration, but it’s also missing all the challenge and fun. Instead of viewing the difficulties we face in a relationship as a frustration, try to view them as a challenge to your creativity and a puzzle to be figured out. This subtle shift in our outlook can have a tremendous impact, turning every difficulty into an opportunity.
May we be zocheh to a kesivah v’chasimah tovah, a year full of berachah for us and our spouses and all of Klal Yisrael.
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 email@example.com.