By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
The Talilei Oros brings down a beautiful dvar Torah from Rav Shach, zt’l. The parashah begins with the word “Vayikra”—“and Hashem called out.” Rashi explains that when Hashem spoke to Moshe it says “Vayikra,” but when Hashem spoke to Bilam or other non-Jews, it says “vayikar”—meaning “Hashem chanced upon them.” Rashi explains that this calling to Moshe before speaking to him is an expression of Hashem’s love for Moshe. Rashi further explains that this calling before speaking was not a one-time occurrence, but rather every time that Hashem spoke to Moshe, He called to him first.
R’ Shach, zt’l, explains that when people have a relationship with each other and are having a conversation, the listener will naturally want to focus on the speaker. By calling the name of the listener before beginning to speak, the speaker is drawing attention to the relationship that they share and by doing so is increasing the focus of the listener to what he is going to say.
Rav Shach explains that by calling out to Moshe, Hashem is setting for us a beautiful example of how to communicate with someone you care about. When two people who have a relationship need to have a meaningful conversation, it would be wise to follow Hashem’s example and draw the listener’s attention by reminding him or her of the relationship you share. This can be done by using the person’s name or a term of endearment.
Obviously, meaningful conversation can only be accomplished when the two parties are focused on each other and really paying attention to what the other is saying. In today’s world, when there are so many distractions that call for our attention, we have to try extra hard to converse meaningfully and effectively with those we care about. This is done by giving the other our full attention. Let us try to learn from the lesson of “Vayikra” and show our spouse, children, or friends that they are important to us before we begin speaking to them.
Additionally, let us enhance our relationships with our family and loved ones by paying them full attention as we speak with them. Pre-Pesach is a very hectic time of year. While many distractions usually exist in the form of our communication devices, even more exist while we are cleaning, shopping, and multitasking. Let us remember that when an opportunity for real communication and conversation does arise, we should treat it with the importance that it deserves and give it the focus that it needs. By doing so, our marriage and general relationships will strengthen and improve. 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.