By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
In the beginning of the parashah, the pesukim are talking about each man giving a half-shekel coin for the counting of the Jews. The pasuk uses the word “ונתנו,” every man shall give. The Vilna Gaon comments that this word is a palindrome; it reads the same forward and backward. He explains that this is to teach us that when a person gives he also receives. The Gemara in Shabbos (151b) describes how if a person gives charity to poor people now, then one day in the future if his descendants are in need of money they will be on the receiving end.
Rav Dessler in his Kuntras HaChessed explains that not only does a giver eventually get paid back, but actually a giver gets instant reward for his giving. Rav Dessler describes the concept of the “koach nesinah,” the power of giving. He explains that each time a person gives, he is building a love for that which he is giving to. He further explains that the word “ahavah,” love, comes from the root word of “hav” which means to give, referring to this idea that as we give, we build love.
The secular world often talks of “falling in love,” but the Jewish world talks of “building love.” Each act of giving builds love. When parents hold their baby for the first time, they sometimes think their heart is overflowing with love for this tiny baby, but as time goes on the love gets much stronger due to the constant giving to the baby. The same is true for all relationships; as we give to the other in the relationship, the connection and love get stronger.
If there is a relationship that we feel is lacking, then the way to strengthen it is by giving. When we give to our spouse or to our children, we automatically increase our love towards them. This is also a powerful technique to use in other relationships. Purim is a time when we strengthened our relationships outside of our family by giving mishloach manos and matanos l’evyonim. Let us build on these newly strengthened or newly started relationships by continuing to build the relationship through giving.
Giving can take many forms; oftentimes giving of ourselves, of our attention and caring, can be more powerful than giving physical items or money. Taking an interest in the things that are important to the other and remembering to ask about things going on in their lives can build a relationship in a powerful way. Let us focus on giving to our spouse, family, and others outside our family and experience the increase in love towards them that comes from putting others first. We need to remember that in the end, all that we ever really gain and can have in this world is what we give. 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.