By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
The parashah begins with a discussion of the heroic deed of Pinchas and describes how he acted with zealousness to protect the Jewish people. As a result of his actions, he was greatly rewarded by Hashem. Later in the parashah, Moshe asks Hashem to appoint a new leader for the Jewish nation. Hashem responds by telling Moshe whom to appoint to lead the Jewish nation in his place. Surprisingly it is not Pinchas, or even Calev, who was chosen. The one who was appointed the next leader of the Jewish nation was Yehoshua bin Nun.
What was the greatness of Yehoshua? Why was he specifically chosen to succeed Moshe? The Talmud explains that the greatness of Yehoshua was that he stayed by Moshe’s side day after day. When describing the actions of Yehoshua, it says that he would come to the synagogue early each day to help set up the chairs. While it certainly sounds like a nice thing to do, it is very different from standing up against the spies or killing people for the name of Hashem. Yet it was precisely this quality that Hashem wanted the new leader of Klal Yisrael to possess. A sense of dedication that was visible from his consistent daily actions.
The lesson of Yehoshua being chosen can apply to many areas of life, including that of marriage. There is a time and place for big, flashy, dramatic actions. However, it is the day-to-day consistency that really shapes a person into someone great. Marriages certainly have their big, flashy moments. There is the wedding and the anniversaries. There are the occasional “dates” or vacations, romantic dinners or special gifts. These all certainly help to preserve and increase the closeness in a marriage. However, it is the day-to-day interaction that creates the level of connection that the couple experiences.
Consistent daily actions show one’s spouse that he or she is on one’s mind and in one’s heart. It’s the constant sharing of ideas, thoughts, and dreams, the sincere compliments and encouragement. These are the “coming early to set up the chairs.” These non-flashy actions are the markers that show how one is dedicated to the relationship and to his or her spouse. This is the lesson illustrated by Hashem choosing Yehoshua as the next leader and this is the lesson we need to try and integrate into our marriage.
Let us try to value the “small” actions done by our spouse for us, and try to consistently do “small” actions for our spouse. May we merit to see and experience the increased closeness that comes from consistently working on our marriage through the small things, and may it help us to enjoy and appreciate every day together as a couple and a family. 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.