Re'eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 )
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GOOD MORNING! Imagine the situation - a young Jewish man, successful in his profession, wants to get married. There are plenty of young women to date, but how does he know if she is the right one? So many marriages end in divorce! He knows that love is not enough; probably 99% of all people getting married love each other, yet there is a greater than 50% divorce rate. He is not just commitment phobic, he's marriage phobic!
What does he do? He starts reading all the books he can on marriage. He researches psychology and sociology articles. He talks with counselors and psychologist. One day while looking at a list of divorce statistics, he sees that Orthodox Jews have a very low divorce rate - estimated at 5-10% - and decides to find out what they are doing right. There were other groups with low divorce rates, but they forbade divorce under almost all circumstances while the Orthodox Jews encouraged divorce (it is actually one of the 613 commandment) if the relationship cannot be put on a positive track.
What Now: Fast-forward 13 years. We find the young man, David LeVine, 38 years old, married 9 years with 2 beautiful children and working for Aish HaTorah on the speeddating.com site. Email after email, essay after essay, he reads the painful and disappointing efforts of people to find the ideal relationship and their frustration in not having the tools needed to find the right one and to make the relationship work.
What does David do? He seeks out some of the wisest, most articulate experts to share their proven methods for finding -and keeping - that special someone. He then produces a 6 CD set called "Get the Ring - How to Find and Keep the Right One for Life" (available at http://www.GetTheRing.com or 888-354-3486). It is essential listening for anyone contemplating marriage. This is something you will want to buy for yourself, your children or anyone you love and want to help find an ideal relationship.
What I wish to share with you some of the wisdom found on "Get The Ring" from Rabbi Dov Heller, a counselor and therapist in Los Angeles.
TEN REASONS WHY PEOPLE MARRY THE WRONG PERSON
- They expect the person to change after marriage. One must accept people for who s/he is. Don't marry potential for change, especially regarding religious differences, bad communication skills, bad habits.
- They focus on chemistry, not on character. Never get married solely because you are in love. Love does not conquer all. Often times people mistake infatuation or lust for love.
- They do not understand the emotional needs of the other person.
- They don't share common life purpose and priorities. People connect because of chemistry, common interests and common life purpose. Common life purpose builds a deeper, stronger bond.
- They get intimately involved before they are intellectually committed. One's ability to evaluate the character, quality and life philosophy of another person is clouded by having an intimate relationship first. One tends to romanticize the relationship; it is harder to face issues.
- They don't have a deep emotional connection to the person. We are not talking about passion. Do you respect and admire this person (not are you impressed with the person)? Do you trust this person? Do you feel a sense of peace with this person?
- They choose someone with whom they don't feel emotionally safe. If you can't express your feelings and opinions, if the person is controlling or raises his voice this has the potential to be an abusive relationship.
- They don't discuss essential and important issues before getting married. What are the other person's goals, ambitions, values? Does the person want to have children? How are the children to be raised? Hear what the person says and how he says it.
- They think that marriage will solve their problems. If a person is unhappy as a person and with his life as a single, likely he or she will be miserable in marriage. One takes his/her emotional baggage into the relationship. Your spouse in not responsible for your happiness.
- They pick someone who is not emotionally healthy. A person with issues brings more than himself/herself into the marriage. If there is a dominating parent, then there are 3 people in the marriage and one's spouse can't fully be emotionally open. Never marry an addict - whether to drugs, work, hobbies, status.
One page is too short to convey the depth and breadth of wisdom one can get from "Get the Ring" about finding the right person and making the marriage work. I highly recommend that you go to www.GetTheRing.com for more information and to order the set.
Torah Portion of the Week
This week is a jam-packed portion. It begins with a choice:
"I set before you a blessing and a curse. The blessing: if you obey the commandments of God...; the curse if you do not ... and you follow other gods."
The portion continues with rules and laws for the land of Israel primarily oriented towards staying away from idol worship and the religions in the land. In verses 13:1-12 you will find the section that caused a missionary's face to blanch and silenced him from continuing to proselytize a renowned rabbi.
One of the indications of the existence and necessity of the Oral Torah - an explanation and clarification (later redacted as the Talmud) of the written Torah (The Five Books of Moses) - comes from verse 12:21: "You will slaughter animals ... according to the manner I (God) have prescribed." Nowhere in the Torah are we instructed in the manner of shechita, ritual slaughter. One might conclude that there was a very sloppy editor. Or - one might conclude that there are additional teachings clarifying and amplifying the written Word.
The source of the Chosen People concept (14:1-2):
"You are a nation consecrated to God your Lord. God has chosen you from all nations on the face of the earth to be His own special nation." We are chosen for responsibility, not privilege - to act morally and to be a "light unto the nations."
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"If there be among you a needy person, one of your brethren within any of your gates, in your land which the Almighty, your God, gives you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand against your needy brother." (Deuteronomy 15:7)
Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra (a 12th century Spanish commentator) explains: you shall not refrain from speaking kind words to his heart. When a person is poor, s/he suffers more than just financial deprivation - s/he suffers much emotional pain. Many times s/he might become totally discouraged and broken. Therefore, we have an obligation to open our hearts to such a person and to talk to him in a compassionate and empathetic manner. We must go out of our way to give words of encouragement. Just giving a person money without trying to help him emotionally is only part of the job. It is sign of apathy and callousness not to try to cheer up a person who needs emotional support.
CANDLE LIGHTING - August 22:
(or go to http://www.aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 6:01 Hong Kong 6:31 Honolulu 6:36
J'Burg 5:33 London 7:50 Los Angeles 7:13
Melbourne 5:28 Miami 7:31 Moscow 7:32
New York 7:25 Singapore 6:55
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
When you get to the end of your rope,
tie a knot and hang on.
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt
With thanks to