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Sweet Sixteen!

Friday, 25 March, 2022 - 8:48 am

Sixteen years ago today, Chavie and I stood under our San Antonio Chuppah and smiled as the crowd proclaimed Mazal Tov upon our marriage. We danced the night away and thus began a journey of commitment, love, and admiration. Loving someone properly isn’t necessarily natural, as we are inherently self-centered, not selfless. It takes work to act, and be, altruistic. We say, “I love you” a lot, but that too can be selfish, it’s all about me; but as Rabbi Manis Friedman points out, under the Chuppah the groom tells his bride “Harei At”, “you are hereby sanctified to me”, starting with “you” instead of “I”, implying “you are loved”.  

In this week’s Torah portion, Shemini, we read about the passing of Nadav and Avihau, two of Aaron’s sons who entered the Holy of Holies unsanctioned. The Or HaChaim explains that they experienced spiritual ecstasy, thirsting so deeply for a relationship with G-d that they forgot about what G-d wanted in the relationship, and it all became about their needs, a selfish spiritual endeavor. They had good intentions, but so what? They yearned for something that wasn’t meant for them, and lost life itself over their inappropriate expression of love.

The word love in English means so many things. We love our spouse, our kids, sushi, good weather, trips to Mexico, and certain politicians. Sometimes we love in ways that service us, making us feel good, instead of loving our loved ones in ways that focus on them and their needs. It is said that “true love begins when nothing is looked for in return” and while it would be hard to sustain a marriage without reciprocal expressions of love, in our mind it should always be about our beloved, not about us. Here’s to the next sixteen years of me and Chavie discovering love, happiness and sanctity.

My beloved is mine, and I am hers!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!


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