PARSHAT BEHAR-BECHUKOTAI: CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN
By Sherrie B. Miller
The double parsha read this week, Behar and “Im Bchukotai Taylaychu” gives us tremendous
insight into the current hesitance and indecisiveness with regard to making the
ultimate commitment to marry.
Behar, on the Sinai Mountain, conjures up an image of a climb, and ascent to something
transcendent and spiritual that will enable us to soar. This picture is ethereal
yet not static. There is a climb, a supreme effort needed to achieve the goal of
rising to the top in search of a complete re-union with Hashem.
It requires persistent and steadfast faith and tenacity. Just as we knew at Matan
Torah, that “lefum tzara, agra,” according to the effort, so will be the reward,
we must re-kindle that passion now more than ever!
“Im B’chukotai Taylaychu,” if you walk in my statutes….I will provide your rains
and the land will give its produce.” Rashi comments: walking denotes movement from
place to place, a laborious activity which teaches us: we should be laboring in
We must possess the determination, spiritual yearning to grow, develop and improve
our midot. If we don’t move forward, we move backward!
The Torah guides us in the most effective and practical way of attaining this goal:
through a helpmate who can support and encourage as well as one who can hold us
back when we are embarking on the wrong path.
The Torah does not mention the common concept of soul mate, perhaps because we make
a choice to be a best friend to the one we marry. To have a friend, one must be
Marriage is about being married to your best friend!
According to Chazal, once we stand under the Chuppah, we do become soul mates, helping
each other to become the best that we can be. “And if you say, what will we eat?....I
will ordain My blessing for you.” (Behar 25:20-22)
Hashem is speaking to the weak of faith and trust, who rely on nature taking its
course and doubt the constant involvement of Hashem with His People and is a constant
Provider. Bnei Yisrael feared that should they follow the command to let their land
lay fallow for a year, they’d have no food and would go hungry.
In actuality all that we need in our lives to further our ultimate purpose and goals,
is standing right in front of our very eyes. But due to the decadent culture surrounding
us, our vision is impaired and we often are blinded by all the glitz and glitter.
This notion is increasingly evident in the case of Hagar. Despite our negative view
of her as the mother of Yishmael, Avraham Avinu trained her in absolute Emunah.
This Emunah hastened the realization and clarity that indeed, just the thing that
she needed was within reach, right in front of her. We read in (Breishit 21:19)
that when wandering in the desert with Yishmael on the brink of death, Hashem “opened
her eyes” and lo and behold, there was a well to quench her thirst. The mefarshim
point out, that once she stopped focusing on her own self-pity, she gained the wherewithal
and insight to concentrate and see what was right before her very eyes: a life saving
well of water!
The same holds true for Moshe in the wilderness as the Jews complained about the
biter water: “And he cried to Hashem and Hashem showed him a tree which when he
cast into the bitter water made it sweet. (Shmot 15:25)
Dating has become very confusing when we are so used to instant oatmeal, instant
pudding and “love at first sight.”
Often, the right one is staring us in the face and we lose faith and wonder if someone
“better” isn’t waiting just around the corner. It can be compared to shopping for
a dress. “I love this one, it fits perfectly, but maybe if I keep looking, I will
find a nicer one.” The search is debilitating, there are never guarantees that this
is the nicest dress there is, and the event that I need it for is approaching so
I am forced to by a dress under pressure…..still not sure! Another possibility is
that I never make the purchase for fear of making the wrong choice Meanwhile, I
could have been enjoying the first dress that I truly liked, decided that it was
perfect and gone on to enjoy it and be extremely happy wearing it.
Marriage is not a dress, but the same principle applies. Choice plays a big role
in our happiness and in our finding love and making a life long commitment to a
Love is a verb. We grow in love, not “fall” in love. We must climb the mountain,
which takes work, energy and time. We must be fully invested and committed to ride
the waves and we must choose to be in a relentless forward motion in order to reach
the pinnacle and reap the benefits of true intimacy.
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish Matchmaker
on SawYouAtSinai.com and works with
Jewish Singles all over the world. She is an educational guidance counselor,
group leader, pre-marital coach, matchmaker and Judaic Studies teacher. Sherrie
is dedicated to promoting and enhancing emotional intelligence and communication
skills in conjunction with Torah values.
Sherrie received her educational counseling degree from the Michlalah in Bayit Vegan
and an M.A. in Education and Counseling from Touro College, Jerusalem, Israel. Sherrie
also holds a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and a
B.Sc. from Yeshiva University in Jewish Education. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet
Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s
counselor and Kallah teacher.
Before coming to Israel in 1989 from Great Neck, New York, Sherrie taught Judaic
Studies at the North Shore Hebrew Academy. Sherrie also educated affiliated and
unaffiliated adults through the “Project Identity” outreach program under the directorship
of Rabbi Yaakov Lerner. Sherrie trained individuals and couples in the laws of Kashrut,
Guidelines of Parenting, Parshat Shavua and Pirkei Avot.
In her work as a Guidance Counselor in the national religious “Mamad” school, "Yehuda
Halevi", Sherrie instructed life skill workshops to students, parents and teachers,
with a focus on communication, conflict resolution and anger management. She also
leads support groups for children of divorce.
Sherrie is certified by the Life Center and leads Parenting workshops based on the
Faber/Mazlish workshops on, “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids
Sherrie is an executive board member of the Emunah World Zionist Organization, Mibreishit,
led by Rav Motti Alon, and Nishmat led my Rabbanit Hanna Henkin.
Sherrie’s diverse background in counseling and teaching, combined with torah principles
and values contribute to the depth and quality of her success with clients. Lessons
drawn from her own life transitions make her coaching perspective uniquely inspirational.
Sherrie helps individuals clarify their goals and take masterful action steps to
reach them. Sherrie is professionally known for her guidance in the educational
system as well as her outstanding capabilities teaching interpersonal relationship
skills to groups and individuals.
Having made a number of successful matches resulting in marriage, Sherrie volunteers
as a matchmaker for SawYouAtSinai, an internet matchmaking site.