PARSHAT TEZAVEH: A LOVE THAT LASTS FOREVER
By Sherrie B. Miller
In this week’s Parsha, the amazing secret of how to find true love AND how to perpetuate it is revealed!
Rabbi Jay Marcus points out the interesting juxtaposition of the elaborate Priestly garments, between the commandments to light an ever-lasting light, “ner tamid”, the twice daily sacrifice “olat tamid, and the daily incense offered, “ketoret tamid.”
The service of the Kohen is a living example to the Jewish People, which we are meant to emulate. The Avoda was enthusiastically done with unqualified dedication and commitment to properly worshipping Hashem.
When contemplating Marriage, some tend to approach it with a “shopping list of needs”, says Rav Yitzchak Kirzner z”l. Within some of us, there is a pervading sense of emptiness that we think can be filled through marriage. Perhaps, this is what has caused the artificial and detailed list of requirements for a prospective spouse: it is a way of trying to fill the void.
However, Marriage is the arena to reach my goals with another who shares those goals. In dating, we must be clear about the difference between needs and goals. Unless I feel full and whole from within, from that healthy place, possessing the “need to give,” I can never be truly satisfied. It is not possible for any human being to fulfill all of another’s dreams and wishes at all times!
We learn from the Kohen’s Garments, that not only do the clothes make the man on a physical level, but also the symbolism of each item is permeated with importance of working on our midot. The Gemara in Arachin 16a lists the midot of idolatry, bloodshed, immorality, financial wrongdoing, haughtiness, gossip, brazenness and immoral thoughts. The Torah is teaching us that the inside must reflect the grandeur of the outside. Purity of soul and core are what we must strive for.
Dating has begun to sound more like a job interview than a search for a life partner: what does he/she look like? What does he/she do? What schools did he/she attend? Etc. We focus a lot on externals, instead of on the core values of the person. The notion that we “fall” in love is unJewish and relates to fleeting emotions that we have no control over.
Love is a choice and we ought to choose to love the other’s goodness, the character traits that we admire and would like our children to emulate. These lie at the depths of a person’s being and continuously become revealed throughout Marriage causing love to grow. The Jewish view of a satisfying Marriage is how much are you prepared to give (ahava) without compensation and the notion that we “grow” in love through the cooperative building of our own private Mishkan.
(It is sometimes difficult to view Marriage this way is a world of “gimme.” And “what’s in it for me?”)
The common denominator of the three “tamids” mentioned above, the light, the sacrifice and the incense, come to teach us that to bring Hashem’s infinite light into our lives, we need pure olive oil “squeezed” for the light. The “work” that comes after Marriage is what lasts and brings us closer to building a “bayit ne’eman. The “olat tamid” is all about the sacrifice! To the extent that I am willing to sacrifice for my spouse without a sense of entitlement of being repaid, is the everlasting satisfaction that I will feel at consistently moving closer to my goal of being a true “eved Hashem.”
Interestingly enough, the modern day Hebrew word for locomotive is Katar, (from the word Ketoret) which is the part of a vehicle that produces power to make the vehicle move. So too, the dedication to work on our own midot, and the ability to work continually toward the Infinite Light, with the ability, commitment and resolve to give and sacrifice “tamid,” (always)we will enjoy and be blessed with a loving and lasting relationship!
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish matchmaker on SawYouAtSinai and a dating coach in Jerusalem. She received her counseling degree from the Michlala in Jerusalem and an M.A. in Jewish Education from Touro College. 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.
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