One of the dangerous myths of our generation is the idea that people can simply "fall in love," get married, and live in a state of everlasting bliss, with little or no effort. Without a doubt, this myth is the reason behind many divorces and marital conflicts. Marriage, like life, is not smooth sailing. Highs and lows are an integral part of every existence. But when a married couple musters the courage to transform every crisis into an opportunity, and focus on their inseparable union above the trivialities of their differences, only then will true love will then emerge and endure forever.

Rabbi Allouche

Dear Friends,  

I’ll never forget that moment.

About a year and a half before I met my better half, my dear mentor, world scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, pulled me aside and asked me: “What type of woman do you want to marry?”

“Somebody to love,” I replied half-seriously, hinting at Queen’s song. But my flowery answer didn’t satisfy him.

“You’ve been reading too many love stories,” he replied. “Love does not lead to marriage, as many think,” he asserted. “Quite the opposite: Marriage leads to love.”

The Talmud describes the upcoming festival of Shavuot – which begins this evening until Saturday evening – as the “wedding day” between God and His people. On this day, we married God, and He presented us with His marriage contract, the Torah. In response, we exclaimed together, “we will do” and “we will listen,” and our marriage took off. 

But if the giving of the Torah was such an important event in which we “married” G-d, why is this festival not celebrated with as much flair and glamour as the others? Not only is this festival shorter than the others (it’s only two days in the Diaspora as opposed to the eight respective days of Sukkot and Passover), but it only includes one commandment, the commandment of listening to the Ten Commandments.

The answer reveals the secret to a lasting and successful marriage: Marriage is a work in progress, and its crucial elements of love and respect do not just magically appear “at first sight.” It takes much time, loyal commitment and selfless action, day after day, month after month, year after year, for true love and respect to appear. The wedding day alone, as exuberant as it may be, is therefore far less important than the time and resources that spouses ought to invest in their relationship thereafter.

One of the dangerous myths of our generation is the idea that people can simply “fall in love,” get married, and live in a state of everlasting bliss, with little or no effort. Without a doubt, this myth is the reason behind many divorces and marital conflicts. Marriage, like life, is not smooth sailing. Highs and lows are an integral part of every existence. But when a married couple musters the courage to transform every crisis into an opportunity, and focus on their inseparable union above the trivialities of their differences, only then will true love will then emerge and endure forever.

Our wedding day with God, Shavuot, is coming up this evening. We will certainly all read the Ten Commandments tomorrow, learn Torah, and eat some blintzes and cheesecake. But it would behoove us to remember that it is our active commitment to G-d, His Torah, and His commandments, on the days and weeks after Shabbuot, that will determine the sustainability and success of our marriage with The One Above.

And we ought to remember that the only love that can truly exist and persevere is a love that we ascend to, not fall into, one step at a time, one mitzvah at a time.

One reply on “The Meaning of Love – A Shavuot Message

  • Hadas

    Beautiful message. A reminder that when we put effort, energy on top of good intentions- we enjoy the fruits. Chag Sameach

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