Parshas Emor: The Ultimate Relationship Test

by Shmaya Gestetner

In marriage or any significant relationship, nobody can say that their connection is always on the same level. Relationships bring challenges that can weaken or strengthen bonds depending on how we handle them.

Interestingly, the giving of the Torah on Shavuos is symbolic of a marriage between Hashem and us. The Gemara explains the passuk “Moshe commanded the Torah to us, it is an inheritance (morasha).” Do not read the word as morasha/inheritance, but rather as m’orassa/engagement (Pesachim 49b). (The Hebrew letter Shin and Sin are interchangeable as only the vowel which is not written in the Torah separates them)

The period of Sefira which corresponds with our journey from Mitzrayim and exile to freedom and our marriage, is similar to an engagement period where our relationship is developed and tested. What is the ultimate relationship test and how can we apply it to both our spiritual growth and personal life?

In sickness and in health

The Zohar Hakadosh Says that Sefiras HaOmer is the test of the wife, which the Jewish nation represents in the marriage with Hashem. In order to test the relationship, we need to demonstrate our commitment in a wide gamut of situations.

Using our marriages as an example, we can see how our relationship reacts to difficulties. A strong connection will deal with challenges it faces, and even if it temporarily seems that the bond is weakened, the relationship will eventually be stronger by surviving these episodes.

In other words, each person’s commitment to a relationship even when it feels that the relationship isn’t so strong, or perhaps affected by whatever is occurring, leads to a stronger bond going forward. If we are only committed to each other when everything is great and G-d forbid grow apart from each other when faced with a test, that may signify a weakness in our relationship.

The same is true with our commitment to our spiritual quest. If we can stay strong in our commitment to Hashem, the torah, mitzvos and all our holy goals, even when we are feeling at a low or distant level, this will be a strong sign that we are committed to the relationship and will increase our bond specifically through that distance.

The lesson in the parsha

When the Torah commands us to count the omer, the passuk says: “and you should count for yourself” (Vayikra 23:15). This is very similar to what the Torah says about a woman who has to count the days leading up to her mikvah night when she will be with her husband: “and she should count for herself”. How do we count and inspect ourselves to be ready for this relationship?

The counting of the Omer begins with the offering of a barley sacrifice. Barley is considered as animal feed, representing a very low level of the relationship status. We are also commanded to wave this offering in every direction to represent our acknowledgment that Hashem is present at every level.

If we can demonstrate our commitment at every level that we are at, from our post-slavery animal level, all the way to our level as humans on Shavuos, and recognize our connection to Hashem in every circumstance, then we are ready to join in an everlasting bond. Let us pass this relationship test in our marriages as well as in our preparation for Kabalas Hatorah and never despair from our constant commitment to holiness.

Likutey Halachos OC Pesach 9

 

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