Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Rebbetzin!

Yes, it’s our 12th anniversary today.

Odd, the way calendars work out; we moved to Allentown on my rebbetzin’s birthday, and now we’re moving to Toronto on our anniversary. (And she says we never do anything for our special occasions…)

I would love to spend this post talking about the Rebbetzin, but one of the bedrock rules of my blog is that the Rebbetzin does not like the spotlight.

So, instead, let’s talk marriage.

Marriage is, to my mind, a most an unnatural institution: Two people of different backgrounds/experiences/worldviews yoke themselves to each other for life. What kind of an idea is that?! But it’s the Torah’s model:

At a wedding we invoke the image of Adam and Chavah in Gan Eden. Even in that original union of the only man and woman on earth, there was such disparity of background. Adam was crafted by Gd from nothing, and knew sole possession of the world around him before Chavah entered the picture; Chavah was originally part of Adam’s body, and never knew a world in which she was not a part of Adam.

Move ahead to Yitzchak and Rivkah. Yitzchak comes from the home of Avraham and Sarah and Canaan; Rivkah is a product of Lavan and Aram.

How about Moshe and Tzipporah? Egypt vs. Midian, Amram/Yocheved vs. Yitro Kohen Midian? A boy raised in the palace of Paroh marries a girl raised as one of seven shepherdesses?

And so on. There’s much more we could say (were I not moving today!), but I think the point is clear: The Torah presents several examples of men and women from diverse backgrounds joining to create a marriage.

Two people agree in principle to work together, to consider each other’s wants and needs as equal (if not superior) to their own, and, Gd-willing, to bring new lives into this world, the most serious of enterprises, in tandem with someone who sees the world through different lenses.

This is not only about marriage; it's a broader theme, partnership with someone of a different nature and a different outlook to achieve a great goal:
It’s aged Yocheved and young Miriam saving Jewish babies in Egypt.
It’s Moshe and Aharon leading the Jews through the desert.
It’s Betzalel of Yehudah and Ahaliav of Dan crafting the mishkan.

This bonding of diverse personalites doesn’t always work out well, of course, but for me it has been earth-shatteringly wonderful, life-changing in so many ways. I think back to the person I was before the Rebbetzin – my life in yeshiva, my approach to relationships, my dating career - and it’s hard for me to believe the difference between me and that somewhat-embarrassing person I once was. I’ve learned a lot about living, relating, and learning from this incredible woman who agreed, for reasons unknown, to marry me.

I thank Gd regularly for matching me with the woman who made me the person I am now. Happy anniversary, Rebbetzin!


  1. Have you read "Family Redeemed"?
    If not, you should.


  2. בהצלחה on the move, and happy anniversary to both of you!

  3. Thanks, all!
    And Joel - I haven't read it yet. I'll have to add it to my list.