[This week's Haveil Havalim is here!]
The Torah’s malleability frustrates me at times; the line, “הפך בה והפך בה דכלא בה (Turn it and turn it, for all is in it)” is often invoked as an excuse for abusing original grammar and intent in an attempt to force specific meaning from the ancient sentences.
At the same time, who can deny that this malleability is a rabbi’s homiletic friend? Regardless of the theme I want to address, there’s always something relevant in the Torah, and (often) it can be read my way. Not with the rigidity required for halachic analysis, but certainly on a level sufficient for homiletics.
With that in mind, I pose the following question: What marital advice can you deduce from the Torah?
Advice: Marriage must involve a couple's on-going attempt to know each other, with real time and energy devoted to this purpose.
Source: In Hosheia 2:21-22, HaShem pledges all manner of goodness to the Jewish people, His prospective spouse. He’ll give us righteousness, justice, kindness and mercy. What need we provide? “וידעת את ה' (You shall know Gd).” As the Rambam notes in Sefer haMitzvot, this knowledge leads to true love.
Advice: In a marriage, rights don't make up for wrongs. Giving a gift does not make up for hurting the other.
Source: Hosheia 3:4-5 and 6:6, as well as Yeshayah 1 and numerous other passages in the the prophets, tell us that korbanot cannot be used as a make-up gift for sin, until sin itself is abandoned. Cf Moreh haNevuchim 3:32 - korbanot are intended to help us achieve a union with Gd, but they are not a substitute for that union.
So let's hear it - what marriage tips do you draw from the Torah?