Parsha: Acharei (2024)

Was great to see so many of you over Pesach!
I trust that you had a meaningful and special Chag with your family and friends.

There is a story of a young couple who struggled with their relationship for many years. They went through a rough patch and even contemplated divorce.

With the arrival of their first child, they decided to stick it out together, despite the underlying issues that could resurface at any moment.

After having another baby, they felt more stuck.

As time went on, they were at a breaking point.
Then came their later-in-life child, which totally unexpectedly changed their marriage for the better.
This precious child had Down’s syndrome. Caring for a special needs child as older parents was a huge challenge. They put in all their energy into raising her.

At first, they were working together only because that’s what was required.
But soon the unexpected joy and love inherent in their mission found mother and father inspiring and helping each other.

Instead of just being a distraction from their problems, parenting their new child opened new vistas of respect and love for one another.
Focusing on something higher than both partners, elevated the entire relationship and the entire home.

The Parsha this week, spells out the boundaries and laws of relationships. This comes right after Pesach, a Holiday that we spend with family.

The Torah puts forward “G-d given” rules about family life and morality around marriage. These rules are not just what gives us a meaningful and beautiful life, but since they are G-d given, they are eternal and never changing.

Man-made laws can change to suit changing times and circumstances. What is popular today in family life may not be popular tomorrow.
Whereas boundaries that are divine, don’t sway with the winds and whims of the day.
The Torah teaches us with eternal authority, to be respectful and faithful in our relationships. “Shalom Bayit” is the Hebrew term for domestic harmony and good relations between husband and wife.

When we bring G-d into the relationship we allow husband and wife to focus on something higher than them both. This will give more meaning and purpose to transcend the petty and trivial differences they may have.

Shabbat shalom
Rabbi Zalman and Esty