Photo Credit: courtesy, Sivan Rahav Meir
Sivan Rahav Meir

How many of life’s greatest opportunities have we missed out on because we were too busy? Did the news of an amazing opportunity come directly our way, but we simply did not hear it?

Moshe Rabbeinu addresses the nation of Israel in this week’s Torah portion with wonderful news: The Exodus from Egypt is about to begin. The people have been waiting for this to happen for years and now, finally, the time has come. Yet the response of the children of Israel to his moving speech is truly depressing: “And they did not listen to Moshe due to their shortness of breath and their hard labor.” How could that be? Can people become so busy and distracted that they do not notice when the opportunity to go free from slavery arrives? Can what is momentarily “urgent” trump what is truly important? Can the temporary silence the historic?

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The answer is that this is exactly what Pharaoh attempted to do, and this is what the evil inclination has attempted to do to us until today. In Mesilat Yesharim, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato writes that we need to be very careful that this will not happen to us too: “Among the tricks of the deceptive evil inclination is to burden people’s hearts with constant work, to the point where they cannot even pause, look around, and consider which road they are taking.”

Do we grant ourselves time “to pause, look around, and consider” in order not to miss the announcement that redemption is coming, so that we can adjust the direction in which we are headed accordingly?

 

In Your Relationship,
Are You Inert, Vegetative, Animal, Or Speaking?

According to the Kabbalah, everything in the universe belongs to one of four categories: domeim (inanimate or inert), tzomei’ach (growing or vegetative); chai (living or animal), medabeir (speaking or human).

During a Mitchadshot workshop, Rabbi Michi Yosefi applied these four categories to relationships between married partners.

Domeim: From the outside, everything looks okay. There are no arguments or shouting, but there is no animating energy. Everything is inert. No one talks about what bothers them, no one shares, each person is very isolated. This is the lowest level of development.

Tzomei’ach: No longer inanimate, there is some emotional expression, but it’s not understood. For example: One of the partners leaves the room and slams the door. It’s like a baby that cries. No explanation is given, and therefore the other partner needs to ask, “What is bothering you? What are you angry about?” There is no longer complete silence but the relationship is still not healthy, just exhausting and childish.

Chai: There is verbal communication but no expression of what is truly desired or needed, only complaint and accusation. This is a higher level of relationship than domeim or tzomei’ach, but it is far from adequate. For example, one of the partners may ask: “Why didn’t you buy me a birthday present?” Every communication can be highly emotional, intending to evoke feelings of guilt.

Medabeir: This is the proper way of being in a relationship. I share, talk about what I feel, speak sincerely with my partner about the good and the bad, what is going well and not so well. Even if my partner is not on the same level of openness and sincerity, even if they are stuck at a lower level, I am acting at the correct frequency, in the hope that they will become a speaker as well.

Rabbi Michi Yosefi said that the challenge, first of all, is to identify the level at which I find myself, and then try to reach a higher level of relationship together with my partner.

Wishing everyone success in this endeavor.

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

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Sivan Rahav-Meir is a popular Channel 12 News anchor, the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the author of “#Parasha.” Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.