- February 8, 2023
- Posted by: DR Jack
- Categories: Article, Dating, Parsha
The Parshah of Yisro contains the seminal event in Jewish history, the pronouncement of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. These Commandments have special significance for a young couple not only because they enunciate the basic ideals of fidelity in a marriage — “lo sinaf” and “lo sachmod” — but because they mark the beginning of the Jewish people’s mandate to be a holy nation. This event is reenacted on a smaller scale at every Jewish wedding through the kiddushin ceremony.
At a secular wedding ceremony, the bride and groom pledge themselves to each other with the words, “I do.” Under the chuppah, lehavdil, there is also an “I do” in the hearts of the chassan and kallah — the “I do” of “Naaseh venishma,” the acceptance of G-d’s will first pronounced by the Jewish people at Sinai: “We will do and we will listen” (Shemos 24:7). The chassan displays this commitment by placing the ring on his kallah’s finger, consecrating her “according to the law of Moses and Israel.” With these words, he declares that everything done under the chuppah is a perpetuation of Jewish law and fashions another link in the unbroken chain that reaches Sinai.
One’s wedding day is a time of fresh beginnings, a day such as the one when the entire Jewish nation gathered at the base of Mount Sinai and declared for the first time, “Naaseh venishma.” I do. We accept. The Jews, who had sunk to a level of nearly irredeemable spiritual debasement while in Egypt, were able to elevate themselves and return to G-d’s good graces. With this one simple declaration, the Jews presented G-d their commitment to start fresh and do all that He asks of them.
This commitment is also pledged by our chassan and kallah. On the day of their wedding, say our Sages, the sins of the young couple are forgiven. Marriage has that cleansing quality. It is a new beginning, a return to innocence and a commitment to the will of G-d through the founding of a new Jewish home.
Similarly, Moshe’s father-in-law, Yisro, pursues a new beginning by entering the Israelites’ camp. Why did he come? “Vayishma Yisro,” the pasuk tells us. “And Yisro heard… all that G-d did for Moshe and His nation Israel” (18:1). What exactly did he hear that impelled him, at that point in his life, to join the Jewish nation?
My dear chassan and kallah, your life together will involve many experiences. Some will be moments of victory and happiness, which you will savor together and which will strengthen your love, your union and your home. Other times will be more difficult, challenging you to fight together against the modern Amaleiks that seek to weaken your convictions. Throughout both the triumphs and disappointments of life always remember, “Vayishma.” Hear the voice of Torah, the voice of commitment to G-d’s law, the voice of loyalty to His commandments. Then you will assure yourselves a strong jewish home, one that will form the basis of your love and your bond, one that will enable you to further the legacy of the Jewish nation.