In this week’s Parsha, the Torah discusses the Korban Todah, the thanksgiving offering. The thanksgiving offering was paradoxical in its composition. It was the only offering in the Temple to require both chameitz and matzah. What lies behind this mysterious merger?
The Torah sees a religious expression of thanks in the mixture of chameitz and matzah because they symbolize the union of man and G-d. Man — finite, is given the opportunity to attach himself to G-d — infinite.
How better to symbolize that gratitude than via a sacrifice that reconciles the polar opposite concepts of chameitz and matzah. Our Sages have even declared that in Messianic times all sacrifices will terminate except for the Korban Todah, the thanksgiving offering.
As with G-d and man, when turning to marriage, one sees the same incompatibility. Like chameitz and matzah, men and women are dissimilar, even opposites in many respects. They are different in their thinking patterns and emotional repertoire. They relate to others and they react to circumstances in distinct ways. With the gulf that separates the genders, is it conceivable that a man and a woman can join their lives together without constant conflict?
The Talmud emphatically responds, yes. Just as chameitz and matzah converge to form an offering to G-d, so too can man and woman merge their opposite natures to become husband and wife — so long as G-d remains the constant focus of their relationship. When a Jewish family begins, with Jewish values and concerns at its core, happiness is sure to follow, and such a family will have much to be thankful for.
Likewise, those family and friends who come together to celebrate a Jewish marriage, who come to witness and rejoice over the merging of two distinct members of Klal Yisrael into one, are considered to have brought a thanksgiving offering in the Temple. They honor two wonderful people who, for all their differences, have lovingly chosen to bridge the human divide with their devotion to a single, uncompromising conviction: G-d’s Torah and mitzvos are the bedrock of a meaningful, spiritual life. With this conviction, their lives will blend together and forge a foundation upon which they can build “a faithful house in the community of Israel.”
My dear chassan and kallah, each of you possesses a unique Divine imprint — that, as with any two people, you have different talents, different ways of thinking, different reactions to circumstances. Yet, with all of your differences, you are still capable of coming together, merging yourselves into a single unit.
What links you and serves as the foundation of your union is your single-minded devotion to G-d, His Torah and His mitzvos, and your inflexible belief in the Jewish mission. Upon this ironclad belief there is much common ground, ground upon which to build a fruitful home blessed with the sanctity of G-d and Israel. Our wish for you is that you continue to blend and grow together in the image of G-d and, amid the chaos of this world, establish your family upon the solid ground that is the inheritance of Klal Yisrael.