||FOR A COUPLE TO BE HAPPY AND TO SUCCEED, EACH MUST KNOW WHO THE OTHER REALLY IS
- Thursday, April 5, '01 - Parshas Tzav 5761
Relationships get into serious trouble when people DON'T REALLY KNOW THE OTHER, or when they relate to who they THINK or WISH another person is. In the "Ain Kelokainu" prayer, there is a significant series of words, which give profound insight for developing a closer relationship - whether with G-d, a new person or an existing relationship that can go to a greater level:
1. ain (there is none)
2. mi (who is?)
3. nodeh (acknowledge, appreciate, recognize)
4. boruch (bless, bow, subjugate)
5. ata hu (you are He Who is).
1. Ain. Before I know someone, in my mind, that person does not exist. That person, as far as my mind is concerned, is: "not there." Or if a relationship is beneath its potential, the next level up is characterized also by its at-present non-existence in my mind, "it is not there."
2. Mi. I have a new awareness of some aspect of G-d, I meet a new person, or I become aware of a new level or dimension or potential in a spouse. Who is this (new person or level, new level of awareness of G-d)? I need to collect and study data. I have to assemble a "dossier", a file, a data base. I need to answer the question, "who is this (new person or deeper-level, or what is this deeper level of awareness of/commitment to G-d)?" I need meaningful knowledge.
3. Nodeh. Now that I have collected information, it can't remain abstract nor "lip service." It has worth only when it is practical, actionable and adequate. I have to acknowledge, appreciate and recognize this person, make this relationship real in my mind - that same mind in which G-d, this new person or deeper level did not once exist. G-d, this person or new level has to fill up space in my mind that had been formerly empty of this before.
4. Boruch. To get to the crucial practical and actionable stage, I have to submit my will and powers to the reality of this person or new level. The word BoRuCH (bless) is the same root word as BeReCH (knee), which has the implication of bowing and subjugation. For example, when I eat an apple, I make a blessing (boruch) to thank my Creator for the energy and nourishment that I am to obtain from eating, and I am making COMMITMENT to use the health and power obtained for, and I am SUBJUGATING my will and resources to, the service of G-d. Similarly, in a human application, after having accumulated a data bank on the reality of this other person, I have to subjugate and submit and commit my will, resources and powers to the reality of the other person, to the point of being practical, good and actionable on the other person's behalf, or for my heightened commitment in the service of G-d.
5. Ata Hu. Once I've achieved commitment and submission to the reality and (if human) needs and well-being of the one with whom I am developing and deepening the relationship, I attain to a culmination of full responsiveness and connection. I can say "You are he," i.e. I have come to full relationship (or to complete achievement of a closer, higher or deeper practical level of acknowledgement, response and relationship) with you. In Hebrew language, like in English, there are three "persons;" first (I, we), second (you), third (he, she, them). After I, the second and third person constitute everything else. After I have made you to be so totally assimilated into my mind, emotions, responses and behaviors, I achieve "ata hu" - you have totally entered my consciousness and being. I act in accord with what the relationship requires of me. I meaningfully deal with "REAL YOU." The relationship (or higher level) has been authentically and fully achieved and, within my mind, assimilated.
Then, the prayer goes onto add something it had never had before, after attainment and total possession of the level of "ata hu." It concludes by additionally saying "YOU ARE HE before whom our fathers offered INCENSE [at the Holy Temple]." Why, all of a sudden this extra bonus phrase at the end? It has profound bearing on my point. The Zohar says that the incense offerings were the ones which most quickly and directly shot up to G-d. We see from the Zohar that when we apply this "relationship development system," we truly achieve optimum, direct, intimate connection. Further, and also significant, the incense creates "rayach nicho'ach (sweet fragrance)," meaning that it was choicest, most beautiful and pleasant of the sacrifices. The intimacy was one of optimum beauty, depth and love. Rayach (fragrance, the sense of smell) is the: 1. sense among the five senses which goes deepest into the soul, and 2. same root word as ruach (spirit). Further, neshima (breath, the way fragrance is absorbed) is the same root word as neshama (soul). The beautiful "fragrance" suggests direct and complete connection that this "relationship-development system" builds. When relationship is genuinely achieved and when steadily absorbed by the recipient and reciprocated, the "system" generates sweet and direct connection to the deepest depths of the spirit and soul.