by Ruth Baran
The invitations, the hall, the caterer, the band, photographer, gown, flowers and guest list. Everything has been done and prepared for the wedding. The bride and groom have already read the latest best-sellers on how men and women differ, how they have unique ways of communicating, and how to make their marriage work in this day and age of divorce.
One thing the new couple knows for sure is: "In a relationship like marriage, there's no such thing as "minimum." In business or other partnerships one might be able to speculate: "What's the least I can do in order to keep going?" But such cannot be a consideration in marriage. Rather, "What can I do to enhance this relationship, to make it stronger, to help it grow" should be primary concerns of both husband and wife.
The approaching holiday of Shavuos is compared to the marriage of G-d and the Jewish people. The Jewish people, being the bride, received the Torah -- our Ketubah -- from G-d on that day. Mount Sinai was our Chuppa canopy.
Our relationship with G-d, then, is like that of wife and husband.
And, whereas the thought of "what's the minimum I can do and still remain in a healthy relationship with my significant other" could never be entertained in a human marriage, the same thought should never be a conscious or subconscious consideration regarding our relationship with G-d.
"What can I do to enhance my relationship with G-d, to make it stronger, to help it grow?" are questions we should ask ourselves. Judaism encourages us to ask sincere questions, and genuinely try to find out the answers.
One answer to this question comes from the realization that, although "G-d wants the heart," G-d also wants every other part of our bodies. Our marriage to G-d makes our relationship with Him anything but platonic. To have a healthy relationship with G-d, we have to get physical.
Our hands, our feet, our brains, our mouths, should be physically involved in this relationship: our hands to give charity or light a Shabbat candle; our feet to walk to shul or to visit a friend who isn't well; our brains to study Torah and find answers to our questions; our mouths to pray and speak well of others.
And as our relationship with G-d grows, as our love deepens and intensifies, we will come to realize that we are truly content that G-d chose, 3312 years ago, to become united with the Jewish people, His eternal bride.
As in any marriage, we've have some pretty tough times in this Divine marriage. But the Bride and Groom eagerly await the Messianic Era when this union will be perfect bliss.