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    A Doctor’s Advice
    A woman accompanied
    her husband to the
    doctor’s office.Following
    her husband’s checkup,
    the doctor called the wife
    into his office to speak with her
    privately. He said, “Your husband is suffering from
    a very severe stress disorder. If you don’t do the
    following, your husband will surely deteriorate and
    “Each morning,” instructed the doctor, “fix
    him a healthy breakfast. Be pleasant at all
    times. For lunch make him a nutritious meal.
    For dinner prepare an especially nice meal
    for him. Have the dinner waiting for him on
    the table, hot, as he arrives home from work.
    Don’t burden him with chores. Don’t discuss
    your problems with him; it will only make his
    stress worse. No nagging is allowed. You
    must also compliment him at least five-six
    times a day, telling him how brilliant and
    talented he is. And most importantly, never
    disagree with him.”
    “If you can do this for the next 10 months to
    a year,” the doctor said, “I think your husband

    will regain his health completely.”
    On the way home, the husband asked his
    wife, “What did the doctor say?”
    “He said you’re going to die,” she replied.
    The Proposal
    There is an enigmatic Talmudic passage
    explaining a peculiar phrase in the Torah
    reading of shvauos, from the portion of Yisro:
    “They (the Jewish people) stood in the
    bottom of the (Sinai) mountain.”
    What is the meaning of the words “in the
    bottom of the mountain”? The Talmud
    explains that the Jews were actually standing
    inside the mountain. “G-d enveloped them
    with the mountain as though it was an
    upturned vat, and He said to them: ‘If you
    accept the Torah, fine; if not, this will be your
    burial place.’”
    The event at Sinai is viewed as the marriage
    ceremony between G-d and the Jewish
    people. Imagine a groom, who on the day of
    his wedding, placed his bride under an
    elevator and declared: “If you marry me,
    great; if not, the elevator will come down on
    your head.” How enduring can such a

    relationship be? Couldn’t
    G-d have found a more
    “romantic” way to convince
    the “bride” to marry Him?
    What is even more puzzling
    is the fact that according to
    the biblical narrative, the
    Jewish people had already
    expressed their willingness
    to accept the Torah before
    this event. Why was it
    necessary for G-d to coerce
    them into something they
    had already agreed upon?
    Let us present the explanation offered by
    one of the greatest spiritual masters of all
    time, the Baal Shem Tov.
    Numb Days
    There are days when we are emotionally in
    touch with our inner idealism, spirituality and
    G-dliness. At such times we are inspired to
    live deeply and to love deeply.
    But then come the days when we feel
    estranged from our souls. We are emotionally

    numb, experiencing ourselves merely as self-
    centered and materialistic creatures

    seeking to satiate nothing more than our
    momentary cravings. We are simply not
    in the mood for our higher, refined
    aspirations. G-d does not appeal to us. At
    such times of spiritual alienation, we
    often succumb to mundane and selfish
    behavior. Since we feel disconnected, we
    act as though we are indeed disconnected.
    This is a mistake. By G-d forcing the
    Jewish people to enter into the
    relationship—even though they had
    already agreed—He demonstrated to
    them the truth that their relationship was
    not based on the fact that they were
    consciously passionate about it. Instead,
    the relationship was inherent and
    essential to their very chemistry. Man is
    an innately sacred and Divine creature.
    “Even when you are not in the mood of
    me,” G-d was intimating, “our
    relationship is as strong as ever. You can
    act on it.”
    Yet you may still think, “Fine, I will
    behave, but let’s face it, the relationship
    is not happening. It is all but dead.”
    So G-d says “no.” By placing the
    mountain on their heads at the moment of
    Revelation, during the profoundest
    moment of intimacy between G-d and his
    people, G-d was saying that a relationship
    inspired by the knowledge that this is the
    truth, though you may not feel it, is a

    genuine and authentic relationship. It is a real
    union. Though there is no passion, when you
    behave in a moral and sacred fashion
    knowing that this is who you really are, it is a
    true bond.
    I don’t feel like spending time with my
    children right now. I do not feel like going to
    the wedding. I do it anyway. But I feel it is
    lifeless and devoid of meaning. So the Torah
    says: Not at all. It is real, authentic and
    valuable. What I feel or don’t is never the
    barometer of whether it is right or wrong.
    Never confuse your moods with your
    values. I may not be in the mood of something,
    for 1000 different reasons. That does not
    diminish in the slightest my inner connection
    to it: it remains my value, my innate desire
    and commitment.
    Rocky Moments
    In the Jewish tradition, the marriage of each
    man and woman reflects the cosmic marriage
    between G-d and His people. There are the
    days when we feel truly grateful for our
    spouses and experience deep love towards
    them. At such times we crave to give of
    ourselves to our spouses and make their lives
    But at other times we become cold and
    apathetic. We just want to do “our own thing”
    and simply are not in the mood of the
    relationship. Sometimes, a marriage goes
    through tough seasons.
    In the majority of cases, it would be a sad
    error to act upon those feelings of detachment.
    For the Kabbalah teaches that a wife and
    husband are essentially “two halves of a
    single soul.” At their core, they are one. Thus,
    when a couple enters into marriage, it needs
    to recall what G-d reminded us on the day of
    His marriage: Whether we are in the mood of
    each other or not, we are married and we are
    Such a commitment could save many
    marriages when they encounter rocky times.
    After all, it saved the marriage between G-d
    and the Jews.