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Strong Body, Stronger Marriage

September 24, 2013

LOVE“Couples that don’t fight, generally don’t shag.” – Joanne Fedler – The Sunday Life Magazine 22 September 2013[1]

As we approach the end of the Yom Tov season I thought I would do a blog with a difference. Before discussing the topic I will include a few thoughts I have read on the festival of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabbah, Shemini Atzeret and Simcha Torah from the Partners in Torah website – http://www.partnersintorah.org/

The Four Species

The Etrog is a unique tree, in that the taste of the tree is identical to the taste of the fruit that it produces. The Medrash compares the Etrog to the human heart [the Lulav is compared to the spine, the Aravah to the mouth, the Hadass to the eyes], and the message is that when serving the Almighty, the heart must be in sync with its source, the Almighty Himself, from whom it is derived. We are meant to emulate G-d, who is the source of all inspiration, and therefore one whose heart is uninspired as he fulfills mitzvoth leaves much to be desired in the way of satisfying the will of the Almighty

LulavFrom the Chassidic Masters – “Only regarding the Etrog does the Torah require that it be especially “Hadar” [beautiful without a blemish]. This is because the Etrog represents the heart, which plays the central role in man’s service of the Almighty. More important than the number of good deeds one actually performs is the amount of “heart” he puts into those that he does. The more love and devotion he puts into his mitzvot, the more beloved they are before the Almighty. Thus, the Etrog must be perfect and beautiful, even more so than the other Species.” – Zera Kodesh[2]

Shmini Atzeret

From the Chassidic Masters – “Our sages explained that the reason for the extra holiday of Shmini Atzeret is because the Almighty so-to-speak said, “It is too difficult for Me to bear your parting.” Yet, this refers not only to our parting from the Almighty, but also to the fact that all those assembled in Jerusalem for the holiday would now depart from one another. Sukkot was a wonderful opportunity for Jews to unify and solidify their unique bonds as a nation and the thought that this special convocation was about to come to a conclusion necessitated the addition of another day to the holiday to prolong the festivities.” – R’ Yitzchak of Vorkeh

After achieving Divine forgiveness for their own transgressions during the High Holiday period preceding Sukkot, the Jewish nation involved itself in gaining pardon for all the nations of the world through the 70 sacrificial offerings over the Sukkot holiday. The last day of the holiday (Shemini Atzeret) is a “farewell day” between G-d and His people Israel. Our Sages characterize this final day of the holiday season as follows: “G-d said, ‘Your departure at the end of this festival period is difficult for Me to bear. Stay one more day [and let us celebrate intimately, without busying yourself with efforts on behalf of others].’ ” This moment of intimacy allows us to experience appreciation and joy for the illumination of the Torah that we have experienced in the past and the anticipation of what we hope to gain in the future.

SimchaSimchat Torah

From The Mystics – Beginning with Elul, the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur and continuing until Hoshanah Rabbah[3] when the final judgment is sealed, one experiences a degree of trepidation, unsure of his verdict. Once Hoshanah Rabbah has passed, the soul experiences a lightening of the mood, which allows a person to experience joy in its fullest measure. Rather than channel that joy into mindless pursuits, we direct it toward the Torah and its study, which is why we celebrate Simchat Torah [The Joy of Torah] at the conclusion of Sukkot.

All the above quotes I have included deal with relationships. Our relationship as Jewish people with G-d and our Torah.

growinguplogoSamuel is included in a longitudinal study called “Growing Up In Australia”http://www.growingupinaustralia.gov.au/ . This study has been going on since Samuel was born. Every few years Loren & Samuel sit with an interviewer from Growing Up in Australia and I am required to fill in a Questionnaire as the 2nd parent.

While completing the questions on the relationship with my partner/ wife/ spouse, I was really made to reflect on my relationship with Loren and why there was this need for these powerful & confronting questions. Some of the questions were:

  • How well does your spouse meet your needs?
  • In general how satisfied are you with your relationship?
  • How good is your relationship compared to most?
  • How often do you wish you hadn’t married or lived together?
  • To what extent has your marriage or relationship met your original expectations?
  • How much do you love your spouse?
  • How many problems are there in your relationship?
  • Which best describes the degree of happiness, all things considered in your relationship?

I am sure the questions are included to gauge the home environment that that the child is faced with and the impact on the childs growth.

I am no psychologist or relationship councillor so I am not really able to discuss these questions in much detail, but these questions do highlight just how lucky I am to have Loren as my wife/ spouse or partner and what an incredible relationship we do have.  Loren I love you.

I recently read an article by Annie Clements Beaty[4], wife of Sugarland[5] musician and Kona Inspired spokesperson Thad Beaty. She talks about how to balance the long hours of training while staying (happily) married.

She started with the following quote – “Want intimacy that goes beyond washing your spouse’s bike shorts?”

Annie said that they had to make a decision as a family to work together, so that Thad’s IRONMAN was something that would make them stronger, not tear them apart. The article included the following tips (see the article for more detail):

  • Plan ahead
  • Training time = Couple time
  • Make sacrifices

So as she says as an IronWife or Iron Widow[6]“So get creative with time management, make plans together and have fun with all the craziness. “

To end a quote from Sri Chamony (Sri Chinmoy, born Chinmoy Kumar Ghose, was an Indian spiritual Master who began teaching meditation in the West when he moved to New York City in 1964) -” Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.”


[2] The Book – “The Holy Seed of Life” by Grand Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Horowitz of Ropshitz (1760–1827),

[3] Hoshanah Rabbah – The seventh day of Sukkot is known as Hoshanah Rabbah [Great Hoshanah/Supplication], and this day is marked by a special synagogue service, in which seven circuits around the bimah [center platform where the Torah is read] are made by the worshippers while holding their Four Species and reciting special supplications known as Hoshanot. Throughout the rest of Sukkot, only  one circuit is made around the platform.

[5] Sugarland, an American country music duo. Thad Beaty is the guitarist. Sugarland has sold in excess of 14 million records

[6] I would not call Loren an Iron Widow as she does her fair share of training to?

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One Comment
  1. Mom permalink

    I especially love the Loren input. I am glad you listened to me all those years ago!! Well writte. Always enjoy & learn something new. Luv xxxp

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