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Senior couple


Rabbi Ari Enkin

By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel

A married couple’s attachment to God is actually the glue that binds them together! Cleave to Him for a happy marriage!

This week’s Torah portion is Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17), and in it we are told: “You shall follow after the Lord your God, and Him you shall fear and His commandments you shall keep and to His voice you shall listen and Him shall you serve and to Him you should cleave.” (Deuteronomy 13:5).

The first part of the verse is rather obvious. But what does it mean to “cleave” to God?

The commentators explain that cleaving to God means emulating his ways. Imitatio Dei. Just as we see in the Torah how God performed acts of kindness, such as burying the dead and visiting the sick, so should we. As such, we see it does not mean a physical attachment to God, but rather, an imitation of God. Indeed, it is not possible to physically attach ourselves to God, as God is without any physicality. The Talmud and other texts elaborate on the many acts of kindness we can do to emulate God, including teaching Torah, providing clothes for the naked, food for the hungry, helping widows and orphans, and so much more.

We say in the Grace after Meals that God nourishes the entire world “with His goodness, with favor, with kindness and with mercy.” When we do an act of kindness, not merely because we know it’s a nice thing to do, but because we want to emulate God, we turn these acts into something much deeper. For example, a mother who is already dressing or feeding her child could add spiritual depth to the act by having in mind that she desires to emulate God, to do acts of kindness as He does, “with goodness, kindness, and mercy.”

It is noted that there are two places in the Torah where we are commanded to “cleave.” In the first, “…a man should leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife…” (Genesis 3:24). The second time is here, in this week’s Torah portion: cleaving to God. But here’s the question: How can we be completely committed to both our spouse and God? How can we concurrently cleave to both?

The answer can be found in the Hebrew words for “man” (ish) and “woman” (ishah). The Hebrew words have two common letters: the “alef” and the “shin.” They also have two different letters” the “yud” and the “heh.” The Talmud tells us that when there is peace between husband and wife, then God’s Divine Presence resides between them, as the letters “yud” and “heh” spell God’s name. However, when there is no peace between husband and wife, God is nowhere to be found…there is only fire (aish) which is written “aleph” and “shin” – the two common letters.

Therefore, a married couple’s attachment to God is actually the glue that binds them together! Cleave to Him for a happy marriage!

For more insights by Rabbi Ari Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below:





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