A girl fell in love with a man who regularly abused her. Her family and friends tried to convince her to leave him. “Look at his history,” they said. “He’s an abuser.” The girl shook her head and said, “You just don’t know him… He’s really a good person… I love him.”

Clearly, “teenage love” does not determine who is Mr. or Mrs. Right.

This story reminds me of a discussion I recently had, concerning the tendency of wealthy people who marry others of wealth or influence. Apparently, love doesn’t just happen. It is guided by one’s principles.

If we want our child to marry someone who will place importance on Jewish heritage, then we need to instill that value. It won’t materialize on its own.

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about a challenge in our relationship with G-d: the famous story of the golden calf. The Jewish people were lax in sustaining their connection with G-d. This led them to create an idol to worship in His stead, thereby impacting their relationship with G-d.

Every relationship needs maintenance. We need to instill a strong feeling for Jewish values so that they will persevere through difficult times. We need to teach our children from a young age, “In G-d We Trust.” These values should guide us when we seek our partners in life.

One way of inspiring our children is by telling them stories about Jewish heroes who walked the talk; people who sacrificed themselves for their values.

I recently met a businessman, an American Jew, who was educated in such a manner. His father, a Holocaust survivor, told him about the sacrifices Jews have made for their principles. During the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel was fighting for its survival, his son enlisted in the Israeli army.

He had internalized his father’s message.

Shabbat, a day when the family gets together, is an ideal time for telling these stories. Try sharing a story that demonstrates Jewish heroism at the Shabbat table this week.

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