As many of you know, my daughter got married on Monday. Here is the dvar Torah I wrote in honor of the wedding. There is no personal stuff in it, because I also wrote a few words to the choson and kallah, but that was read separately. Enjoy
In this week's parsha, Balak, we read about the wicked Ballam, who set out to curse the Jewish people, and he ended up blessing them instead.
What are some of the lessons we can learn from this story about marriage?
When Hashem created the world, He set up that there be a balance between good and evil. Being that He gave the Jewish people Moshe, He gave the idol worshiping nations of the world, the wicked Ballam. Ballam was the opposite of Moshe, and our sages say, that Ballam was a rah ayin, he had an eye for evil, and Moshe was a Tov ayin, he had an eye for good.
A Tov ayin means that he finds the good in everything. Even if a person who did a lot of bad, and outwardly all you see is bad, he was able to find the little bit of good and highlight that, even if it meant looking into the deepest, hidden recesses of his heart. He was able to find it and make it the focus, until it affected the person and he became good.
A rah ayin is the opposite, it means that he finds the bad in everything. Even if a person who is completely good, he was able to find the little bit of bad, lying latent in the deepest recesses of his heart and accentuate that. He made that the focus, bringing the good person to, G-d forbid, commit a sin.
The Torah tells us this, because we each have the ability to go either way. Of course, we should be like Moshe, but when one is exhausted or hurt, it is very easy to go the other way. At times like these, you have to muster the strength to be a Tov ayin.
In a relationship, a husband and wife should always try to see the good in one another. Even and especially when the going gets tough.
What caused Ballam to bless the Jewish people?
He saw the modesty of the Jewish people, their tents were set up in a way that one tent couldn't see into another, everybody had their privacy. This is a lower or simple level of modesty, it has nothing to do with dress or mingling, it is just a couples basic private life. And this itself moved Ballam so much that although he was wicked and a rah ayin, he nevertheless blessed the Jewish people. And how far did it move him? It had such a profound affect on him, that he prophesied the coming of Moshiach.
The lesson here is the power of the smallest amount of modesty, and as a couple, how important it is to create and establish your own little private space, and to give each other, the privacy that he or she needs.
This is so important that we begin davening every day with the words that Ballam said when he saw the modesty of the Jewish people, "Ma Tovu, How good are your tents oh Yaakov."
The private unit of a married couple is so holy, that it is the foundation and the purity of the family, and it leads to the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon. Mazal Tov! Mazal Tov!