The Gottman Institute, an organization dedicated to the repairing and rebuilding of relationships, is known for “Love Maps.” Through a couple’s journey, each partner is encouraged to engage in a love map. A love map identifies the priorities, interests, dreams, and aspirations of each partner. How well did you know each other at the start of the relationship? How well do you know each other now? And a love map, while seemingly designed for couples, can be applied to other relationships. How well do we know the people in our lives? And do we put in the work to understand how they have transformed, who they are today?
The philosopher, Martin Buber shares a story about the rabbi of Kotzk. The rabbi is asked, “Why is Shavuot called ‘the time the Torah was given’ rather than the time we received the Torah?” The rabbi answered, “The giving took place on one day, but the receiving takes place at all times.”
We think we know each other. But spending time together does not mean understanding. Living in the same space or praying in the same shul does not mean we have insight into each other’s fears, passions, motivations, and worries.
We are meant to “receive” the Torah every day—finding daily connection and developing a genuine relationship with our Creator. And likewise, we are meant to receive each other. Knowing that we have all changed since the first day of meeting. Since the first day of giving. And when we choose to receive each other, actively working to learn the nuances of each other’s soul, that is where I believe, holiness resides.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach
Rabbi Nicole Guzik is a rabbi at Sinai Temple. She can be reached at her Facebook page at Rabbi Nicole Guzik or on Instagram @rabbiguzik. For more writings, visit Rabbi Guzik’s blog section from Sinai Temple’s website.