In anticipation of Shavuot, the Couples Division of Emet Outreach hosted a workshop to help couples appreciate the connection between Matan Torah and marriage. Held at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, the event drew 50 people who were eager to participate in this latest installment of monthly relationship-oriented lectures.

The evening began as attendees enjoyed a dairy, Shavuot-style buffet. Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Emet Co-Founder and Director, opened the program. He shared two compelling messages. The first was in reference to the book Attached: Connecting to Our Creator: A Jewish Psychological Approach by Rabbi Yakov Danishefsky. He relayed the observation that couples are seemingly more in love in the early stages of their marriage and that is because there is more of a sense of mystery between them. At the beginning of a relationship, it is validating to “be known” and have your partner try to get to know you. As the relationship progresses, the mystery is lost. He continued by sharing Rabbi Danishefsky’s comparison that Hashem is not fully knowable, and that since human beings are made in the image of Hashem, they too are not fully knowable. The sense of mystery can be kept alive in marriage if we understand that we can never fully know our partner and strive to know them better. Rabbi Rutenberg’s second message was about “becoming your future self now” rather than making excuses. He connected it to Matan Torah, and that on Har Sinai we reached a high level. In life, we need to picture ourselves at the level we want to achieve and then work towards making that a reality in our marriage and family dynamic.

After warming up the crowd, Rabbi Rutenberg introduced Rabbi Benzion Klatzko, who is well-known to Emet students and has co-hosted many memorable Shabbatons with Emet over the years. Rabbi Kaltzko’s topic was “Shavuot: 5 Important Lessons of Receiving the Torah.” Rabbi Klatzko delivered thought-provoking insights about personal and spiritual growth. He stressed that the effort we make in attempting to do a mitzvah, is appreciated in the eyes of Hashem. Rabbi Klatzko told a number of stories that inspired the crowd. “Rabbi Klatzko was truly inspirational. His love towards Hashem was felt in every single word that he said,” explained Violetta Maksumov a long-time Emet student. “One story that stuck with me was about a man who started studying Torah again after years of marriage and children. His wife in turn made sure to bring him tea and took care of the children to show her support. The encouraging way the wife reacted to her husband studying Torah is something I’m sure resonated with the women in the room, and it was important for their husbands to hear as well. It was truly beautiful.”

The evening ended with plans for the couples to reunite at the June workshop. Violetta shared, “When we go to a couples event, we are able to bond with our spouse in a spiritual way. We learn together and get closer to Hashem together. That’s what makes Emet’s programming for couples unique. We look forward to the next event.”