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Relationships According to Kabbalah!
By Sam (Simcha) Krause
Upon waking in the morning, a woman told her husband,
“I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for our
anniversary. What do you think it means?”
“You'll know tonight,” he said mysteriously.
That evening, the man came home with a small wrapped
package and gave it to his wife.
Delighted, she ripped open the wrapping paper and opened
the box. Inside lay a book entitled, “ The Meaning of Dreams.”
Kabbalah teaches us that there is a direct parallel between
our relationship with God and our relationships with the
people in our lives. Whether we are talking about our
spouse, our children, our parents, our co-workers or our
friends, we can uncover some far-reaching truths about our
relationships by looking at the way in which we relate to
Take prayer, for example: the way we communicate with
God. Just as we praise God for His blessings and ask him
to bestow upon us health and wealth, we must heap praise
upon the people in our lives, and we must not hesitate to
acknowledge our interdependence on them. And just as
God “listens” without adding His own judgment, attitude
or point of view, we must practice listening “with nothing
added.” Sometimes we can serve our neighbors’ needs
best by simply hearing their communication and not saying
a word in response. I guarantee that if you practice this
diligently, you won’t make the mistake of buying your loved
one a book instead of the “pearl necklace” she is dreaming
Mollie dials her mother’s number and immediately begins to
complain, “Mama! Oh, Mama! This is the worst day of my
“What is it, Darling?”
“We’re snowed in here. The car wouldn’t start this morning.
I think both kids have the measles. The doctor can’t come
until five o’clock. I’m coming down with a cold. The freezer
is broken and all the food is spoiled. The house is a mess.
And on top of that, Mama, twenty ladies from my Hadassah
Chapter are coming to play mah-jongg today!”
“Don’t worry, Darling! Mama’s here! I’ll take the bus to the
subway, and I’ll walk the twelve blocks to your house. I’ll
make sure the kids are nice and comfortable,
I’ll call the freezer repairman, I’ll tell the deli to fix up some
platters for delivery, I’ll clean the house, and then I’ll make
a delicious dinner for Melvin from the leftovers.”
“Melvin? Who’s Melvin?” asks Mollie. “My husband’s name
is Richard.” Reluctantly, Mollie asks, “Did I dial 516-555-
“No…you dialed 516-555-3445,” moans the voice on the
A long pause ensues, after which Mollie heaves a long,
tortured sigh. “Does that mean you’re not coming?”
Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the father of the
Chassidic movement taught that we must have total self-
sacrifice and dedication for the love of our fellow human
being, even towards one whom we have never seen! So,
in case you’re wondering, “Mama” DID go to Mollie’s house,
even though they’d never met! Why? Because the way we
are connected to each other is precisely the way in which
we are bound to God – in a partnership that goes beyond
human logic and reasonableness. When one is connected
on that level – the soul level – there is only connectedness.
There are no external factors that get in the way.
A young woman brings her fiancé home to meet her parents.
After dinner, the father invites the fiancé to his study to get to
know him better.
“So what are your plans?” the father asks the young man.
“I am a Torah scholar, so I will continue full-time in my
studies,” he replies.
“Admirable,” the father says, “But what will you do to provide
for my daughter?”
“I will study,” the young man replies, “and God will provide
“And children?” asks the father. “How will you support
“I will concentrate on my studies,” the young man
replies, “And God will provide for us.”
The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the
father inquires, the young idealist insists that God will
Later, the girl’s mother asks her husband, “How did it go,
The father answers, “Well, he has no job and no
plans, but the good news is, he thinks I'm God.”
It’s true that we must trust in God, but did you know that God
trusts in us also?
There is a short prayer, Modeh Ani, which we say to God
the moment we wake up in the morning. It is translated this
way: “I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You
have restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.”
The last phrase, “Your faithfulness is great,” seems unusual.
Shouldn’t we say, “Our faithfulness towards You is great?”
Well, no, because expressed this way, it underscores God’s
trust in us. It is saying, in effect, that even though we didn’t
quite live up to His expectation yesterday, or any of the days
before that, He trusts us to succeed at it TODAY, and thus
continues to return our soul to us to give us another chance.
As we’ve mentioned, according to Kabala, God is not
subject to time. There is no “yesterday” or “today” in God’s
eyes. He always trusts that we’ll do the right thing, and
when we fall short, He doesn’t keep score as to who did
what to whom and when.
Our trust in God, and God’s trust in us, teach us how to be in
relationship with everyone around us.
A businessman known for not paying his bills is haggling
endlessly with a supplier.
“Why are you haggling with him?” asks his partner. “You’re
not going to pay him anyway.”
“I know, I know,” answers the businessman. “But I like this
guy, and I want to keep his losses to a minimum.”
And, of course, our relationship with each other would not be
complete without discussing the element of love.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (1740-1810), who was
famous for his unconditional love for his fellow man, once
told one of his students that he learned about love from a
conversation between two drunks lying in the gutter: “One
drunk said to the other, ‘You don’t love me.’ ‘Of course I
love you,’ said his friend. ‘No you don’t. Because if you
really loved me, you would know what hurts me.’”
Most people think that loving someone means doing
something for them, speaking loving words to them,
giving them a gift, etc. These are expressions of love, but
true love can be learned from our relationship with God.
The Kabbalists tell us that God created the universe in order
to experience love. The great sage Rabbi Akiva, who lived
around the second century, said that “loving your fellow as
yourself is a great and fundamental principle in the Torah.”
In another famous story, Rabbi Hillel, who lived several
generations before Rabbi Akiva, tells an impatient proselyte
who asked to be taught the entire Torah while he stood
on one foot, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to
your fellow. The rest is commentary; go and learn.”
All these are ways of teaching us to be sensitive to what
hurts our fellow human beings. Once we are able to feel
their suffering, we are on the way to truly loving them.
So what is our relationship with each other? It is one
in which each person works to improve in the areas
of communication, partnership, trust and love, and, by
developing a sensitivity to others around us, we are able to
express that relationship on the soul level, which is always,
Simcha (Sam) Krause has taught Kabbalah/Chassidut as an adult education introductory course and is currently working on two other manuscripts. You can find out more about “Hey Waiter… There’s G-d in My Soup!” by visiting:
from the October 2010 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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