Today holds such a powerful message for us!

Although fasts are never held on Shabbat (except for Yom Kippur), the tradition to still observe them on the following Sunday teaches us the real idea behind all Jewish holidays — they are not about commemorating the day as a piece of history, but about understanding the messages and significance of those events.

So today, not only are we to remember the Seventeenth of Tammuz as the day Moshe broke the tablets and the walls of Jerusalem were breached in both Temple periods, we are more importantly supposed to ask ourselves, why did these things happen?  And what can we learn from it for our own lives today?

When Moshe did not come down from the mountain on the day that he was expected, the Jews became worried.  They expected the worst and had no way of verifying if it was true or not.  The worry turned to fear, and the fear turned to panic!  Within a short amount of time they were convinced their only form of connection to Hashem was gone and they ran to Aaron demanding a new one.

Aaron saw the terror in their eyes and feared for his life!  He therefore agreed and the Golden Calf was formed.  But rather than it connecting them to God, as they had wanted, the Calf quickly became a vehicle of disconnect, as it caused the severance of their relationship with Him as represented by the breaking of the tablets.

Does this sound familiar?

I don’t just mean the actual story, as I am sure you know.  I mean this phenomenon of fear leading us to act in a way that cuts us off from others and causing the exact thing we were most scrambling to avoid.

Let me paraphrase the story using an everyday example – you are concerned that your husband is not spending enough time with you.  He is distracted by work and won’t stop looking at his phone.  You feel a loss of intimacy and connection.

So you decide to tell him.  You sit him down and say, “We need to talk.”  You tell him how he has to be home more, put the phone down, take you out on dates, and be more attentive.  He needs to do more dishes, call and text you more often, and ask you about your day.

There are two ways your husband may react at this point, but usually they both lead to the same outcome.

He may get defensive and argue.  Or he may apologize and agree.  Either way, it is highly unlikely it will actually bring about any real change.  If anything, he will probably seem even more distant in the coming weeks.  Why is that?  And does it mean your relationship really has no hope of changing?

The reason this strategy does not usually work is because our fear of losing our husband leads us to try to control him.  And no one likes being told what to do – just think of your reaction the last time your husband told you you weren’t doing something right.  It generally causes an unconscious desire to pull away – the opposite of the desired result!

So, what can we do instead?

How can we let our husbands know what we want from them without letting our fear lead to control? 

This is one of the topics I discuss when teaching the concepts of Relinquishing Inappropriate Control and Vulnerability, two of the Six Intimacy Skills™ taught by my mentor, Laura Doyle.  I teach women how to overcome their fears and the desire to control and instead to focus on what it is they want and how to express that in a way their husbands can truly hear and want to fulfill it.

How else could the Jewish people have reacted to Moshe’s late return? 

They could have recognized their panic as coming from fear of abandonment from God, remembered the love He was expressing for them every day through the Manna falling from Heaven and the Divine Presence still resting in their midst and instead of taking control, have had the vulnerability to turn to Him and express their fears and desires in prayer.

We can apply these same ideas to our personal lives today!

With resolve and proper support, you can overcome your fears of losing your husband’s attention and affection and, instead, step into the power you have to draw him closer to you.

May we all experience the intimacy and connection that vulnerability brings to our relationships with our husbands and with Hashem!

Wishing you an easy and meaningful fast,

Chana