In the 1961 movie The Parent Trap as well as in its 1998 remake, two young girls at a summer camp loathe one another until they discover that they are really twins. They then collaborate in a plot to bring their divorced parents back together again.
The movie worked well partially because of the genuine love that grows between the two girls even before they hit on the idea of restoring their broken family. Authentic unity based on real connection can greatly further shared interests.
By way of contrast, when George and Sandra started dating they saw shared preferences, such as choosing the same dish at a restaurant, as a thrilling indication that they were meant to be together. But in spite of liking the same food and having similar tastes in music and entertainment, their romance didn’t last long.
In the Middle East, two notorious groups, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, often act in concert and with all appearances of unity based on their shared hatred of Israel. However they have fought one another before and will fight again. An illusion of unity based only on shared interests can mislead both individuals and groups.
Seven weeks after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai in order to receive the Ten Commandments.
In their long journey through the desert, the Israelites camped many times. With one exception, the Hebrew verb used for this camping is in the plural. They, meaning many people, camped. There is only one exception in which the singular verb is used:
…then Israel camped (singular) there by the mountain.
Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that their submission to God and their eagerness to accept His Law unified them in a unique fashion. Hence the verb camped appears in the singular. They camped as if they were one person, an utterly united people.
However, there is another interesting example of unity. Perplexingly, their Egyptian pursuers were also unified:
…and the Children of Israel lifted up their eyes and behold Egypt is traveling after them…
The verb traveling appears in its singular form. Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that the Egyptians were also unified by their shared mission to capture the Israelites.
Israel’s unity leads to their becoming God’s people, winning their land and lasting destiny. Egypt’s unity leads to drowning in the Red Sea, death and oblivion. What is the difference between the two unities?
In the case of Israel, (Exodus 19:2) the Hebrew verb “and he camped” VaYiCHaN implying unity, appears before the word Israel.
However, in the case of Egypt, (Exodus 14:10) the Hebrew verb ‘is traveling’ NoSeA implying unity, appears after the word Egypt.
In other words, just before receiving the Ten Commandments, Israel was unified in preparation for their mission of receiving the Torah. The unification preceded their national identity and its mission. Egypt’s national identity and its mission of hauling Israel back into slavery was the cause of its unity.
Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that love that is dependent upon some outside factor is temporary. Once the outside factor no longer exerts its influence, the love vanishes. However, love that is genuine lasts and imparts durability.
For this reason, Biblical marriage is based on commitment producing love rather than hoping that love will bring commitment. Love based on attraction may or may not bring constant commitment but commitment will almost always bring lasting love.
Similarly, business partnerships between parties that feel real respect and affection for one another do better than those that are based only on shared interests. Families whose members are bound by nothing but socio-economic commonalities are not the same as those bound by ties of deep love and filial obligation.
Thinking that there is a deep bond of affection, only to find that there isn’t one causes much heartbreak and disillusionment. Summer and the fall season frequently herald new living circumstances and making new acquaintances. Our store carries two books, Hands Off: This May be Love and I Only Want to Get Married Once, by acclaimed authors because we think that the easily accessible, often humorous wisdom in these books is so valuable. We urge you to read them and share them with others, especially young people who have the opportunity, with your help, of choosing smart, successful relationships.