December 14, 2021 by Lazer Brody
Once upon a time, marriages and machines lasted a long time. What happened to the concept of “built to last”?
Recently, I went out for a power-walk carrying a brand new rubber “guaranteed grip developing” ball, made in China. One of my neighbors, a Krav Maga teacher, gave it to me. He carries these things around all the time, and goes through them like a person eating popcorn. Subconsciously, I expected the little ball to last for a long time. But, by the time my walk was barely halfway through, the ball disintegrated. Luckily, Ashdod is well equipped with adequate trash bins in our many parks and walkways, for that’s exactly where the little disposable ball found its fate.
Who remembers the old ’56 Ford with the classic straight V-6 engine that was so simple to maintain? There were plenty of them on the road in the early 1980’s, for any normal driver could get 25 years out of that car. Your mother or grandmother got the same multi-decade enjoyment from her old vintage Maytag, Kenmore or Whirlpool washing machine. It was as strong as a Sherman tank and totally mechanical. The only thing that was electric about it was the motor.
Any honest computer dealer will tell you to praise Hashem if you’re able to squeeze four years of use out of your new computer; they’re not built to last any longer. Nowadays, with the electronic cycles, delicate parts and easy-erodible bodies, don’t a washing machine expect the washing machine to last much longer than the computer. Sophistication, yes – longevity, no way…
The more society modernizes and becomes sophisticated, the more it renders things disposable. Manufacturers build products for limited use only. People buy them, knowing that after a short term of duty, they’ll be in the nearest trash can.
Look at marriage today. Many people change their partners like they change their socks. The more that the the sanctity of the marital union breaks down, the more marriage becomes a disposable commodity. People treat each other like throw-away utensils intended for limited use only. No wonder the pre-nup lawyers are so much in demand. Folks get married without expecting the marriage to last. Golden wedding anniversaries are as rare as 1956 Ford Thunderbirds, great cars that could also last fifty years.
Notice that the more something is spiritual, the longer it lasts and the greater its value. A marriage built on a bond of two souls will last forever. Not so the body-oriented marriage. Why? The spiritual world closely resembles The Creator; like Him, it is eternal. The wisdom of Torah, unlike a person’s figure, physique or complexion, never becomes old and wrinkled.
Let’s take a necessary deeper look at ourselves. Each of us has two sides; a disposable side (the body), and an indestructible everlasting side (the soul). The body is here today and gone tomorrow, destined to decompose in the earth (and that’s as gentle as one can describe). Yet the soul, a priceless tiny part of G-dliness, lasts for posterity.
Isn’t it ridiculous to invest so much in something that’s disposable while neglecting something that lasts forever? Many people more carefully select their clothes than they select a soulmate. Why do we choose a hairdresser or investment broker with far more care than we’d choose a spiritual guide? Folks happily sit for two hours watching an inconsequential ballgame on TV yet begrudge their souls 15 measly minutes of centering and self-assessment every. Does that make sense?
Since we lack spiritual priorities, we make our bodies and our marriages even more disposable than they already are.
Before we do anything in life, we should ask ourselves what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Part of our daily self-assessment should be evaluating whether we’re investing in the disposable or the eternal side of ourselves. Those who do such daily self-assessment saves themselves limitless anguish – both physical and spiritual. Their relationship with their spouse is also so much better, for such people constantly monitor themselves.
Nurturing a personal connection with G-d is an investment for posterity. The same goes for investing quality time with our spouse. Let’s increase their percentage in our life’s portfolio. Why make the world – and our own limited go-around on this earth – more disposable than they already are?
Marriages, like machines, should be built to last. Blessings for a long-lasting, happy and fulfilling marriage, amen!