by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
A woman once complained to a marriage counselor that her husband never says that he loves her. The therapist turned to the husband for his perspective. "I told her thirty years ago that I love her," he explained, "and If anything changes, I'll let her know."
In the land of Israel, during the Temple era, every farmer would take the first fruits of a tree to Jerusalem and give it to the priest, the kohen, standing next to the altar. This mitzvah, called bikkurim, was an expression of gratitude to G-d for the abundant produce and the opportunity to live in the land of Israel.
Actions express dedication and commitment, but cannot convey warmth and emotion.
But, in addition to handing the fruit to the priest, the farmer was obligated to make a verbal declaration. This statement was a short summary of Jewish history from the times of Jacob until the conquest of the land of Israel. The declaration emphasizes G-d's kindness and the miracles that affected our destiny.
While it is true that actions speak louder than words, there is an element of appreciation that is expressed more by our words than our deeds. Actions express dedication and commitment, but cannot convey warmth and emotion. When you give a gift to a friend as thanks for a favor, a well-written card strengthens the connection and generates more closeness than the gift itself.
As parents, spouses or friends, it is not sufficient to just do things for another person. Our love and care must be articulated with warmth and affection. We cannot appreciate a kindness done to us in our hearts only; we must express it with words of acknowledgement and thanks. Strong communication fuels the relationship and keeps the spark alive.
Tell those close to you how much you appreciate them every day. Set aside a few minutes to pray and thank G-d for all of His blessings. And to that woman's husband, tell your wife that you love her. She knows it already, but she needs to hear it. She deserves to hear it.