By Five Towns Marriage Initiative

We can learn sensitivity from the following thought. Generally birds are sacrificed in pairs, but this is not so for the sacrifice of a woman after birth. Her sacrifice includes a sheep and a bird, with a yonah–a dove–given precedence over the tor–a turtledove. The Ba’al Haturim explains that a turtledove has one mate all its life, and if its spouse is sacrificed it will live out the rest of its life alone, as opposed to the dove which will find another spouse. For this reason, to increase our sensitivity, we are told that a woman should preferably use a dove for the sacrifice.

It is worth practicing sensitivity even in situations that don’t involve humans, so that when it does come to dealing with people one won’t fall into the trap of being insensitive. A tip for success to increase sensitivity is to take the lesson of the turtledove and incorporate that kind of attitude in daily life. By putting in effort to show sensitivity in minor areas, one will harness the power that lies within to be sensitive in all situations. R’ Hirsch teaches that many of the laws of kashrus revolve around increasing sensitivity. The animals are domestic animals as opposed to violent animals, so as not to imbibe violence into our very essence. The manner in which the animals are killed is most sensitive and inflicts the least pain. Even the fact that milk and meat are not eaten together can be related back to sensitivity, as it is an act of cruelty to cook an animal in the very milk that could have nourished it and given it survival.

Regarding marriage, sensitivity is especially in order. Men and women can have very different ways of relating to an issue. One might try to fix, when the other wants to be heard. One might take offense, when the other only intended to explain, or to joke. Only with sensitivity and great care can communication run smoothly and glitches be passed over calmly. Sensitivity is the tool that can bridge the gap between Venus and Mars, between the upbringings that each spouse had for the first 20+ years of his and her life, between the differences in attitudes that are all so common with men and women, and between the differences that lie with each couple individually. v

Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00—11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail

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