“I love you.”
Sometimes it takes a life-changing event to let a loved one know how much they matter.
During the aftermath of 9/11, the idea of withholding love until the very last moment bothered Rabbi Hershel Becker. Hearing voicemails left by victims during their last moments in the towers and planes, made him think, “Why wait until the end of our lives?”
“Why should it be that our expressing, I love you, is followed by good-bye?” said Becker while sitting in the dining room of his Pinecrest home. “What can we do to enhance our relationships and make them more meaningful?”
These questions were the catalysts for a decade-long journey that culminated with the publication last week of Becker’s book, Peace Love: Blueprints for Lasting Relationships.
Released earlier this week, the book draws analogies between building structures and relationships. The Blueprints chapter cites lessons from the Torah and asks questions to promote discussion. The Specs chapter helps one understand the roles of individuals in a relationship. And a Building Code chapter has reference material from the Torah and Talmud.
Becker, 59, a rabbi at Young Israel of Kendall, and his wife Sima, have held workshops at the local Starbucks, Shabbat dinner and friends’ homes. They want to use the proceeds from the book to create classes and programming about family values, ethics and morals.
Sima, 52, says the book has influenced both of them and bolstered their marriage.
“As a result of the events on 9/11, we discuss our relationship in a positive loving way,” she said. “Until that point, there was an assumption that everything is OK. Why not talk and make it better? Why settle for good when we can have great?
As far as the title of the book, Becker explained: “If you want peace you have to really love it, really pursue it. You have to love peace.”