The little details can make all the difference when it comes to strengthening relationships. We like it when somebody remembers our preference, whether it is your partner surprising you by making your favourite meal, or the bartender remembering your name and knowing your drink. Internet fortunes are made on the little details as cookies track our preferences and create a custom-made advertising journey to present us with exactly what they think we will want.
Moses received a simple request from God, to ‘speak to the rock’ (Numbers 20:8), but instead he chose to strike it twice with his staff(1). Perhaps he thought his way was better or maybe he sensed that a stronger action was needed than just speaking.
I have certainly got into some trouble in the past through not listening to specific instructions and going ahead with what I thought was the best course of action. Even if our intention is a good one, when we ignore other people’s specific detailed requests, it is a sure-fire path to weakening relationships and potentially damaging them.
A Kabbalah Sutras approach to strengthening relationships is to apply both Gevurah (Strength-through-Discipline) and Netzach (Endurance). First we hold back our passion and desire to listen to the other person’s requests (Gevurah) and then we go the distance and fulfil what they have requested (Netzach). This does not mean that there is not a place for personal initiative, but when you have specifically asked someone for a cup of tea with milk and two sugars, how would you like it if they took initiative and brought you a cup of decaffeinated tea with coconut milk and natural stevia sweetening?(2)
If ‘God is in the details’ then so are successful relationships, whether it is listening to the needs of your body, your soul, your partner, your family, your clients or your friends. Small details make a big difference.
(1)Rashi explains that this is why Aaron and Moses were not allowed into the Land of Israel, although the specific nature of Moses ‘sin’ is contentious and the subject of much discussion by commentators.
(2)This does not apply to anyone living in LA where dairy and sugar is, like, so, totally last century.