Oct. 29, 2020

Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen on Genesis 2:24 – “Creating One Flesh” - S1E83

Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen is Mark’s very special guest on the podcast today. Currently the Rabbi of Congregation Ohr Torah in North Woodmere, NY, Rabbi Cohen is also an attorney and a Senior Relationship Officer at YACHAD, a thriving global organization dedicated to addressing the needs of all Jewish individuals with disabilities and ensuring their inclusion in every aspect of Jewish life. He has a law degree from Columbia Law School, a Masters degree in Family Therapy from the University of North Texas, and he maintains a small therapy practice in the 5 Towns area. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark today is Genesis 2:24.

Rabbi Cohen begins the discussion by sharing his summary of the passage, its significance for him, and the interpretation of it, which involves transitioning from a taker to a giver, that he has adopted. He and Mark then engage in a fascinating conversation where they explore alternate interpretations, the ethic this passage communicates, and how it relates to the counseling which the Rabbi offers. They also examine the goal of marriage and to ‘get to Aryeh Levin’, the story behind Rabbi Cohen’s involvement in YACHAD, and the distinction between marriage and partnership. As all guests do, Rabbi Cohen finishes the discussion with the lessons he has learned about humankind. Today’s episode presents a brilliant demonstration of the Torah’s openness to interpretation as well as the eternal truths it presents, both of which are exemplified in the analysis of this passage which truly ‘should be the basis of all Jewish, and maybe Gentile, marital counseling’.

Episode Highlights:

  • · Rabbi Cohen’s summary of the passage its significance for him
  • · Transitioning from taker to giver
  • · Parents of married children needing to let go
  • · The ethic this passage is communicating
  • · Rabbi Cohen’s counseling around this passage
  • · God anticipating or observing a problem
  • · The goal of marriage
  • · The story behind Rabbi Cohen’s involvement in YACHAD
  • · ‘Get to Aryeh Levin’
  • · Marriage vs. partnership
  • · The lessons Rabbi Cohen has learned about humankind


“We now have to assume that position of the giver as opposed to the childlike taker.”

“It must have been a problem in biblical days of parents remaining too involved in the lives of their married children – incredible, some things never end!”

“You’re supposed to individuate, you’re supposed to mature.”

“In early years of marriage, you do see a lot of issues that are connected to families of origin, in-law overreaching, particularly if people aren’t financially independent.”

“Our relationships have to change in different periods of time.”

“In many instances, the 10 or 15 year-old child is actually the parent in the relationship with the 40 and 50 year-old.”

“He is kind of setting a tone for what’s to come.”

“These are all kind of essential basics, foundational concepts to Jewish marriage, 100 percent.”

“I think what the Torah is saying here is that the goal of the process of the whole marriage over many, many years is to reach this high level where…we’re really one.”

“There’s no real Jewish notion of independence, it’s a notion of interdependence.”

“A person, an individual, has to be able to bind himself or herself to the community, to others.”

“I think at the end of the day, there is goodness in everybody, but sometimes you have to dig very deep to unearth it.”

“You kind of have to make your own mazel…create our own opportunities.”

“The Jewish story never ends…just know you’re going to die unfulfilled and that’s okay.”

Genesis 2:24 Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh. https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.2.24?lang=en&with=all&lang2=en


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