I’ve tried to stay consistent, but I can’t help it; I’m not. I sprinkle Hebrew here, Spanish there, English everywhere, and even a bit of Yiddish gets thrown into the communication pot. My sentences don’t always make sense, but they are expressive and full of color. My husband gets it, my kids get it, and most importantly, I get it.

“Mommy, look, the pajaratos (‘little birds’ in Spanish) are dancing in the chalon (‘window’ in Hebrew).” “Papito, quiero (‘Daddy, I want’ in Spanish) to eat achshav (‘now’ in Hebrew). I’m hungry!” These are my children’s sentences.

“So, how did you guys understand each other?”I’ve been warned not to do it, but it just sort of happened, and all in all, my kids are doing fine. In school, they are consistent and fluent. In the street, they know which language to speak, and to whom. But in our home we sprinkle the language spices freely. Aqui (here), sham (there); you get the idea.

How did this happen? An American Ashkenazi (of Eastern European Jewish descent) married a Mexican Sephardi (of Spanish/Middle Eastern descent), and they live in the capital of the world, in Jerusalem. Everyone always asks, “So, how did you guys meet? Did you already know Spanish?”

“It’s a long story that involves a Shabbat table. No, not really, but I speak French.”

“Did your husband speak English?”

“A little bit.”

“So, how did you guys understand each other?”

We just did. We measured our words carefully and got to the point. I told my husband, “I want to grow. I’m looking for someone who wants to grow with me. Relationships require work. Marriage is hard work. Are you willing to work?”

“Yes, I am willing to work,” he answered.

We smiled, we laughed. We got to the point. In less than two months we were engaged, and we’ve been working at a beautiful relationship ever since. I don’t think about myself without thinking about him. He doesn’t think about himself without thinking about me. We’ve been married for over 11 years, and thank G‑d, my heart still quickens with excitement when I hear his key in the lock.

Why? Because we work at it. Love, respect, harmony and holiness are well worth all the energy, effort and hard work. And for this kind of work, sometimes speaking the same language is not necessary. You listen, you work hard, and that creates a relationship.

With all my talking and communicating, I am naturally inclined to prayer. I love to pray. I talk to G‑d all the time; He’s with me throughout the day. But it wasn’t always like that. When I was a little girl, my prayers were reserved for the nighttime, when it was dark and scary.

You don’t have to understand everything. You just have to be willing to workBut things changed. I changed, and as I got older, something drew me to Him. I wanted a real relationship with Him. But how can a person have a relationship with G‑d without knowing His language? How can you communicate with the Infinite?

But to have a relationship, you don’t have to speak the same language. You don’t have to understand everything. You just have to be willing to work.

When the nation of Israel stood at Mount Sinai, it was as though we were standing under the wedding canopy with G‑d. “I am G‑d your L‑rd, who took you out of Egypt,” G‑d said. “This is who I am. I want a relationship with you. Do you want one with Me? Are you willing to work?”

The Jews responded, “Naaseh venishma, we will do and then we will understand.” “We don’t speak the same language. We have yet to learn Your laws, but we want to grow, and we want this marriage. Yes, we’re willing to work!”

G‑d is not just our Creator. He’s not just our “Father” in some distant place that we call heaven. G‑d is, as King Solomon describes Him in Song of Songs, our lover. And we are His beloved. G‑d created everyone and everything. But only to Israel did He say, “You are mine. You are My wife, my love.”

As we approach Shavuot, the holiday when G‑d gave us the Torah, let’s listen for the key turning in the lock. Who is on the other side? It’s our Husband, our Lover, and we are His beloved, His perfection, His bride. The knob turns; let us stand up quickly, as our heart pounds with excitement, and welcome Him through the door.