Thursday, August 2, 2007

I am my beloved (the Bashert/ Soulmate)

According to the Talmud, Rav Yehuda taught that 40 days before a male child is conceived, a voice from heaven announces whose daughter he is going to marry, literally a match made in heaven! In Yiddish, this perfect match is called "bashert," a word meaning fate or destiny. The word "bashert" can be used to refer to any kind of fortuitous good match, such as finding the perfect job or the perfect house, but it is usually used to refer to one's soul mate. There are a number of statements in the Talmud that would seem to contradict the idea of bashert, most notably the many bits of advice on choosing a wife. Nevertheless, the idea has a strong hold within the Jewish community: look at any listing of Jewish personal ads and you're bound to find someone "Looking for my bashert."
Finding your bashert doesn't mean that your marriage will be trouble-free. Marriage, like everything worthwhile in life, requires dedication, effort and energy. Even when two people are meant for each other, it is possible for them to ruin their marriage. That is why Judaism allows divorce.
Although the first marriage is bashert, it is still possible to have a good and happy marriage with a second spouse. The Talmud teaches that G-d also arranges second marriages, and a man's second wife is chosen according to his merits.
How do you know if you have found your bashert? Should you hold off on marrying someone for fear that the person you want to marry might not be your bashert, and there might be a better match out there waiting for you? The traditional view is that you cannot know who your bashert is, but once you get married, the person you married is by definition your bashert, so you should not let concerns about finding your bashert discourage you from marrying someone.
And while we're on the subject of G-d arranging marriages, I should share this delightful midrash: it is said that a Roman woman asked a rabbi, if your G-d created the universe in six days, then what has he been doing with his time since then? The rabbi said that G-d has been arranging marriages. The Roman woman scoffed at this, saying that arranging marriages was a simple task, but the rabbi assured her that arranging marriages properly is as difficult as parting the Red Sea. To prove the rabbi wrong, the Roman woman went home and took a thousand male slaves and a thousand female slaves and matched them up in marriages. The next day, the slaves appeared before her, one with a cracked skull, another with a broken leg, another with his eye gouged out, all asking to be released from their marriages. The woman went back to the rabbi and said, "There is no god like your G-d, and your Torah is true."
May Hashem bless my Beloved in his time away from home. We miss him dearly.

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One's belief in God must come through faith and not because of miracles. "Rebbe Nachman of Breslov"