Parshat Chayei Sarah – Finding a True Soul Mate

By Avner Friedmann

 

The Torah tells us that when Adam was created, he was created male and female in one body and was subsequently separated into man and woman, as it states[1]: “He created them male and female. He blessed them and called their name Man (Adam).” What we learn from this is that until a person finds his other half, he is not a whole person. Only through marriage does he become a whole person[2].

Now, in our Parsha, Chayei Sarah, Avraham took it upon himself to find an appropriate wife for his son Yitzchak. Yitzchak’s wife needed to be a worthy successor to his mother Sarah. She needed to be a woman who not only would be a good wife and a mother. Rather, she needed to be a woman who would be worthy of being the matriarch of HaShem’s people, the holy nation of Yisrael. To locate such a woman Avraham dispatched Eliezer, his trusted servant. He sent him to his ancestral home, to his family in Aram Naharayim[3]. He only trusted Eliezer to have the kind of stature and understanding necessary to be worthy of the heavenly assistance needed in finding Yitzchak’s true soul mate.

Now, the Zohar[4] tells us that before coming down into this world, the soul is both male and female. Then, when it comes down to this world, it separates into two parts, male and female. One part enters into a female body and the other part enters into a male body. The two infants could be born at different times and in different geographical areas. They grow up and live their separate lives not knowing of each other’s existence. When the time is ripe for marriage, each part, the male and female, feel their lacking and begin looking for their other part. Hashem then creates the circumstances that bring these two souls together so that they can once again unite in marriage.

The moment the groom declares, “Behold you are sanctified to me according to the Law of Moses and Yisrael”, puts the ring on the bride’s finger and they drink the wine, the marriage is consummated. They are one again, just like they were in the spiritual realm, before entering a body. They live their lives us one; go through all the trials and challenges of life as one, and work together at elevating themselves in Torah and mitzvot and coming closer to HaShem.

The Talmud[5] tells us that forty days before the formation of the embryo a Heavenly voice proclaims, “The daughter of so and so is destined for so and so”. In other words, marriages are arranged in heaven, just as the Zohar stated.  However, the Talmud continues and states that a woman and a man are paired according to their deeds. Now, Rashi explains that this means that a modest woman is paired with a righteous man, and an immodest woman is paired with a wicked man[6]. But isn’t this a contradiction? On the one hand, the Talmud tells us that our mate is predestined for us forty days before the formation of the embryo, but on the other hand, it tells us that we are paired according to our deeds? How are these two statements reconciled?

Our Rabbis give us the answer: The predetermination is in no way absolute. This is because, through free choice, each person determines his own spiritual level, as it states, “Everything is in the hands of heaven except the fear of heaven”[7] . Everything is decreed and predetermined, but whether a person will be righteous or wicked, is not predetermined. That is left to the individual[8].  Because HaShem does not issue a decree regarding a person’s future conduct, so likewise, He does not decree a person’s future spouse. Rather, it is all contingent on free choice. When a person reaches marriageable age, he is judged by heaven. If he is worthy, he will find his ideal mate. However, if he is not, she will be given to someone more deserving and he will receive a woman appropriate to his spiritual level.

It is important to stress, however, that all marriages can be successful, productive and lead to spiritual fulfillment. On the other hand, even a marriage between true soul mates is not guaranteed to be successful. The couple has to make the right choices in life for their marriage to make their home where the Shechinah, HaShem’s indwelling presence, can dwell.

May it be HaShem’s will that whoever needs to find his or her other half, should merit to find their true soul mate and that those couples that are already married should make the right choices in building a faithful house in Yisrael, where HaShem’s presence is tangible.

 


[1] Genesis 5:2.

[2] Yevamot 63a. Zohar Chadash Ki Teitzei 72b.

[3] Genesis 24:10

[4] Zohar Lech Lecha 91b, and Zohar Vayigash 208a.

[5] Sotah 2a.

[6] Rashi is intimating that modesty is the cornerstone of a woman’s spiritual status.

[7] Berachot 33b, Megila 25a, and Nidah 16b.

[8] Rashi Berachot 33b.

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