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Soul Mates

I always heard that each Jewish person born has a Soul Mate. Please explain the following. Why do people get divorced?

I think it’s fair to describe the existence of “soul mates” (Zivug) as an opportunity rather than a guarantee. In other words, God might guide us by bringing our Zivug within reach, but we can still mess up by making wrong choices or, even if we actually end up marrying a Zivug, by mistreating him/her or by disgracing the sanctity of marriage itself.

Why do people marry numerous times to find their soul mate?

People do lots of things for lots of reasons, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing what’s right or effective. Since we’re not privy to God’s hidden plans for the world, we can never know for certain who is really our Zivug. However, common sense (and common decency) dictate that we should always treat our spouse as the only one; the perfect one. With that attitude, we’ll do and sacrifice anything to make a marriage work and, the odds are, it will.

What about a person who never marries. Does that mean he/she never had a soul mate?

I doubt it (although to someone who has been single for many years, I know that it can certainly feel that way). My understanding is that bad choices (perhaps even perfectly innocent choices) can bring us to miss our Zivug. Nevertheless, whoever we finally decide is to be our spouse, we can and must commit totally. Again, in our eyes, this must be the only one! And no matter what the theological background to it all, any marriage can work. There are lots of tools one can use to help: one is mentioned by the Talmud and it boils down to the idea that a home permeated with the sanctity of Torah observance and respect merits that the Divine Presence “lives” in its midst (whatever that means practically).

What about Jewish people who marry outside of religion and live happily ever after. Was the non Jew their soul mate?

Certainly not. But nevertheless, as I wrote above, hard work, good respectful attitudes and commitment can make just about any marriage work – I suppose that could even apply to intermarriages (although the odds are very heavily stacked against it).

With regards,
Rabbi Boruch Clinton

4 Follow-ups »

  1. How can you limit the one G-d has chosen as a soul mate? Does not the book of Ruth, who was herself from Moabite, support intermarriage?

    G-d specifically prohibits Jewish intermarriage. It is a grave and major sin for all involved.

    Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:26 – “And you (the Jews) shall remain holy unto Me, for I, God, am holy and I have separated you from the nations to be mine.”

    Nechemya (Nehemiah) 10:30-31 – “...observe and fulfill ALL THE COMMANDMENTS OF G-D, our Lord, and His laws and His decrees, and that we would not give
    our daughters (in marriage) to the peoples of the land (non-Jews), nor take their daughters for our sons…”

    The prohibition against marrying Moabites was only against the men, who refused to give water to the Jewish Nation in our time of need. The Moabite women were not involved in this. Ruth was a Jewish convert, and G-d makes the point that she was an halachic (according to Jewish law) convert in the last Verse of the Book of Ruth:

    Ruth, Chapter 4, Verses 13-21 – “And so, Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife…and she bore a son…they named him Obed…and Obed begot Jesse, and
    Jesse begot David (G-d’s chosen king of the Jewish people.)”

    Comment by ATR — October 8, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

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