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Kabbalah explains that a person has to earn his/her true soul mate.

Second Marriages

Second Marriages

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Second Marriages
Kabbalah explains that a person has to earn his/her true soul mate.

This passage ["Eishet Chayil", or "A Woman of Valor", in the last chapter of Proverbs] is a parable in which the woman described represents either the Torah or the soul. Nonetheless, we will not ignore its plain meaning, and will first explain the passage according to everybody's first impression when they read this poem. For this, we need to consider the view of marriage presented in the Zohar.

When a man marries twice, it seems from Sotah 2 that the first woman he marries was due to a heavenly decree, whereas the second woman is the one that suits him based on his personality. Taken at face value, this statement is inexplicable. We observe frequently that the opposite seems to be the case. Besides, there are many people who do not marry more than once in their lives, so how do you apply this statement to them? A partnership… already existed while these souls awaited their assignments in Heaven…

Furthermore, since we believe that G‑d guides man's fate in all details, why should his first mating not reflect that guidance, and be based on his accomplishments in life up to that point? Surely G‑d's decree cannot be morally faulty! So why is there a difference between a "first" and a "second" mating?

In fact, the decree which precedes the birth of the respective partners is based on the souls that each of their bodies are to host once they are born, forming a partnership which had already existed while these souls awaited their assignments in Heaven, connected to the throne of G‑d. We have a principle that there is nothing in this universe (except G‑d) that does not have a natural partner. These partners interact constructively in their path to achieving the purpose assigned to them in the universe. A child growing up as a fine human being demonstrates that its parents are kindred souls…

This is why a man who has no wife is considered an incomplete human being. Only by two bodies joining in marriage and becoming "one flesh" (Gen. 2:24) can their souls interact fully in the partnership that has been assigned to them. In due course, the child born (when the intention of begetting was to fulfill our G‑d given obligations) will reflect that successful partnership. A child growing up as a fine human being demonstrates that its parents are kindred souls.

When souls are mismatched, the children born from such unions turn out accordingly. To prevent this happening, G‑d decreed prior to birth which man and which woman should marry, seeing that they have been endowed from Heaven with matching souls. Since man is equipped with freedom of choice, however, the bodies in which these matched souls grow up may lose their kinship, because either the man or the woman does not develop in the manner hoped for at the time their souls had been assigned to them. Divine justice does not allow the morally superior of the two to be saddled permanently with the morally inferior. The bodies in which these matched souls grow up may lose their kinship…

As a result (assuming it was the man who has not lived up to G‑d's expectations), the bride that had originally been assigned to him will be given to someone else more deserving. Such a match is called "second (or revised) mating". The Talmud describes this mating as being based on his actual deeds.

This may be why our sages depicted man as always in search of his lost property (See Kiddushin 2). A woman was assigned to a certain man prior to his birth, but he lost his claim to her after birth. When such a man rehabilitates himself, she may again be assigned to him. In order that the "Woman of Valor" whose mate had been denied her due to his inadequate personality development should not be totally severed from him, the man in question, should he improve his ways, is afforded an opportunity by G‑d to find his lost "property". This arrangement, if called for, will be made by G‑d Himself, not by committing a wrong in order to get her away from her present husband.

Although man is free to act as he chooses, G‑d in His omniscience has seen in advance who will act how, and has ways of temporarily assigning the "lost" wife to a person who has a limited lifespan. After the death of that husband, the widow can be available to her original soul-mate who has by now qualified to be her husband. Who can be certain that his sins do not result in his losing his soul-mate…

The "Woman of Valor" Solomon speaks about is this woman whose original soul-mate had "lost" her, due to his character faults. "Who can find" again such a perfect soul-mate? Who can be certain that his sins do not result in his "losing" his soul-mate, risking her being assigned to someone else? What good deeds are needed for such a loser to be able to reclaim his "lost" soul-mate?

"Her worth is far beyond that of pearls" - so she cannot remain "sold" forever to her present husband. She is only "on loan" to him till her original soul-mate does teshuva and qualifies to wed her. One cannot qualify in the first place to wed a Woman of Valor without paying a heavy price in terms of the good deeds one has to perform. Once one has forfeited her, her price becomes even dearer....

On a deeper level, the Woman of Valor is the holy soul. It is that aspect of the soul which performs "mitzvot", deeds of kindness towards fellow human beings, and through them she creates advocates for man before the heavenly tribunal. The "husband" is the physical host of the soul, the body. Thus, Solomon is asking "Who can find a truly holy soul?"

He goes on to describe the constant endeavour of the holy soul, whose origin is in the highest celestial regions at the foot of G‑d's throne, to help its host, who possesses freedom of choice, to resist temptation....

Although the soul's very nature bids her to strive to return to the celestial regions whence she originated, when she observes that "the whole earth is filled with the glory of G‑d", i.e. that the earth is fit for G‑d as a domain, she accepts to continue her efforts "all the days of her life" while enclosed in the body of man.

[Translated and adapted by Eliyahu Munk from Rabbi Moshe Alshich's introduction to "Eishet Chayil" in his commentary on the Book of Proverbs.]

Eliyahu Munk, the translator, was born in Frankfurt, and emigrated to England as a young man, later moving to Toronto. After retiring from education and moving to Israel in 1978, he began an extraordinary second career as a translator, publishing English versions of the Torah commentaries of Rabbeinu Bechayei, Akeidat Yitzchak, Shelah, Alshich and Ohr Hachaim.
Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1508-1600) was a rabbi and halachic authority in Safed and later in Damascus, ordained by Rabbi Yosef Caro. However, he was most famous for his eloquent sermons on the weekly Torah readings, and his works of commentary on nearly all of the 24 books of Scriptures.
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Gideon Skalin eugene, or via July 27, 2015

Remariage I was raised as a xtian for most of my life and been married twice, both xtian's, found out two years ago both of my parents are Jewish and after intense study realized xtianity is complete nonsense. I have returned to the Judaism of my ancestors, just wondering if my x-marriages count - being that I was not married to a jewish woman. Reply

Anonymous December 18, 2013

Remarrying after mate crosses My dear friend lost his wife, and soulmate of 30 years 5 years ago. He met an amazing woman who loves him dearly. Can they marry or will he always be married to his first wife. Is the first his soulmate or the second? Will he be able to share his light with both women? Reply

nurjamila January 18, 2013

Love May the Blessings of Goodess rest upon You....May God's PEACE abide with YOU.
ashland, or. Reply

Anonymous Largo, FL/USA via July 31, 2011

maddening confusion It amazes me that through-out Judaism there is great emphasis on the widow. While I fully agree that this is rightly so, I also wonder; what about the WIDOWER? The man, G-d forbid" that is left alone.
I ask because after a dozen years since my wife's passing many questions are still left unanswered. Such as, was my wife (obm) my soulmate? And where does that leave me? A lonely man for the rest of this life? It certainly seems so.
Fellow widowers are equally stymied. So, I've read yet another article that avoids the issue of the plight of WIDOWERS. I can only hope someday in this lifetime, but I'm not holding my breath. Reply

Anonymous israel, israel July 19, 2011

finding a soulmate... if the man is married for the second time and still is not happy with his wife due to some reason is it possible that he can remarry again or do he have to live all his life with the women who cannot keep him happy Reply

Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles via June 7, 2010

answer to Tovah - Boca Raton At this point in the article, it is talking about the relationship between soul and body within each individual. Reply

tovah boca raton, fl via June 7, 2010

question in the last line of the article are you saying she will come back as a man, or is it metaphoric for marriage and being one? Reply

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