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Is there a rational reason which justifies a lifelong matrimonial commitment? Perhaps not. But the soul doesn’t always play according to the laws of logic.

Why Marry?

Why Marry?

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The Call from Within

Why marry? The question is so maddening because there seems to be very little rational reason to support such a drastic move. Whichever way the issue is presented, the obvious cons considerably outweigh any pros which may be suggested. What logic lurks behind a commitment which lasts an eternity? Would anyone in their right mind sign a job contract which contains a binding lifetime obligation, when so many jobs are available which do not require such an extreme commitment? So, why enter a binding marriage proposition? While the marriage contract does contain an escape clause, invoking this clause invariably causes unspeakable pain and emotional havoc. Why not enjoy relationships for their natural duration, and then move on when the eroded passion ceases to justify the maintenance of the relationship? Why would any sane person willingly consent to stick with a relationship even after it deteriorates to the point that it is rocky and challenging at best?

Would anyone in their right mind sign a job contract which contains a binding lifetime obligation?

Admittedly, the improved economic standing of women and the elimination of much of the stigma attached to remaining single have caused the marriage rate to decline in recent decades. Nevertheless, despite the decrease in societal and peer pressure to marry, the latest statistics show that more than three-quarters of the adult population is married!

So why do we marry? According to Kabbalah, the compulsion to rush into a lifelong commitment is an expression of the human soul’s deepest ambitions. The subliminal signals emanating from the soul have caused the logic-defying institution of marriage to be an integral part of the human fabric since the dawn of time. The soul’s desire to connect and commit makes the aspiration for marriage one of our most basic instincts.

What is the soul’s agenda? What does it stand to gain from hooking up with another soul? The mystics explain that two primary considerations drive the soul’s desire to marry: a desire to be complete, and its need to transcend itself.

1 + 1 = 1

In the first marriage ever, Adam and Eve were initially created as a single, two-faced body. The single being was split in two—a man and a woman—and then reunited in matrimony. In the world of souls, the partition and reunification of the male and female components of individual souls occurs continually. Every body is occupied by half a soul, and both body and soul reach a state of completion only when they are reunited with their bashert, their long-lost other half.

The attraction to the opposite sex actually stems from the soul’s innate desire to reunite with its soulmate

The Talmud says that each soul’s bashert (predestined soulmate) is determined before its birth. The two may be born continents apart, with seemingly nothing in common, but divine destiny ensures that everyone’s path intersects with that of their bashert.

[In rare instances, due to external spiritual factors which may intervene, it is possible for people to marry spouses who are not their basherts. Even in such instances, however, eventually the two original soulmates will marry—whether later on in life as a second marriage, or in a future incarnation of the two souls. See Marriage: Destiny or Chance.]

Thus, the attraction to the opposite sex, so often reviled as a weakness associated with base carnal urges, actually stems from the soul’s innate desire to reunite with its soulmate.

Extreme care must be taken not to misuse the sacred and potent power of sexual attraction by expending it in a context other than marriage. See Dating the Jewish Way for more on this subject.

The Commitment Itself Is the Objective

Whereas bodily needs and tendencies are decidedly egocentric, the soul is totally selfless. Commitment without the expectation of a commensurate return benefit may sound absurd when talking the language of the body, but is music to the ears of the soul. The soul’s most fervent wish is to transcend itself. Marriage offers the soul the opportunity to express its altruistic nature.

Marriage is about two souls who put their individual needs aside, and commit themselves 100% to the success of the relationship.

The Ultimate Goal

Aside for the bride and groom’s commitment to each other, Jewish marriage involves an additional two commitments. First, it is a commitment to the continuity of the Jewish nation. Jewish parents raising Jewish children with Jewish values is our nonviolent way of combating the Crusaders, Chmielnicki, Hitler, and all the other bigots who aspired to relegate the Jewish people to the annals of history.

Marriage is also a commitment to actualizing the divine plan which spawned all of creation

Secondly, marriage is also a commitment to actualizing the divine plan which spawned all of creation. G‑d desired a home, and it is our mission to sanctify the world, making it a hospitable abode for its Creator. The ammunition we were provided to accomplish this task are the Torah and its commandments, and the home is the first frontier. Man and woman are the perfect team to implement this plan. When working in harmony, they have the ability to make the home an epicenter of holiness whose rippling waves affect the neighborhood, the country, the world and the cosmos.

Because of the considerable role marriage plays in the actualization of the master plan for creation, G‑d expends considerable time and energy (as it were) on “playing matchmaker.”

“With what is He occupied since [the six days of Creation]?” the Midrash asks. “He is preoccupied with matching together couples,” is the answer! Every individual wedding is a vital piece in the grand puzzle which, when completed, will usher all of creation into its intended state of redemption.

Jewish marriage is about two people who commit themselves 100% to the success of G‑d’s relationship with creation.

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Discussion (22)
July 30, 2013
Re:
Please see this article that explains that polygamy was never the ideal and something only done in the Torah for very specific reasons.
Yisroel Cotlar
Cary, NC
July 26, 2013
Polygamy and concubines
How do we reconcile the notion of soul mates with the notion of well accepted polygamy in Biblical times. Furthermore, we know that regular men ( and not just kings ! ), ( already married or singles ) lived with concubines, without marrying them and without a Ketubah ?
TCNTHN
Florida
July 23, 2013
How will your soulmate find you?
queen
January 15, 2013
Two faced adam
Samuel, while I'm admittedly goy, I have been lead into a deep study of this topic. My analysis of the Hebrew (though I admit I am along way from an expert) yields the same result. That is, the scripture is telling us that "man" is a two part being and that this is why G-d says "For this reason the two shall become one". (i.e. they were cut apart). The idea that woman was made from a "rib" is not supported. Tsela is only translated rib in this passage (twice). All the other times (40 or so) it is translated other ways. I find "side of" is a better translation. There are a number of other textual evidences that agree that I can't list here, but I will say, as best I can figure the one thing that has led to the "rib" idea is that the passage says (best literal attempt) "G-d took one from among adam's several "tsela" and formed the woman". I agree that this still leaves us with questions but I find the weight of the data comes down in favor of side.
Peter
Tennseess USA
May 5, 2012
Adam and Eve
Where does the one body, two faces come from? I mean what kind of evidence do you have of that??? Because I would like to see it; if I could...
samuel
shipshewana , IN
January 10, 2012
Answer to Widowhood
I lost my husband at his age of 67 and was a caregiver for two years due to his having Parkinson's Disease. I also met a significant other and had a companion for 15years until his death. I am now 82 living alone in an over 55 condo devepment. I am not suggesting that more spouses should suffer losses but I am questioning why the higher percentage of males go first. We all have to die sometime.
Anonymous
Lakewood, NJ
chabadtomsriver.com
January 10, 2012
Widowhood
How dare you say "there aren't enough widowers", Anonymous in Lakewood, NJ. It is a great shame for woman to lose her husband and equally great shame for a man to lose his wife. To suggest that there should be more people suffering the loss of their beloved is just...That's just sick. I wouldn't wish that upon anyone.
Ziva
Houston, TX
August 3, 2011
What-Ifs
1- What if a Jew has little desire to or for whatever reason does not merit getting married (regardless whether they could have married in or out)? Is one still held to account for not marrying?
2- For an unmarried person, what role does a “What-If” Soulmate play in the Afterlife since while the present in this world is more important, it cannot be ignored that “Unity” is one of the main themes in Judaism (Man / Woman, Sun / Moon, Creator / Creation, Conscious / Unconscious, etc), does G-d set up the individual with another Soulmate (assuming their What-If married someone else) in that realm as a sort of reward / “consolation prize” or are such loose ends to be left untied?
3- While G-d’s thoughts are not our thoughts and neither are our ways his ways, what if circumstances are such that an individual royally screws up or is not at a level where a potential Soulmate to not even give the individual a second thought?
Sure, Free-Will means that whatever great destiny one could hav
Anonymous
London, UK
June 25, 2011
Soul mates
Do soulmates always recognize each other?
Patsy MacLeod
Lubbock, TX
May 8, 2011
"inter"-marriage
Annette: Remember, the known Jews in the world today are mainly the remnants of three tribes: Judah, Levi, and Benjamin. The other ten tribes were driven into exile approx. 165 yrs before the Babylonian invasion, and assimilated away into the world at large; but they're still out there somewhere.
I would purpose that if a Jew and "gentile" really get along, then maybe that "gentile" is really a Jew all along, only after nearly 100 generations of assimilation, s/he just never really had any way of knowing whom they really are.
There are more contemporary examples of unknown Jews with the survivors of the Spanish Inquisition and their descendants, the Conversos.
Scionofzion
Far Rockaway , New York
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