In the tumultuous years after the Romans had destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a Jewish couple in Zidon was not blessed with children. They loved each other dearly and tried to bring brightness into their lives, but the crushing emptiness of their home proved unbearable.

After 10 years of waiting, they came before the great sage, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, asking to be granted a divorce.

Hearing their tale of woe, the rabbi replied thoughtfully: “Just as your union began with feasting and drinking, let your parting of ways be similarly celebrated.”

With mixed emotions, the pious couple dutifully prepared a feast for the last day of their marriage.

At the meal, the wise woman poured cup after cup of wine for her husband. As his mood gradually lifted, he said to her: “My dear, look around our house. Is there any precious item here that you would like? Please choose a keepsake and take it with you to your father’s home, where you will once again be living.”

The wife bided her time until her husband fell into a deep sleep. “Quick,” she told her servants, “load him onto a bed and carry him to my father’s home!”

At midnight, after the alcohol had worn off, the husband woke up from his stupor. “Where am I?” he called out in the darkness.

“You are in my father’s house,” replied his wife.

“What am I doing here?!”

“Did I not do exactly what you told me?” said she. “You instructed me to take the best thing from your house back with me to my parents’ home, and there is nothing in the world better than you.”

Realizing that they were meant to be together, the couple once again approached Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who prayed for them, and they were blessed with children.

The Midrash (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1) concludes the story with a lesson:

In this story, a mortal told another mortal, “I want nothing in the world more than you,” and G‑d brought them salvation as a result. How much more so with regards to the people of Israel, who await G‑d’s salvation every day, saying, “We desire nothing in the world more than You.”

May the day of reunion with our heavenly Husband finally come.