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Why Do We Fall In Love?

by Rabbi Simon Jacobson

  

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The Short Answer:

Because that's who we are. We were originally a complete entity comprised of male and female made in the image of G-d. Through the sacred unity of marriage we complete the picture and restore the image.

The Askmoses Answer: 

Is the mystique and the romance, the music and the moonlight, just nature’s way of hoodwinking males and females to reproduce?

What lies behind the attraction between the sexes? Sexuality is a subject about which no one is neutral. Everyone has a sexual nature, everyone has a need for sexuality, everyone has a sexual personality that has been formed by home, schooling, the trial and error of life experience, and whatever they pick up along the way from the subtle and not-so-subtle influences of the society in which they live.

In seeking to make sense of our sexuality we must look to its origins. Where does our sexuality come from? I would like to look at two approaches to that question. One is the scientific approach and then we’ll contrast it with the Torah approach, specifically, the Kabbalistic-Chassidic perspective.

There are numerous secular-scientific theories of sexuality. From the perspective of the biological or evolutionary theory for example, our sexuality derives from the fact that the perpetuation of the species is achieved through a sexual relationship between a male and a female. The male will therefore search for the female that is most fertile, and that will bear the healthiest offspring; and the female will search for a male that provides the healthiest seed, that is the most virile and that will protect the young.

The Torah's conception of human sexuality is... that sexual attraction between human beings is driven by a completely different force: their search for their divine image, for their quintessential self
What this theory essentially says is that behind the mystique and the beauty, the romance and the sensuality in which human sexuality comes enveloped—behind it all really lies a primal force: the need to exist, and to perpetuate that existence. Modern man is not prepared to think of him or herself merely as production machines to bear children, so in order to entice two people into a union, evolution and biology have conspired to imbue the sexual act not only with pleasure but also with a mystique that compels us along the romantic journey.

The accouterments of human sexuality—the romance, the flowers, the music, the moonlight—are really just nature's way of getting two people together. Two human beings courting each other are essentially the same as two bees courting each other. One bee will buzz a certain way or give off a certain scent, but what it comes down to is that these are tactics to get them together to mate and bear offspring. Nature is ruthless. Nature must prevail. So nature finds the means to get a male and a female to mate.

This, basically, is the scientific approach to human sexuality. Let us now contrast this with the Torah's approach.

The Torah's conception of human sexuality is expressed in the opening chapters of Genesis, and states that sexual attraction between human beings is driven by a completely different force: their search for their divine image, for their quintessential self.

The Torah describes man as originally having been created as a ‘two-sided’ being: "Male and female He created them".1 G-d then split this two-sided creature into two,2 and ever since, the divided halves of the divine image seek and yearn for each other.3 They're not half individuals; man is a full-fledged personality and woman is a full-fledged personality. But there are elements in their transcendental persona, in their completeness, that remain incomplete if they don't find each other. There's something missing in each of them; they were once part of a greater whole.

Footnotes

  • 1. Genesis 1:27
  • 2. Genesis 2:21-23
  • 3. ibid 2:24

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Intimacy » Sexual Issues

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Halachah
Jewish Law. All halachah which is applicable today is found in the Code of Jewish Law.
Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
Kabbalistic
(adj.) Pertaining to Kabbalah—Jewish mysticism.
Genesis
The first book of the Five Books of Moses. It records the story of Creation and its aftermath, and chronicles the lives of the Patriarchs.
Shechinah
Divine Presence.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.