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What is the Jewish spin on marriage?

by Mrs. Dinka Kumer

  

Library » Intimacy » Marriage | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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The Jewish spin on marriage is best explained with an introduction of how Adam and Eve, the first couple, were created:

G-d originally created Adam and Eve with one conjoined body that had female and male halves. Soon after, He separated the body into two different people.1 This process of creating man and woman was to illustrate to us that, in fact, a married couple is one complete person. Until marriage, a person is only a half.

Adam and Eve's creation was a manifestation of a spiritual reality that continues today with every marriage. G-d separates a soul into two, causing one part to born in male body, and the other part in a female body. A Jewish husband and wife are actually soul sharers, and upon marriage, the two halves are reunited. The soul becomes whole again.

Related to this, is the reason that men and women need not perform each other's gender related commandments. This rule applies before the couple has even met one another. For example, a woman fulfills the obligation of donning Tefillin via her male counterpart, her husband. A man fulfills the Mitzvah of Mikvah through his wife's immersion.

Footnotes

  • 1. See Rashi on Genesis 1:27

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COMMENTS

Half of a person?

Posted by: Anonymous, Aventura, FL on May 28, 2005

There seems to be a lot of "half-persons" out there! If G-d divided the soul into a male and female, how is it that some get "back together" while others don't, even if they try? And isn't this unfair to women, who traditionally don't do the asking to marry? Must they sit back and wait for a man to ask in order to become whole? What about refusals? Does this mean that if a man, convinced that the woman he asks to marry him is his soul-mate, is turned down by her, he must spend the rest of his days as a half? Or was he mistaken in identifying his other half? What about divorce and remarriage? Who is the "correct" other half, or do you get more than one? What about someone who sincerely wants to marry, but nobody wants to marry them? (Yes, this does, indeed, really happen!) How bad is it, from a G-dly perspective, to spend all of your life as a half-person? Why would G-d allow a sincere, prayerful person live unhappily alone?

Editor's Comment

1. The fact that every person has a corresponding soul mate does not compel him or her to find that special one. G-d does what His part, but we still retain Free Choice.

2. While women traditionally don't actually propose, they can, and should, actively seek out a suitable spouse.

3. If the man/woman refused your proposal -- move on. This person obviously wasn't intended for you.

4. Every person has one soul-mate. An alternate marriage may be the union of hearts and minds, but it isn't an intrinsic soulful connection.

5. We don't always understand G-d's plan. When a child passes on, he or she certainly didn't have the opportunity to unite with a soul mate, yet, that was obviously the way G-d wanted it to be. It seems that certain people don't need a mate (or to produce offspring) in order to fulfill their destiny. This is similar to one who was born deaf, and therefore can't fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the Shofar.


RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » About

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Tefillin
Black leather boxes containing small scrolls with passages of the Bible written on them. Every day, aside for Sabbath and Jewish holidays, the adult Jewish male is required to wrap the Tefillin--by means of black leather straps--around the weaker arm and atop the forehead.
Mikvah
A ritual bath where one immerses to become spiritually pure. After her menstrual cycle, a woman must immerse in the Mikvah before resuming marital relations.
Adam
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.
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.