Souls Don't Have Mates: Peace in the Home

Thursday, 7 December, 2017 - 10:36 pm

Mordechai Z. Hecht

Souls don't have mates, oh how cliche, we, the cuties, the sweet and romantic among us love to use the term "soul-mates". [Keep reading].

People will often use the terms, "but we were meant for each other", "for sure he's my soul-mate", I don't just want to get married "I want to find my soul mate".

Historically the term has had many loops of meaning. In current usage,"soulmate" usually refers to a romantic partner, with the implication of an exclusive-life-long-bond. This is to say, the word is used with more rarity than other terms associated with 'romantic partner'. It is a very versatile term, being defined differently by different individuals, as it is related to the concept of love. It commonly holds the connotation of being the strongest bond with another person that one can achieve. 

Does it actually mean you will meet it, find it and keep it, forever indeed; I'm afraid not for all.

I, nor can anyone, not a neurosurgeon and not a nano-technician and no not even a "regular Rabbi", even a good and wise one, tell you who your "soul-mate" is, guaranteed.

What's even more disturbing is that, and I'm more than sorry to bust anyone's bubble, many marriages are wonderful and may never have even heard the word "soul-mate", and many a "soul-mate" ie. matches-made-in-heaven end in, yup you got it, failure, end, finish early, close up shop before the end of the day; disaster.

So in review, let us cap this one up now: there are no soul-mates.

However what there IS, what does exist, are souls and mates. [Keep reading] 

Souls, discussed much about in Kabalah and surprisingly also discussed much about even in Talmud and Jewish law is the conduit through which our identities as human beings gain actual continual life. Like the life in our blood, the oxygen in our bodies, like the gas and electric in our automobiles, 

Souls are vital life packs. Sources of Divine, never-ending energy. However, unlike smorgasbords they are not buffets, they require proper synchronization and cultivation.

But, if you have one, you may ask; a soul; and we are also one, why bother marrying one? A soul that is. What exactly are we looking for? What's the whole hoopla about souls and soul-mates?


I digress. In Yiddish there is a word Bashert (באַשערט‎) that means "destiny". It is often used in the context of one's divinely foreordained spouse or soul-mate, (there's that's word again) [who is called "basherte" (female) or "basherter" (male)]. "It can be used to express the seeming fate or destiny of an auspicious or important event, friendship, or happening." (nothing like Wikipedia (source still needed :)) The idea of basherte(r) comes from statements found in classical rabbinical literature but no findings of Soul Mate, rather "Bashert"- destiny and "Zivug"-connection.

There's also famous proverb that "marriages are made in heaven", which may be illustrated by a story brought in the Medrash which may in fact shed some some very much needed light in our conversation:

"A Roman matron, on being told by Rabbi Yosi Ben Chalafta, that God is Mizaveg Zivuggim - arranges all marriages, said that this was an easy matter and boasted that she could do as much herself. Thereupon she assembled her male and female slaves and paired them off in couples; but the next day, they all went to her with complaints. Then she admitted that divine intervention is necessary to make suitable marriages that work and last. Last, key word." (Genesis Rabba lxviii. 3-4).

Then there's the famous Gemorah, Talmudic teaching: "Even G-d Himself finds it as difficult an undertaking as the dividing of the Red Sea". Every wonder why it's so difficult for G-d? Truth be told, it's not. What G-d found difficult was G-d getting us to believe in the sacrifice and commitment that is marriage. Oh don't get scared by that word "sacrifice" it's not that daunting, it just takes some guts, like at the splitting of the sea.

The Rebbe explains, that for G-d to split the sea indeed was no big deal at all, what was however difficult, was finding even one person who would take the jump and leap forward with faith that with no doubt G-d would help them (Nachshon Ben Aminadav). The sea and mother nature was fine, man was the challenge.

In fact, a tertiary Talmudic source lends it's awesome insight that might even come as a refutation to the previous Talmudic passage:

'Forty days before a child is born it's announced via heavenly voice that the daughter of Ploni-Anonymous will be connected to Ploni-Anonymous (Genesis Rabba lxviii. 3-4; also Tractates Soṭah 2a; Sanhedrin 22a). Nowhere does the Talmud use the term soul- mates, or that halves will be reunited, for even if this were the case based on other Talmudic passages, and yes Biblical verses, this passage is saying: all G-d does is make the connection, we need to make it happen and build the partnership. Like the gargantuan task of the splitting of sea, being dependant on man, here too, the "calls" are out, the connections and leads made, but the partnership still needs to be built, by man.

Take Adam & Eve, the first man and women ever, they were literally (2) parts (back to front, side by side) of the same body, and how did that work out ?! You cant really blame em' they were the prototypes, the Beta Version, but we?!

Like the earlier passage where G-d makes the matches - Mizaveg Zivugim, the word zivug doesn't only mean marriage-match but rather the general idea which is "match" ie. connections. Sure, G-d makes the connection, but then man has to make it work and make it last with G-dly assistance and blessing of course

So there you go, it's destiny. It's not who you are going to marry but rather, will "you", the "human being", take the leap-of-marriage , with that person, when the time come?! Will the leap be continual and steadfast, withstanding that changes of Mother Nature .

Now , let's revisit the souls and soul mate thing. If, one values one self and one values one another, then what remains is souls who are mates, comrades, those who get along. Those who are ready, willing and able to take the awesome leap into the awesome undertaking that is marriage. The rewards can be awesome. For after all, is a sister a sister if they don't talk and fight and despise each other. Sure, sure, they come from the same parents but what does that mean if in action it has no display and fails to show up in reality.

Marriage is beautiful, as beautiful as siblings getting along and then some.
Marriage is romantic, as romantic as two people who are kind, considerate and loving to each other.
Souls have mates, when the other soul, "part of" or "whole", respect honor and love the other soul. Otherwise what you have is nothing of value. Semantics and bottling gone wrong.


Maybe my Bubby said it best as my aunt reminds me, marriage is about "100%."

Sometimes it's 50% - 50%. Each spouse bring things to the table. Sometimes it's 70%-30% and some times 90%- 10%. How much can one be giving if they are sick or incapacitated. What of people's emotional needs and mental challenges. What of the external forces that get in the way of smooth sailing in life. Can each spouse be present all the time 70,90, or 100%. Surely spouses need to compensate and fill in, if you wish to accomplish the 100%.

The sooner we realize this, the better our marriages. The greater peace of mind and calmness of our hearts. Soul-mates are as much soul mates as we invest in it.

Investing in it is all worth it, the returns are special and rewarding, but the day we forget what the equation of variables really is, is the day are souls and mates disappear.


Marriage has no soulmates, there are no freebies, "shes my soul mate", there are no givens, marriage is not a smorgasbord! Marriage IS a Partnership - in the greatest venture called "life". When you truly "partner up", energies that you can not begin to imagine show up and display themselves in miraculous ways. Ways in which you can truly see the innate awesomeness in your "partner", to love and cherish till 120. 

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