Torah: Genesis 23:1-25:18
Prophets: 1 Kings 1:1-31
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-23
Genesis 23:1 | Sarah’s Death and Burial
Genesis 24:1 | The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah
Genesis 25:1 | Abraham Marries Keturah
Genesis 25:7 | The Death of Abraham
Genesis 25:12 | Ishmael’s Descendants
1Ki 1:1 | The Struggle for the Succession
1Ki 1:28 | The Accession of Solomon
The fifth reading from the book of Genesis is named Chayei Sarah (חיי שרה). It means “Sarah lived,” because the narrative begins with the words “Now Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years” (Genesis 23:1). This portion of the Torah is filled with romance and sorrow. It tells the story of how Abraham mourned his wife after her passing, and how he procured a wife for his son Isaac. At the end of this portion, Abraham is laid to rest beside his beloved wife.
Bashert: The Real Soul Mate
Thought for the Week:
In our culture, we believe that a person should marry whoever he or she falls in love with. This is a bad plan. It is possible to fall in love with the wrong person. It is possible to fall in love with many wrong persons. Falling in love is a terrible criteria upon which to base a marriage. It would have been easy for Isaac to fall in love with any number of Canaanite girls. Why didn’t he? Because Abraham would not allow it. Abraham placed clear and specific limits around Isaac’s potential mates.
May she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. (Genesis 24:14)
Abraham’s servant Eliezer was sent to find a wife for Isaac. He prayed that God would indicate which woman He had appointed for Isaac to marry. God miraculously singled out Rebekah. Later, when recounting the story of his encounter with Rebekah to her family, they had to admit, “The matter comes from the LORD” (Genesis 24:50). By all appearances, God had appointed Rebekah to be the wife of Isaac.
This teaches that God appoints each person’s a spouse. Some people call this appointed person a soul mate.
How do you know when you have found your soul mate? And what exactly is a soul mate? The idea is that each individual has one other person, somewhere out there, who is his or her preordained, perfect match. A person’s soul mate is the ideal complement to fulfill his or her physical, spiritual and psychological needs. Soul mates are like two halves of the same soul, and if you marry the wrong person, you will never be truly happy because you missed your soul mate. This is not a biblical idea.
The search for a soul mate sounds romantic, but how do you know if the one you are with is really your soul mate? Isn’t it possible that you missed your true soul mate, or might still encounter him or her? What if you were married previously and are now on your second marriage? Was your first spouse your soul mate, or is this one the true soul mate? The soul-mate concept is a foolish idea that ultimately discourages people from getting married because they fear that their prospective match might not be their soul mate. For people already married, the soul-mate concept can lead to discontentment and uncertainty.
The soul-mate idea does exist in Judaism. It was probably born from a misunderstanding of the Jewish concept of soul mate. Among Yiddish-speaking Jews, the term for soul mate is bashert (באשערט). Bashert is a Yiddish word that means “destiny.” A person’s ideal spouse is called his or her “destined one.” How is this different from the romantic soul-mate concept? You cannot seek your destined one, because you will not know if you are destined to be together until you marry each other. Once you are married, destiny has been fulfilled and proven your soul mate. In other words, your spouse is your destined one. The person you are married to is the person God has ordained for you. If he or she was not, you would not be married.
So don’t waste time trying to find your soul mate. She/he does not exist and will not exist until you get married. Once you are married, you can be confident that your spouse is your true bashert.
Read complete commentary at First Fruits of Zion.