Last week was the wedding of my only daughter and my new son.
It was a beautiful thing.
In the Talmud (Sotah 2a; Sanhedrin 22a), Rabbi Yochanan says, "V'koshe I'zovgon k'kriyas yam suf." The simple meaning of this phrase is that making Marriages is as difficult as the Miracle that Hashem performed when He Parted the Waters to finally free the Jews from the Land of Egypt and the clutches of Pharaoh.
In reality, the definition of "Nature" is Miracles that constantly repeat themselves day after day. When something totally extraordinary happens – once - we call it a Miracle. When it happens daily, we call it "Nature."
If a Heavenly Voice thundered out from Nowhere – "Such and Such is Destined to Marry So and So," the story would be all over the Internet in a day along with the Youtube video! Everyone would be discussing "how this was done;" whether it was real or not; etcetera. However, if "Heavenly Voices" started Proclaiming Marriages all the time, all over the world, people would soon become occupied with passing anti-Noise ordinances and suing G-d for interference in "Private affairs of the Heart."
The Torah teaches us that G-d, does indeed, find each and every one of us his or her Soul Mate.
In the case of my daughter, I witnessed this extraordinary process…
In the Torah, the Jewish people begin with Avraham Avinu – Abraham, Our Father.
The Story of the Jews begins with Abraham and Sarah and their marriage. It continues with the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca; then Jacob with Rachel and Leah; and then finally on to the 12 tribes – the Children of Israel.
From the very beginning, the Jewish story is focused on marriage and "Learning." "Learning" is learning what G-d asks us to do. And, G-d asks us to "Learn Torah."
"Lerning Torah is der bester zach!" - Learning Torah is the best thing to do.
In the beginning - Abraham and Sarah were married and, after years of aspiration, had children. In the beginning - G-d asked Abraham and Sarah to learn His Laws and to obey His Commandments.
The highest aspirations of Judaism focus on the marriages and learning of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
Get married. Have children. And learn Torah.
In Judaism, getting married means to find your soul mate. In Hebrew, this is called your basheirt, which literally means your "destiny."
It is the one whom G-d appointed to be your "zivug." Zivug literally means "mate," but it means mate in terms of a pair that are mated; that go together as One.
G-d has created a zivug for each and every person on Earth. And, according to the Torah, the unmarried man or woman is not fully complete.
Having children is G-d's Blessing to the Jewish People.
It is both a Commandment and a Blessing. We are commanded to be fruitful and multiply and have children who can be raised up to do G-d's Work on this Earth; to be Lights among the Nations.
And, the way we bring up our children is to steep them in learning Torah. G-d Commands us to learn His Torah that we might do His Will in all things.
These are the highest aspirations of the Jewish people. Get married. Have children. And, learn Torah.
These are the Jewish people.
. . . Rather, to my land and to my kindred shall you go and take a wife for my son, Yitzchak. (Bereishis 24:4; Genesis 24:4)
This marriage process is called Shidduchim. A shidduch is a match; a marriage negotiation; it is the process of finding the other person's zivug.
In the Talmud; Pesachim 88b, it says that the world was Created for the sake of propagation. Isaiah 45:18, says "He did not Create it to be a Void; instead, He Formed it to be inhabited."
G-d's Plan for the world was that people should beget children.
This explains that the main reason for a man and woman to marry each other is not only for companionship and pleasure - but to have children.
Of course, in This World that G-d has Created, there are many, many distractions that keep us from fulfilling G-d's Holy Purposes of Marriage; of finding one's basheirt. Not the least being the many differences between Men and Woman and their individual needs and desires.
Hence, we engage in the process of shidduchim.
This is simply… no, check that. It is never simple… This is the process of making a pre-arranged date between two people where the shadchan, the matchmaker, has the best interests of each of the individuals at heart.
However, as we learn in the Torah, the true Shadchan, the true Matchmaker, is always Hashem; G-d, Himself. The shadchanim that bring young couples together are merely instruments in G-d's Plan for these two individuals.
More to follow… Life is Beautiful All the Time.