- 40 Days - Divinely Intended Mates
- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- Reader: I connection with your opinion on free will, the
Talmud teaches (Talmud, Sota 2a) "...forty days before the
creation of a child, a heavenly voice calls forth and proclaims; 'So
and so's daughter for so and so's son bride and groom'....", in
this mystic tradition, are predestined for each other. There is a
yiddish word to describe a future mate, "bashert" Your
bashert is your intended, the one already announced as your bride or
groom forty days before you were born. I ask, where is the free will
- Mesora: What the Talmud teaches
here is a "Medrash", a lesson constructed by the Rabbis
which teaches a deeper idea. But the Medrash is not to be taken
literally. Maimonides' son Abraham, as well as many other Torah
scholars, have taught that Medrash is non-literal. It is also
essential to know that true Judaism does not partake of what people
commonly refer to today as mysticism. The exact converse is true.
Judaism is bereft of all mystical forces and supernatural phenomena
imagined and pursued by today's insecure world.
- God gave man intelligence. Why? So man may determine what is truth,
and what is false. Just as we determine science and math through this
intellect, so too are we bidden by God's grant of this gift, to use
intelligence in the most important of all areas - the study of
philosophy and God. Assuming mystical forces is contrary to the Torah
truth of only One Creator responsible for all that we see on Earth,
and in the heavens. Assuming other forces is idolatry.
- There is no heavenly voice making statements of no use, 40 days
before man's creation. What purpose is there for a voice to call forth
with such a message? There are no recipients of such a message, so the
voice is useless. What do we understand this "voice calling
out" to mean? It teaches that the genetic and psychological
forces within man's makeup contribute to his selection of a mate, and
are being formed 40 days before the embryo. Through this Medrash, the
Rabbis teach us this insight.
- But this section in the Talmud doesn't end here. We are further
taught that this "voice" (metaphorically alluding to genetic
and psychological causes) applies to the first marriage only. Why?
Because this first experience of marriage is where the emotions emerge
uncensored. Here, man is yet naive. One's initial excitement at
finding a partner is not sobered by previous romantic letdowns
affording greater knowledge, and a more tempered optimism. But in
connection with a second marriage, we are taught that man's selection
is based not on this "voice", but on his character traits.
Meaning, the second time around, men and women are wiser, and do not
select based on inner emotional workings alone. By this latter section
in the Talmud, we see clearly that a finer point is to be learned, not
in line with a cursory reading of the Rabbi's words.