The Concept of Soulmate
In Genesis, it is written, “Man and woman, God created them.” In Midrash Bereshit, the Rabbis took that concept to mean that God created humans as one soul. With both male and Female attributes. God created the concept of the soulmate.
When that one soul was cast out of Eden, (Genesis 2), the soul split and became a separate man and woman. The concept of the Beshert – or soulmate, (or in Kabbalistic terms, Plag ha nishamasah) which is a concept that is well known in Orthodox Jewish circles. It is that moment when you find your other half, or the person who completes you.
That person – that beshert, is our soulmate. They may be of the opposite sex, they may be of the same sex. (Because of the Jewish belief in reincarnation – this can happen and we are oriented toward whatever gender our soulmate is during that lifetime.) But to find your true love often takes work.
Why Can’t I Find My Soulmate?
It has come up in classes I have taught, what happens if one person completes the work before the other. The answer comes from the Kabbalistic writings of the Ari. (Rabbi Isaac Luria) He cites the example of a man who committed sins in his lifetime and has to again reincarnate. His soulmate is allowed to reincarnate with him, even though she isn’t obligated to do so.
As part of the punishment, the man will not find his soulmate easily. In fact, the heavenly tribunal wants him to struggle to find her in the next life, as he does not necessarily deserve to find her. It is said that they make the couple fight often and they are not a harmonious couple as a result.
Losing Your Soulmate
When your loved one dies, it can feel like you’ve lost the other half of your soul. That is why so many, at least in my parents generation and before, die soonafter their spouses. Who can exist after their other half demises?
Take the example of Dick and Shirley Meek who died from COVID within minutes of one another. They were in the hospital, holding hands. https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/22/us/a-couple-married-70-years-dies-of-covid-trnd/index.html
Origin of the Soulmate in Judaism
In the Talmud, the sage Rav asserts that “40 days before the formation of a child, a heavenly voice issues forth and proclaims, the daughter of this person is for that person; the house of this person is for that person; the field of this person is for that person.”
This concept is also repeated by Nachmanides who said that God splits a soul in half when it is about to be born, and it will become a whole soul in marriage when it finds its other half.
It is predetermined that we will have a soul mate – but we still have free will in our lives. And our free will – the choices we make, is what can bring us to our soul mate, or keep us separate
Reincarnation Is A Real Thing in Judaism
For many, it is not well known that Judaism believes in reincarnation. The concept of reincarnation, Gilgul Ha Neshamah, is a real thing and will be covered in more detail in later blogs.