Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Hayei Sarah- Tips On Finding One's B'shert
Vayisapeir he’aved l’Yitzhak et kol-had’varim asher asah. Va’y’vi’eha Yitzhak ha’ohelah Sarah imo vayikach et-Rivka va’t’hi-lo l’ishah vaye’ehaveha vayinacheim Yitzhak acharei imo.
And the servant told to Isaac all that Rivka had done. And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah, his mother, and he took Rivka to be his wife, and he loved her, and Isaac was comforted after his mother. (Breishit 24:66-67)
Recently, when packing away some children’s toys, I had to make the decision of what to save and what to give away. Thinking about it I realized that, if Jesse marries when Sean & I did, we could be planning a wedding in just 5 years. I packed the toys into the basement. Sean and I have been married for over 20 years. If you look at our wedding photo we look like children. In many ways we were. It was a good time to get married. As we grew up, we also grew together.
More and more people look to finish school and be settled before getting married. They look for financial solvency. Set-ups are harder. They’re looking for their b’shert, who somehow fulfills a checklist of traits. I will tell you this is all highly over-rated. As we age and settle it becomes harder and harder to mesh lives. We become set in our ways. We are focused on jobs and routines.
When asked in rabbinical school what the husband of a rabbi is called, I would flippantly answer, “Doctor.” What I was sure of was that I would never marry another rabbi. I also thought I’d marry a blonde, blue-eyed guy, passing on my eye-colour to my future flaxen-headed children. Clearly that was not meant to be.
I met Rav Sean when my roommate and I needed help moving our furniture. He came and never left. He was, and is a good person. He offered me use of his car and a listening ear. He was kind. He was caring. We never really dated. We went from being friends to being engaged. Open more to looking at each other’s deeds and character, rather than a checklist, we found our b’shert in each other.
I will not say it’s always been perfect. Even as young as we were we had routines to which we clung. Looking back, a favourite moment found me yelling at Rav Sean that the argument couldn’t be over since I was not done yelling at him. We were still growing into who were to be. Our openness to that made all the difference. This is the benefit of a set-up or even a shiddach. The arranger knows the people: who they really are inside, not only what they look like. In communities where arranged marriages are common, the rates by which couples measure their love increase over time. Beginning with a firm foundation, and an expectation that love grows in time, couples work to make it so. As it says in the song from “Fiddler on the Roof,”
Tevye: The first time I met you was on our wedding day.
Golde: I was shy. Tevye: I was nervous. Golde: So was I.
Tevye: But my father and my mother said we’d learn to love each other. So, now I’m asking Goldie… Do you love me?
Golde: I’m your wife! Tevye: I know. But do you love me?
Golde: Do I love him? For 25 years I’ve lived with him; fought with him; starved with him. For 25 years my bed is his. If that’s not love what is?
Tevye: Then you love me. Golde: I suppose I do.
Tevye: And I suppose I love you too.
Tevye and Golde only knew about each other. Isaac doesn’t know Rivka. She covers herself with a veil upon seeing him. He doesn’t even know what she looks like. What he does know is her actions and what they tell him about her character. For this he is willing to marry her, “and he loved her,” and this makes all the difference. We may not wish to return to arranged marriages. However, from them we still have a lot to learn.