Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gilgulim and Second Marriages

Art by Sharon Tomlinson
The Talmud (Sotah 2b) tells us that forty days before the formation of a child a Bas Kol (heavenly voice) goes forth and declares three things:

1) the daughter of so and so is destined to marry this person

2) A specific house is destined to become the home of this person

3) a specific field is destined to become the property of this person.

Rav Yehudah says that forty days before the creation of the embryo, a Bas Kol issues forth and pronounces who his Zivug will be. If the Zivug is already determined, based on Mazal (destiny), then how can the Midrash also state that "G-d matches them up against their will and to their detriment", and that it is determined based on one's deeds?

The Gemara answers that only the "Zivug Sheni" (second marriage) is determined by one's deeds. The "Zivug Rishon" (first marriage) is based on Mazal. (Note: the first marriage is usually referring to the first incarnation of a person. Subsequent incarnations can result in a person's soulmate not being available to them for various reasons, such as a tikkun having to be effected before the soulmates can be re-united)

Parashat Vayetzei describes the way Jacob married Leah and Rachel. In this context, the Arizal discusses the issue of divine providence in arranging matches.

All souls, from the time they are formed out of their supernal source - out of the place "from whence they were hewn" (Isaiah 51:1) - emerge as male and female together. Afterwards, each half goes its own way, the male to one [body] and the female to another, and they eventually join in this world, "so-and-so with so-and-so". G-d has to orchestrate many complicated webs of "coincidences" and fortuitous circumstances to arrange that people meet and marry their proper matches.

So why does the Midrash also state that G-d matches them up against their will and to their detriment?

When the embryo is formed, the soul issues from its source split into male and female, and therefore the match is intrinsic and no further evaluation of who suits who is necessary. But this applies only to a person's first marriage. For such matches no [divine] effort need be expended, and such matches are not made against the parties' wishes but rather with their full goodwill.

The Midrash above is talking about second marriages, where a person is given a spouse commensurate with his deeds. These are arranged in accordance with [Divine] justice, in accordance with the parties merits.

Thus, since a person has free choice to sin against his G-d, G-d has to "scheme all kinds of schemes so that no one pushed away remain pushed away [forever]" (Samuel II 14:14).

The definition of a "second marriage" is broader than simply the second marriage in this lifetime. Such people become reincarnated, but they do not reincarnate as a couple, for sometimes he is reincarnated in one generation and she in another, such that the reincarnated man needs to be matched up with a different reincarnated woman - who also lacks her [original] mate [in this incarnation] - that is similar to him [in merits].

Matching up such a couple is indeed a very difficult thing inasmuch as they are different in nature [not having originated from the same soul-root]. It is therefore difficult to get them together.

These reincarnates are called "individuals" - [literally "singles"] - because each one is by itself, separated from its [real] soul-mate. Such marriages are referred to as being done "against the parties' wills". This does not apply to the wedding, for then everyone is happy "on the day of their wedding and on the day of their hearts' rejoicing" (Songs 3:11). The difficulty lies only in sustaining the marriage. Because their innate nature is to bond with their original soul-mates.

From Sefer HaLikutim in the Writings of the Ari


Choni said...

So what does a person do if s/he realizes while married that s/he is not married to a soul-mate?

If one prays during this predicament for his/her true soul-mate,it seems like s/he's praying to ruin the marriage, which would result in untold pain to others.

On the other hand, how can one not yearn to truly be united with his/her other half?

So what does a person in such a position do?

Thank you.

Devorah said...

I don't really know how to answer that, but here are some thoughts:

Any marriage which takes place is beshert (meant to be). Whether it lasts or not, is also beshert.

Not everyone is meant to be, or even can be, married to their "soul mate" this time around. People have to learn lessons and these can be learnt thru the "wrong" partner. When the lessons have been learnt, or the tikkun made, that kind of marriage will probably end.

So really there is no such thing as a "wrong" partner, even if it seems that way.

Tidbits of Torah said...

great response Devorah. It took two marriages in my goyish life to find my soulmate who is 10 years older after I converted to become part of klal. Amazing how Hashem brought the two of us together. Who would have ever imaginee a country girl from the south would end up marrying a frum from birth man from Israel? Amazing story we both have. Just amazing.

Devorah said...

A shiur from Rabbi Mizrahi on this topic is here:

Choni said...

Thank you Devorah. It does seem from Shaar HaGilgulim and the Saba D'Mishpatim section of the Zohar that in a many cases (not all) soul-mates do come down together. However, their meeting depends on the man being worthy in the current incarnation.

However, I agree that in every marriage the best choice is to give it one's best, this approach seems to cover all possiblities.

I tried your link for Rabbi Mizrahi & it's not working. Maybe, you want to try repasting the link.

Thank you,

Devorah said...

If you can't get that link to work, go to, click on "downloads" (Audio) and scroll down to April 29, 2009 where you will see the "First and Second Soulmates" topic.

Choni said...

Thank you

Anonymous said...

To Choni , I think if you are already married , more times than not you are with the RIGHT one for this lifetime. To complete what ever your mission was here this lifetime.. However if it is not the right one, but giving enough care into it , he/she will become the right one..