Happy New Year, friends! Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is the time for all of us to review the past year and to explore new ways to improve our lives and those of our loved ones.
This year, when there is so much rage and hatred among neighbors, it no longer makes sense to even talk about our differences. Unfortunately, the divide is that deep. But this is a new year! Instead, I have chosen to immerse myself and you in the wisdom our forefathers and mothers, passed down to us for the past 25 centuries.
In the beginning God said, “Yehi or! Let there be light!”
The very first verses of Genesis begin when God shines his light on the heavens, the earth, and all that is there in. He creates the sea, the dry land and the many creatures that roam our planet
And finally, he creates Adam. This was truly miraculous. God creates a man in his own image!
And God saw that it was good.
And so, in the first chapter of Genesis, the Almighty calls for a dazzling array of plants, 40-foot mahoganies, eucalyptus trees, willows, and an endless array of hybrids.
Who was going to care for all the blossoming vegetation?
Adam, have we got a job for you!
God watches Adam labor in the magnificent garden from dawn until dusk, and although Adam was doing a great job—something was missing. Adam was a good worker, but not a happy man. What was he missing?
Any ideas? You’re right! A loving friend.
God learned an important lesson: lo tov heyot haadam l'vado. It is not good for a person to live alone.
In the twinkling of an eye, God corrects his mistake and provides Adam with the greatest gift he could think of. God creates Eve, Adam’s soul mate.
What do we derive from this? If there is one truth in the world it is this: The greatest gift God bestows upon us in every generation is to unite heart and soul with the preordained mate he had created for us. And God’s mandate for lovers? Build a life together.
We know that love comes in a variety of forms. One can find happiness and fulfillment through the love of a pet, or music that touches our hearts, or dedicating our lives to help the needy. Our lives are enhanced through love—in all of its manifestations.
As I reflected on this, I went back to my years of growing up with loving parents and extended family, but for me the greatest blessing of my life was to meet, love, and marry my basherte – the one who God had created for me. She was, and is, the love of my life. Sadly, Marion passed away seven years ago. Some say I lost her. That’s not true. I never lost her. Marion is very much with me as I continue on my path in this life. Unfortunately, lovers are rarely born at the same time and it was God’s will that we did not pass away at the same time.
But here I am now, seven years later, and mindful of how I was blessed to live with the soul mate God had created for me. And to this day, I know how fortunate I was to receive God’s gift, which reminds me of a personal incident from this past year.
I was invited me to speak to a book club to discuss the topic of bashert, the concept of soul mates, and how one goes about finding him or her. There were some senior citizens, but the room was filled with readers of all ages. The book club asked, how can anyone know for sure that their husband, wife or soul mate was intended for them to marry and treasure until the end of their days—or possibly even beyond?
That discussion brought up a lot of personal experiences but the question everyone asked was: how can we know which of the many people we encounter in life is the one that God had intended for us?
As we were talking, I noticed one couple in the audience that was clearly the oldest in the group and the most captivated by the discussion. They sat in the first row and I noticed that they were both looking at me.
As I returned their glance, others in the group kept asking different versions of the question: how do you know when you meet your bashert? When does it happen? How can you be sure?
I don’t know why I answered those questions as I did, except to reveal the events of my own life and how I came to find my basherte. “How do you know?” I asked! “How? You know! Your heart knows, your fingers know, your teeth know. You look into her/his eyes and in that moment, you just know!”
As I was talking, my eye caught the elderly couple I mentioned before. They were in the front row, wrapped in the discussion, but they didn’t say a word. I noticed that although they were both looking at me, their hands slowly reached out to one another and they held on tight. They knew!
So how do you know? You will know by what you hear, by what you see, by how you feel listening and looking at him or her. My message to you is that the great gift of love is the best part of being human. Rejoice in God’s great gift for whatever days you are allotted on this earth.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and loving year.