Wendy Kalman
There are many ways to see and understand

My bashert

Life takes you to places you might never had envisioned when you were younger. At least, for me, I know that is true. As a child, I thought when I would grow up, I’d become a teacher or a lawyer, and stay in New York. Little did I know that reading Exodus by Leon Uris in 10th grade would set me on a path that would ultimately take me to live in Israel for over a decade. Or that dropping out of law school wouldn’t preclude me from pursuing a master’s degree…decades later. Or that I would find myself not just back in the states, but in the south. The point is, life does take you to interesting and unforeseen places.

The idea of destiny, though, isn’t at play.  I once attributed events or people in my life to fate, but have since learned that even if coincidence makes its way into our lives, we really build our own fate. Each decision we make may have an impact on the opportunities we have and the paths we cross, and though there is much we cannot control, none of this means that destiny has a hand in how our lives turn out.

And so, when I think of bashert, I know I must relate to it in one of its nuances that doesn’t have to do with destiny. As if it were that easy.

The concept of bashert is a lovely one. As Balashon, the Hebrew Language Detective notes, the noun form of this expressive Yiddish word means “soul mate,” while its verb form is taken to mean “pre-destined” or “ideal.” While from soul mate or ideal, one could infer that the match was “meant to be,” pre-destined out and out says it. There is no avoiding it. How can someone be a soul mate or your ideal, if he wasn’t meant to be?

Now, my fiancé and I are perfect for each other. We fill in the gaps each other needs, and on all other things think and feel the same. Our outlook on life means that each of us is grateful for what life has given us, preferring to feel appreciation to carrying around resentment. We also recognize that everything from the seeing a show to food shopping is that much more enjoyable when shared with another. We each are logical, and look for explanations and solutions. In looking forward, we also see that we create the life we have. And if we continue to hold each other’s happiness as more important than our own, there is no reason to expect that we will ever take each other for granted.

We are ideally suited. Bashert.

I could sit here and say that had I not moved to Georgia, we never would have met, and therefore fate brought us together. But I know that it was not destiny; it was a series of decisions each of us made. And I am thankful for each and every one of them.

Mathematically speaking, perhaps we could’ve each met someone else someday that might’ve been a good fit for each other. Perhaps not. One cannot know.

What I do know is that in finding each other and in understanding how fortunate we are to have found each other, we are creating our own destiny. The future we see in front of us is one we will build together, my bashert and I. Because now, life will take us where we want to go. Together.

Photo by deegolden, courtesy of morguefile.com

About the Author
Wendy Kalman, MPA, MA, serves as Director of Education and Advocacy Resources for Hadassah The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc. Previous roles include senior academic researcher for an Israel education nonprofit, knowledge manager at a large multinational as well as roles in marketing and publishing in the US and in Israel. She has presented papers at political science and communications conferences and has participated as a scholar-in-residence at an academic workshop on antisemitism. Wendy lived in Israel for over a decade and is a dual citizen, fluent in Hebrew.