Man and women were meant to be together. This is not a blog about my feelings and opinions about gay people, but Bereishit didn’t start by talking about an Adam and Bob or an Eve and Linda. It started with an Adam and Eve. And the crazy thing is — there was no dating period, no hotel lobby’s, no walking on the beach holding hands, no “meet the parents” footage, and certainly no Aha moment of “I’ve fallen in love!” Simply because there wasn’t much of a choice.
We say under the chuppah, may the couple be like Adam and Eve in Gan Eden. Other than the fact that this couple might also have that moment where they are like “Oh my G-d, we’re naked!”– why compare a regular 21st-century couple to Adam and Eve? The basic explanation, other than they should have a miraculously splendid Garden of Eden like marriage, is that the couple should have the clarity of knowing that they are for one another in the same way that Adam and Eve knew they were for each other.
I always thought that was interesting. They had no options, no choice, no Saw You at Sanai, no Tinder, no swiping left or right. How could we possibly have that clarity when there are potentially hundreds (thousands?) of people to choose from and even when we decide, and have what we call clarity, we really don’t have guarantees that it will work out.
Divorce right now seems to be an epidemic. I have written quite a few blog posts about divorce, but the more time passes the more I see that it truly is a plague that is touching every community all over the world. Every week, practically, I hear of another couple getting divorced. Some were just married, some had a few years and 1-2 kids together, some have many children with 20 years behind them. And I just become more and more saddened over this reality.
In Bereishit, every single day after G-d created that day’s creation He stated, “And it was good.” Besides one day… the second day! On the second day, G-d does not pronounce “it is good.” The age-old question is why? I heard many years ago an answer that never left my soul. It has to do with my ninth-grade science teacher in high school, Mrs. Jonas, who drilled into our heads: “Water molecules love each other.” Water cannot be split — it’s one entity. You can’t cut the water in half, hence the miracle of the splitting of the sea. And yet, G-d divided the waters on the second day of creation and placed some in the heavens and some on the earth. And this is where, I once heard, that G-d created the capacity of splitting something that is meant to be whole. He created the capacity of humans to choose separation. He created divorce. He created the capacity that a daughter might not talk to her mother of a son might not be in touch with his father. Water is not meant to be separated, but when Hashem did this, He created the bechira (choice) of humans to have the capacity to also separate what’s meant to be together. And in pained Hashem so much to have to do this, he could not state that it was good. Because it wasn’t and it’s still not.
I believe so much that Hashem is so sad when a couple breaks apart, even when it is the right thing. But more importantly, we should at least realize that it’s not the way it’s meant to be. Water molecules are meant to love each other and not split. People, who choose one another and get married, are not meant to wake up one day and realize they want or need to divorce.
So Adam and Eve totally had marital issues. They had this crazy snake story, were thrown a bad apple, had it tough right from the start (literally) and were thrown out of their STUNNING home. He becomes responsible for all men toiling for the rest of eternity and she becomes responsible for every woman’s nine months of pregnancy and 10 centimeters worth of contractions and yelling. Talk about stress in a marriage. Yet, they pulled through because there was no other choice. Today, we have choices. We can choose not to live with an unhealthy person, an abusive person, or someone we no longer love. However, even when we choose to this, we should at least acknowledge its abnormality. Individually, and as a nation, and perhaps in the universe in general!
Recently, I was told by two women that they remarried soon after their divorces. One woman said the second marriage lasted a year, the other woman said the second marriage lasted 26 years. Both women said, never again. As more and more people I know and friends are divorcing, I also notice that they jump right back in the pool of dating. From personal experience, and I dare say much more, I can testify how easy it is to fall back into a relationship and hope that it will work out, even if it’s not right. So how does one trust, know, or have the clarity to “tie the knot” a second time? I think the answer is that one, in truth, can not really know. But they can use their experiences to lead them, smart people to guide them, G-d to trust in, and the tools to listen to the heart and head to know what is right.
Second marriages do work. I have seen it. I believe that as much as G-d does not want separation, He understands that sometimes it’s necessary. But, He also created the capacity for second chances and people to work on themselves to make the second time work. When creating man, G-d said, “let us make man.” Who is the ‘us’ if G-d is One? There are many answered but Rabbi Avraham Twersky says the ‘us’ is G-d partnering with you and me. He didn’t just create us and leave ‘us’ as is. He did “His part” by creating us in our mother’s womb and instilling a soul in our bodies, and then we must partner with Him in our creation by developing ourselves and becoming the best we could be by working on our characters. When G-d said “let us create man,” He was saying “Sarah, let us create Sarah. I’ll do my part, but you better do yours as well to become who you need to be.”
People are not meant to be alone. Water molecules are meant to love each other. And divorcees are not meant to be alone forever either Although I caution premature marriages without proper healing after a divorce, “Man is not meant to be alone” and neither is ‘woman.’ Hence, I do not give up. I will not throw in the towel. I will not turn my head. I will not spend the rest of my life on Netflix. I will make the effort needed to re-find love and give it a chance.