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Bashert- Predetermined Soul-mate

Rabbi Ari ShvatElul 9, 5777
107
Question
This concept of Bashert or Soulmate is, as a woman, slightly confusing. Because the "Hollywood" romantic concept of a life partner stems from this idea. What are Orthodox views on this concept of Bashert? I personally think matchmakers are a good idea. And I was rather impressed to learn that these hasids have non-profits that raise money specifically for the purpose of giving weddings. Do you know what the success rate is of the average matchmaker?? In the secular world no one helps you with these things. Also, they say that Baal Teshuva have problems with shidduchim. Is this true? What are the reasons for this?
Answer
Like all good parents, our Father in Heaven wants to help us, but an essential part of that loving help is to give us free-will, granting us the pleasure of being independent. Even when something is “meant to be”, and God introduces us to our “bashert”, ideal soul-mate, man has free will and can “mess it up”, or conversely, to “fix it up”, by continuing the search, where together with prayer and constant initiative (e.g. going to “match-makers”, asking married friends to set you up with their husbands’ compatible friends, etc.), BH it should hopefully work out! Even when our rabbis teach us that 40 days before a child is born his/her ideal soulmate is "announced", nevertheless, we usually only reveal who it is after investing a lot of time, effort, sweat, and tears into building that relationship! I have no idea what the success rate of these match-makers are, but I myself have had several successes, and you really never know, and must continue trying, until something hits. Regarding Ba’alei Tshuva, in some haredi communities they will generally set-up 2 BT’s with each-other, but R. Moshe Feinstein already wrote 50 years ago, that today, we have to only judge the potential spouse and not look at their parents, and this is the mainstream and generally accepted opinion.
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