Husband and Wife: The Deepest Connection
Nothing Like It
The connection between a husband and a wife is breathtaking in its depth.
The connection between a husband and a wife forms the most all encompassing and far-reaching of all human relationships.
The connection between a husband and a wife occupies a place of exceptional holiness, and is the basis upon which all of humankind is built. This extraordinary reality is clearly expressed in the potential to create a human being. Could there possibly be anything more profoundly significant, more God-like?
In this week’s parsha we have the mitzvah of kiddushin which it fulfilled by the giving of a ring. However, even before the Torah was given, there was a concept of an eishet ish, a married woman. The Torah added a new dimension in that a man is now called on to be m’kadesh a woman prior to their living together. But why? What was this kiddushin, this sanctification, adding?
The inner, beneath-the-surface meaning of kiddushin is that on the soul level it creates a new reality, a completely new type of connection. With kiddushin, the Torah was introducing a neshama into marriage. The Torah is telling us that just like there is a profound physical connection between a wife and husband, there is also a profound spiritual connection. Together, this dynamic, all encompassing connection is so real that it creates a realm for the Shechina to be present.
The structure of the human body is a window via which we can grasp a fuller, deeper understanding of what a human being is. On the physical level, a husband and wife merge as one. The same is true, and far more so, on the soul level where there is a fusion of the two into one.
“ He created them male and female, and blessed them, and he called their name, Adam-Human.” (Bereshit 5:2)
This tells us that the complete human being contains both a male and female dimension.
To Eden and Back
This deep, essential unification is not the creation of something new, rather, it’s a return to the most natural, pre-birth, root essence of a person. In the higher source-root-spiritual dimension, a husband and wife were one; with birth they were split into two, and with kiddushin they reclaim and recreate that original fusion. Indeed, this is why the Zohar (Zohar aleph, 91b) says that before marriage a man is “like half a body,” and similarly a woman. Kiddushin creates the shleimut, the completion.
This is also the meaning of the Talmud (Brachot 24a) saying that ishto k’gufo, “a man’s wife is just like his own body.” The inner meaning of this statement is a direct reflection of how the Torah describes the creation of the first human beings. The first person was male and female together, and the woman was separated out of that first person. Marriage is the return to that original shared reality.
“A man without a wife has no real simcha, no [complete] bracha in his life.” (Yevamot 62b)
The fullest manifestation and shefa—flow of Godliness—can only rest on a complete person. Like a neshama can only be present in a complete person, not half a person, so too the Shechina: It can only be present in a complete, unified, husband-and-wife human being.
Our sages tell us—
“The complete Name of God only rests on a complete world,” and, “the Shechina only resides in the realm of wholeness.”
This is the deeper reason for the limitation that only a married Kohen Gadol is permitted to carry out the Temple service on Yom Kippur. To draw down a whole, complete flow of Godliness onto the nation of Israel, the Kohen Gadol himself must be complete and whole.
Can there possibly be a greater testimony to the great loftiness of what a husband and a wife become, and are, than their ability to bring a Jewish child into the world? However, this goes beyond even the birth of children because, as our sages say, “The primary offspring of the righteous are their good, righteous deeds.” The connection and relationship of a husband and wife, the absolute fusion of the two—two bodies and two souls—into one, creates the richest, most profound potential for good, beautiful, righteous deeds; deeds that can make God’s Presence more and more manifest in this world.
Now, in the month of Elul, the month of teshuva, of returning to our truest selves and our loftiest potential, we also have a particular opportunity to reflect, not just on the personal level, but on the family level as well. Elul is the perfect time to think about the deepest potential that exists in our marriages; in our families, and in our homes, to be a place where the Shechina resides.
To receive weekly divrei Torah from Rabbi Sasson: Uh.firstname.lastname@example.org / Whatsapp: +972536240891 Translated and adapted by Shimon Apisdorf