Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Resolution: Post Links to Articles Sooner

OK, so I've missed a column or two. So here are the last two columns I've not linked to yet...coincidentally, the first two columns of 2006: What You Can't Leave Behind
Last Friday night, a few blocks from home, I sat in a row of chairs along a sanctuary wall. This particular synagogue was not some place I’d normally go, but accompanied by the excuse of friends from out of town, I tried something new-ish along with my Jewish. It wasn’t the traditional service I was used to; many congregants danced as they celebrated the incoming Sabbath, and a few white-clad, barefoot Jews reminded me of the hordes I had seen emerging from L.A.’s Kabbalah Centre in September. It was foreign but spirited, revealing an enthusiasm for prayer and Shabbat that I hadn’t felt in a while. After the Jews had been seated, the rabbi asked us to close our eyes. As we headed into Shabbat — which happened to coincide with the weekend of Rosh Chodesh, the new moon, and which was also marked on the Gregorian calendar as “New Year’s Weekend” — the rabbi asked us to think about what we could leave behind during this transitional moment. As I tried to clear my head of weekday clutter, sensory over-stimulation and the teeming army of germs conspiring to attack my sinuses, one word came into my mind: a proper name. As the year slipped away, I knew what I had to leave behind...
Soul (Mates) on Ice (no, I don't understand the title either)
Four 30-something women sat at a table, talking about relationships — it all seemed very “Sex and the City,” only with maki sushi instead of martinis. The subject was soulmates. “You have a net of available soulmate options,” someone said. “But some of them are quick minnows. You think they’re there and available, but they dart away.” The soulmates-as-fish-in-the-sea metaphors seemed appropriate, if a little insensitive to the spicy tuna rolls on our plates. One married friend maintained that soulmates were defined by commitment. “If the commitment readiness isn’t there, he’s not your soulmate.” But did that mean that soulmate was just another synonym for commitment or love? If something is bashert, meant to be, isn’t it always meant to be? And what of fizzled relationships that seemed promising before they plummeted; what of the perceived soulmates gone inexplicably AWOL? ....

5 comments:

drumbumJ said...

i meant to pipe up about the soulmate thing sooner but didn't get around to it til now.

so in jewish thought a person has a zivug and many basherts. the zivug is the ultimate other half of your soul that you seek (the freakin' needle in the haystack) but a person can have many basherts throughout one's lifetime. bashert meaning: your destined one for that time - either your whole life or for just a certain period.

the way i understand this concept is: no person is static, we're always changing. therefore it makes sense that my destined one can change. if i'm in a certain headspace/period/phase of my life, then i have a counterpart to be my partner through this phase. an example off the top of my head to illustrate what i mean: people who change hashkafot, or become observant altogether. your husband/boyfriend/whatever, b4 you became observant vs. the person you end up with after. both = bashert, imo.

when i was younger and more naive, i believed in the whole soulmate thing but now i'm more pragmatic and believe in finding a mensch. (i'm married btw - but let's just say, it's been a real tough journey to actually wanting to stay with this person!)

Needsabetterjob said...

Drum, do you really think marriage would ever be different w/ someone else?

Don't we all have quirks, attitudes, blockages, etc... that will foster a negativity at some point?

Esther, in my last days at that hell hole where I used to work, I would commute to work saying Tehillim and continue in my office space.

Uri Cohen said...

BTW, the title "Soul (Mates) on Ice" is a reference to the book Soul on Ice, by Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver. Some consider it one of the most important books of the 1960s.

drumbumJ said...

needsabetterjob:

i'm not sure i understand where your Q is coming from - is it from my statement re: doubting staying with my husband? cuz if it is, then let me just clarify that i wasn't having doubts b/c of annoying idiosyncrasies (which you're right about - we all have that) but rather very serious problems (like: depression, temper/anger management etc etc)that he is now getting help for. and THAT is why we're still together - b/c as long as he's willing to work on himself and grow, i'll be by his side supporting him. (and even though it is obvious, i'll say it anyway - yes, obviously i too am putting in effort and working on myself to be a better human and spouse.) a wise friend once told me "all we can ask of another human being is just to TRY." le'foom tza'arah agra...

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Thanks Uri. Still not sure why that applies to my article, but I guess you do learn something every day.