“The Matter Stemmed from Hashem”

When I met my beautiful and amazing wife, I had no idea that I would be spending the next (up until now) 24 years with her. I had just moved from Orange County, California, the place that I grew up, to attend collage at UCSB in Santa Barbara. I was an artist-surfer with big plans. I was going to make it big in the art-world. I was going to be famous. I was headed for stardom. You see, since the third grade, I knew what I wanted to be. I didn’t necessarily know what incarnation it would take, but when I received that first place award for the class art project, I knew it had something to do with exploring the inner depths and expressing it for the world to see. What I didn’t know was that art was only a step along the way to something so much larger. My life had taken a turn that would, seemingly, send me on a journey to the end of my days and to the end of the soul that I had been given on this Earth. Surfing, art, and the spiritual quests that developed from those pursuits had plowed the road of the paradox of chaos and perfection that I had known since I was a young child. I had just begun my quest to attempt to plumb the depths of the universe, from inside to out, from the past to the future, and from this side to the other one.

My mind began to spin in this direction last week, as I retold to my son Josh about how I had wasted so much time when I was young and chasing girls. I wasn’t taught much by the world I lived in; accept that maybe I was better off being alone than being the dog that was able to eat the other dog first. I explained to Josh that I wasted so much time going up and then going down, and I mean all the way down, that I could have been using to practice something, learn something, and grow something that would last. The common argument is that I needed practice for when the time was right, for when I met my Basherit (my other half and wife to be). I can tell you that I learned nothing that I didn’t have to relearn completely over again, deeper and more intensely, when I finally did meet my beautiful and amazing wife.

In this week’s parsha, specifically Genesis 24/50, Eliezer is sent by Abraham to find a wife for his son Isaac. When he finds the girl, Rebecca, he goes to speak with her family. Lavan (Mr. White) and Ethuel who both announce at hearing Eliezer speak of his journey that he followed Hashem’s lead to find Rebecca. They said, “The matter stemmed from Hashem,” which according to the Sages is a direct clue that, if we are meant to have a soul-mate in this life, Hashem leads us to the proper person. Even the Talmud says that, “Forty days before the formation of an embryo, a heavenly voice announces: So-and-so will marry so-and-so.”

I guess, ultimately, this must all go back to the Garden of Eden. In last week’s blog, I described the event when the Proto-Adam was born and then split into Adam and Eve. We are often confused that Eve was a piece of or even a rib of Adam. In Hebrew (according to Hirsch) the account (Genesis 2/21) is properly translated like this, “G-D then caused unconsciousness to fall upon the Man as he slept, and He took one of the Man’s sides (note: there are two of those and Hashem took ‘one’ of them) and closed up the flesh in that place. Then G-D formed the side that He had taken from the Man into a woman and He brought her to the man. And the man said: ‘At last, this one is it—bone of my bone and the flesh of my flesh!’” Ooh baby!!!

A few years later on, somewhere in California, I decided to go to Orange Coast Junior Collage for two years to start my career as a famous artist. I could live cheaply, I had a full time job working in a liquor store, and I only had a 45 minute bike ride to school. After a couple of years of art, surf, and wasting more time with the ups and downs of relationships with girls, I traveled around the States a bit and then around Europe for about a half-a-year or so, then went to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB. I had my Ford pickup with a camper shell to sleep in, a camp stove to cook with, and my surf board strapped on top of the whole shebang. On the first day I got there I went surfing. On the second day I went to the local job-board to look for a place to live and once I found the cheapest place, I called the number and set up a meeting with the landlord. She told me on the phone how to get to the apartment and when I arrived, wearing my ripped up and paint stained jeans, my favorite old army coat, and a happy grin that I still sport on occasion, I knocked on the apartment building’s plain and simple door. When the door opened, all I remember thinking is that, ‘She is so beautiful... Is she the landlord?’

The sages tell us that when Rebecca and Isaac met for the first time, Isaac was reciting the afternoon prayers out in a field, floating above the ground—so intense was his relationship to the Creator. Rebecca, seeing her Basherit for the first time actually fell off her camel in pure shock and wonder. (The word for fall that is used is ‘Vateepoal’ or a quick, intentional descent.) This is the natural response to truly seeing yourself and finding yourself for the first time. When we spend our lives looking and wondering and dreaming of what truth is, of what existence means, when we see the missing half of ourselves, it can be quite overwhelming. My wife tells me that when she opened the door to interview the ‘next’ guy that wanted the cheapest room in town, the sun was directly behind my head. I remember her squinting a little when I looked at her. She said that she could just make out my face, glowing around the edges, like a halo in some exotic Caravaggio painting. I remember seeing just a hint of a smile as she stepped back, inviting me in.

The rest is an amazing 24 years of history that in reality goes all the way back to a very special garden, where life as we know it became a lot more interesting!

Shabbat Shalom!!

Popular posts from this blog

Am Israel Khai / עם ישראל חי

The Open Window

Paper Plane

Family Couch

The Difference between Inspiration and Impulsivity

Three Thumbs


From Pickles to Bubble Gum

Gan Eden

Moshe and Worlds of Time