Dr. Michael Laitman To Change the World – Change Man

Advice from a 12th Century Kabbalist on Marriage: Is it Still Relevant Today?

I received the following message from a lady who wished to remain anonymous. This is what she wrote:

“My neighbor is studying Kabbalah with you. She sent me a quote yesterday. She knows my husband and I are having difficulties, to put it mildly, and wants to help us. So I decided to write to you. The quote is:

‘Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife, and they shall become one flesh. That is, she should be for her husband, and her husband should be for her. Therefore it behooves a husband to love his wife as himself, respect her more than himself, be merciful to her, and protect her the same way as he would the organs of his body. And the wife must also respect and love him as her soul, for she came from him.’ – Rabbi Abraham ben David, Baalei Nefesh.

I looked up the author on Wikipedia. He was a Jewish sage. He lived in the 12th century. Tell me, is this applicable to us today, the way we live? Or is it only for the 12th century? Also, please explain what it means to cleave unto your wife and become one flesh.”

I think that what is written in that quote is more or less applicable to all times. We should feel as one flesh with our partners. The part about cleaving to one’s wife and becoming one flesh means that as we take care of ourselves, we should take care of our partners. That is what it means to “cleave.”

She followed up with another question: “What does it mean we ‘should be for’ each other? What is the meaning of this phrase, ‘should be for’? Does it mean fate? What is it about?”

Of course, it is fate. We see how people get to know each other and come together. Little by little, something brings them together. That is what “should be for each other” means, i.e., that there is an “upper hand” playing out in our relationships. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, we learn how nothing happens by chance.

She also asked: “What does it mean to love one’s partner as oneself? It sounds like an order you have to obey. How is it possible to force this?”

We should have such a goal before us—to love. That is, we should love our life partner and champion them in a way that we take care of them as ourselves. Both partners have such a task.

She continues: “What does it mean to love my partner as my soul? I don’t even know where my soul is, or if I love it at all. What does it mean to love like my soul?”

Loving another as your soul means to love them as your very life.

She asked also: “What does it mean that I, the wife, came from my husband? As it was written: ‘Because she came from him.’”

To that, it is believed that a woman who lives with a man seemingly becomes a part of him, which is the meaning of “she came from him.”

Her last question was about how to live divorce free. Living divorce free depends on people themselves, how seriously they take life, i.e., whether they feel responsible to their children, to each other, and so on. If there is a strong feeling of responsibility, it will let them overcome any drive to divorce.

Even though divorce rates are soaring today, I do not believe in divorce. This is especially so when there are children, since children are what make a family.

Problems in the family that lead to divorce are major problems today that require a whole period of re-education. It is no simple task to correct this problem. Nevertheless, by principle, I would say that divorce is the last resort, and I would even say that it is unacceptable. It is a line that should not be crossed.

Based on the video “Is This Advice from a 12th Century Kabbalist on Marriage Still Relevant Today?” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Semion Vinokur. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

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