WHY DO CHAZAL USE THE MIRACLE OF "OPENING OF THE YAM SUF" AS THE
ANALOGY FOR FINDING ONE'S MATE?
Chazal say in several gemoras and midrashim
that, "It is as difficult to find one's true mate as the miraculous opening of the
Reed Sea [Yam Suf]." Our sages understood the limits and nature of analogy, so
whenever they made one, it stands up perfectly to analysis from every angle. There are
many miracles recorded in the Torah (Sara giving birth at age 90, the 10 plagues, the
giving of the Torah with thunder and lightening, eating mon/manna and drinking water from
a rock for 40 years, the earth opening under evil Korach and swallowing him alive, etc.).
If Chazal wanted to say that finding one's zivug requires miraculous aid from G-d, why was
the opening of the sea the analogy they used?
The place on land from which the Jews
entered the Sea, when it opened, was "Pi HaChirus," which translates,
appropriately enough (since they were escaping the Egyptians), "the beginning of
freedom." Pirkei Avos (ch. 6) tells us "There is no one free except he who
engages himself in the Torah." One thinks he is free when he can do what he wants,
but the gemora (Gitten 13a) says, "A slave likes to be unrestrained." When a
person likes to do whatever he wants or to be selfish, he is a slave - to himself!
Submission to control, to rules and ethics, is to be truly free, free to do what is right
in the eyes of G-d. When the Jews left Pi HaChirus, where were they headed? To Sinai, to
receive G-d's Torah. The beginning of freedom was setting off on the path to accepting and
submitting completely to G-d's law. The giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai was analogous
to a wedding in which G-d was the groom and Knesses Yisroel (the Jewish nation) was the
bride (Midrash). It was a marriage, with an exchange of commitment and love, acceptance of
roles in relation one to the other, the inauguration of permanent devotion and
responsibility between G-d and Israel. This is where the Jewish people were headed to,
from Pi HaChirus.
Targum Yonasan tells us that Pi Hachirus
was not an ordinary desert. In an ordinary desert, there is nothing but sand on the
ground. At Pi HaChirus, the ground was not covered by sand. What covered the ground at Pi
HaChirus? Gold, jewels, diamonds, pearls, precious stones. The Jewish people became
wealthy. There was plenty for everyone. Not only did G-d, in His kindness, just save them
from slavery, He prepared wealth for each and every Jew so that they each could proceed to
their new life generously provided for.
Let's go back to our initial point: the
analogy of finding one's zivug to the specific miracle of finding one's mate. Finding a
mate is like finding a valuable jewel. One is only ready when one is ready to view a mate
as "human wealth," a jewel, when one is mature and unselfish enough to view
finding a mate as finding someone whom he or she must care for and be responsible with.
If you had a huge and beautiful diamond,
the size of a watermelon, worth a vast fortune, you would take superb care of it! You
would polish it, hire an armed guard, put it in a vault. There is no question that you
would take care and assume responsibility with diligence, with discipline and with drive!
Finding a mate requires being ready to care
for, be devoted to and accept responsibility for that mate; the way one would if he found
priceless jewels that had to protected and properly treated. Finding a mate requires
viewing oneself as headed towards "the Sinai of his/her life;" with the exchange
of commitment, inauguration of devotion, acceptance of roles and obligations, submission
to daas Torah and unselfishness, giving nonstop love and respect.
It is very intentional, very precise, very
meaningful that Chazal used the opening of the Reed Sea as the analogy for the miracle of
finding one's mate. Much of today's marriage trouble and fighting would disappear if
couples were truly mature enough and ready to start and maintain their marriage this way
and concerned for the other's happiness. Only when one is ready and mature enough to see
the other person as a priceless jewel who must be cherished and cared for, to give of
oneself for, to live with according to Torah rules every moment and for whom one must
accept lasting responsibility, that he or she is ready for G-d to work the miracle of
bringing the "basherte [destined mate]."