Jewish tradition compares the wedding day to Yom Kippur for the bride and groom. For the two of them, the day is like a personal Yom Kippur, on which they engage in cheshbon hanefesh. On that day of transition from being single to being married, they introspect and reflect on their past and their plans for the future.
In Parshas Vayishlach, Yaakov also finds himself at a critical turning point in his life. He is about to meet his brother Eisav after a prolonged separation. He prepares himself for this challenge by composing some questions and answers. These questions and answers help him to define who he is and what is important to him; what his values are and what are his priorities.
Yaakov’s questions and answers contain an important message for all of us and especially of the chassan and kallah.
The first question is, “To whom do you belong?” (Bereishis 32:18). How do you relate to the past? What are your roots? Is the past important in your life? Is it something on which you hope to build, or will you cast it aside? Do you identify with your forebears, or do you feel detached from them?
The second question is, “Where are you going?” What is your vision of the future? What are your goals and aspirations? What kind of home will you build? What values will you inculcate into your children? What are your hopes and dreams?
Finally, “Whose is all this that is before you?” All the gifts that you have, your talents, your strengths. What do you intend to do with them? What will you share? What will you keep to yourself?
For Yaakov, there are only two answers for the three questions. For us, it must be the same.
To whom do you belong and where are you going? Yaakov answered with one answer, “Your servant, Yaakov.” There is no division between the past and the future. They are inextricably linked. We are all continuations of the past. We build upon it, and extend the drama of Jewish history and the purity of the Jewish people into the future.
Yaakov answers the third question, “Whose is all this?,” with the words, “It is a gift, freely given” (32:19). We must all answer the same way. We must be ready to give of ourselves, freely, to assure the future. You must be prepared to dedicate all your talents and love to build the home of which you dream, and to raise children in whom you can take pride.
In dating, it’s critical to remember to figure out what you are living for and then as you date, find someone who has come to the same conclusions as you. This is the true definition of a soulmate.
A soulmate is a goal mate – two people who share the same understanding of life’s purpose and therefore they share the same priorities, values and goals.