top of page

The Secret of Zivugim (Coupling) in Heaven

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

There are many incredibly deep secrets regarding Zivugim

(coupling), both before and after marriage. None less than the

Rashash (Rabbi Shalom Sharabi) already taught us that the Avodah

(service) of Yom Kippur is the internal part of the system of Zivug,

while the union of husband a wife is the external part of that. Both

are two sides of the same coin.

Why is it so difficult to find one’s Zivug and so difficult to keep

it? And, more importantly, what can we learn from it from a

Kabbalistic point of view?

In the Gemarah Sotah 2a we find a very interesting discussion

about coupling. Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchak said in the name of

Reish Lakish that a man's Zivug is provided only according to his

merits. Namely, if a person is good, he gets a good match and vice-

versa. Rabah bar bar Chanah adds in the name of Rabbi Yochanan

that the provision of a Zivug is as difficult as the splitting of the Red


The Gemara then challenges Reish Lakish's position that

coupling is determined based on a person's merits from the

statement of Rav Yehudah in the name of Rav, who says that forty

days before the creation of the embryo a Bas Kol issues forth and

pronounces his Zivug ("Bas Ploni l'Ploni"). Why, if couples are

already determined based on Mazal (the Higher Providence), how

can it be determined based on one's deeds?

The solution to this conundrum is that the first marriage, the

one “as difficult as the splitting of the Red Sea”, is based on Mazal (the

Higher Providence), while the second marriage, is based on a

person’s merits.

Men and women were originally created as one soul. They are

thus very appropriately called “soulmates”, because they come from

the same spiritual source. Before the giving of the Torah, it was

perfectly fine to marry one’s brother or sister. After the Torah was

given, the souls were scattered to be born from different mothers,

and the union of brother and sister was forbidden.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslev’s also taught us that no one truly

understands the concept of Zivugim because it’s so deep. A story is

brought from the Talmud and Midrash Bereshit Rabbah 68:4 where a

certain princess asked Rabbi Yosi ben Chalafta “what has God been

doing since the creation of the world?”. He replied that “he sits and

makes zivugim”. Unconvinced, she said she could do better than Him

and tried coupling 1000 slaves and 1000 maidservants. The result

was catastrophic, some men lost their eye, some their leg, some

suffered severe wounds and so on. The pricess was then convinced

that only Hashem can join a man and a woman.

As we discussed in previous articles, Hashem created many

spiritual worlds through which Shefa (abundant flow) passes until it

reaches our physical world. Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Dweik HaKohen,

the “Sadeh” who was a disciple of the Rashash commented on Otzrot

Chaim that no Shefa comes down unless the masculine and feminine

attributes of Hashem’s Divine Providence unite. To explain: Hashem

is obviously one, but the many attributes that He displays can be

classified as being either of a masculine or feminine nature.

The Kabbalistic ramifications are many and we could write

many books about it.

When a couple unites, not only do they bring spiritual blessings

but also material ones. While according to Halacha, intimacy is

permitted any day of the week, according to Kabbalah (The Arizal),

couples should only do so on Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and some

Yamim Tovim (Pesach except the first day and Sukkot, but not on

Shmini Atzeret, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Shavuot). The Arizal

explains that this is because the quintessential reason for the sin of

Adam and Eve was because they were intimate before the first

Shabbat entered. This caused the snake to gain a foothold and tempt

Eve to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Therefore, couples are enjoined to be intimate only the forces of

impurity (like the snake) are repelled by the holy days, at appointed

times. One can’t overstate the importance of this minhag, as this also

heavily impacts on the spiritual and physical health of children that

will come as a result of their union.

One of the reasons coupling is as difficult as the splitting of the

Red Sea is because that is the ultimate test of Emunah. Consider that

before the marriage, spouses know less than 1% about each other.

The remaining part of what a person fully is will be discovered only

throughout the rest of their lives (hopefully!). Just like the Children of

Israel were afraid to jump in the Sea, so too it is normal to be afraid

to “jump in” marriage with someone we know little about.

Therefore marrying could be called a big “risk” that Hashem is

requesting of us. Not only that, but it’s also where a man’s Kedusha

(holiness is made apparent to the world). A happy, peaceful and

prosperous home requires tremendous Mesirut Nefesh (self-

sacrifice) but it is what truly makes men and women fulfilled.

The sages teach us that Hashem didn’t “find” any vessel strong

enough to contain all the blessings he could bestow, except for peace.

And peace is not simply the absence of strife, but the union of

opposites joining together for a common goal. Marriage is therefore

the greatest test we face in life and, in fact, the ultimate purpose of


This article was written and published in the zechut of all Emuna Builder Partners. May they have complete emuna and continue spreading emuna!

420 views0 comments


bottom of page