Vayigash: Soul Glue
What constitutes a true connection between two souls? According to the Zohar, this is a connection that causes the two souls to merge in perfect unity...
by Rabbi Lazer Brody
"His soul is connected to his soul..." (Genesis 44:30)
Judah explains to the viceroy of Egypt – who is really his long-lost brother Joseph – why their youngest brother Benjamin cannot remain hostage in Egypt and must return home to their father Jacob. Benjamin's soul is so strongly connected to Jacob's soul, that if anything happened to him, Jacob couldn't stand the sorrow...
What constitutes a true connection between two souls? According to the Zohar, this is a connection that causes the two souls to merge in perfect unity.
The Midrash tells us that the Torah is Hashem's blueprint for creating the world. So, if the Torah is a blueprint, we can examine it with the eyes of an engineer. Our passage at hand has an amazing symmetry to it. We have two equal parts with a bond in the middle, as follows:
his soul-----is connected to-----his soul
If the above passage were a pendulum, it would stand in perfect balance, for both sides are equal. In a true soul connection, neither side tries to do anything that would elevate himself or bring the other side down.
But let's look deeper. What is the glue that connects the two souls? The Hebrew phrase for “is connected to” is keshura b-, whichhas the Gematria of 613! 613 is the exact number of the Torah's commandments. We hereby learn from this amazing allusion in the Torah that the sole glue, or the only true “soul glue” that is capable of bringing two souls together in perfect unity is a mutual commitment to doing Hashem's will and upholding the mitzvoth of the Torah. Any other connection is tainted with self-interest and therefore cannot be a balanced relationship, for self-interest incites a person seek his or her own desires, even if the other side of the relationship suffers. As such, our sages tell us that any love that is dependent on an outside factor, if the outside factor disappears, then the love disappears too. We all know that those who marry for the “outside factor” such as money or social standing eventually see bitter disappointments, but those who marry to build a home of Torah and emuna see joy and gratification for posterity.
Many people suffer so needlessly in the world of shidduchim, finding a soul-mate for themselves (as in the case of baalei teshuva) or for their offspring. Why? They're looking for all the wrong things, such as money and status, both of which have nothing to do – despite popular opinion – with building a home of Torah and emuna. Hashem has enabled me to witness this phenomenon time and again. Here's one example of many:
“Alan” was a baal teshuva from a European country whose family owned a highly successful real estate brokership. Alan's father died, so he, his mother and his brother inherited the business as equal partners. Meanwhile, Alan decided to take a sabbatical year and learn in Jerusalem at the Aish Hatorah Yeshiva. At the time, I was tutoring new students in Hebrew and Alan was on of my students. He had a razor-sharp mind, but a tough character that was made even more callous by his ruthless approach to business and his to his hobby of Thai boxing. He was learning Torah, wearing tefillin daily and observing the Sabbath, but hadn't yet begun to refine his character. One of his main purposes of being in Jerusalem was to find a marital prospect. Alan let the matchmakers know that he would pay a handsome some to the one who brought him the right girl, who must be intelligent and gorgeous according to his stipulations.
Dina was the youngest of five sisters. Her older sisters were all married to rabbis, but Dina disdained their lifestyle. In her eyes, her sisters were living in deprivation, despite the fact that they all had Torah scholars for husbands who were kind, gentle spouses and wonderful fathers. None of her sisters had a car and their wardrobes were sorely limited for Dina's taste. They had all married before their 20th birthdays, but Dina was 22 and still waiting; she wanted a working guy with plenty of money, domestic help, a car, European vacations and a hefty wardrobe; she was patient and was willing to wait.
One sharp-eyed matchmaker showed Alan Dina's picture. He drooled – she looked to him like Sophia Loren with the Mediterranean beauty she inherited from her Lebanese-Jewish ancestors. After one date, Alan and Dina were infatuated with each other – each had what the other was looking for.
After the wedding, Alan and Dina remained in Jerusalem for another year. They lived in euphoria in a gorgeous apartment overlooking the Western Wall. Alan drove a new BMW and and Dina had no less than six natural-hair sheitels, two dozen pairs of shoes and a walk-in closet full of new clothes. Alan was proud to show off his new wife's beauty and Dina was proud to spend her new husband's money. Like the Gemara says, Hashem was leading them down the exact path they wanted to pursue.
After the year in Kollel, Alan and Dina decided to return to Europe and to the family business. They were in for a rude awakening. Alan's mother and brother spent the year in legal maneuvering to force Alan out of the business. He was left with nothing. Dina, now expecting and suffering from terrible morning sickness, was anything but the beauty queen Alan had married. She lost her beauty and he lost his money money. Like our sages say, as soon as the outside factor disappears, the love disappears too. Needless to say, the marriage broke up in disaster...
The only glue that can truly connect two souls – whether husband and wife, parent and child or friend and friend – is a commitment of emuna, serving Hashem together in complete faith. This is the common goal between two parters, the only real soul glue. Nothing else in the world, especially self-interests and ulterior motives, has the power to connect two souls in complete unity.
 - Hebrew numerical equivalent
 - Avot 5:19
Rabbi Lazer Brody was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. After receiving his bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1970, he moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces regular army, and served in one of the elite special-forces units. He is a decorated combat veteran of two wars and numerous of counter-insurgence and anti-terrorist missions on both sides of Israel's borders.
Rabbi Brody is the English-language editor of Breslev Israel's highly popular English-language website at www.breslev.co.il, and the founder and director of Emuna Outreach. Between Breslov Israel and Emuna Outreach, he devotes his time to spreading emuna and particularly the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev around the globe.
"Lazer Beams," Rabbi Brody's award-winning daily web journal, has been instrumental in helping tens of thousands of people around the globe find joy and fulfillment in their lives.