September 25, 2021
Tonight starts the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of mankind. It is the universally known Jewish new year, the day G-d created the first human, Adam.
But mankind was not the only creation on that day. Rosh Hashanah is also the birthday of marriage. It is the birthday of Jewish continuity.
Throughout thousands of years of relentless persecution, a nation of fractional numerical value has managed to survive against all odds. The countless ruthless attempts at its physical annihilation are well documented.
Perhaps even more miraculously, the Jewish people have resisted societal assimilation, despite countless direct attempts to undermine the Jewish way of life.
The spiritual element is quite apparent. The devotion and sacrifice on a scale unseen in any other race or religion exposes the true nature of the Jewish soul for all to see. The proven truth is that a Jew will stick to his or her beliefs against all odds and despite the dire consequences that those beliefs have incurred throughout history.
There is also the pragmatic angle to this phenomenon. Jewish people have meticulously safeguarded the institution of marriage. Whatever the circumstances, generation upon generation passed down the vital value of marrying within the faith. Even in the most secular households of early American life, “make sure you marry Jewish” was a maxim in every Jewish home.
What is not as apparent, yet equally true, is the interdependence of these two forces. That spiritual, soulful sense of purpose and responsibility to G-d and His Torah has an innate bond with the institution of Jewish marriage.
On the day of mankind’s creation, the Torah describes the following:
G-d created Adam.
Adam was composed of both male and female.
He then separated those two, creating Chava in the process.
G-d then gives the “solution” to the resulting incompleteness: they should reunite.
They should find that oneness within each other, truly completing and complementing one another.
This reunion is accomplished through marriage.
Marriage is not a legal license. It’s not an archaic, pointless concept. It’s not an oppressive element of society. Marriage is a divine reunion, the meeting between two halves of one G-dly entity.
When a Jew marries a Jew, the soul is at last complete, and can truly accomplish its divine purpose. It can uncover its sublime nature and G-dly potential. A nature which will not and cannot be removed from G-d, no matter the circumstance.
“Make sure he’s Jewish” is not just cultural exercise or a traditional adage. It is the driving force behind the spiritual power the Jewish soul is capable of. That unwavering devotion that has kept us going throughout the ages is bolstered and fastened by the divine experience of the Jewish marriage.
And the fierce motivation to retain the Jewish way of life, to experience the soul in its full glory, to connect with our father in heaven and his beautiful Torah, gives us that conviction to say: “Make sure they are Jewish”.