Monday, 23 May 2011
When I first moved to New York I was reading a play called The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl. In the second act, Lane's husband Charles brings his lover Ana into Lane's house and then tries to make Lane understand why he would do such a thing.
Charles explains that according to Jewish law, a person is legally obligated to break it off with their husband or wife if they find what is called their bashert, or soul mate. There is no way around it - the person must dissolve their marriage.
Lane points out that Charles is not Jewish. Charles says he heard about the idea of a bashert on public radio, and when he saw Ana he knew she was it. "Something very objective happened to me," he tells Lane. "It was as though I suddenly tested positive for a genetic disease that I've had all along. Ana is in my genetic code."
And it could have happened the other way around. "You could have found your bashert," Charles reasons, "and I would have been forced to make way. There are things - big invisible things - that come unannounced - they walk in, and we have to give way. I would even congratulate you. Because I have always loved you."
What do you think about the idea of a bashert - that you could instantly, objectively, recognize yourself in another human being? What if this happened to you, but you were already married?