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The Mystery of Marriage

The Mystery of Marriage – Love At First Sight – Part 6

One should not expect to be struck with an intense feeling of predestination when he first meets his predestined spouse. As a rule, the couple's love experience grows and develops as they nurture it together throughout their lives. Nonetheless, every rule has its exceptions, and we find examples in the Torah of the intense experience known as love at first sight. Indeed, G-d Himself "fell in love" with His original vision of the Jewish People devotedly performing His will on earth. According to our sages, this love at first sight is what motivated G-d to create the world (Bereishit Rabbah 8:7; Zohar Chadash 121c).

It is important to remember, however, that this phenomenon is the exception that proves the rule.

There are thirteen general rules by which logical inferences may be drawn according to the Torah (Sifra, introduction). One of these is the following:

When a particular case included in a general case is singled out to inform us about something novel [i.e., an exception], it is singled out not only to instruct us concerning itself, but is to be applied to the whole of the general case.

In other words, every exception tells us something about the rule that we would not otherwise have known.

In our case, the exceptional experience of love at first sight is a graphic manifestation of the intensity and romance that developing love does eventually achieve as well. The converse is also true: if the experience of love at first sight is real, it will eventually achieve the stability and rootedness of developing love.

Instances of love at first sight are thus instructive even for the majority of couples, who do not experience such intensity at the start of their relationship. Rather than feeling that their love is somehow deficient or unromantic, they should view examples of love at first sight as enlightening portents of the intensity into which their love should–and hopefully will–develop.

Those couples who do experience love at first sight should feel fortunate that their relationship has been blessed with such a great intensity from the outset. At the same time, however, they should be aware that the more impetuous a relationship's beginning, the more difficult it may be to stabilize it afterwards. Still, with the necessary effort, the initial surge of genuine love at first sight will settle back into the "rule" and strike roots in the deeper essences of the couple. In this way the couple's love will develop and grow organically, just as in the more common case of developing love.

Of course, not every case of what passes for love at first sight is genuine. If the exceptional experience carries within it nothing of the "rule"–if it contains no seed of settled, mature love–it is probably nothing more than an infatuation that will dissipate as quickly as it appeared.

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