[personal profile] da
I just learned the Yiddish word beschert- "meant to be for some purpose."

It's used for happy occasions like finding the love of one's life, or chance encounters that change your life; and also for twists of fate.

It seems a useful concept in the way the article spelled it out. I was describing it to somebody recently but I got the definition incomplete in way that seems instructive to me. I said it was "meant to be," which the author somehow gave different nuance than "preordained or destined" but I couldn't remember how he made that argument.

The closing paragraph from the article by Rabbi Staub (in Friends Journal) made it clear for me again: "Meant to be for some purpose"— "the meaning isn't in the event itself, but in what we do when the event occurs. There are always opportunities— invitations— to react one way or another.

The meaning that I attribute to any circumstance, when I am able to do so at all, is not in the event itself, but how I respond when it ricochets out of my control."


I like that.

The shorter form "Meant to be" sounds like the heights of hubris; close to claiming to understand a Divine plan for the universe. It also sounds like predestination, which I find fatalistic and not useful.

In contrast, if I say it was "meant to be for some purpose" I am first not claiming to know what that purpose is; though I may spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. I am opening myself to additional clarification, changing it from something the Divine has done, into something the Divine might be asking me to do in response.

Online dictionaries say "beschert is beschert" is the analog to que sera sera— especially the connotations of finding one's soulmate. One's beschert is the one God intended for you to fall in love with.

Thing is, you also have some say in the matter; you can NOT fall in love and not spend your life with them, or maybe it takes some time for things to fall into place.

...Yiddish being Yiddish, there's a fair bit of contradiction built into the word, and perhaps most people just use it to mean "predestined" without the personal implications of responsibility. And maybe that argument is beschert!

Date: Saturday, 11 August 2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beartalon.livejournal.com
I've met the Divine use of the word a few times now from people who I don't know very well and don't know I hate being given religious platitudes. It's particularly unhelpful in the context of which I'm speaking. Generally, I've learned many things in the recent events of life, but claiming that Divine predestination occurs goes against the fervent praying for miracles suggested by the same Divine teachings.

We had already decided how to respond when this event ricocheted out of our control.

I'm fine with learning from that event. I'm not so fine with those that tell me that the meaning of the event itself was some vague lesson my friends and I were meant to be taught by a deity.

Date: Saturday, 11 August 2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] da-lj.livejournal.com
"claiming that Divine predestination occurs goes against the fervent praying for miracles suggested by the same Divine teachings."

Yes. That.

And we've already talked about what we both think about some peoples' thought of a loved one dying being a marker of 'not being holy enough'. :P

Date: Saturday, 11 August 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melted-snowball.livejournal.com
Is the expectation that if only one were holy enough, he'd'a lived forever? Sheesh: we're all gonna die sometime...

Date: Sunday, 12 August 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beartalon.livejournal.com
I *think* da_lj is referring to the fact that certain people thing the lesson to be learned from a loved one's dying is tied to what a person needs to learn to be a better follower of said Divinity.

Someone did say to me: "God took Jason away from you to teach you something" which implies that Jason died because I lacked something.

A good right-hook, expertly delivered right after those words, probably.

Date: Sunday, 12 August 2012 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beartalon.livejournal.com
We did? Do you mean the concept that the "learning" is becoming a better [insert Diety's minion class here]?

Date: Saturday, 11 August 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/merle_/
Oooh, beschert. Thank you, my friend, for my new word of the week.

Date: Sunday, 12 August 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] da-lj.livejournal.com
You're quite welcome. :)

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