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The etymology of the Yiddish word—spelled, generally, either bashert or beshert—is something of a mystery.

Some argue that the word comes from the German beschert, meaning bestowed or given.

(Bescherung, a version of the word, is used to describe the exchange of gifts on Christmas.) Others say that it’s from the Yiddish word sher, meaning scissors or shears, the idea being that beshert is something that has been shaped in a specific way, as if cut out by a pair of unseen scissors.

The concept of a soulmate is nothing new, or uniquely Jewish.

In The Symposium, Plato has Aristophanes present the idea that humans originally had four arms, four legs and one head made of two faces; Zeus split these creatures in half, leaving each torn creature to search for its missing counterpart.

Last modified 07-Feb-2015 22:10