‘Bashert’ explores love that transcends death

Bashert by Herb Freed; Bellrock Press © 2017; ISBN 9780998-533919; 325 pages; $14.95.

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO – The incantation at many wedding ceremonies is “till death do us part,” but for those who are bashert – that is, predestined by a higher power for each other – death is but an arbitrary boundary.  Why should two souls part at death, when eternal togetherness is possible?

Author Herb Freed, like Dan, this novel’s protagonist, is a former rabbi who became a movie screenwriter and director.  In fact some of the movie credits Freed lists in real life are the same as Dan’s in this work of fiction.  But trying to decipher where autobiography ends and supernatural romanticism begins is a pointless exercise.  This novel should be appreciated as a unique inquiry into the realm of the beyond.  Can souls unite beyond the grave?  Can they bond with each other even though one is dead, the other alive?

Drawing on Kabbalah and such belief systems as Rastafarianism, Buddhism, and the ancient Mayan religion, Dan and his wife Marion learn to conceptualize a world in which each partner is drawn by a powerful spiritual magnet to each other.

Working together on independent movies, Dan and Marion travel all over the world. Author Freed excels in capturing the rhythms of speech, the sights and sounds, and the ethos of such locales as the Mayan heartland in Mexico; an ashram in Nepal; and the island of Jamaica during a Jubilation Festival.

When death takes Marion, Dan is bereft until he begins his quest to reunify with her soul.  He is not alone in this endeavor: Molly, whom Dan and Marion had lovingly fostered as a child, also has a strong bond with Marion which death cannot sever.

Interesting questions arise, especially for those who love to speculate. We typically think of lovers possibly being bashert.  But are other relationships—such as mentor and mentee, mother and child—also subject to this ineffable force?   And why are some lovers bashert, when others are not?  Dan was a widower before meeting Marion, and from all available information, he had loved his first wife Anne deeply.  Even so, she was not his bashert; Marion’s force was so strong, Anne receded in his memory.  In his lifetime, Dan had two perfectly wonderful wives, but only one was his eternal soul mate.  How do such relationships come into being?

Bashert goes on sale Feb. 14th, Valentine’s Day.

Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  He may be contacted via [email protected]

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