The Hebrew Bible, or Tanach, is full of inspiring stories and life lessons of all kinds, and is the building block of our Jewish heritage. And among some of the most memorable stories are those of the many romantic relationships and couples.
Since everyone’s favorite secular holiday of love is coming up and it’s the season for celebrating romantic relationships, we’ve decided to connect it to Jewish tradition by highlighting our top 5 favorite couples in the Bible that we just can’t stop swooning over!
Read on for our list of the most inspiring Biblical romantic relationships, and what we can learn from them today.
1. Adam & Eve
Adam and Eve are not just the first couple in the Bible, but serve as God’s model of partnership and marriage for humans to follow. Adam describes Eve as “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” followed by the Torah’s proscription that a man shall leave his parents to join with his wife, so that they may become “one flesh.”
These famous words from Genesis are still quoted by numerous cultures around the world, as we continue to take the example of prioritizing one’s spouse and forming a union, both physically and emotionally, to take on the world together.
2. Abraham & Sarah
The Jewish people’s original matriarch and patriarch, Sarah and Abraham, appear in the Bible as an already longtime married couple who are endlessly devoted to each other. They spent the first few decades of their married life childless, before they miraculously had Isaac when already elderly, which arguably drew them closer together and made them each other’s only family for years.
God also tells Abraham to listen to Sarah and respect her feelings. As a result, Abraham asks the servant Hagar and the son he had with her, Ishmael, to leave the household because their presence upsets Sarah. While this is a complicated episode and it’s difficult to not feel sorry for Hagar and Ishmael, we are taught that Sarah is to be Abraham’s ultimate priority.
When an angel from God appears in order to kill Moses on his way back to Egypt to try to free his fellow Jews, Tzipporah realizes that it’s because Moses had delayed their son Gershom’s circumcision, meaning he has not entered the covenant with God. Quick on her feet and determined to spare Moses from death, she courageously circumcises Gershom herself. She ends up saving her husband, not just for the sake of their relationship and family, but for the entire Jewish people. It was this act that allowed Moses to go on to then become the leader of the nation of Israel and to lead the exodus from Egypt.
Later, at his brother Aaron’s urging, Moses has Tzipporah take their two sons and return to Midian where they would be safe, and they rejoin Moses only after the exodus from Egypt is complete. While this must have been difficult for Tzipporah, who is clearly devoted to Moses, she is an example of courage and self-sacrifice, giving her partner the space and support to achieve his dangerous mission.
4. Hannah & Elkanah
Hannah is famous for having been childless for years, until her prayers are answered and she gives birth to Samuel. Her husband Elkanah, meanwhile, tried to comfort her during the years she was upset over being unable to conceive, and he was pained by her pain.
Despite the fact that Elkanah had a second wife, Peninah – who had several children and was therefore on the face of it the more “successful” wife in a society where childbearing was a woman’s top responsibility – he still loved Hannah the most dearly and was endlessly devoted to her. Even though Hannah felt like a failure for her inability to conceive, Elkanah assured her that she was enough for him the way she was and that he didn’t need children or anything else from her.
It’s a beautiful lesson of unconditional love, acceptance, and emotional support towards one’s partner.
5. Ruth & Boaz
Boaz was Ruth’s second husband, after she had been widowed but stubbornly refused to leave her mother-in-law, Naomi, or her adopted land to return to her family of origin. Ruth is the one to initially express her romantic interest to Boaz, at Naomi’s urging, showing that any gender can “make the first move.” Boaz, in turn, expresses his feelings for and commitment to Ruth by also respecting and caring for Naomi – teaching us to accept and honor the existing relationships and responsibilities that our loved ones come with.
Ruth’s relationship with Boaz is an inspiring tale of new love after loss, as well as a lesson in accepting our partners along with any “baggage” of their past or their family.
Looking for more Biblical inspiration?
Check out our other posts on Biblical themes, such as:
And then head over to our buying guides to see the top Bible-themed items from the Land of Israel to adorn your home, add to your jewelry collection, or honor your beloved: