From what I understand, a person has a zivug. Whether that means they will for sure marry them or whether it simply means there exists an “ideal” partner somewhere, how does this work when people of yesteryears had many wives? Does that mean that their are multiple zivugim? A simple explanation may be that one of the wives is the main zivug while the others are just other wives. Just looking for some more opinions on the matter

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya. The same Gemara that says בת פלוני לפלוני also says שדה פלוני לפלוני. However you explain a person who has multiple fields you'll explain a person who has multiple wives. – Alex Mar 29 '18 at 3:40
  • Possibly related to judaism.stackexchange.com/q/82018 – msh210 Mar 29 '18 at 6:37
  • Well Jacob's main wife was Rachel although he had another three. – patient Mar 29 '18 at 10:59

The relevant Gemara is in Sotah 2a. When read in full, you’ll see that it addresses this. Because of its length, I’ve boldfaced the important parts for our discussion and summarized them below.

א"ר שמואל בר רב יצחק כי הוה פתח ריש לקיש בסוטה אמר הכי אין מזווגין לו לאדם אשה אלא לפי מעשיו שנא' (תהלים קכה, ג) כי לא ינוח שבט הרשע על גורל הצדיקים אמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר ר' יוחנן וקשין לזווגן כקריעת ים סוף, שנאמר (תהלים סח, ז) אלהים מושיב יחידים ביתה מוציא אסירים בכושרות איני והא אמר רב יהודה אמר רב ארבעים יום קודם יצירת הולד בת קול יוצאת ואומרת בת פלוני לפלוני בית פלוני לפלוני שדה פלוני לפלוני לא קשיא הא בזוג ראשון הא בזוג שני

In short, while a first wife is preordained (“bashert,” to use the more modern lingo), later wives are accorded based on one’s actions and are not predetermined.

I purposely avoided using the word zivug, as that Gemara used it in respect to both types of wives, so it’s not the most accurate word for a bashert.

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  • I wonder if zivug is even applicable when dealing with multiple wives. The zugos as in masechas Avos were two. The two zugim of a scissor are only two blades. Assuming polygamy was common at the time of the mishna/talmud may not be correct. Especially amongst the rabbis. – user6591 Nov 6 '18 at 21:01

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