As we have treated the fundamental subject of zera levatalah, it becomes equally important to understand a whole area of greatly damaging behavior in which zera levatalah is “only” the final transgression. This is the area called in Torah, arayot. Let us explore it and related subjects.
Among various subjects, the parshiot Achare Mot and Kedoshim treat one, which is absolutely vital for the person seeking kedusha and distance from tumah, the essence of fulfilling the Divine injunction of Kedoshim tihiyu (Be Holy). We are speaking of the laws against the forbidden expressions of sexuality. These illicit activities are generally called Arayot. Although commonly translated as incest, the Torah definition of this subject is different from the contemporary vision. In fact, there are various “sexual unions” absolutely forbidden by Torah law, such as a man with a nidah (a woman during her menstrual cycle, and until she goes to the mikveh), all homosexual relationships and of bestiality, as well as incest and illicit relationships described in these parshiot. All of these arayot are considered by Divine law as belonging to the same exact category and degree of tumah as the idolatrous rituals used to sacrifice children to profane and inferior entities (see Vayikra 18:21, 20:2-5). That is why spiritual law declares: “The souls who commit these abominations shall be cut off from among their people” (Vayikra 18:29). It is noteworthy that all arayot, being one of the cardinal sins, are on par with both murder and idolatry – transgressions for which we are required to give up our lives rather than transgress. Moreover, Chazal explains in a most unquestionable manner that “the essential condition for sanctification is that the person must necessarily be distant from the arayot” (Rashi no Vayikra19:1). And as it is esoterically known, “the objective of Creation is a dira b’tachtonim, a term explaining that Hashem created the world for He desired to have an abode in the lower worlds” (Midrash Tanchuma, Naso 16). This objective of Creation is only reached through the ‘sanctification of the world’, that is, through the efforts of man in Torah and mitzvot. It follows that, the transgression of arayot not only implies in a most intense degree of impurity and direct connection to the klipot and sitra achra, but these types of illicit relationships have cosmic implications as well, to wit, bringing severe dinim to the world and vivifying the negative forces, chaz v’shalom. The path of kedusha imposes a true distancing from all impurities and abominations for the soul, and in fact, impels the ultimate transformation of this evil in good. This occurs through the exclusive establishment of ‘Torah sanctioned relationships’, which bring man and the world the Divine shefa – the brachot from Hashem. Furthermore, it is only through kedusha that Mashiach will come, may it be soon, amen.