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 Toraharayot. 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 TanchumaNaso 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.



As it is written in the Mishnah: “Ten Sefirot of nothing, the number of the ten fingers, five opposite five, and the brit yachid (single covenant) is in between, as ‘in the circumcision of the male organ and the circumcision of the tongue’” (Sefer Yetzirah 1:3). The secret of the brit yachid is expressed in the two levels – superior and inferior – of the power of da’at (lit. ‘knowledge’, representing the action-oriented conclusive intellectual power). In general it is additionally associated to the power of the soul related to concentration and sensitivity). Da’at eliyon (‘superior knowledge’) is the final truth that the Divine is the only true essence and reality and that the whole universe is “nothing” in comparisson. As such the absolute objetive of existence is the revelation of Hashem in the world. Da’at tachton (‘lower knowledge’), is the creation’s perception of an existent universe, but the Divine as Creator as an absolute “given”, yet totally “unknown”. And as it is written, “The external expression of the higher da’at is through the means of the speech of the tongue, especially in speaking words of Torah in general, and revealing the inner mysteries of the Torah, in particular… The external expression of the lower da’at is through the union of husband and wife [to procreate], as referred to in the original union of man and woman: ‘and Adam knew Chava, his wife’. [Marital relations are referred to as ‘knowing’ only when the procreative organ is circumcised, and indeed, we are taught that Adam was created already circumcised]… The tziniut [modesty, which is a ‘state of ocultation’] present in the holy union of husband and wife reflects the ‘unknowability’ of the Creator’s essence by His creation, especially in that very moment that the creation most emulates its Creator – the moment of procreation – attaching itself to His certain existence… From the above, we learn that the ‘tongue’ and the ‘procreative organ’ [the two manifestations of the ‘single covenant’ – the union of G-d and man] are interrelated in essence. From this we may infer that their ‘rectification’ is interdependent” (Rav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, “The Healing of Body and Soul – Part 8”; see Tikunei ZoharTikun 69, pg. 99a). This has extraordinary implications. for “The tikkun of one’s faculty of speech [to speak only good and ‘sweet’ words] and the ‘guarding’ of the brit of one’s procreative organ [to express one’s true love for one’s spouse in marital relations in holiness, thus guarding it not to become pogem habrit], ‘depend upon and influence one another’. For this reason the two terms: ‘the word [in Hebrew, milah] of the tongue’ and ‘the circumcision [in Hebrew milah] of the procreative organ, are the same” (ibidR’ Ginsburgh). This means that, among other things, the ‘manner’ in which the person speaks not only indicates the degree he lives his life in devotion to what is holy, but it acts as a fundamental ‘correction’ for the transgressions of the brit. Hence our Sages have spoken: “He who desires to be saved from the sin of spilling his seeds in vain should not contaminate the brit of his mouth. He should be particular in guarding it from sicha betela [idle talk] and lashon hara, for the tongue and the procreative organ go together, to wit, he who damages with his tongue will most certainly stumble with his organ” (R’ Chayim Yosef David AzulaiHaChidaAhavat HaKodeshTsiporen Shamirsiman 7,101. See also Eliyahu de VidasReshit ChochmahShaar HaKedusha, 11 & 17; Shelach HaKadoshShaar HaOtiotOt Shin).

Finally, the severity of transgressing the brit surpasses practically any other averah (see Shulchan AruchEven HaEzer 23:1; Zohar 214b, Vayakhel), for it has repercussions here and in all superior Olamot in a most devastating manner. In fact, the holy Zohar affirms that there is no teshuvah for the sin of spilling the seed in vain (Zohar 60a, Noach and 219b, Vayechi. See also R’ Eliyahu deVidasReshit ChochmahShaar HaKedushah 17 for an explanation of the Zohar’s intention regarding the teshuvah tataah, as it is also brought by the Alter Rebbe in the TanyaIggeret HaTeshuvah 4). Know that this is a transgression that actually eliminates both the person’s desire to come closer to G-d and the experience of awe of Him, and it is the means to exile neshamot in the klipot and sitra achrachaz vshalom. Yet, our holy Rabbanim have taught us that the person should never give up, and that in reality there are some truly wondrous spiritual medicines for this most pressing rectification, which ultimately can rescue the person from the thick darkness which covers him – “the iron furnace of captivity” (alluding to Devarim 4:20). This occurs only through teshuvah, a truthful and deep regret and ‘specific actions’ for the person in need of tikkun. With these corrections, the person may return to become sensitized with the Divine realities and in this way, his desire for connection with Hashem shall be restored y”H.



Now, HaRav Ya’acov elucidates al pi Kabbalah the pasuk in Iyov, however this quoted portion of the Zohar does not say anything regarding he who is pogem habrit. In fact, what is written there is that, “‘Be afraid of the sword… that you may know that there is a judgment [pronounced shadun but written shedin, demons]’… The Serpent’s lashon hara spoken to Chava brought death over man and his wife, and the whole of mankind. Hence it is written: ‘And their tongue a sharp sword’ [Tehilim 57:5], referring to the lashon hara. As such, truly, ‘Be afraid of the sword’, to wit, the lashon hara” (Ibid. Zohar, Metsora). What is the relationship between lashon hara and the transgression of the brit which brought R’ Ya’acov to derive such stark conclusions from this Zohar?



רבי יעקב אבוחצירהKnow this well: “Both Torah rabbinical authorities of antiquity and later ones have affirmed that, the majority of the great tribulations that humanity has suffered, be it plagues, hunger, or war, truly have come from the ‘transgressions of the brit’ [Pogem HaBrit]. Any and all mitzvot and good deeds that the person fulfills while his brit is blemished, all goes to the sitra achra, may G-d have mercy… As such, if a man wants do come e serve Hashem, he should first properly rectify the ‘spiritual stains’ of his brit [which have occurred through the ‘spilling of semen in vain’] and later initiate his avodat Hashem. All transgressions against the brit, and the evil events that proceed from that are in fact alluded to in the admonitions of parshat Bechucotai. And that which is written – ‘But if you will not listen to Me’ [Vayikra 26:14] and ‘If you will not do all these commandments’ [ibid.] – does not insinuate that these individuals do not fulfill any of the mitzvot or that they do not study Torah. What is implied here is that, although these individuals study Torah and fulfill mitzvot, the principal is missing, for the brit, which is the most important is stained, and they have not rectified it! And once the brit is blemished and has not been rectified, all [i.e., Torah and mitzvot] is considered as being void and non-existent” (R’ Yaacov AbuchatzeraPituchei Chotam al HaTorahBechucotai; see the ArizalShaar HaKavanotchelek sheniIniyan SucotDerush 7, on the subject of onegnega). HaRav Ya’acov also explains that, “As it is written in the Zohar, the person that has no fear of sin on the subjects of the brit has no fear of G-d in anything that he does. This is so, for his body, which is what fulfills the commandments is stained. Hence, all that he does is also stained! [He affirms that] in accordance to the Kabbalah [Zohar 52b, Metzora], the pasuk, ‘Be afraid of the sword [a metaphor for the sexual organ]; for wrath brings the punishment of the sword, etc.’ [Iyov 19:29] refers to this [to wit, to the stains of the brit that cause severe Divine decrees to befall the person” (IbidPituchei Chotam).



As it is brought in Kabbalah, “For during all those [130] years that Adam kept away from his wife [Chava, to ‘know her’], unclean spirits came and conceived from him, and bore offspring, which are called ‘plagues of the offspring of Adam’ (Zohar I:169b, Vayishlach). The ‘unclean spirits’, known as sexual shedim/demons, are called Lilim yemach shemo, and have origin in the feminine shed Lilit, yemach shemo. These are “impregnated” (see Avot d’Rebbi Natan 37:3) from the spiritual energy of semen (spilled in vain) which was ‘not’ used in kedusha (and in this manner, impurify man) and give birth to the ‘plagues’ – another class of shedim – which flit about in the world ‘filling the atmosphere’ together with the other hordes, such as the mekatrigim/accusers (see Zohar 190a, Vayeshev; 196b, BalakR’ Chayim Palachi, Kaf HaChayim 240). Moreover, this progeny of shedim is very “special”, being that they are hybrid creatures of demoniac-souls (i.e., human neshamot that have no guf/body to be connected to, plus the Lilim, yemach shemo), which steal and so ‘starve these poor souls of their great vital energy’ (see Bamidbar Rabbah 16:25) since each neshama that is brought down from its source above receive spiritual sustenance.

Now, by Divine law, these plagues are as much considered the person’s children – for he was responsible for their fathering – as are their own children of flesh and blood in the world! These demoniac-souls then hunt their ‘causers of suffering’ (not the Lilim yemach shemo, but their human parents that initiated all these sufferings for them), staying close to them and seeking to siphon their spiritual energy. When a man dies, these ‘rebellious children’ accompany his coffin to the cemetery, mourning hin as now they cannot cling to that space and claim it (R’ Chayim Palagi, Tochachat Chayim, Shemot, pp. 29-30.). And as it is written, “When a man goes to the side of the Left and walks in impurity, he draws to himself all kinds of impure spirits, and an unclean spirit clings to him and refuses to leave him since these spirits cling only to those that cling to them first” (Zohar 55a, Bereshit). This connection causes man great mental confusion and the machshavot zarot/strange thoughts in his life and vengeance from these plagues on the afterlife! (ibid. Tochachat Chayim) Human beings are forbidden to father these “children”, for they profane the world and man, and seek to dominate humanity. This is contrary to G-d’s Law, which affirms: “Be fruitful, and multiply… and have dominion over the birds of the air” (Bereshit 1:28), to wit, all celestial creatures, for only “man was created in His image” (ibid. 27). It is good that man remembers in the image of Who he was created, so he can be one who is happily walking the straight path, “For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the innocent shall remain in it” (Mishlei 2:21), amen.



Against a ruach rah (evil spirit) David HaMelech sang: Lo iegurechah rah va’atsape, “Evil shall not dwell with You” (Tehillim 5:5). And regarding he who impurifies himself with the pleasure in the evil that profanes men the most, to wit, in the hotza’at zera levatalah (spilling the seeds in vain), it is thus said: “He will not come inside the masach [curtain] of the Holy One, blessed be He, and behold the presence of Atik Yomim” (Zohar 188a, Vayeshev). Why it is that semen has such power to bring tumah? For the spiritual law of zeh l’umat zeh asah Elokim“What G-d created in the side of kedusha He equally created in the side of tumah” (Kohelet 7:14) establishes that, semen is as much the rawest and most naked ‘creative energy’ that exists in the physical universe, the actual corporification of an aspect of the Ohr Ayin Sof through which even the neshamot of the tzaddikim are brought down to this world, as well as the potential source for the greatest spiritual degeneration that there is, implying on the direct strengthening of the sitra achra, chaz v’shalom. Hence, such a precious and powerful energy must be transported and used with the greatest care and discretion in order not to allow that, “They shall profane My secret place; for the robbers shall enter into it, and profane it” (Yecheskiel 7:22). And the appropriate manner to maintain this energy hidden, and thus protected, is through its ‘exclusive’ use in the procreation of life – when the love of a man and his wife act as a spiritual barrier against the chitzonim – the insatiable “robbers” from the side of profanity.

Now, if the person transgresses the commandments of Lo TirtzachLo TinafLo TignovLo Ta’ane Bereacha Ed Shaker, “Do not kill; Do not commit adultury; Do not steal; and Do not bear false witness” (Shemot 20:13), and in this way becomes a “rebellious prince and companion of thieves… Therefore said the L-rd, the L-rd of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah! I will ease me of My adversaries, and avenge me of My enemies” (Yeshayahu 1:23-24). And this is why this perversity is so vile, for it implies on the transgression of so many Divine commandments: “Do not kill”, since it is said that “Your hands are full of blood” (ibidYeshayahu 15. The previous Zohar 188a explains that this verse alludes to zera levatalah. See also Rashi on Yecheskiel 23:37; R’ Chayim VitalSha’arei KedushaChelek BeitSha’ar Chet), and truly, each seed could have generated life, but it only result in death (thus, tumat hameit). “Do not commit adultery”, for instead of increasing the powers of Good in the world, this person giver power to the “lover”, i.e., all that is external to the kedusha, chaz v’shalom (see Kitsur Sefer ChareidimChai Adam, in the subject of not being Mnof by himself, by spilling seed). “Do not steal”, for the person becomes a direct accessory to stealing the Ohr Ayin Sof, causing tzaarot (sufferings) to the world. Finally, “Do not bear false witness”, for as it is written, “The L-rd your G-d will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed” (Devarim 30:6), which means that, whatever happens to man also happens to his offspring, be it for good or not. And “when a man dies, the progeny of mashchitim [spiritual destroyers] that he fathered [through the energy of his semen that fed the ‘spiritual lover’, the sitra achra] also follows after the bier [together with his earthly children], expressing great sorrow [and ‘bearing false witness’ to the ‘generosity’ of his father which, after all, begot them]. But all this grieving [and false witnessing] is a terrible disgrace for the deceased’” (R’ Nachman of BreslovLikkutei Moharan I:141). May Hashem spare us from such punishments.



We have just ended another Shovavim period, a time of tikkun habrit. It is advisable that during Shovavim we study Mishnah, specifically, Masechet Ohalot, for it deals with the laws of tumat hameit (impurity from contact with a ‘human corpse’). Moreover, it deals with the effect of such tumah in a domain as in an ohel (tent). As such, it figuratively refers to the purity of “man’s tent” – his sechel, the neshamah’s ohel from where it governs all of the guf. As it is written, “‘No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling’ [Tehillim 91:10], and R’ Chisda said in the name of R’ Yermiyah: ‘This means that you will not be disturbed either by nightmares or by machshavot zarot, e thus no calamity shall come near your tent” (TalmudBerachot 55b). I intend to go deeper, and explain how the brit relates to both kedusha and tumah and the dangers of being pogem habrit (i.e., transgressions with the sexual organ).