Our Sages of blessed memory have taught us that כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה Kol Israel Aruvim Zeh BaZeh, ‘All Israel is interconnected one with another’ (Talmud, Shevuot 39a). What this interconnection means is that we all originate from the same source, that being a Source of benevolence associated with the glory of the Name Kel, which is the Shechina (Zohar 8a, Prologue). Moreover, the Ari”zal (Sha’ar HaPesukim, Lech Lecha), explains that: “Avraham personifies the attribute of chesed, which is signified by the Divine Name Kel, this being the mystical meaning of the verse, ‘The chesed of G-d [Kel] is all day long’ [Tehilim 52:3]”. This means that, the fact that the Name of G-d used in this verse is Kel indicates the association of this Name with chesed.
Now, it is interesting to note that the gematria ordinal (sofit version) of Kol Israel Aruvim Zeh BaZeh is 185. This is the same numeric value of the millui of the Name Kel: (alef-lamed- pei lamed-mem-dalet = [1 + 30 + 80] + [30 + 40 + 4] = 185).
The connection of Name Kel and Avraham, is further seem since “There are 8 Names Kel in the supernal faces of Arich Anpin [which is Keter, and corresponds to the psychological power of will]. All of these are contained within the name Avraham, whose numerical value is 248, the numerical value of these 8 Names” (Sha’ar HaPesukim, Chaye Sarah).
Kel: alef-lamed = 31. 31 x 8 = 248.
Avraham: alef-beit-reish-hei-mem = 1 + 2 + 200 + 5 + 40 = 248.
In this “face” of Arich Anpin, the source of the five states of chesed, are expressed 8 Names Kel whose numerical value is the same as that of Avraham, who personifies this level.
Furthermore, I noticed that the mispar Siduri/ordinal (174) + mispar Katan/reduced (57) + 17 letters (from Kol Israel Aruvim Zeh BaZeh) = 248. This is a poweful connection. And that the gematria atbash is 1495. This is the sum of all values from alef to tav. Alef-tav spells “Et“, the Zohar’s codename for the Shechina. And the complete span of the alef-beit indicating Her divine speech that vitalizes all of creation. In fact, the Shechina is the root of all neshamot, as it is known.
As chazal teachs us, the Jewish People are rooted in chesed, which we see is a direct link to Avraham avinu and mystically, the inner realms of the Shechina. Our people’s interconnections have enormous significance for our own and for the world at large, whereas the most important is the way each and every jew does affect the other spiritually. Hence, the need for Ahavat Israel as the means to preserve the “body” of Israel whole and intact, holy e focused on its evolutionary path culminating on Mashiach, speedily in our days.
On Sushan Purim 5774
It is important to understand that the halachot in general, and the ones guiding the couple’s sexuality in particular, are even more stringent and deep when treated with the benefit of the hiddurim (the various embellishments) of Kabbalah. The ‘ideal’ moment for the couple with a true Jewish soul to be united is on the night of Shabbat, for on this time, “thene shamot are distributed for the initiated on the mystical Wisdom [i.e., the Bnei Torah]… On this night, a holy and sublime ruach descends to those who are ‘sanctified’ [in order to fulfill the mitzvah of procreation, saying the prayers before the act, ‘both’ ritually washing their hands and giving tzedaka]… Thus, for these men of wisdom, the appropriate time for this ‘holy function’ is when this exalted ruach is diffused amongst them… And it is in this manner [and in this time] that the tzaddikim ‘transmit’ their holy souls for the new conception” (Zohar 204b, Vayak’hel). Al pi halacha, “all nights are appropriate, in particular if the act occurs at midnight [when the Holy One, blessed be He, rejoices with the tzaddikim in the Gan Eden]… However, [it is important to know that] on the other nights, ‘another’ type of ruach hovers” (ibid. Zohar). This means that, “the joy of fulfilling this mitzvah is complete on the nights of Shabbat, when the person does not need to worry if there are any admixtures from the sitra achra in the conception” (ibid. Zohar). On the other nights (save on those prescribed by the halacha) it is possible that instead of simple joy for the mitzvah, there is also “the deliberate desire and awakening for the simple pleasure to give in to lust, to wit, without the real ‘need‘ to fulfill this holy act. This means that he is only following the advice and force of his yetzer hara” (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Hilchot Tsiniut), which is vitalized, after all, by the sitra achra.
The Talmud explains (see Nedarim 20a-b) that, ‘different actions’ during the marital intercourse determine important physical and spiritual aspects from the soul that will, G-d willing, descent for the child’s body. The Tanna Rabi Yohanan ben Dahabai – who mystically explains having received knowledge on these subjects through the agency of angels – says in this tractate that, in accordance of “certain” sexual acts, children may be born “dumb, deaf, or blind”! Moreover, there are also effects caused strictly through the ‘time’ when the union occurs. Thus, Kabbalah affirms that: “Truly, there is that which is a ‘proper time’ for marital intercourse… and no other time is appropriate for this junction to be performed with all joy without any ‘extraneous admixture’ [i.e., the chitzonim] save that night [i.e., Shabbat. See Talmud, Ketubot 62b] – when the souls are distributed to the wise, the righteous, and the pious” (Zohar 204b, Vaya’khel). We see then that actions and distinct times in the fulfillment of the mitzvah (of marital union) can afect the soul that is to come. Moreover, through kavanot, the parents may spiritually elevate themselves to infinite heights and greatly impact this soul!
Regarding the subject that the ‘the parents may spiritually elevate themselves etc.’, as it is known, the ‘sexual energy’ (the physical form of the spiritual energy) is an extremely pure energy and must be care for and not wasted due to its fundamental role. As it has been explained, it allows – in accordance to the degree of purity it is used – great ascensions or great falls, chaz v’shalom. As it is written: Vehineh sulam mutsav artsah verosho magia hashamaymah vehineh mal’achei Elokim olim veyoredim bo, “Behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of G-d ascending and descending on it” (Bereshit 28:12). On this pasuk, Kabbalah explains (see Zohar 149b, Vayetze) that, “The ladder signifies the spiritual attribute of Yesod [connected to sexual subjects]. To Ya’acov avinu, it was shown that this attribute exists on earth – it literally belongs to ‘mundane subjects’, however, the ‘top of it reached to heaven’ – to wit, when the person heeds to the Divine will and raises this attribute to its origin, then he truly reaches heaven… and ‘this is alluded in thesecret of the pasuk, Mi ya’aleh lanu hashamaymah, Who shall go up for us to heaven [Devarim 30:12]. The initial letters, the Reshei Tevot of this, spell out the word milah [circumcision], and the final letters, the Sofei Tevot, spell out Havaya’ [Tikkunei Zohar 2a] – this means that the person can ascend on high if he purifies this attribute” (the Slonnimer Rebbe, Netivot Shalom).
Regarding the subject of ‘greatly impact this soul’, beyond of has been already considered, it is important to comprehend something of the kavanot during the sexual union. It is very important that these unions be fulfilled in complete joy and happiness. Every mitzvah must be done with great joy, but this one, even more so. It is also important that the married couple, “both should have the same kavanah” (Zohar 81a, Kedoshim; see ibid. 83b for the contrary): to bring down to this level a noble soul, with yirat shamayim (fear of Heaven), a soul that will illuminate the world, to wit, a tzaddik. Hence, it is good to bring to mind a tzaddik on the moment of procreation (see Ramban, Iggeret HaKodesh; R’ Eliyahu de Vidas, Reshit Chochmah, Sha’ar HaKedusha 16). Furthermore, “it is necessary to know that, a child born from the predominant desire from the husband [to have a child, as have been described], receives an ‘extra’ vitality from the father, for this desire means the father’s wish ‘to connect to the Etz Chayim’” (Zohar 209a, Vayigash) in the secret of “She is a Etz Chayim to those who lay hold on her; and happy is every one who holds her fast” (Mishlei 3:18). It is also known that, “‘If the woman emits her semen first she bears a male child; if the man emits his semen first she bears a female child’ [Talmud, Niddah 31a]… Now, he who emits seed last is the one who prevails [i.e., something of his strength]… so the man [who wishes to have a male child] becomes cold, so as to not become heated [during the act], and in this manner the woman is heated [giving seed] before. Afterwards, he is the last to emit seed [thus ensuring that child’s vitality, as explained]. However, many who have followed this did not succed, for all is [baruch Hashem, and thus,] in the Divine will” (Rabi Yehudah Fatiyah, Minchat Yehudah, Parashat Shmuel I, Siman Bet, Ayin Tet, pg. 118). In any case, the person must sanctify himself at the time of marital relations, for all comes from merit. And let him pray throughout the first 40 days of conception: Yehi ra’avah mi’maarei alma shenizke lebanim yierim ushlemim va’chareidim lidvar Hashem venire’eh bachem kedushat tanaim ve’amoraim amen, “May it be the will of the Master of the Universe that we merit G-d fearing and flawless sons who tremble at the word of Hashem. And may we observe in them the sanctity of the Sages of the Mishnah and Talmud. Amen” (Rabi Tzvi Hirsch Kaidenover, Kav HaYashar, Perek Yud Zayin).
For instance, as it is written regarding the verse, “Behold, the kings were assembled, they came on together” (Tehilim 48:5), “No sin in the world is expiated until the kings, to wit, Ze’ir Anpin and Nukva are united… for with the ‘illumination of this union’, all of the Partzufim shine and all sins are expiated” (Zohar 206b, Vayigash). So it is above, and so it is below. This means that, through the sanctified sexual union, the sins (which are after all, ‘separations’ from G-d) are expiated, subjugating evil and making it incapable to act, as it will be explainned with the help of Heaven.
There is an important secret in this Zohar – which explains the reason for possible attonement through the sexual union – and is called Tikkuna d’Karbana (rectification through an offering): an animal sacrifice to G-d, “[to be] accepted to make atonement for him” (Vayikra 1:4). Moreover, says the Zohar that, “when an offering is brought, ‘everyone receives their provisions’ [i.e., the whole world receives blessings], each one in accordance to his own merit, and then all is united as one… When they, in both worlds [the supernal world, Ze’ir Anpin, and the lower world, Nukva,] ‘were assembled’ [i.e., man and his wife] and were connected [in the sexual act], they ‘came on together’ [also in Aramaic, they ‘passed upon’, in the sense of forgiving as in Micah HaNavi 7:18] – they expiated sins and caused a celestial illumination, so all Partzufim shine and all sins are atoned for” (ibid. Zohar). Now, on another level this means that, “‘If any man of you brings an offering [yakriv] to the L-rd’ – in order for him to come closer to G-d – truly, ‘any man of you’, meaning that he needs to bring an offering of ‘himself’. He needs to sacrifice his ‘personal animal’, which is the desire for evilcalled the nefesh habahamit” (the Alter Rebbe, Likkutei Torah, Vayikra). That which was offered as a sacrifice on the altar in the Beit HaMikdash was ‘fat and blood’ from the animal. And the corresponding sacrifice for a man who needs ‘to bring an offering of himself’ is a ta’anit(fast), in order to atone for his transgressions – “the fat and blood from his body are ‘burned’, and in this way, they are considered as a pleasing offering to G-d” (Talmud, Berachot 17a; Zohar 20b, Shemot; Reshit Chochmah [Kitsur], Sha’ar HaKedusha 9; Tanya, Iggeret Hateshuva 2). In a similar manner, during the sexual act (with the kavanah of fulfilling the mitzvah of procreation), the power, body movements, and necessary fluids to ensure the fulfillment of the mitzvah also burn ‘fat and blood’ from the bodies, and are truly an aspect of the offering to G-d. However, this alone is not enough to complete the actual offering; albeit important, this is still makkif (external). It is necessary to act in the manner that ‘he needs to bring his personal animal’, that is, something pnimiut (deeper, from inside), truly rupturing and breaking with the ‘desire for evil’ which is rooted in the nefesh habahamit, to wit, the desire for self-gratification. So the Gemara explains how to attain this level of completeness: the person needs to imagine with all his strenght that, during the mitzvah of uniting with his wife, he is moved ‘externally’ (literally) by a shin-dalet (demon), and not by his own physical appetites (see Talmud, Nedarim 20b). Now the kings can be united above and below y”H.
In continuation with related material to Sod HaZivug, Kabbalah brings that, “When one has eaten and is satisfied in a seudah, it is necessary to give the scraps and the dregs to the sitra achra, and any particles left upon the hands after a meal must be washed away [with the water called mayin achronim] so that the ‘other side’ may receive its due. Therefore the washing of the hands after a meal is an imperative duty [in order to avoid the ‘tribulations’ of the sitra achra. See Kaf HaChayim Sofer 181:8] and the water must be poured away into an appropriate place” (Zohar 154b, Terumah; Talmud, Chulin 105a-b).
Now, the negative spiritual element that seeks to ruin man through constantly seducing him sexually to procreate (from the zera levatalah, as already explained) its progeny of shedim, and “who lives in the depth of the great abyss of the ocean… is a certain hot fiery female spirit named Lilit, yemach shemo“ (Zohar 19a, Vayikra). If man hears the Torah’s pronouncement, Kedoshim tihiyu (Be holy!), and treat the sexual act with his wife with awe of G-d, this most destructive of spirits does not have authorization to come close and injure, chaz v’shalom, this man and his loved ones – for it is hindered by three malachim. However, if the man is in fact seduced to stray off the praiseworthy path of the L-ord, “then, as a fool, he comes close to her [Lilit y’s]. She dresses with jewelry like an abominable prostitute, hugs and kisses him, and serves him wine filled with dregs and the remains of the Serpent’s venom. And when she sees him desiring her and moving away from the path of truth, she removes all of her adornments she worn for him… She then leaves him sleeping and goes up High in order to denounce and accuse him, so as to receive permission to destroy him. The fool then awakens, thinking he will have her again with all of his pleasurable fancies, but he sees her without her sweet vestments, for now she has become a powerful oppressor dressed in a hot and fiery garment, causing this fool great terror to the whole of his body and soul. This oppressor has terrible eyes, and a sharp sword with drops of venom dripping from it… She kills the fool and throws him in Gehinom” (Zohar 148a-b, Sitrei Torah).
As such, it is vital to know that Lilit y”s is always on the look out wishing to damage the world, seducing the ego of men with the illusion of our material existence. In fact, even when man unites with his wife in holiness to procreate, it is necessary to know the “medicine” to ward off this shed from any opportunity to bring harm, chaz v’shalom. In a low tone and “with the heart devout to Hashem, should the mane pronounce [in Aramaic]: Atifa be’kitefa izdamnat, sha’arei sha’arei, lah tiol ve’lah tinpok, la didan ve’lah be’advan. Tuv tuv, iamah it’reguisha, galgaloi lin karan, be’chulakah kadisha achidnah bikdusha de’malka it’atafna. ‘He who is covered by a sheet [to wit, Lilit y’s, who is always covered and wailing, for the name Lilit y’s is derived from crying, in Hebrew, yelalah] is here. Go far away from me, go far away from me. Ye shall not enter nor leave. This is not yours, nor does it belong to your portion. Return, return, the waters revolt, its waves expect you back. I connect to the holy portion. I am covered with the holiness of the King’. The man should cover his and his wife’s head for a short period, and then they should unite. After the act, it is necessary to spill a bit of water around the bed. This is the best protection” (Zohar 19a, Vayikra), since it is as much her barrier and her portion! It is her mayin achronim. In this way, man ensures that she will only take the drops of water, but not the “drops of life” (i.e., the vital and creative force of semen).
It is written regarding the creation of Adam and Chava: Vayevarech otam vayikra et shemam Adam, “He blessed them, and called their name Adam [man]” (Bereshit 5:2). Torah is very clear to reveal that G-d called them ‘both’Adam. In this way, He established that the spiritual nature of a human being is only completed in the world through the union of the ‘two distinct human aspects’, to wit, the masculine (corresponding to the active spiritual force and of expansion), and the feminine (corresponding to the passive spiritual force and of restriction). These spiritual forces embodied in the human being – and that exhibit such opposing functions – when united in the sanctified manner, form a ‘well balanced physical-spiritual pair’. This means a single being mirroring his origen in one common soul before its descent to this world and division into sexes. In fact, through this balance, flow all Divine blessings to the couple; and the whole world benefits from this most pleasing of unions in Shamayin. And as it is written, “When a couple lives in accordance to Torah law, the forces of Creation – the letters Yud and Hei from the holy Tetragram – reside with them. Then, in time, they become the image of the holy forces of Creation” (Tikunei Zohar, Tikun 10b). And it is also written that, “Who is incomplete below [i.e., not married] remains incomplete on high [i.e., spiritually]… And Ya’acov [the perfect patriarch]…alo, until his marriage was not complete” (Zohar 150a, Vayetze).
Now, our Sages, all of blessed memory, have openly cautioned us: Kedoshim tihiyu hevu persuhim min ha-arayot u-min ha-evera, “Distance yourself from the illicit relations and from sin” (Rashi at the beginning of Parashat Kedoshim). And “of all isurei ha’arayot, only regarding the avon [sin] of Mishkav Zachur the Torah uses twice the word Toeva [Vayikra 18:22]. The Talmud explains that Toeva is Toe Hu Ba, which means that ‘he is making a mistake in this’… That is, ‘this’ is against human nature! It is the type of avon that exists only to challenge G-d. It is something that comes from the anger which feeds this abominable rebelliousness” (R’ Moshe Feinstein, Teshuvah, Chelek 4 siman 115). And the Torah is also quite clear regarding the grave punishments of these forbidden unions, including that which occurs to the person committing these transgressions after he dies. The mekubal, HaRav Yehudah Fatiyah, the greatest student of the Ben Ish Hai, in his Sefer Minchat Yehudah describes his many conversations with tormented ruchot (spirits) which commited these abominations in life. They relate with terror the severity of their spiritual punishments! After all, not only from this transgression’s zera levatalah the sitra achra gets nourished and demoniacal beings are brought to life, but also each drop of semen spilled in vain implicates on the destruction of potential (unborn) children, which become imprisoned in the clutches of the klipot. Moreover, the ejaculated semen in a domain ‘absolutely improper’ deflowers these poor souls in a most perverse and horrible manner! Contrary to an union between man and wife which fulfills the mitzvah of procreation and gives the fruits of children (G-d willing), if oral sex occurs in this sin, chaz v’shalom, then the only thing fulfilled are the spiritual deaths of the children which are as if “swallowed” in this most merciless abomination! Yet, regarding these rebellious ones, all members of the Erev Rav, it is written: “They all alike have broken the yoke, and burst the bonds… a wolf… shall destroy them… because their transgressions are many, and their apostasies are great” (Yermiyahu 5:5-6). Additionally: “The wicked with their sins pollute both themselves and the Sanctuary [i.e., they contaminate the earth], and bring a ruach rah [an unclean spirit] upon themselves; but in time to come G-d will purify Israel and remove from them the unclean spirit” (Zohar 54a, Metzora). This ruach rah is the wicked Nebuchanetser, “who was deprived of his kingdom and he dwelt with the beasts of the field, his human countenance was taken away from him and from that day he did not bear the impress of a man” (Zohar 125b, Mishpatim) – and was only to bear the image of a wolf! And as it is known, “Nebuchanetser used to tear the flesh of a live rabbit and eat it” (Eicha Rabah 2:14), and Kabbalah says that, “He who has homosexual relations is reincarnated as a rabbit” (the Ari”zal, Sha’ar HaGilgulim, Hakdamah 22, end).
Each and everyone who is involved in this most grievous of sins must use all of his kochot ha-nefesh (spiritual forces) to do teshuvah and implore Hashem’s mercy.