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Kabbalah facts and fantasies

FAQ: Marriage & Intimacy

FAQ: Marriage & Intimacy

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FAQ: Marriage & Intimacy
Kabbalah facts and fantasies

QUESTION: "If I understood it accurately, the Rambam, Chinese Medicine, and sages from the spiritual traditions of Taoism and Yoga, teach that engaging in intimate relations too often is a waste of Life Energy.

Sages of Yoga teach that if we want to accelerate our moving closer to G‑d with the goal of eventually uniting with Him (which means Redemption, Freedom, Mashiach etc. I assume...) or if we want to realize our human or divine potential as fast as possible in order to be able to serve Him better and better, we have to learn and practice to transform our sexual Energy into spiritual Energy. This is an important aspect of the path towards G‑d, they say, leading to realization of our potential or coming closer to G‑d faster or bringing Mashiach sooner (in Jewish terms).

What does all this mean from the point of view of the Jewish Sages, the leading Kabbalists? To have intimacy as rare as possible? Only to procreate, not to indulge in the physical pleasure of it anymore? To shift all our drive from the body of the other to G‑d only?"

ANSWER: 1) Having children is an absolute obligation, not just for Jews, and specified in the Torah. I have not seen anything in the Torah about developing the higher levels, however you want to translate it, or any form of personal enlightenment. Bringing Mashiach is a shared national goal, not an individual one.

2) Married couples have intimacy during pregnancy and after menopause, so it cannot be that we believe it is only for procreation or that it is in itself not good. Of course, on the other hand, too much will lead to the obvious spiritual problems as well as physical ones.

3) In consideration of the needs of the woman and the needs of the couple as against the need for individual spiritual developments, Torah provides a recommended minimum frequency of marital relations, which varies from person to person according to various factors, including spiritual potential. This information is available for those Jews married to Jews who intend to abide by the laws. It is not for "tourists", nor is it available by email. If you fit the qualifications of the previous sentence, I'm sure your local Orthodox rabbi will be happy to advise you.


QUESTION: "What is Kabbalah's view on homosexuality, living together and having children without marriage, multiple partners, fornication, adultery, abortion, and masturbation? What are their spiritual consequences and how they be corrected?"

ANSWER: All are forbidden, all have dire spiritual consequences including the creation of impure and sometimes dangerous impure spiritual beings, and the key to rectification is to gain control over one's desires, to realize that the mind can rule over the emotions, that "want to" does not have to mean "have to".

If by "corrected" you were not referring to future actions, but how to fix the negative consequences from the past, know that his can be difficult but is doable. The starting place is prayer and good deeds, including the sincere recognition and regret of one's wrong deeds and the honest resolve to not repeat them.


QUESTION: "Shalom, my wife and I recently had a baby boy. What about having relations now? Do we do it in the room while he sleeps, or put him out of the rooms?"

ANSWER: Mazel tov. He can be in the room as long as there is some sort of partition between you and him so that there is no direct line of sight.


QUESTION: "My question is about the prohibition against marrying non-Jews. Is it only the fact that we can not marry i.e. give them a ring & live with them day and night or does it have something to do with the difference between their souls? If it's the latter, then where is the red line which should not be crossed? At the actual act of intercourse? Or even any act short of that? I always thought that by that action one would envelope himself, his soul, within a shell (kelipa) of impurity. Can you please explain and elaborate on this specific part? And also how does one rectify this sin, remove the shell and return to the original state of purity of the soul?"

ANSWER: In terms of Jewish law, intercourse and any form of marriage with non-Jews is punishable, while all other forms of physical intimacy and many forms of social intimacy are also forbidden.

Spiritually, such involvement inclines the soul to the side of impurity. The degree of difficulty of removal depends on whether the involvement was actually forbidden or not. If not, it is enough to rectify one's behavior. But when there was a clear transgression, then obviously repentance is an obligation.

In general, repentance as prescribed by Jewish law is sufficient to avert punishment. But to restore the soul and one's relationship with the Almighty, an even stronger level of repentance is called for, "repentance from love", not just from fear.

The most difficult is when offspring are produced, because then even great efforts of repentance cannot obliterate the product of the sin, and special level of repentance is required.


QUESTION: "I am about to get married and I understand that there is a Kabbalistic preference for bed positioning (i.e. head facing north or something). What it is?"

ANSWER: Shulchan Aruch says that the bed should not be on an east-west axis if you are having relations. The Zohar says the bed should be on an east-west axis. Also, some say that feet should not be facing the door. So I guess you have a choice!


QUESTION 1: "In Judaism and/or Kabbalah, are intimate relations only considered appropriate when realized after the ritual of marriage?"

QUESTION 2: "What is necessary for a couple to be considered married? Is the sexual relation the marriage itself?"

ANSWER 1: Yes. (Although the Jewish marriage ceremony is by no means a ritual; it is a contract.)

ANSWER 2: For non-Jews it is enough, if it is done for the intention of establishing a marriage state. For Jews, the marriage contract is also required, as well as certain aspects of the ceremony.


QUESTION 1: "How does Kabbalah view homosexuality? Is it mentioned in the Zohar?

Also, are there any writings that lend credence to the thought that a soul who, in a previous transmigration has lived as a woman, could be transmigrated into the body of a man, yet retain the characteristics of a woman? Could this be the reason that many homosexuals appear to have been "born" with this tendency, and may be appalled even by the idea of the "straight" way? I have read studies relating to a soul that has been in a man's body being reincarnated into the body of a woman, and that woman being barren, but no studies regarding souls inhabiting male homosexuals. Is there anything in the Torah to substantiate this?"

ANSWER: Kabbalah is an inseparable part of Judaism. The Torah, G‑d's instruction manual to all Jews, clearly forbids homosexuality; no "lawyer" arguments will work here, as there is no "wiggle" room. If the homosexual person is Jewish, then he must seriously address this problem and do teshuva.

Of course, a sinning Jew is as equally and validly Jewish as a non-sinning Jew, and who can claim to be without sins anyway? Also, a person who sins in one area can be very good in other areas. Although for a Jew, the definition of "good person" is not up to each person to define, nor is it based on whatever is considered "politically correct" at the time.

Kabbalah has some interesting things to say about the spiritual roots of homosexuality, but in no way condones it. For a Kabbalistic insight on how homosexuality affects reincarnation, see Section 2 of the 9th Chapter of "Gate of Reincarnations" (Cross-Gender Soul Migration), from the writings of the Holy Ari. Maybe this is not what you wanted to hear, but I'd be interested to hear your reactions anyway.

Yerachmiel Tilles is the co-founder of Ascent-of-Safed, and was its educational director for 18 years. He is the creator of www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org and currently the director of both sites. He is also a well-known storyteller, a columnist for numerous chassidic publications, and a staff rabbi on AskMoses.com, as well as and the author of "Saturday Night, Full Moon": Intriguing Stories of Kabbalah Sages, Chasidic Masters and other Jewish Heroes.
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Anonymous Mexico City, , DF - MEXICO via kabbalaonline.org September 2, 2015

sickness as a penalty I am close to 80 y.o. , and recently was diagnosed with cancer. I was told by someone I thought was close, that I got leukemia as a way to expiate a previous life years ago when I was much younger 30, 40 or 50 years ago, when a led a somewhat dissolute life, although I never harmed anyone or forced myself on an unwilling party.
Now I try to be reasonably observant and do Techuva, Tefilah , Tzedakah and Gemilatim Jasadim as often as needed.
My question is that if anywhere in the Zohar it appears such a reference that my condition is a way for Hashem to encourage me to expiate previous misdeeds, that I can look up and try to understand (I have access to a complete Zohar 10 or 11 tome set), but I would appreciate information that will guide me in understanding and more important, to try to expiate for my previous life when I lived in NYC, London, Paris and other such places. Reply

Anonymous August 15, 2015

homosexuality These are interesting questions on gender & apatite people have and I am glad to read it. Lots of other Kabbalah sites play politics when it comes to homosexuality and you folks do not!
Much appreciated

Reply

Anonymous Boston January 8, 2014

God is no racist God is not partial. We are ALL His children. Shame on those who teach/ insinuate that Jews are better than gentiles. There are good jews and evil jews. There are good gentiles and evil gentiles. God decides who belongs to Him. It is not the rabbi's call, sorry. Rabbi is a mere mortal and is NOT God. Reply

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