"When a woman has sown seed." (Lev. 12:2) We learned that if a woman 'sows' her seed first [in marital relations], she bears a male child. (Niddah 31a) Rabbi Acha [challenged this and] said that we learned that G‑d [alone] determines whether that drop will be male or female (Tanchuma, Pekudei 3) yet you say that if a woman issues her seed first, she gives birth to a male child? Rabbi Yosi answered, surely G‑d distinguishes between a male drop and a female drop. Once He has observed [if the man or the woman issued their seed first, only then does] He decree whether it would be male or female.

Rabbi Aha said [regarding the continuation of the verse] "and gave birth to a male child": Does she give birth when she conceives, that the verse says, "When a woman conceives and gave birth to a male child"? The verse should have read, 'When a woman has become pregnant, and gave birth to a male child'. Why then, "has sown seed and gave birth"? Rabbi Yosi said, From that day [of conception], women talk of nothing except whether their baby will be male. Hence "If a woman have conceived seed [then immediately in her thought and speech] she has borne a male child."

"If a woman has conceived." (Lev. 12:2) Rabbi Hizkiyah opened [his discourse] with the verse, "G‑d, how manifold are Your works" (Psalms 104:24) How many are the deeds of the Holy King in the world [all the myriads of thousands were created all at one time, through the greatness of His chochma; just as chochma is a small point, so all creation grew out of a small seed]! This is likened to a man who took in his hand several bundles [of various kinds of seeds] together and planted them at the same time. Afterwards each kind sprouts on its own. Similarly, G‑d does His deeds with wisdom, wisely taking everything together and planting them. Afterwards each comes out in its own proper time. This is the meaning of, "in wisdom have You made them all" (Ibid. 104:24) [i.e. all of the souls as well as the bodies You have placed them into.]

Rabbi Aba said, "G‑d, how manifold are Your works." How many are the deeds of the Holy deed! All is hidden within wisdom [because all the revealed reality is still in pure conceptual form only]. Hence it says, "in wisdom have You made them all." They are all incorporated in wisdom and emerge [into reality] only by means of specific paths [i.e. from Yesod Abba to Yesod Imma] to bina. From there everything is formed and accomplished. Hence it is written “In wisdom the house [i.e. the world and all that is in it] is built and established in bina". (Proverbs 24:3)

"The earth is full […of Your acquisitions]." (Psalms 104:24) The earth is the Congregation of Israel [i.e. malchut] which is filled of all things from there [by Zeir Anpin from bina], as is written, "All the rivers [the flow of bina] run into the sea..." [of malchut] (Eccl. 1:7) for "Your acquisitions" were brought forth later by [by way of malchut] as written, "These are the offspring of the heavens and of the earth when they were created [in Hebrew, 'behibr'am', with an enlarged hei, for they were created through the final hei of the name Havayeh: Yud-Hei-Vav, and the last letter hei/malchut]". (Gen. 2:4) For that reason, "the earth is full of Your acquisitions."

Come and see: When man sanctifies himself and unites with his wife with a desire of holiness [and the word “sanctifies” is used because this mitzvah requires much more holiness than others because a man easily falls into into the thirst of physical pleasure and so] when they unite with a desire for sanctity, a spirit of holiness is awakened [because it is in response to the level of holiness in the thought of the father and mother that a holy soul is drawn down into the conception of the embryo] and this spirit is comprised of both the male and female. [Because this spirit comes down through the unity of Zeir Anpinand Nukva Above, in a male the side of Zeir Anpin is dominant and in a female the side of Nukva]. G‑d indicates to an angelic minister [Gabriel] appointed over the conception of humankind and hands him that Spirit and lets him know where [i.e. in which fertilized egg] to place it. That is the meaning of, "and the night on which it was said, 'a male child has been conceived'" (Job 3:2) [meaning] And the night [the secret of malchut] indicated to that minister [Gabriel] that a man [who has made his wife pregnant] she will conceive of this specific spirit. And G‑d commands that Spirit about whatever he is to do. This has already been explained.1

The spirit then [having been sworn to be righteous] descends joined with a particular image/tzelem [a refined spiritual garment that enclothes the soul and joins it to the body, and this image is] the same supernal shape [of the body] that exists Above. This is the image in which the person is created. This is the image that a person walks about with it in this world. This is the meaning of, "Surely every man only walks in an image." (Psalms 39:7) As long as that image is with him, man exists in this world [and as soon as it leaves him, his physical image dies]. And two images join together as one [within a person]. King Solomon warned people, saying, "Before the day cools, and the shadows flee away," (Songs 2:17) - the word 'shadows' is in the plural, meaning at least two [as described here; two shadows enclothe his physical image – the image that dressed his soul in the spiritual image above and the soul itself; once they flee, his physical image fades from this world.]

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why has this been revealed to you now? What does it mean to you?

When we resemble the Creator, we need to act like the Creator. Period. What the Zohar reveals are minute details of the spiritual creation of souls. This is why we are instructed to be deliberate and conscientious in our marital relations. A haughty attitude will G‑d forbid create a haughty soul. There is nothing holier on this earth-plane than two lovers uniting in sacred union. To do whatever one can to achieve this is certainly worth the efforts.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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