Rabbi Aba said, what [is meant] when written, "They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and have hewn them out cistern, [broken cisterns that cannot hold water...]"? (Jeremiah 2:13) "They have forsaken Me" refers to he who is false to the sign of the holy imprint [of circumcision]. How is he false to it? By placing it [his organ of procreation]in the domain of another, as written, "and had intercourse with [a non-Jewess], the daughter of a strange E-l" (Malachi 2:11) who are called broken cisterns. For the non-Jews are called broken cisterns.

[women] of Israel are called a well [as related to the Shechinah called a well], "the fountain of living waters." This is the holy domain of the holy faith that is called a well spring of clear water that spouts and flows from it, as written, "and streams from Lebanon", (Songs 4:15) "running waters out of your own well" (Prov. 5:15) and, "a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters" (Songs 4:15) [hinting to the Shechinah, the source of all bounty ].The Other Side is called, "broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13) [for they are unable to contain the flow,, being broken and polluted].

Come and see, the river that spouts and flows to water the whole garden [of Eden], and waters each and every place [Every sefira of Zeir Anpin that in turn flows to malchut, called "the garden"], as we explained, until it fills the place of the garden that is called a well of living water [that is yesod of malchut], and from there it nourishes the higher and lower [worlds of Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya, as well as our physical world]as is written, "and from there it was parted..." (Gen. 2:10) [from below malchut, for from the world of Beriya and below is called the place of separation].

None of the aspects of the left side
[namely the external forces] are watered from that spring of gushing water [they do not receive the gushing flow from malchut, only sufficient water to live on, in the secret of "You give life to all"] because they are from the aspect of the other nations and are called broken cisterns.

Whoever is false to the holy imprint cleaves to that aspect of "broken cisterns, that can hold no water," because it does not flow in there.
[No blessings are drawn to there.]

Whoever merits to guard it
[and protect the sign of the Covenant] merits to be watered by the stream of the river in the World to Come [meaning receives the flow of light from bina]and merits that the supernal well will be filled [that in his merit malchut is filled with the flow from bina]and blessings will be drawn above and below [in all the worlds]. He is meritorious in this world and in the World to Come. Of this it is written, "and you shall be like a watered garden [malchut], and like a spring of water [yesod of Zeir Anpin], whose waters fail not" [as they receive the flow from bina]. (Isaiah 58:11)

Woe to him who is false to the holy imprint, because he is false to the supernal Name
[who is Supernal Imma, called the Great Supernal Name, and this causes the flow from bina to flow out to the external forces]. Moreover, he causes that well [which is the Shechinah] not to be blessed [and to not receive its proper flow]. He is called one who " has brought out an evil name upon a virgin of Israel [malchut]". (Deut. 22:19)

Specifically, "A virgin of Israel " [for the Shechinah is untouched by external forces]. Rabbi Shimon explained in its place that [everything that happens between a man and his wife in the physical hints at the state of the Shechinah and Zeir Anpin in the spiritual realm, thus] whoever lays accusing speeches against his first wife [the supernal wife/malchut]and brings out an evil name against her is one who brings out an evil name against the higher [Shechinah], as written, "he has brought out an evil name upon a virgin of Israel " not specified [but hinting to the Shechinah].

This follows what was said by Rabbi Hiya in the name of Rabbi Yosi
[that all blessings of a bride below correspond to what is received by the Supernal Bride, meaning]that a virgin receives seven blessings, because she is blessed by seven [sefirot of Zeir Anpin], since the virgin of Israel inherits seven blessings. She is therefore called the daughter of seven.

[It is asked] And another woman [a widow or a divorcee who was married before], from where come her blessings [when remarrying, for she is not in the form of the Shechinah who is a virgin, thus she does not have 7 Blessings, rather the 3 blessings]? [The answer] is from the blessings of Boaz and Ruth, as written, "And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. G‑d make...[the woman is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built up the House of Israel.." (Ruth 4:11) which hints to the blessing of the widow Ruth]. For surely a virgin is blessed with seven blessings, and no other woman is in that secret [that she receive the seven blessings like the supernal Shechinah].

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

The Zohar first condemns intimate relationships of Jews with non-Jews, comparing other nations to broken cisterns that cannot hold holy blessings. The Zohar then moves on to criticize those who themselves criticize their first spouses as also slandering the Divine Presence. Finally, the Zohar praises virginity over those women who have had premarital relations.

G‑d gave us a wonderful gift of free choice; we can choose life or death: let us use this gift well to choose Life!

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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