“lovemaking is far more than sex…
it is the kiss of earth and sky, of spirit and matter.
for when you make love in earnest, you are unifying Creator with Creation,
G’d transcendent with G’d immanent”
yes, from talmud…Sotah 17a and Ketuvot 62a…more proof of the importance of being earnest. we are considering the interinclusion of yesod, seat of the male spirit genitalia (specifically the mark of the brit milah) , in malchut, seat of the female spirit genitalia, so to speak. and as we have said before, the union of the lower realm, of tiferet and malchut, which symbolizes the full reunification of Shechinah with haKadosh baruch hu, all comes together via that interinclusion of yesod and malchut, the only sefirot that share an exclusive linking pathway in the sefirotic tree of life.
indeed the thread that holds malchut to the tree at all is the pathway to yesod. go ahead, look at a diagram of the sefirot. it is clear to see. the Shechinah is tethered by way of the brit and otherwise more strongly separated, more exiled, if you will, from the interconnected flow of the rest of the tree.
but the female procreative spirit is the nurturing spirit…it is more independent of the support structure of the male in that fundamental way. is it really surprising then that the traditional way of gender suggestes that the female does not need prayer structure and study structure in the fashion of the male?
and in spite of the efforts of so very many kabbalists to keep the sefirotic away from the corporeal, we don’t have to go any farther than talmud to reveal how odd that point of view is….methinks they doth protest too much. birds and bees….and the flower of the tree….
again, the spiritual state associated with malchut in chassidut is shiflut (‘humility’ or ‘lowliness’). and malchut is associated with “dibur”, the world of speech and self-expression. so we have intercourse either way you take it…..
but shiflut is related to tsniut…usually translated as “modesty” and usually applied unevenly to the dress and appearance of women in traditional circles. what is missed is the deeper meaning of tsniut–‘reserve’. to reserve something is to hold something back or set something apart for a special purpose. it isn’t about shame or covering up, but rather about not “letting it all hang out”….about avoiding familiarity among people or situations that don’t warrant complete exposure.
public sexuality is just a particularly popular and provocative way to violate reserve….an adolescent way really….not an exercise in thoughtful engagement with the idea………except to the degree that you understand our verses from talmud to be utterly true. sexuality is “demiurgic” in the view expressed in talmud, it is a way of manipulating upper and lower, “moving” even G’d G’dself, forcing cosmic change.
keeping such power in reserve is not a bad thing. and the outward symbol of that inner reservation is the modest dress that people associate with the word.
but tsniut is the way of yesod in malchut also in that the interinclusion is tremendously powerful in itself, but even more powerful in its procreative sense…the pathway between that is connection of yesod and malchut is the focuser, the laser-like final path of all the flow through the rest of the tree…..all of it from keter on down into yesod transmits to malchut through one narrow path. and from malchut the Divine Flow births out into the wider world.
tsniut is the external aspect of anavah (‘humility’, ‘gentleness’, ‘meekness’).
let’s pay close attention to the word used for “walking ‘humbly’ with your G’d”. it is not anavah…so the walk is not meek, it is not even gentle (the pace is demanding after all). in fact the word used is tsniut, ‘reservedly’. why isn’t it so translated? probably because in english the sense of coolness that attaches to reserve, the sense of ‘tightness’ and protection of self, is heavy. in casual use, someone who is reserved is not necessarily friendly or open in appropriate ways. but tsniut is closer to the idea of military reserves….power behind the front lines always ready to be exerted in the right circumstance, at the right time. when we walk humbly with G’d we also have G’d’s back….and there is always another part of us developing in the background as we improve our midot, a new strength held as yet in reserve until it is foundational and sovereign within us….only then can it be used well in the world.
to circle back…..tsniut is the word for right-timing sexuality and right-timing the ‘revelation’, if you will, of the corresponding primary and secondary sexual characteristics of the body…and the behaviors to which they are given….so when you are with your spouse…
“you know the night time (night n day) is the right time (night n day)
to be with the one you love”
then again, for reunification of haKadosh Baruch Hu and the Shechinah, night AND day is the right time…. and it is pronounced good. just so for laying the foundation in kingdom. it should be strong, and mighty, and at hand night and day…. but held in reserve for the appropriate time to be revealed to the world. the humble walk with G’d, the “v’halakhta bidrachav” (‘walking in [G’d’s way]’), is a walk with holy power to spare, ever expanding as we do the work of the walk itself.
now if you will excuse me, i’m feeling a bit earnest.
mussar for yesod she b’malchut
with another….bein adam l’chaveiro in a world of virtuality in which privacy is said to be dead and gone, understanding reserve is more complex. it’s probably pretty easy to sense that “sexting” is probably not the way of holiness….but if G’d’s kingdom is foundational in you, how much privacy should be given up and how much kept in reserve online? what goes on the web, after all, affects not only one other, but all the others…..maintain your sense of reserve online today.
with yourself….bein adam l’atzmo in order to establish the kingdom of G’d’s ways in yourself, however, you must not be tsniut internally. rather you must be naked for your own private examination of your doings and intentions and imaginations. reveal yourself to your self!
kabbalah for yesod she b’malchut
in assiyah….the world of doing/completion i suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that there is a refractory period for most people working hard to develop their spirituality. i have heard many people say that the High Holy Days wear them out spiritually…..and that they need a break from “all that synagogue”. ok. go rest in a hut for a week….consider what the lesson of sukkot is for your growing religious practice.
in yetzirah….the world of feeling/formation as we grow in spirituality, making our foundation the sovereignty of G’d’s way, we become more subject to powerful temptation. the temptations of the tzaddik are said to be profoundly severe….yet they are defeated. it is said that the way of victory is not in holding rigidly to the ways we have found, but to be like flowing water, wearing down the stones of temptation almost imperceptibly. meditate on being the water that carves a canyon out of resistance and temptation.
in b’riyah….the world of thought/creation where do you bring the passion of love making to your more intellectual pursuits? in your profession? maybe just in your volunteer work? consider what it would be like to study Torah passionately enough to work up a sweat.
in atzilut….the world of nearness to G’d/intuition in the talmudic tale of the 4 who entered paradise (Chagigah 14b), we learn that 3 of the 4 could not withstand it and came to a bad end.only the 4th, r’ Akiva returned sound as the time he left. consider your won capacity to be very near to G’d. you cleave now to your spouse and become one flesh, but are you able to come as close in cleaving to G’d as you can to your spouse? how can you change this?
kinyan 48 of 48 ways to acquire Torah
Omer Davar b’Shem Om’ro….Repeating a Teaching in the Name of the Sayer. how does citation, specifically by name, increase the gaining of Torah knowledge? well, how many of you have looked up one the verses cited in this blog? and when you did so, did you end up learning something else that you hadn’t originally sought? QED. especially in the world of the web, citation is a crucial tool for expanding knowledge….and for playing fair (Avot 6:6).
“who repeats a dvar in the name of the speaker brings redemption to the world”