Most Jews know that sexual activities between a husband and wife are a Mitsvah. This is because in Jewish thought kiddushin-holy matrimony, is a reenactment by two Jewish individuals of the holy covenant first entered into by God and Israel at Sinai. At that time God and Israel first chose each other. God chose Israel saying, “You shall be a special treasure for me,,, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:4-5). The Jewish people chose God by answering with the traditional ‘I do”, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Ex 19:8)
In this traditional metaphor Torah is the ketubah-marriage contract, between two covenanted partners. Mitsvot are their daily loving interactions. Torah Study and worship are the pillow talk between God and Israel. Tikunim- Kabbalistic mystical exercises, meditations and sexuality are the intimacies of married life.
As I said most Jews know that sexual activities between a husband and wife are a Mitsvah. Many Jews know that lovemaking on Shabbat is a double Mitsvah. Some Jews know that the Kabbalah (the Jewish mystical tradition) teaches that the Shekinah (the feminine presence of God) rests on a Jewish man when he makes love to his Jewish wife on Shabbat. Indeed some Kabbalists believed that any act of marital intercourse done with the right spiritual mindset was a Divine activity. The Zohar, the most influential Kabbalah book asks, “When is Shekinah ingrained in him? When he is married, and his sign (circumcised penis) enters the site (his wife’s vagina)”. Zohar I:94a And Rabbi Elijah de Vidas, in his Kabbalistic book entitled Reshit Hokhmah (The Beginning of Wisdom) published in Venice in 1579 teaches “A man would not delay making love to his wife when he feels passion for her, even if he were given all the money in the world. Similarly he should feel passionate about doing Mitsvot since by doing Mitsvot he makes love to the King’s daughter, that is the Shekhinah, for every wife is her husband’s (Godlike) daughter.”
However, very few Jews know that the holy Kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria, developed several Tikunim to enable spiritually aware Jewish couples to repair fractured hopes and intentions in those around them, to elevate broken spirits both near and far, and to re-energize efforts to make life holy through a couple’s own lovemaking at night. These Tikunim are among those referred to as Tikunay Hatzot-mid night spiritual exercises. Exactly how personal private Tikunim are able to effect other people and situations is inexplicable, yet with patience, hope and trust many impossible situations get resolved.
Every Jewish wife partakes of some aspects of Leah and some aspects of Rachel. Like Leah, every woman is potentially very fruitful, both emotionally and physically. Like Rachel, every woman is potentially spellbinding and enthralling. When her husband regards his wife as a gift from God and loves her totally, faithfully and submissively (egolessly), his lovemaking and partnership being more to give her pleasure than for his own pleasure, he realizes and actualizes her blessings and God’s blessings. This is especially important when duress makes her weep openly or inside. All forms of Tikun Hatzot stress this.
Sexual activity prior to midnight increases the aspect of Leah. Sexual activity after midnight and in the pre-dawn or early morning hours increases the aspect of Rachel. Sexual intercourse with Leah, better known in Lurianic Kabbalah as the face of Imma, the great mother Goddess, helps to reduce negative actions and situations in family and personal affairs. Sexual intercourse during the second part of the night is with Rachel who ascends in the morning as Matronita, the ruling presence of Shekinah. Elevating Matronita helps avoid the worst case public scenarios we fear and helps increases the number of small but important contributions to the improvement of Jewish and world society. One who regards his wife as a gift from God will pray in her intimate presence. As Rabbi Yitzkhak Saphrin, a great Hassidic scholar, taught; “The Divine Spirit does not rest on an unmarried man, because Holy Inspiration is derived from one’s wife.”
These Tikunim should be done every Shabbat for as Rabbi Judah ben Yakar (C.1200) said, “Our Mitsvah of marital coupling is derived from what the Holy One said to Shabbat, -the community of Israel will be your mate-” Thus Israel sanctifies the Shabbat and a Jewish Husband sanctifies his Jewish wife. If they desire he should also adore his wife once or twice during the weekdays. These Tikunim are not magic but if done faithfully they always have a positive impact over time. A Hassidic mystic, Rabbi Nathan Hanover, adds, “After you perform Tikun Hatzot, prepare yourself and unify the Holy One with Shekinah by making your body, each and every limb, a chariot for Shekinah.”-Thus sexual activity should end with the wife above, feeling she is Shekinah-the ruling Matronita blessing her husband and rising to heaven, with her husband below her feeling that he serves as a mystical Merkavah-chariot (as did the Holy Temple in Jerusalem) elevating her to the heavens. This helps actualize their thoughts and desires and promotes remedies, rectifications, and blessings for those around them and throughout the world.
Even if you have difficulty believing in the outcome of these concepts, you can only gain personally by practicing the Mitsvah of spiritual intercourse. In time, the effective of Tikunim may become apparent. You have nothing to lose but your secular ego. Rabbi Yitzkhak Saphrin, a great Hassidic scholar, taught; “The Divine Spirit does not rest on an unmarried man, because Holy Inspiration is derived from one’s wife.” If you are not yet ready for this level of inspiration then remember the Talmudic (Berachot 57b) statement, “Three (things) adumbrate heaven: Shabbat, sunshine, and sexual union.’
Rabbi Maller’s web site is: rabbimaller.com
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- Sexuality, Kabbalah, Ritual and Meaning in Jewish Tradition (medievalmystics.wordpress.com)