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Thinking about Sex and Sin

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The Flirtation

Eugene de Blaas (1843-1932) The Flirtation via Wikipedia

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller

A study of over 3,500 home dream reports collected from men and women by Antonio Zadra, PhD, of the Universite de Montreal, found approximately eight percent of everyday dream reports from both  men and woman contain some form of sexual-related activity. Sexual intercourse was the most common type of sexual dream content, followed by kissing, and all kinds of fantasies. Current or past partners were identified in 20 percent of women’s sexual dreams, compared to 14 percent for men.  Public figures were twice as likely to be the object of women’s sexual dream content; but multiple sex partners were reported twice as frequently in men’s sexual dreams.

Many priests and ministers would strongly condem these kind of dreams and fantasies, as strongly as most people would condem people who actually do these things, based on the teaching of Jesus in the sermon on the mount. They understand Jesus to be speaking about sexual fantasies in the following text (Matthew 5,27-29): “You have heard how it was said: ‘You shall not commit adultery’. But I say to you: whosoever looks at a woman in order to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye has caused you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part (of your body) than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut if off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part (of your body) than to have your whole body go to hell.”

Many preachers traditionally understood this passage to mean: a person who looks at a naked body  or who fantasizes about making love to another person (he or she is not married to) has committed a sin equivalent to adultery. In reading the sermon on the mount it is obvious that Jesus expects his followers to go far beyond the requirements of Torah Judaism, which holds people responsible only for for their actions, and does not teach that fantasies or thoughts are by themselves sinful. Jesus was an idealistic perfectionist, and while many of his ideas were inspiring; some of them have been counterproductive and harmful. Judaism rejects the idea that bad thoughts, that are not acted upon, can doom one to hell.

But people are given credit for their good thoughts even if they do not get the opportunity to act on them. And good thoughts and feelings that are also holy can be effective it done as a religious ritual.  Holy marital sex is an example.

Marriage-holy matrimony for Jews, is a reenactment by two individuals of the holy covenant first entered into by God and Israel at Sinai; when 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 & Qur’an 5:20). The Jewish people chose God by answering, “All that the Lord has spoken we will  do” (Exodus 19:8). Torah is a Jewish marriage contract between two covenanted partners. Mitsvot (Jewish responsibilities) are our 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.

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. 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.

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, 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.

These Tikunim should be done every Shabbat and if desired once or twice during weekdays. They 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 raising to heaven, with her husband below 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.

For more information about Jewish views of mystical sexual relations see my book: God, Sex and Kabbalah or my web site: rabbimaller.com

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One thought on “Thinking about Sex and Sin

  1. Very interesting post. I quite enjoyed it. And thank you for linking to my blog.

    Like

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