Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Marriage is the single greatest test in a person’s life. It measures the couple’s commitment to spirituality and can reveal a lot about where they stand. Sometimes the problem lies with the husband, sometimes with the wife and sometimes with both.
Nowadays, unfortunately, many basic notions have been put to question and result has been catastrophic. Men often don’t know how to be men and women often don’t know how to be women leading to much pain and suffering.
Here we will attempt to gain some insights on what this powerful relationship is all about. In order to understand the potential of marriage to a person’s prayer, some more Kabbalistic ideas need to be presented.
Men and women were created in pretty much the same way the spiritual worlds were created. In general, we say that the masculine aspect of creation (spiritual worlds and vessels) is the giver and the feminine aspect is the receiver, as we see in the physical anatomy.
This does not mean that women are worse than men in any way. Higher and lower does not mean better or worse in the spiritual worlds. Not only that but there’s a principle that everything that has a higher source fell below and was created later. Women, having a higher source than man arose earlier in Hashem’s mindto be the perfect vessel of receiving His Light.
The Zohar divides the Mochin (Divine Mentality, inspiration) into 4 types: Chokhmah (Wisdom), Bina (Understanding), Da’at of Chassadim (Generous or Expanding Consciousness) and Da’at of Gevurot (Restraining or Restricted Consciousness). They are represented by the 4 pronged Shin (ש) carved on the head Tfilin. We will not go in detail about what each of them means, but men and women receive these Mochin from Hashem. They can be received by studying, praying, doing Mitzvot or good deeds and boost a person’s mental power.
However, married women receive their share mostly from their husbands and that’s where the problem lies. If a husband is doing his job and fears God, he will receive the Mochin and pass on to his wife. The most direct way is through the conjulgal act, which needs to be done with utmost holiness.
This is important because if a person (man or woman) doesn’t get his requisite amount of Mochin, he grows bitter, depressed, angry, arrogant and a plethora of other bad emotions. These emotions, when left on their own (or, in Kabbalistic language, are not sweetened), cause great destruction.
In the Midrash and the Talmud, our sages already hinted to the importance of having Hashem in the marriage in the way the hebrew words for man and woman are written. Man is called Ish (איש) while a woman is called Isha (אשה). Notice that their names contain the divine name י״ה, which means that when they are dedicated to Hashem, they have peace and blessing, but when they stray from their roles (and abandon the divine name), they form twice the word for fire, esh (אש).
This ties in very beautifully with the teaching from the Tanya the main work from Chabad, from Rabbi Zalman of Lyadi, the Alter Rebbe. Based on the verse “He makes peace in the heights [of Heaven], he will make peace for us and all of Yisrael and we all say amen”, the Alter Rebbe writes that the Ministering Angel of Water Michael and Ministering Angel of Fire Gabriel wish to destroy each other.
What keeps them from doing so? The answer is their fear of Heaven. Hashem makes them do peace even though they are so antagonistic to each other. With fear of Heaven comes the power of Prayer, as we said in the previous article that the Tzaddik rules with his fear. And there’s no greater fear of Heaven needed than in marriage, where Fire (women) and Water (men) need to unite in harmony.
This is why it’s so important to study Kabbalah and Chassidut, which brings a person to true fear of Heaven and can bring a person much closer to Hashem.
We find in many of the rabbinical writings that the house is compared to the Beit HaMidkash. The table is like the altar which can bring atonement to a couple if they eat with holiness or bring poor people or scholars to eat. The kitchen finds its parallel in the sacrifical preparation and utensils rooms of the temple. And, of course, the Kodesh HaKodashim (holies of holies), where Hashem’s great unity is revealed in, is compared to the room where the couple unite. It is indeed a most holy place because it can bring tremendous blessing to the family and the world.
The Zohar brings a tremendous Chiddush (novellae) on this fact. We know that spilling seed is one of men’s worst sin in the world. According to the Sages, it’s equivalent to the 3 cardinal sins of murder, idol worship and immorality. This also causes tremendous curses in the house and can destroy a marriage as a wife certainly doesn’t get her Mochin. This would lead someone to think that perhaps the couple shouldn’t engage in marital relations when the wife is pregnant, as the seed is obviously not used for anything. As it turns out, every single time the couple is together, new souls are created, even if they don’t receive a physical body!
Obviously, this also doesn’t mean peace depends entirely on the husband. The wife alsohas to work on her Middot (character traits) and become a fitting vessel to receive these Mochin. Marriage isn’t a competition but more of a partnership that needs tremendous self-sacrifice and prayer from both of them.
This can take many ears to perfect and there are ups and downs but, when this happens there’s true, lasting peace and blessing can be found in the house.
Studying Kabbalah is a huge source of merit that can bring all sorts of salvation to a person’s life.
If you want to sponsor someone to study in-depth Kabbalah from the Arizal or the Rashash in your merit and receive its blessings, especially forsustenance, children and health, please send me an email.
This article was written and published in the zechut of all Emuna Builder Partners. May they have complete emuna and continue spreading emuna!