Fixing Bad Blood

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Kabbalah discusses escaping the power of the sevens and entering the realm of eight.

And G‑d spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the children of Israel, saying 'If a woman conceives and gives birth to a son, she shall be impure for seven days; she shall be impure as she is in the days of her menstrual period. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.'" (Lev. 12:1-3)

It is recommended that the Arizal's teachings regarding impurity and defilement should be reviewed here.

chanoch adds: There are three sections in the Gate of Reincarnation – Shaarei Gilgulim that are on the yeshshem website that are part of the Ari's teachings on impurity and defilement. They are Advanced eincarnation Class 19 – Class 25 A and B – Class 26. In the Shaarei Gilgulim they are sections – Chapter 15 Section 1 - Chapter 23 section 1 and 2. There are sections of the bZohar that will be helpful as well. As these sections from any Sage are added I will add a section of classes on this subject to the yeshshem website belie Ayin Hara.

Know that this [i.e. a woman's defilement for seven days after giving birth to a son] was caused by the injection of the [snake's] poison into Eve.

chanoch adds: This teaching from the Ari can help settle the criticism of the impurity of women and the need for a Mikvah before resuming relations after her period. Of course it is necessary for the people studying the question need to have an open mind and heart and be searching for truth.

Although the text of the Bible only says that the snake spoke to Eve, it is explained in the Oral Tradition that the snake actually had intercourse with her (Rashi, Shabbat 146a).The snake personified "evil", i.e. selfishness and self-centered ego, the antithesis of G‑d-consciousness.

chanoch adds: This helps to understand the difference between the snake and Satan. Thee terms often are used interchangeably in Torah and should not be without a code word definition, which i have not seen as of yet.

Of course, every individual has a unique divine soul, which is meant to express itself as his/her distinctive "divine personality" with its own unique contribution to the world's understanding of G‑d's presence in the world. This may express itself in many ways, from innovative understandings of the Torah, to artistic creativity, to acts of kindness, to inspiring others to lead holy lives, and so on. This is the person's unique, divine "ego". Thus, ego per se is not necessarily a bad thing.

chanoch adds: In this paragraph we see a hint to the different definition of the word ego in Kabbalah and Psychology/Psychiatry.

The problem is that this divine ego is too often hidden by the alter-ego of the animal soul. This alter ego begins as the consciousness-of-self that a person must have in order to ensure that he will look out for his own physical needs, but quickly assumes complete control of the person's thoughts, making him selfish and self-oriented. In other words, if a child is not given proper spiritual education [a.k.a. Torah], which trains him to give precedence to his divine soul, his animal soul will take over by default. This is so because the animal ego is given initial control of the mind - for an infant first needs to learn how to take care of itself.

chanoch adds: In this commentary the translator we see hints to why the good inclination waits until the 13th year to begin to communicate its alternatives to the childhood ego. In my opinion this explains the confusion of the teenage years.

This inflated consciousness of self (i.e. inflated beyond the basic consciousness-of-self required for us to function physically) is defined as "evil", inasmuch as it usurps the role intended for the divine soul.

Inflated consciousness of self…seeks to divert the individual's attention from divine matters…

It seeks to divert the individual's attention from divine matters - sometimes with material indulgence, sometimes with substitute forms of spirituality - in order to aggrandize his concern with and focus on himself. This subterfuge can express itself in very refined ways also, such as abstract intellectual or artistic pursuits. In most people, their conscious mind is a blend of mostly animal ego and some deep desires of the divine soul seeking to surface. The more one spiritualizes his life and - through learning Torah and performing mitzvot - gives his divine self means for expression, the more his creativity will express true divinity and be able to identify and focus on the divine element in other people's creative output.

The animal/subjective/selfish perspective on life was introduced to humanity by the snake, its primordial personification. By sexually injecting its psychological poison into Eve, the snake robbed Adam and Eve of their ability to selflessly see reality.

chanoch adds: Thes last few paragraph's must be realized as commentary. While I agree with the comments I find it important to stress that I do not understand why it is interjected to the essay at this point. What is the purpose of this last paragraph?

This [also] explains why Adam was created from the dirt of the place of his atonement and why [this dirt] was not taken from the Garden of Eden. For G‑d knew that he would sin, and, had he been created from the dirt of the Garden, there could never be any atonement for him. G‑d therefore [created Adam outside the garden] and brought him into it [afterwards].

chanoch adds: This teaching is recommended to contemplate as it begs the question was the Garden of Eden the Land of Israel before the Sin of Adam and Chava?

According to tradition (Bereishit Rabba 14:8), Adam was created on what would later be known as the Temple Mount, or Mount Moriah, specifically from the spot where the outer altar of Temple would later stand.

Had the primordial sin not occurred, mankind would not have been divided into Jew and gentile….

This fact signifies that man was created with the potential for repentance, i.e. the ability to restore his consciousness to its intended divine orientation such that his true, individual, divine ego can be revealed.

G‑d took Adam out [of the garden] when the sin [he and Eve committed brought out] the injection of the [snake's] poison. This was the intermingling of the seventy gentile nations with Israel in Eve's womb.

Had the primordial sin not occurred, mankind would not have been divided into Jew and gentile; Adam and his progeny would all have had the status now held only by the Jewish people. Once pure divine consciousness - the original consciousness of Adam and Eve - had become diluted with self-consciousness, it became necessary to separate between the two. This, indeed, has been the task of mankind ever since its primordial fall, and this process will eventually end in the restoration of reality to its original spiritual state.

chanoch adds: This relates to the teaching from the Zohar and the Ari through the Baal Shem Tov that all of Mankind will eventually become Children of Israel.

This is why Eve menstruated at that moment, giving birth to Cain, who shed blood, and Abel, whose blood was shed. This is the origin of woman's menstrual blood, as it is written, "When a woman gives seed and gives birth to a boy, she shall be impure seven days; [as in the days of her menstrual period shall she be impure]." (Lev. 12:2)

The fact that the Torah compares impurity contracted by birth with impurity contracted by menstruation indicates that the two are thematically connected. Menstruation causes the woman to focus on herself physically and emotionally. (This is why marital relations are forbidden during menstruation; the woman is too focused on herself to focus on her husband and/or their common soul.)

Menstruation is spiritually the result of the introduction of self-awareness into humanity…

The fact that this is so indicates that menstruation is spiritually the result of the introduction of self-awareness into humanity, which we have seen originated in the snake's injection of his physical/metaphysical "seed" into Eve. The laws of family purity are the divinely directed way the menstrual experience can be transformed into what is meant to be: an educative process out of self-orientation.

chanoch adds: Recently there was a request for men to realize how they have not yet realized how what is seen as ok behavior from the male perspective may not be seen as ok from a female perspective. This discussion began with a relating of an experience one women experienced with Joe Biden. The above paragraph intellectualizes an emotional experience of a women as only men can do. Without realizing the emotional context of menstruation. This is my opinion and if I am incorrect please advise me.

Bleeding at birth also began with the primordial sin; had Adam and Eve not sinned, childbirth would occur without bleeding (and this will be the case in the future).

chanoch adds: The above comment does not address the resolution to the multiple answers to the question of will there be children after Mashiach? Some Sages say yes and some say no. It will depend on the extent of the tikune completion of each soul is the reconciling. Early after Mashiach there will be children and then the birth rate will decline until it becomes zero.

[This is also] the reason she becomes impure for seven days when she gives birth to a boy, for when she contributes her redness first, the offspring is male.

We are taught that "when the wife gives her seed first, she will give birth to a male; when the husband gives his seed first, she will give birth to a female."(Berachot 60a) The fact that the woman gave birth to a boy means that when the child was conceived her femininity took the leading role; her desire to express divinity in the world produced a male, since males are obligated to fulfill more active mitzvot than are women.

With this we will also understand why, of the four "foreskins" of man only that of his procreative organ is circumcised. The reason is because [these four "foreskins"] allude to the four [years that] a tree's fruit is considered "foreskin". The foreskin of the procreative organ is where Adam sinned, so it recalls the injection of the [snake's] poison and sexual sin ['keri'], known as "evil"; [this organ is thus] compounded of good and evil.

The Torah uses the expression "uncircumcised" of four human organs: the male procreative organ, the ears, the heart, and the mouth. (See Bereishit Rabba 46:5.) These organs are referred to as "uncircumcised" or as possessing a "foreskin" when the individual does not use them to be sensitive to others or to G‑d.

When a tree is planted, we are forbidden to eat the fruit it produces during its first three years. This prohibition is called "orla", which is the word for "foreskin". Rashi explains that this is so because we are to treat the fruit as if it were blocked off from us by some type of foreskin. The fruit the tree produces during the fourth year is to be taken to Jerusalem and eaten that year within the precincts of the holy city (Lev. 19:23-24)

The sanctification process consists not of eliminating the animal awareness but refining it….

In Kabbala, it is explained that the tree's fruit during its first three years belongs to the three realms of absolute evil (kelipot) that cannot be elevated by human consumption; this is why eating it is prohibited. The fruit of the fourth year comes from the realm of the "translucent shell" (kelipat noga), which includes all things that are neither intrinsically good nor intrinsically evil but rather assume the status of good or evil depending on how they are used. Whatever comes from this realm is neither forbidden by the Torah (for then it would be "evil") nor expressly legislated (for then it would be a mitzvah), but simply permitted.

chanoch adds: This comment above is recommended to contemplate as it relates to the elevation of sparks and the method recommended to utilize for various sparks based on their source.

The heart, ears, and mouth, must be guarded scrupulously from any contact with evil; any "foreskin" on these organs (i.e. experience of insensitivity, selfhood and unrectified ego) is bad and must be rejected. With the sexual organ, however, the picture is not so black and white.

A certain amount of self-awareness and self-orientation is necessary if marital relations are to occur. True, we are bidden to sanctify our sexuality as much as we can, but - in contrast to the other three organs - the sanctification process consists not of eliminating the animal awareness but refining it such that it serves as a window to our divine soul. This is the paradox of marital relations: each partner is to focus on giving pleasure to the other, but in order for each partner to do this successfully, the other partner must oblige by experiencing his/her own pleasure.

Regarding the congealing of semen when it is mixed with the choice parts of the blood of the woman's redness and the leftovers of this process, which becomes the embryo's nourishment - all this is alluded to in the verse: "Behold, I was formed in transgression, and my mother conceived me in sin". (Psalms 51:7) "Transgression" refers to the whiteness from the father, and "sin" refers to the redness of the mother. Similarly, the verse "Have You not poured me out like milk, and congealed me like cheese?" (Job 10:10) refers to the same.

"My mother conceived me in sin" does not mean that marital relations are sinful (G‑d forbid), but simply that a certain element of self-awareness is necessary for them to be carried out as G‑d desires.

We shall now return to the subject of the injection of the [snake's] poison, and how the intermixing of good and evil is the mixing of the 70 nations [with Israel in Eve's womb]. Samael is the [celestial] king of the 70 [celestial] princes, while Michael presides over the 70 [sages of the] Great Assembly [corresponding to] the 70 souls of Jacob (see Gen. 46:8-27)


The angelic personification of self-orientation is the "demon" (i.e. negative angel) Samael. Michael is the angelic personification of chesed.

The 70 members of Jacob's household express the 70 facets of divinely-oriented emotion…

The reason there are seventy nations, seventy corresponding descendants of Jacob, and seventy members of the Great Assembly is because these are personifications of the seven emotional attributes from chesed to malchut, each consisting of ten sub-sefirot. The seventy nations express the seventy facets of self-oriented emotion (the emotions of the animal soul), while the seventy members of Jacob's household express the seventy facets of divinely-oriented emotion (the emotions of the divine soul).

From this you will understand why a boy must be circumcised after seven days and one night [have passed from his birth]. This is the mystical meaning of the verse: "The days of our years in them are seventy years, or with strength, eighty years" (Psalms 90:10) and in what merit [the heavenly court] annuls a decree of seventy years [of suffering].

The seven days before the circumcision correspond to the seventy years in this verse, the eighth day to the eighty years, as will be explained presently. The seventy years of suffering are to rectify the blemished seven emotions. (Shabbat 63a, 119b.)

And know that for every year there is different [celestial] prince, and that no [celestial prince] has permission to pass into the area of another's jurisdiction. This is why we do not take tithes from one year's produce for the previous year, but rather take tithes each year from its own produce. This is also why we must repent every year for [the sins of] that year, for the repentance of one year does not help for another year.

Time, in Judaism, is not a monolithic entity. Every moment in time has its own unique nature and "personality", a result of the changing hues of divine energy constantly recreating the world. As part of this, every year has its own personality, and therefore mitzvot designated to be performed in a specific year must be done so. Above, this is depicted as the "prince" or angelic personality of a specific year not being able to trespass into another year's "space".

This is why [the heavenly court] annuls a decree of seventy years [of suffering], for the individual falls under the power [of the forces of evil] for only seventy years. G‑d therefore has mercy on him and annuls this power. But when a person becomes eighty years old, [the forces of evil] no longer have power over him, this being the mystical meaning of "or with strength, eighty years", meaning that he has overpowered them for ten years.

Evidently, seventy is the maximum number of years of suffering that can be decreed. This is so because seventy is the full expression of the seven emotional attributes. By sinning, a person blemishes these attributes, and, since there are only seven, seventy is the maximum period of rectification he needs, a year per sub-sefira. When a person turns eighty, he has "outlived" his emotions by ten years, meaning that he has rectified them through the ten sefirot of his divine soul.

The number seven is therefore thematically associated with the emotions, the realm of the person's personality that can be under the influence of evil. Of course, there is evil intellect also, but the major battle between the animal and divine souls is fought over the individual's emotions - what he will love, fear, empathize with, etc. In contrast, the number eight signifies triumphing in this struggle.

Therefore Scripture decrees that "on the eighth day he shall be circumcised", for he has then escaped the power of the sevens and entered the realm of eight.

Circumcision on the eighth day means that the newborn Jew has transcended the power of seven, of nature, of the animal within him, and entered the realm of the transcendent, the supernatural power of holiness.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim, parashat Tazria; subsequently published in "Apples From the Orchard."

A Plague Upon the Soul

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Kabbalah details the spiritual imbalance at the roots of sickness.

In this week's Torah reading, we are given the laws of the various skin diseases [types of tzara'at, usually and incorrectly translated as "leprosy"] that can render a person spiritually impure. These specific diseases do not render an individual impure because of their physical contagiousness, but rather because their presence reflects some spiritual fault or contamination.

chanoch adds: In my opinion, the correct translation of Tzara'at is “skin disease diagnosed by the Cohen = Priest”. Since this is a long translation we will use Tzara'at. Please remember this comment.

The first verse of these laws is:

"And G‑d spoke to Moses, saying, "A man on whose skin there is a raised-disease or an excess-disease or a bright-disease, and it turns into the plague of tzara'at on his flesh, he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons, the priests." (Lev. 13:1-2)

Regarding the appearances of the plagues, [we are taught that] they are two that subdivide into four. (Nega'im 1:1)

A man's spouse mirrors his own level of refinement….

The principle appearances are the bright-spot and the raised-spot; the "excess-spot" mentioned in the verse is interpreted to mean that there are two ancillary colors of spots for each of these, giving four colors (actually "shades" or degrees of white) that signal the onset of tzara'at. Also regarding them, it is written:

"[The Chaldean nation] is awesome and terrible; its judgment and its raised-disease come out of it." (Habakkuk 1:7)

chanoch adds: Chaldean nation refers to astrology that foretells future events as well as other forms of divination.

From this verse we see that the occurrence of the raised-sign is caused by a manifestation of divine judgment.

Let us [first] note that the word for "my raised-disease" [in Hebrew, "se'eiti"] may be permuted to spell the word for "my wife" ["ishti"]. [This indicates that] if a person merits, [his wife is good to him; if not, she is like a plague to him].

"Se'eiti" is spelled: sin-alef-tav-yud; ishti: alef-shin-tav-yud.

chanoch adds: As I have said a good example of a Kabbalistic marriage is the book “Taming of the shrew”. As the man changed so did his wife. Of course I never read the play.

On the verse: "It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helpmate opposite him" .(Gen. 2:18; Rashi ad loc ), the Sages comment, "if he merits, she is his helpmate; if not, she becomes his opponent." In Chasidut this statement is interpreted to mean, "if he is refined, she [reflects this and] acts as his helpmate; if he is not, she [reflects this, too, and] becomes his opponent." A man's spouse mirrors his own level of refinement, particularly his sexual refinement.

Know that the four appearances [of the plagues] are [manifestations of the two wives of] 'Satan' and his two maidservants, Sagrir— and Tzar--, who attach themselves [parasitically] to Eve. He introduced pollution into Eve.

'Satan' is the name of the demon (i.e. an angel whose task is to promote wickedness) who is the general personification of evil. He appears in history first as the Primordial Snake, who raped Eve and thereby introduced the seminal evil of self-consciousness and self-orientation into humanity.

Elsewhere (Likutei Torah, Tazria), the two principle wives of 'Satan' are given as Na'am— and Lil--, and his secondary wives are their maidservants Garir— and Tzar--. These four represent the perversions of sexuality that lurk around a person's spouse, tempting him to defile his holy marital intercourse by making it a means for selfish gratification, mere base, sensual fulfillment, egotistic manipulation, etc., instead of selfless, divine love.

These four [she-demons] are opposite the four mothers that Jacob married, thereby imitating Adam. They are alluded to in the verse [describing King Og of Bashan]: "Behold, his bed is a bed of iron" (Deut. 3:11), for Og alludes to 'Satan'.

Jacob married two principle wives, Rachel and Leah, and their maidservants, Bilhah and Zilpah. The initials of their four names spell the Hebrew word for "iron", "barzel".

Og was the king who attempted to prevent the Jewish people from entering the land of Israel. Entering the Land of Israel is another analog of sexual intercourse, the Jewish people being the husband and the land the wife that they enter and fertilize both physically and spiritually, in order to produce physical and spiritual yield. Og, in seeking to prevent this holy entering, assumes the role of 'Satan', who, together with his wives, seeks to derail the holy intercourse between husband and wife.

It is apparent from this also that anyone who is not a member of the Jewish nation and lives in and thereby "husbands" the land of Israel is committing spiritual adultery. The Torah therefore forbids non-Jews to live in the Land of Israel. (Ibid. 7:2; Rashi ad loc.)

chanoch adds: This is an English translation of Deuteronomy 7:2. and when the LORD thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them;. As one can see this interpretation is a stretch. Also the Torah elsewhere teaches that Righteous Gentiles may live in the Land of Israel – just not from the above 7 nations.

Jacob rectified the sin of Adam; he is therefore considered himself to be a rectified version of Adam, the consummate human being.

This relates to the 130 years during which Adam consorted with Lil--'s and spirits derived from 'Satan', whose name has the numerical value of 130 [plus the kolel].

Adam separated from Eve after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden and did not return to her until 130 years later, when they together had their third son, Seth. During this hiatus, he did not succeed in remaining celibate, but rather his sexual energies were spent succumbing to the fantasies offered him by 'Satan''s wives, and he thus sired legions of demons who propagated the energy of selfish sensual fulfillment ("evil") throughout reality.

'Satan' is spelled: samech-mem-alef-lamed: 60 + 40 + 1 + 30 + 131.

chanoch adds: Actually the commentator is spelling Sama'El not Satan. Sama'El has the meaning of Samael is "venom of God". In the Talmud, an archangel of death and destruction known as the accuser, seducer and destroyer.

The reason the Torah uses the word "adam" for "man" in the phrase "a man on whose skin…" instead of [the more usual] word "ish" is because the sin [that causes tzara'at to appear on the skin is committed] because the individual is [in a sense reliving the life] Adam.

I.e. he is succumbing to sexual temptation, as we have seen that Adam did.

The only name used to describe someone in the fullest state [of divine consciousness] is "Israel". Before [Jacob was given this name], 'Satan' was attached to his thigh, and he was limping because [he was struck with regard to] the other rib that Adam had previously [lost], as it is written, "And He took one of his ribs." (Gen. 2:21) This [rib] was [made into] Eve, and not the other wife, Lil--.

As mentioned above, Jacob rectified the sin of Adam and in so doing became the perfected version of Adam (who had blemished himself spiritually by committing the primordial sin).

The purpose of Jacob's stay with Laban was to work on rectifying Adam's sin. As he later told Esau, Jacob "dwelt with Laban", the word "dwelt" alluding numerically to the 613 commandments he kept in order to perfect reality. (Ibid. 32:5, Rashi ad loc.) Having done this, Jacob prepared to return to the Land of Israel. Inasmuch as the Land of Israel is an analog to the Garden of Eden, his return there was to be the spiritual equivalent of Adam's return to the Garden, the restitution of reality to its pristine divine state.

But when Jacob returned to the Land of Israel (which, as we have seen, is a metaphor for marital relations) after his stay with Laban, he had to first prepare to confront Esau (another personification of 'Satan'). The night before their encounter, he wrestled with Esau's angel (i.e. 'Satan'), and although he overcame him, he was left limping because "he struck his hip-socket, so Jacob's hip-socket was dislocated." (Ibid. 32:26. See also v. 32)

When Jacob was healed of this limp, it indicated that he had overcome this temptation….

At the conclusion of this encounter, Esau's angel blessed Jacob and informed him that his name would become "Israel", but G‑d did not actually give Jacob this second name until later (after Jacob met Esau, the incident with Dinah occurred, and Jacob built an altar at Bethel). (Ibid. 35:10) In other words, there was some lapse of time between Jacob's struggle with Esau's angel and his completion of the rectification of Adam's sin, signaled by his being renamed "Israel". (See Rashi, (33:18) that Jacob was healed of his limp before he arrived in Shechem.)

In other words, as Jacob was about to enter the Land of Israel (an analog for marital relations) and complete the rectification of Adam's sin, 'Satan' came and attempted to derail him from achieving his goal. He did this by tempting him with sexual perversion, just as he had done at the dawn of history with Adam and he does whenever holy, loving marital relations are about to occur. In other words, he "struck" him with regards to his relationship with his spouse. Since Eve had been constructed out of Adam's rib, this is tantamount to saying that 'Satan' struck Jacob's rib, trying to subvert the true marriage, Adam-to-Eve, with a spurious one, Adam-to-Lil--.

When Jacob was healed of this limp, it indicated that he had overcome this temptation and had earned the name "Israel".

(Gen. 2:23)

The emphasized words indicate that Eve is here being contrasted with someone else, namely, Lil--.

The divine name Y-ah is [the difference] between them, and without it, they are both fire [in Hebrew, "eish"].

The Hebrew words for "man" ["ish", spelled alef-yud-shin] and "woman" ["isha", spelled alef-shin-hei] are very similar. Each is composed of three letters, two of which are the same as in the other word. The two common letters [alef-shin] spell the word for "fire", and the two different letters [yud in "ish" and hei in "isha"] spell the Divine Name Y-ah [spelled yud-hei].

As the sages of the Talmud point out (Sotah 17a), this means that the union of husband and wife should include the divine presence, and when it does not, they are not really a true man and woman but just two fires, two opposing passions.

This is why demons fly about in the air, for they are composed of the elements of fire and air.

Demons are produced by sexuality devoid of the presence of G‑d….

As we know, demons are produced by sexuality devoid of the presence of G‑d, i.e. the simple fire of sensual passion expressing selfish pleasure-seeking, etc.

After this digression regarding the essence of sexual perversion, the Arizal now explains why sexual perversion causes tzara'at.

As to why [the skin disease] is called "tzara'at", it is because [it comes from] Lil--, who was jealous [in Hebrew, "tzarat ayin"].

The term used for "jealous" here ("tzarat ayin", literally, "troubled of eye") is spelled tzadik-reish-tav ayin-yud-nun. The latter three letters can be considered simply the spelling out of the name of the letter ayin, so that the whole locution becomes tzadik-reish-tav-ayin. These are the same letters used to spell "tzara'at", tzadik-reish-ayin-tav.

She therefore kills the children of Eve, as it is written, "her rival provoked her repeatedly…." (Samuel I 1:6)

The word for a rival wife is "tzara", literally, a "troublemaker", since in a polygamous setting it is assumed each wife will consider the other a troublemaker. Lil— considered Eve such a troublemaker, usurping her perceived husband. In her angry jealously of Eve, she seeks to destroy Eve's children through infant mortality, crib death, etc. (G‑d forbid).

chanoch adds: The Zohar explains that crib death occurs to souls that are negative. They are given to LL to play and amuse her since these babies will not grow spiritually during this lifetime. The pain the parents feel cleanses their lack of unity during nmarital relations. This is my opinion.

She cannot rule over someone who sanctifies himself during marital relations….

But she cannot rule over someone who sanctifies himself during marital relations, for such a person elicits a flow of seed from a supernal source, i.e. the river of the Garden of Eden. This becomes for [the married couple] a delight [in Hebrew, "oneg"], rather than a plague ["nega"]. This is alluded to in the verse "Happy are you who sow upon all the waters" (Isaiah 32:20) - the waters of life, referring to someone who sanctifies himself [during marital intercourse].

If marital relations are conducted in a spirit of selflessness, love, and holiness, the children produced are immune to Lil--'s machinations. The couple's delight in each other does not degenerate into a plague.

The words for "plague", "nega", and "delight", "oneg", are composed of the same letters:

"Nega" is spelled: nun-gimel-ayin.

"Oneg" is spelled: ayin-nun-gimel.

Proper intentions during marital intercourse ensure that these letters will be ordered properly. Chanoch adds: meaning oneg = joy or delight

In contrast, for someone who does not sanctify himself [during marital relations, his experience] becomes that of the plague. He elicits a flow of seed from the place of murky waters, the "waters of bitterness that bring curses", as alluded to in the laws of the suspected adulteress [sotah]. (par. Num. 5:22-23) This is why [the punishment of the suspected adulteress, when found guilty, is that] her belly swells and her leg falls off, (Num. 5:21, 27) because she was disloyal to her husband [by accepting] the impurity of the Snake.

By committing adultery, a person elicits unholy seed. This flow of seed becomes manifest as the water given to the suspected adulteress to drink; if she is guilty, it destroys her sexual organs and kills her.

And therefore also, if she is proven innocent, she "sows seed" from the supernal source. (Ibid. 5:28)

If she was innocent, the water given to her to drink is rooted in the same source as that of seed elicited during holy intercourse. According to the Sages, if the woman was infertile, the water makes her fertile; if she hitherto produced ugly children, she will henceforth produce beautiful children, and so on. (Rashi on this verse)

For Eve, [the impurity of the Primordial Snake] turned into the blood of menstruation, which causes tzara'at, and her delight [oneg] turned into plague [nega]. [The process of] Eden-river-garden [became the plague].

One cause of tzara'at is intercourse with a menstruating woman. (Zohar III:33b; Shaar HaGilgulim, introduction 38; Shaar HaPesukim, Iyov) During menstruation, a woman is acutely conscious of herself and her physical feelings and therefore not capable of focusing on marital relations in a selfless, loving way. Marital relations are therefore forbidden during this time, and someone who engages in them will be affected by the woman's self-orientation, leading to tzara'at.

"And a river came forth from Eden to water the garden." (Gen. 2:10) The same letters that spell both "delight" [oneg] and "plague" [nega] are the initials of the three words for "Eden", "river" ["nahar"], and "garden" ["gan"].

The hei of the name "Abraham" diminished itself.

The whole world was created in the merit of Abraham….

G‑d changed Abram's name to "Abraham" by adding the letter hei. In this context, He said, "Your name shall no longer be called 'Abram', but your name shall be 'Abraham', for I have made you a father of a multitude of nations." (Ibid. 17:5) This would be ample cause for haughtiness, but Abraham remained humble. This is alluded to by the following. In the verse "These are the generations of heaven and earth when they were created (Ibid. 2:4), the word for "when they were created" ("behibaram") can be permuted to spell "Abraham" (Avraham), indicating that the whole world was created in the merit of Abraham. (Bereishit Rabba 12:9) But in this very word, the hei - the letter that made "Abram" into "Abraham", the person on whose merit the whole world rests - is written small.

And therefore, these four appearances of tzara'at come upon the haughty, the sexually perverse, and the boastful. (See Arachin 16a) This is alluded to in the verse "…because the daughters of Zion have been haughty…" (Isaiah 3:16). The disease is called a "raised-disease" because [it comes from] haughtiness, and an "excess disease" because [it comes from] sexual perverseness, and a "bright-disease" because [it comes from having relations with a woman before she has purified herself from] the blood of menstruation. Therefore tzara'at comes from these [three sins].

"Excess" alludes to how a person seeks sexual fulfillment in ways other than with his spouse. "Bright" is the opposite of the darkness of blood.

This is also why it is written, "He shall be brought to the priest" - in order that he quarantine him, for during his isolation he will repent, inasmuch as when he is quarantined he cannot do evil or any of the things that cause tzara'at. If he did not repent, the priest would declare him [impure] and he would have to "dwell outside the camp, and announce [as he walked], "impure, impure!"(Lev. 13:45) [so that others would know to stay away from him].

Similarly, the souls above are quarantined by the angel Michael, the supernal priest, or by some other lesser angel, this being the meaning of the phrase "or to one of his sons, the priests".

But if [such a soul] is declared to suffer from tzara'at, woe to him, for "he must dwell alone outside the camp". The numerical value of the word for "alone" [in Hebrew, "badad"] is 10, meaning outside the realm of the ten sefirot, in the realm of evil.

Badad: beit-dalet-dalet = 2 + 4 + 4 =10.

"And he will call, 'impure, impure,'" meaning that he is given over to those who "wreck havoc in the field" (Songs 2:15), each of whom is called "a man of the field", for they are happy to be of the portion of "the man who knows how to hunt, the man of the field" (Gen. 25:27), this being the domain of Esau, may G‑d preserve us.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Healing Swollen Ego

In Kabbalah, the laws of both impurity and of circumcision teach us about humility.

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

This week's parasha begins with three seemingly unrelated topics: the ritual impurity acquired by a woman through giving birth, the commandment to circumcise infant boys on the eighth day after birth, and the ritual impurity imparted by the condition known as tzaraat. (The latter term is usually incorrectly translated as "leprosy", but in fact refers to a unique disease that existed only when the Temple stood and bears only the slightest resemblance to what we know today as leprosy.) Since the order of topics in the Torah is significant, the juxtaposition of these three topics begs for explanation.

Both above types of impurity, as well as menstrual impurity, which is also part of the following discussion, are purely spiritual conditions, and must not be confused with medical or hygienic conditions. Although spiritual impurity may be brought about by physical conditions and has physical repercussions, it is more a psychological malaise than a physical one. The ritually impure person typically suffers from some kind of mental association with death, depression, ego, or other condition that is antithetical to the joyful optimism characteristic of healthy spirituality. In order to resume a life of active spirituality, he must be "purified" from this mentality. This will be evident in the course of the Arizal's discussion.

[The parasha opens:]

And G‑d spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If a woman conceives, and gives birth to a son, she shall be impure for seven days; she shall be impure as she is in the days of her menstrual period. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised."' (Lev. 12:1-3)

It is worth examining why the Torah states "saying" twice in this passage, when once would have sufficed. [We must also address] why the commandment of circumcision is mentioned in the context of menstrual impurity and the impurity incurred through tzaraat; what do they have in common?

Furthermore, the Torah continues:

When a man has in the skin of his flesh a swelling, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh the plague of tzaraat…. (Ibid. 13:2)

The words in this verse appear to be out of order; it should have said:

"When a man has in the flesh of his skin the plague of tzaraat, as a swelling, a scab, or a bright spot…."

All the above will be understood based on our sages' statement that in consequence of disobeying G‑d's command, Eve was made to undergo the blood of menstruation and the blood of virginal marital relations. (Eruvin 100b) [They inferred this double bleeding] from the double expression, "I will increase greatly [your suffering…]." (Gen. 13:6)

By being circumcised…we weaken the power of impurity…

As originally created, the physiology of woman was such that she did not have a menstrual cycle, and the process of conceiving and giving birth did not involve any bleeding. Nor did she bleed when she first engaged in marital relations. These (as well as other) facets of life were introduced into reality as the result of the primordial sin. In other words, in order to rectify the faulty way of thinking or looking at life that led Adam and Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit, certain physical changes occurred in reality, among them the menstrual cycle and virginal bleeding. By experiencing and properly dealing with these phenomena, mankind should ideally undergo a spiritual maturation process that will eventually lead to the final Redemption. At that time, these conditions of fallen reality will no longer be necessary, and life (including woman's physiology) will revert to its Edenic state.

chanoch adds: In my opinion the difference between women experiencing the menstrual cycle nrelate to the differences that each female soul experienced within the sin of Eve and how far she has achieved in her individual tikune with respect to that aspect of her tikune.

This, then, is the explanation of the opening verse:

"And G‑d spoke to Moses, saying" - that is, "concerning what I am about to say to you about menstrual and virginal bleeding. If the Jewish people ask you why they have to be defiled by menstrual bleeding, seeing that they are a holy people, then…

"Speak to the children of Israel, saying." - that is, "Tell them that it is because Eve transgressed what I told her to do, she was made to suffer the impurity of menstruation. For this reason…

"If a woman conceives, and gives birth to a son, she shall be impure for seven days; she shall be impure as she is in the days of her menstrual period."

So far, the Arizal has answered his first question, namely, why the repetition of the word "saying" in the opening verse. The first refers to G‑d addressing Moses with the commandments concerning childbirth, and the second is the answer to the Jewish people's potential question as to the reason for these commandments. They are the consequence of another "saying", G‑d's commandment to Adam and Eve.

The commandment of circumcision is mentioned in connection with the impurity of menstruation, since by being circumcised, a person will be kept from being defiled with the impurity of menstruation. This is why G‑d commanded us to circumcise baby boys when they are eight days old, for through this we weaken the power of impurity and eliminate evil lust.

Once the spiritual dimension of marital relationsis allowed into the picture, it enhances the physical dimension as well…

The foreskin of the male reproductive organ effects his experience of marital relations in two ways: it increases his gross sensual pleasure and decreases his sensitivity to his wife by insulating him from her to a certain extent. By removing the foreskin, the experience of marital relations becomes for the man less of a narcissistic indulgence and more of a true spiritual coupling between him and his wife. Once the spiritual dimension of marital relations is allowed into the picture, it enhances the physical dimension as well. The sages of the Talmud therefore state that ideally, at least, it is the Jewish couple that experiences the truest enjoyment in marital relations.

During the wife's menstrual period, she is too self-aware and self-conscious to engage in marital relations with the proper spiritual orientation. The Torah thus forbids marital relations during this period. When a man has been circumcised of his gross sensual approach to marital relations, he retains more control over his sexual passion, and is thus less likely to succumb to them. His circumcision thus helps him not engage in forbidden marital relations, including relations with his wife during her period.

Furthermore, circumcision indicates that man is the servant of G‑d, stamped with His seal. As such, he will certainly not transgress his Master's command.

The Torah refers to circumcision as the "sign" of the covenant between G‑d and the Jewish people. The Jewish man is thus "branded" as G‑d's servant, and this awareness serves to remind him that he is responsible to a higher authority.

Therefore the commandment of circumcision was placed between the commandments concerning menstrual impurity and the impurity induced by tzaraat, for circumcision protects him from both. He will not engage in sexual relations with a menstruating woman, and will also remain humble and of lowly spirit, like a servant stamped with the seal of his master, thus shunning haughtiness.

As the Arizal will explain presently, haughtiness is the root of the impurity of tzaraat. He has now answered the question as to why the commandment of circumcision is placed between the commandments of menstrual impurity and tzaraat.

There are three types of haughtiness: One type of person is haughty in his heart and appears to be humble to everyone else. About this type of person, the Torah says, "When a man has in the skin of his flesh a swelling". That is, his haughtiness ["swelling"] is concealed deep within the skin of his flesh and is not apparent to everyone. It is a private sort of egocentricity.

Haughtiness is such a severe blemish on a person's personality that even G‑d Himself hates it…

A second type of haughtiness is that in which a person feels superior to those like him, but not to those who exceed him in wisdom or stature. This type of haughtiness is called "a scab". [The Hebrew word for "scab", "sapachat", means a connected addition,] as in the verse, "Assign me [in Hebrew, "sapcheini"], please, to one of the priestly duties" (Samuel I 2:36), in the sense of "joining" and "connection". [It thus refers to someone who feels superior only to those of his own caliber.]

The third type of haughtiness is more serious [and therefore requires a lengthier process of purification]. This is the "bright spot", meaning that the person feels and acts superior even to those who exceed him in wisdom, stature, or wealth. He acts impudently to all. This type of haughtiness is therefore alluded to by the strong, bright spot.

G‑d detests all three of these, and all three are made to suffer the impurity of tzaraat, even the first, which is the most innocuous of the three in that he is only haughty inwardly. This is why the Torah repeats the phrase "in the skin of his flesh", to intimate that he is considered plagued with this impurity even if it is hidden from public sight, and that he will be duly punished. Even more so, of course, is this the case with the other two types of haughtiness, which are more heinous.

bThe Arizal has now answered his third question, regarding the order of the words in the verse about tzaraat. He now briefly discusses the problem of haughtiness in general.

As mentioned, haughtiness is such a severe blemish on a person's personality that even G‑d Himself hates it. Thus, it is written, "G‑d reigns, He is robed in haughtiness." (Psalms 93:1) That is, haughtiness is spoken of here as a mere article of clothing that G‑d dons in ruling the world in order to instill fear in His creatures and then immediately takes off. Thus our sages state, "Whenever you find mention [in the Bible] of G‑d's greatness, you find immediate mention of His humility." (Megilla 31a)

With the above explanation, we may now understand the verses quoted properly.

Translated and adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Sefer HaLikutim - From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

The Secret of Skin

Kabbalah teaches that G-d makes purity emerge even out of impurity.

From Shenei Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz

"A person having a blemish in his skin…." (Lev. 13:2)

We can understand this in relation to the vestments for the priests, which were to be "for dignity and adornment". These were to symbolize the "garments of light" [in Hebrew. 'ohr', spelled with its first letter alef], which Adam and Eve wore before the sin of the Tree of Knowledge; they had to subsequently exchange these garments for those of "ohr" spelled with an ayin [instead of an alef as above], meaning "skin" - garments of skin.

While on one hand this demonstrates a fall from grace, Onkelos translates the term for "garments of skin" as "precious garments" (see Gen. 3:21). At first glance it seems that Onkelos is mixing the term spelled with an alef with the term spelled with an ayin. In fact, he is alluding to a mystical dimension to this comparison which is rooted in the verse: "…as the advantage of light over darkness." (Ecclesiastes 2:13) The message there is that G‑d makes purity emerge even out of impurity. [From the "skin", the external aspect of our beings, will eventually come a spiritual benefit; what appeared to be a descent will ultimately be an advantage.]

Translated and adapted by Eliyahu Munk. from Shenei Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz.