10 Kislev 5781 / Thursday, November 26, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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HomeFoundations of JudaismHoliness for Men and WomenWhat's the Big Deal?
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What's the Big Deal?    

What's the Big Deal?

Why does society make a joke about personal holiness and guarding one's holy covenant with Hashem? Why is spilling one's seed such a terrible offense?


Part 3 of “A Holy Nation”
Recap: in the first two parts, we learnt that people become disconnected from G-d, themselves and others because of: 1) Living a lie; 2) Bad character traits; 3) Not keeping mitzvoth; and 4) Sexual impurity. In this section, we're going to learn why sexual impurity is considered to be the worst sin in the Torah.
Sexual impurity - why is it so bad?
In the Western world, people make fun of 'superstitious religious nonsense' about spilling seed. Western society teaches that it's great, fine and even healthy to spill seed. The main problem is that Western society doesn't believe in souls or the afterlife. Once we believe that the soul is a reality, and an integral part of each human being, we can start to understand why spilling seed is so bad.
In a nutshell: Each sperm contains its own potential soul, with all the different 'soul' levels of nefesh, neshama, ruach etc. When a person sins, a part of their soul's 'energy' is captured by the forces of darkness, and is used to power destructive forces in the world. When that person subsequently repents for their bad deed and makes teshuva, they repatriate that part of their soul's energy for good, and it can once again be used to build the world, instead of destroying it.
But when a whole soul is captured by the forces of darkness, that's very bad news for everyone involved.
On page 7, of Holy Nation, they explain: "The Arizal writes that one draws down souls every time one spills seed. These souls are considered one's children. The forces of evil then capture these souls and torture them, stealing their energy for themselves. These souls are greatly agitated and despise their 'father' for doing this to them. They seek revenge on him causing him many grievances."
(By the way, this doesn't just apply to Jews; every time a non-Jew 'spills seed', they are also creating tremendous spiritual forces of destruction, both in their own lives, and in the world generally.)
Rebbe Nachman writes in Likutey Moharan 60: "Sexual temptation causes one's mind to become damaged. This manifests itself in a decrease in knowledge, confusion, a lower level of functioning and even insanity."
(Our own Dr. Zev Ballen has also written about this, specifically, about how suicide rates and mental disorders have gone off the charts in the decade since the internet, and all the temptations of 'cyber sex', have gone mainstream.)
RECAP: Why's it so bad??
The tremendous spiritual energy from all these 'wasted drops' goes directly to power the forces of evil in the world. Once these souls are captured by the forces of evil, it's very hard to free them, and they will do everything in their power to avenge their horrible situation by attacking their 'father', in whatever way they can, including trying to 'steal' his energy, confusing his mind, filling him up with heresy and other evil thoughts, and making him thoroughly depressed, miserable, mad and 'disconnected'.
Let's end this section by highlighting a couple of very important points:
Firstly, there is a very big difference, spiritually, between DELIBERATE spilling of seed and 'accidental' spilling of seed (ie, nocturnal emissions).
(We'll come back to this in a later section, when we talk about Rebbe Nachman's Tikkun Haklali¸or 'General Remedy' for how to free these 'trapped souls' from the forces of darkness.)
Secondly, many people don't realize this, but if they have relations with their spouses (or others) while using birth control that hasn't been mandated by an orthodox Rabbi, this also counts as 'spilled seed'. This is not just a problem for lonely teenage boys.
To be continued
* * *
Check out Rivka Levy's new book The Happy Workshop based on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush

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