Sanctifying Marital Intimacy [#2377]

April 7, 2019


In sefer “Da Es Baischa” the Rav explains that a husband’s primary bond with his wife should be mostly through the neshamah (soul) and less through the guf (body). I don’t understand. If a person identifies himself as a neshamah and therefore he mainly wants a bond of neshamah with his wife, his physical desires will weaken and he won’t be able to have desires for her. This will obviously destroy his marital harmony, and he won’t be able to fulfill the mitzvah to have physical intimacy with his wife, because he will form a disgust for the desires of the body and he will only want a spiritual bond with his wife.
I know that the Rav explains more about this point in the sefer that this doesn’t mean spiritual connection alone, and that in our times, we also need a physical union in marriage, since we are currently not on the level of before the sin, and therefore the body always has some hold on us. Still, the Rav explains in the sefer that the main bond in marriage is through the neshamah, and that any unity attained through physicality is in the category of “nega”, faulty pleasure, as opposed to true oneg (pleasure).
What I have understood from the Rav in the sefer is, that a person needs to bring the dimension of the soul into the physical dimension, of marriage. But I do not understand how to actually do this. If the marriage bond is mainly spiritual, then the physicality shouldn’t be of any value, but if husband and wife bond solely through physicality, they will bury their spiritual bond and they will not really connect.
I probably did not understand correctly what the Rav meant, but I want to know how I can reveal a bond of the neshamah with my wife, in a way that I can still properly carry out the mitzvah of physical intimacy – because I don’t understand how a person can fulfill the mitzvah of physical intimacy with his wife if he compromises on the strong physical desires of the body for her.


The main bonding [between husband and wife] needs to be through the neshamah – that is, for one who is at that level. But even for who is at this level, he also needs to bond with his wife through the physical body. It is just that one needs to intellectually recognize that the pleasures of the physical body [in the act of physical intimacy] are not real pleasure (oneg), but faulty pleasure (nega). One should also be able to feel this, to some extent. When one can intellectually and emotionally recognize, to some extent, that this pleasure is really nega (faulty pleasure) and not true oneg (pleasure), this will place some restraint on one’s physical desires from becoming totally expressed. So, from the perspective of the neshamah, one needs to have an inner connection with his spouse, and from the perspective of the body, one needs to connect to his spouse through pleasure – which should be restrained somewhat by recognizing that the pleasure isn’t true pleasure. This is the depth of the matter that one should not completely satiate his physical desires.

However, if someone feels that any of this will cause him to neglect the mitzvah of physical intimacy with his wife, he is not on a level at all to do any of this.