Immorality In Our Times & The Remedy [#2151]

Question:

How are we to understand the outbreak of same-gender attraction which fills this generation without restraint, and how can we help those who have fallen into this, to come out of it?

Answer:

[THE ROOTS OF THE MATTER:]

The deeper roots of this matter [in terms of Kaballah, the mystical teachings of Torah][1] is contained in an understanding of the upper spiritual realms (the upper Partzufim), namely, in the dimensions known as “Atik” and “Arikh”. The Sages teach that “There is no “left” side [corresponding to the feminine] in Atik”, meaning that there are no traces of the absolute “feminine” in this dimension. Rather, any of the “feminine” (nukva) in that dimension is found on a very obscure level, called “achor b’achor” (lit. “back-to-back”), and it is only within the “masculine” (duchra), meaning that it is the “feminine within masculine”, nukva d’duchra. At this level, the nukva/feminine does not correspond to the Heavenly sphere known as “malchus” (royalty) which corresponds to total femininity, but to the Heavenly sphere known as “yesod” (foundation, which corresponds to the masculine). The absolute level of nukva\feminine only exists in the spiritual realm of the “lower” Partzufim,

The world which we are in, the world of “action”, corresponds to the concept of nukva, the feminine. In our world, there is a concept of absolute femininity, which is expressed by the Torah’s acknowledgment of the difference between man and woman, and which is also manifest in the forces of the soul and the physical body.

In the End of Days, the upper spiritual dimensions are radiating strongly, and this is the root of “the illumination of Mashiach”. Chazal state that Mashiach, who comes from Dovid, comes from Sodom and Moab [through the union of the daughters of Lot with their father, who lived in Sodom and who are the ancestors of the Moabite nation]. Therefore, in our current times, where the “light of Mashiach” is radiating – as the Sages teach, from the 6th century and onward – as a counter-attack from the forces of impurity, the spiritual defilement of Sodom has come to our world along with this illumination [in order to counter the “light of Mashiach”].

In the side of holiness, represented by the spiritual realm of the “Upper Partzufim”, the “masculine” forces are called “Atik” and “Arikh”. In the side of evil, these forces enter our world of action, where they manifest as “the acts of Sodom” [men lusting after men: immorality].

In the side of holiness, the “masculine” represents the idea of total giving with no receiving. In terms of the soul, this refers to the power of “lishmah”, to act for non-ulterior motives: when one does something not out of any will to receive something in return. When this spiritual light (lishmah) “falls” into the lower realms, however, it becomes used by the physical body – which only wishes to receive, and which has no interest to act lishmah. The body turns the spiritual light of lishmah – the “masculine” – into a desire to do the acts committed in Sodom [where men lusted after other men]. This was previously an entirely “masculine” force (giving without needing to receive), which becomes turned by the body into the “feminine” (the need to receive).

[THE REMEDY:]

The main part of the remedy for this is when one uses the soul’s power of lishmah. One should understand that the lust of men for other men is actually the body’s misuse of the power of lishmah, and therefore, the root of the remedy is to recover the power of lishmah. Through connecting to lishmah, one intensifies the “masculine” force in the soul.

However, the above is only a repair which will apply to pure souls who have been negatively affected by the forces of defilement which fill the world without restraint. There are other souls on this world who deliberately incite others to sin in this area, and most of them are reincarnations of souls of the people of Sodom. Their only remedy is to being willing to die al kiddush Hashem (in sanctification of Hashem’s name).

At a more basic level, this particular lust is fueled by the imagination. Chazal state that the evil inclination has seven names (see Succah 52a), and Reb Nachman of Bresslov said that it also has an “eighth” name: “medameh”, the imagination. This particular “name” of the evil inclination – “the imagination” – is mainly manifest in the time period of the End of Days, especially when it comes to the desire for immorality. In concept, it is when a person imagines that he has a desire for another person, as if the other person is him. It is like a mirror, which shows a person his own image, and the person desires the reflection – meaning that he has a lust for his own self.

The depth of this matter is what the Vilna Gaon writes in sefer Mishlei, that there are two root evil inclinations – “taavani”, lust (water) and “kaasani”, anger (fire). The sin of Adam HaRishon and Chavah was taavah/lust, when they desired the Tree of Knowledge. Anger, however, is rooted in the “seven kings of Edom” who originally ruled in the beginning of Creation. Anger is the manifestation of a desire that is unmet, and the deep root of anger is therefore not “anger” per se, but gaavah, conceit, which is also known as “ana emloch”, “I will rule”.[2] The depth of conceit is when a person desires that everyone else should be like him. This conceit is expressed through one’s imagination. Thus, anger (which is rooted in desire) actually comes from conceit. So it is desire which pulls anger and conceit towards it. In the End of Days, the root of evil appears. The root of evil is not the sin of Adam, or the Serpent, or the warring feminine and the masculine forces, but “the seven kings of Edom” – the deeply rooted desire of ana emloch, “I will rule”. (As a hint, “Edom” is from the word “medameh”, imagination).

In the spiritual dimension of the “upper” Partzufim, known as Atik and Arikh, there are no traces of the feminine. In our world, this concept manifests [in the side of evil] in the imagination, which fuels conceit: “ana emloch”, “I will rule”, the idea that “Everyone else should be like me”. That is why a person would have a lust for another person: his lusts are really a product of his deeply rooted conceitedness.

The truth is that the imagination, which is false, wouldn’t be able to exist if it didn’t have a spark of truth to it. This spark of truth is that the “feminine” is able to be ‘turned’ into the “masculine” level that is at the spiritual level directly below it. That is why the imagination is able to use this transformation. Through the desire for immorality [men lusting for men], there are essentially two “females” [two receivers], and the imagination ‘turns’ the two ‘females’ into two ‘men’ [as if there are two “givers” here, when in reality they are only two “receivers”].

[ACTUALIZING THE REMEDY:]

The root of the soul-remedy for this is, firstly, to understand that the holy root of this concept is the power of lishmah. Therefore, if one feels capable of doing so, he should work on the concept of lishmah.[3]

Secondly, one should understand that the desire for immorality stems from gaavah/conceit. Therefore one should work on the area of conceit, as explained in the words of our Sages about the topic, and as explained in the series of “Fixing Your Fire-Conceit.”

Thirdly, one should recognize that the desire for immorality comes from the imagination, which causes a person to want that other people should resemble him. The soul-remedy for this is to get oneself to “resemble” Hashem[4]. In this way, one transforms his misused “masculine” force into a proper “feminine” force: to become a holy kind of “receiver” [by channeling one’s dependency and lusts as a desire to receive solely from G-d].

In the “animal” level of the soul, the power to “receive” takes on many forms: sometimes as lust, sometimes as fear, sometimes as lowliness (the opposite of conceit), sometimes as a will to be different from others, sometimes as a will to associate oneself [with a certain person or cause], etc. But those are just the manifestations of the issue, not the root of the issue. As with all other problems in the “animal” soul, one needs to use apply the power of “daas[5] in order to come out of the improper “garments” [which have come upon the soul].

[In conclusion]: The more that people work on the concept of acting lishmah, the more that this spiritual damage [of men lusting after men] will be repaired, for then the light of kedushah (holiness) will shine in the world and remove the tumah (defilement). Then it will be revealed that this entire Creation is for Hashem’s sake

[1] Editor’s Note: refer to Aryeh Kaplan’s “Inner Space” for a general overview of Kabalistic concepts.

[2] Tzidkas HaTzaddik 206

[3] Editor’s Note: The Rav discusses “lishmah” in Bilvavi Parts 2, 4, and 6, and in the derasha of 48 Ways_030_Beloved

[4] Refer to the series Getting To Know Your Imagination

[5] As explained in Getting To Know Your Feelings