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Love God and your Partner

Love God, Organized Religion and your Partner

Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Most young men find most young women very attractive. But since every person is an individual; each individual young man finds each individual young woman attractive in a special way. Some are very attracted at first to a woman's legs, others to a woman's hair, others to her face, breasts, hips, lips, etc.

But no matter how the attraction starts, if it leads to love he will find more and more of her body to be attractive, until as a true lover, he will find every part of her body to be attractive, including the parts that he did not even notice at first.

Indeed, the test of true love is that even those parts of her body that he did not like at first; will become attractive because they are a part of her.

The same process takes place with her personality and character. Different men are drawn to different personality types, and at first there are always some things about the other person that one would like to change. This often applies even more so to women, who in general, pay more attention to various aspects of personality and character in men.

But love has a way of teaching a lover that even the things that one wants to change should be loved because they are part of the whole that the lover adores. Those who are able to do this, will find their loving relationship to be a constant source of blessing and comfort.

This dynamic applies also to each individual's relationship with God. We are drawn to God in various ways, and we often find some aspects of an organized religious community (God's body) to be unattractive.

If we wish to become full lovers of God; we need to find a way to transform our issues with the specific unattractive aspects of the organized religious community and its theology, in a positive way.

In the Siddur we are told that God is a lover of Israel. In the Torah we are told that we should love God with our whole mind, with our whole personality and with our whole commitment. Becoming a lover of God does not mean giving up your individual personality and integrity to submit totally to God any more than getting married means that you are no longer an "I".

It does mean that just as a loving couple is a "WE" each of us need to relate to God as married lovers do to each other. To love pure and chaste from afar, is to have an ideal, but not a real relationship.It is not enough to just love God from afar, you have to marry yourself to one of God's communities, to have a relationship of Blessing and Holiness.

The best way to begin connecting to God and your religious community is to focus on your feelings of love for your own beloved. Focus on two or three of the gifts your beloved bestows on you. The many times your beloved was there for you. The different ways your beloved added to your life.

Then begin to look at the ways you were able to grow in your own love in reaction to your beloved's presence and love. Your feelings of how fortunate you are. The new insights you have learned and the wisdom and maturity you have gained through this life of loving and giving. Feelings of gratitude and trust.

Give yourself at least a half an hour of quiet to do this. Then start to think about similar experiences and feelings you have had over the years, in the larger context of your life in general. Things taken for granted that you should be grateful for. Worries about things that never did occur.

Blessings you received that you really did not earn, or even expect. Open your mind to the wonders of your life; and the awareness that a loving presence may have been there for you and your beloved. When you feel it, even just a little bit: Thank God.

If your beloved is open to also doing this contemplative introspection (hitbodedut) you should both do it alone and then share your discoveries (without embarrassment or self abasement) and if you feel it is right, become spiritually intimate. One way to do this is to follow ancient Kabbalistic forms of spiritual sexuality.

These are intended for couples in traditional marriages, but in our day any fully committed couple desiring to experience Jewish forms of holiness may do them productively. Also, when you see the positive outcomes of these acts, you become aware of God's active love in your life.

Most Jews know it is a Mitsvah to make love to your wife on Shabbat. However, very few Jews know that the holy Kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria, developed several Tikunim (spiritual exercises) to enable spiritually aware Jewish couples to repair fractured hopes and intentions in those around them, to elevate broken spirits both near and far, and to re-energize efforts to make life holy, through a couple's own lovemaking at night.

These Tikunim are among those referred to as Tikunay Hatzot-mid night spiritual exercises. Exactly how personal private Tikunim are able to effect other people and situations is inexplicable, yet with patience, hope and trust in God, many impossible situations get resolved.

Every Jewish wife partakes of some aspects of Leah and some aspects of Rachel. Like Leah, every woman is potentially very fruitful, both emotionally and physically. Like Rachel, every woman is potentially spellbinding and enthralling.

When her husband regards his wife as a gift from God and loves her totally, faithfully and submissively (egolessly), his lovemaking and partnership being more to give her pleasure than for his own pleasure, he realizes and actualizes her blessings and God's blessings. This is especially important when stress makes her weep openly or inside. All forms of Tikun Hatzot stress this.

Sexual activity prior to midnight increases the aspect of Leah. Sexual activity after midnight and in the pre-dawn or early morning hours increases the aspect of Rachel. Sexual intercourse with Leah, better known in Lurianic Kabbalah as the face of Imma the mother goddess, helps to reduce negative actions and situations in family and personal affairs.

Sexual intercourse during the second part of the night is with the Rachel aspect who ascends in the morning as Matronita, the ruling presence of Shekinah. Elevating Matronita helps avoid the worst case public scenarios we fear; and helps increases the number of small but important contributions made to the improvement of Jewish and world society. One who regards his wife as a gift from God will pray in her intimate presence.

These Tikunim should be done every Shabbat, for as Rabbi Judah ben Yakar (C.1200 CE) said, “Our Mitsvah of marital coupling is derived from what the Holy One said to Shabbat, -the community of Israel will be your mate-” Thus Israel sanctifies the Shabbat, and a Jewish husband sanctifies his Jewish wife.

If they desire he should also adore his wife at least once or twice during the weekdays. These Tikunim are not magic, but if done faithfully they always have a positive impact over time. A Hassidic mystic, Rabbi Nathan Hanover, adds, “After you perform Tikun Hatzot, prepare yourself and unify the Holy One with Shekeenah by making your body, each and every limb, a chariot for Shekeenah.”

Thus sexual activity should end with the wife above, feeling she is Shekeenah, the ruling Matronita, blessing her husband and rising to heaven, with her husband below her feeling that he serves as a mystical Merkavah-chariot (as did the Holy Temple in Jerusalem) elevating her to the heavens.

This helps actualize your thoughts and desires and promotes remedies, rectifications, and blessings for those around you and throughout the world. Beginning on Shavuot increases the possibilities sevenfold.

Even if you have difficulty believing in the outcome of these concepts, you can only gain personally by practicing the Mitsvah of spiritual intercourse. In time, the effectiveness of Tikunim may become more apparent. You have nothing to lose but your skeptical secular ego.

Rabbi Yitzhak Saphrin, a great Hassidic scholar, taught; “The Divine Spirit does not rest on an unmarried man, because holy inspiration is derived from one's wife.” If you are not yet ready for this level of inspiration then remember the Talmudic (Berachot 57b) statement, “Three (experiences) adumbrate heaven: Shabbat, a bright sunny day, and sexual union.' A sunny Shabbat morning with a wife who is God's blessing, is like winning the trifecta.