Thursday, December 8, 2016

An Open Discussion About A Closed Issue

לזכות יהודי הנמצא במצוקה גדולה - שה' ישפיע עליו שמחה ופרנסה!

It is very interesting. The only time we hear of sexuality in our times is when there is a perversion of it. Either it is a story of abuse such as rape or pedophilia, infidelity in relationships [i.e. affairs], people who choose "alternative" lifestyles [called affectionately by the Torah "abomination"], or other aberrations [there is now a polygamous cult in Tel Aviv. They say it will bring the geula, which really means they are looking for religious license to be permissive - hey,  what's better than bringing the geula??]. If a man has a healthy relationship with his wife it is not newsworthy. But if he has a marriage ceremony with his one and only true love - his dog "Spot" - THAT is newsworthy. 

Why is sexuality only worthy of discussion when it involve perversions?

Let us look at the Torah. In Beresheis there is talk about sexuality - Adam "knew" his wife Chava. This knowledge was not going out for a pizza and asking about her family. ["So, Chavi, what does your father do?" "Oh - he is the Founder and CEO of the world". "Really?! My father too!!" "What about your mom?" "I don't have one". "Really?! Me neither!!!"] It was carnal. Then in Parshas Noach and in Parshas Lech Lecha then in Parshas Vayera etc. etc. there is talk of sexuality. It runs through the entire Tanach. It is clearly a central part of our religious life.

One sixth of Torah Shebial Peh is about sexuality. It is called "Seder Nashim". The moshol for our relationship with Hashem Yisborach is couched in sexual terms - Shir Hashirim which is called by Rebbe Akiva "Holy Of Holies". 

Or how about the pasuk referring to the geula that we all await anxiously every second of every day: 

כִּֽי־יִבְעַ֤ל בָּחוּר֙ בְּתוּלָ֔ה יִבְעָל֖וּךְ בָּנָ֑יִךְ וּמְשׂ֤וֹשׂ חָתָן֙ עַל־כַּלָּ֔ה יָשִׂ֥ישׂ עָלַ֖יִךְ אֱלֹהָֽיִךְ׃

As a young man "marries" a young woman,
so will your sons "marry" you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.

That is a sexual metaphor that is used to describe the relationship between Klal Yisrael and Hashem. If the moshol wasn't holy it wouldn't be used for such an elevated nimshal. So the ultimate geula relates to sexuality. 

The Mishna [Yevamos 65] teaches that the ENTIRE world was created for Pru Urivu. Think about it - couldn't Hashem have thought of a different way to perpetuate the species?? OF COURSE he could have. But he chose sexual relations as the ONLY way to procreate [naturally and ideally]. And if procreation is the purpose of creation that means that so is sexual relations. The world was created for procreation which is generated by sexual relations which places relations in an exalted position of being indispensable element of the our very raison d'etre. 

One can compare this to the famous Ran in Kiddushin [beginning of second perek]. The gemara says that there is a mitzva for a woman to receive Kiddushin herself because there is more of a mitzva for the person himself to do the mitzva than it is through a shaliach. Asks the Ran: What mitzva? She is not commanded to have children? That is only the man's mitzva! He answers that since she helps the man fulfill his mitzva, it is also a mitzva for her and her part is transformed into a mitzva [see Chidushim Ubiurim Al Ha-shas of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, simman 27]. So too we can say that since relations are an essential aspect of Pirya Vi-rivya and Pirya Vi-rivya is the purpose of creation - so too are relations part of the purpose of creation. Remember - Hashem has this all thought out and he decided that the goal of creation should be executed via relations. הלא דבר הוא. 

A person spends hours and hours looking for that most beautiful esrog. He wants to do the mitzva bi-hiddur. What about the mitzva of Onah [obligatory conjugal relations]? Why don't people spend hours learning - bikdusha ubitahara based on Torah and not chas vi-shalom based on shmutz - about how to make their wives most happy and fulfill the mitzva bi-hiddur. Why is an esorg more important than his wife and their relationship. A short shmooz the day before his wedding and that is the first and last time he hears about it for life.

There is a Facebook group in a modern Orthodox community where married man and married women who are interested in "expanding their horizons" can find each other [so I am told]. This is obviously beyond - disgraceful, shameful, dishonorable, inexcusable, unpardonable, unforgivable, reprehensible, despicable, abominable, contemptible and heinous. 

But there is a reason such a group exists: people aren't happy with their own marriages in general in which case that almost always means that their sexual relationships are not satisfying. So they look elsewhere. 

Divorces cause so much pain and distress to so many people. If the sex life of the couple was as exciting as it should be then many divorces just wouldn't happen. אהבה מכסה על כל פשעים  - The intense love and excitement that the couple felt for each other would give them the ability and will to work through their issues. 

My suggestion is not to write books about intimacy with provocative names and give advice counter to the standards of Torah and tzniyus like a certain well known fellow [who calls himself Rabbi and sports a beard] whose name is well known. Chas Vi-shalom.

What I am saying is that since the Torah places shalom bayis at the top of it's list of importance - so much so that we erase the very name of G-d for shalom bayis [for to create shalom bayis is to write the name of Hashem - Maharal] - it behooves every married couple to make sure that they are sexually satisfied. Otherwise - people will continue suffering in silence and many of the negative consequences which started in a dysfunctional bedroom will continue to manifest themselves.

In addition - it is necessary for people to understand the difference between the kedusha of the Jewish marriage and the tumah of the outside world.

In the words of Rav Hutner:

So we have many reasons to bring this critical topic - with tzniyus and kedusha - to the fore and to stop shushing it up. That only exacerbates the many problems so many people are having. There must be more rabbonim and female spiritual guides [such as Rebbetzins] who are trained to treat these problems and more sefarim written about sexuality according to the Torah because to date there are almost none. 

ואין כאן מקום להאריך יותר.