Part 11 - The Mystical Consequences of this Sin
Throughout the entire year, a person should always look at himself as equally balanced between merit and sin and the world as equally balanced between merit and sin. If he performs one sin, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of guilt and brings destruction upon himself. On the other hand, if he performs one mitzvah, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of merit and brings deliverance and salvation to himself and others. This is implied by the verse in Proverbs (10:25) “A righteous man is the foundation of the world.” i.e., he who acted righteously, tipped the balance of the entire world to merit and saved it.
-Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Tsuva
The Zohar is the Book of Jewish Mysticism. It is where the Kabala comes from. According to the Zohar, spilling seed is more severe than all other sins. You are not only defiling your soul in this world but also in the world to come. The Shulchan Aruch states that it is forbidden to discharge semen in vain. This is a graver sin than any other sin in the Jewish faith. The Torah goes on to compare spilling seed, whether with a forbidden women, or by masturbation, or by any other means to murder. Within each drop of semen are the souls of potential human beings. They are drawn down from heaven and put in the drops. They reach their potential when they enter the woman and attempt to become living beings. If they go where they are supposed to go, regardless of whether they become living beings or not, they are sanctified souls and become elevated. If they are spilled, these souls, which are the potential children of the individual, are not sanctified. They remain outside the body with nowhere to go. They are swallowed up by the forces of evil which always lurk around us. They then plague the individual for as long as they can. It is further maintained that one who spills seed cannot repent from these sins. He cannot elevate his soul out of gehinom, Jewish hell. This sin has horrendous consequences that are far worse than death. If you think there is an easy solution out of a predicament of spilling seed, be warned: the Zohar says that while almost every sin can be atoned for, there is no tsuva for the sin of spilling seed.
However, we are told that “nothing stands in the way of repentance.” So what is the Zohar telling us? The deeper meaning of what the Zohar is saying is that in order to rectify ourselves from this sin, we need to perform very intense tsuva. It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. A person can wipe away virtually all of the spiritual damages he causes to himself due to this sin within his lifetime. If someone does tsuva for a sin, not only is it completely wiped away, but, the sin itself is retroactively considered as a mitzvah. That is the power of tsuva. Unfortunately, we all have a pre-packaged CNN version of what tsuva, or repentance, is. We think it is tantamount to paying a debt. You sinned a lot, now you have to say extra prayers and put yourself through self-suffering. After a while, your debt is paid and you are even with G-d.
Maybe that works for Catholics, I don’t know. Our version of tsuva is a lot different. Tsuva means to return. A sin is called an avera. It means to cross, or veer off the path. When we do something we are not supposed to, our soul is no longer properly aligned with its Source. We are distancing ourselves from Hashem. We are losing our connection to Him. When we perform acts that we are supposed to do, our soul reconnects to its Source. We are re-charged with immense spiritual energy. We begin to feel an intense inner joy that permeates into all of our being.
Here’s the best part about tsuva: G-d doesn’t wait until you have “paid off your debt” to reward you – no matter how many averot you have committed. It doesn’t matter how disconnected your soul is to its Source, a single act of tsuva is rewarded. Tsuva is not a debt re-payment plan – it is a lifelong process of gradually improving your life. Hashem is with us in every step of this journey, giving us as much spiritual and earthly encouragement as possible to push us to take the next step. The most uplifting experience in all of my life, and B’ezrat Hashem, something all of you will come to agree with me on, is the rewards both for the effort and the results of pursuing a life of sexual morality.
If you think you are too far gone to change, consider what Hashem gives us each and every day. Every morning when we open our eyes, Hashem is giving us a great gift. He is granting us another day to live. E is giving us another chance to do tsuva. He is giving you the opportunity to do a constant tsuva for these transgressions and, Hashem Willing, decrease the amount of punishment and Divine anger we have brought on ourselves. Every morning, we are given another chance to delay the Heavenly Judgment. Hashem, in His great Compassion and Mercy towards His children, gives us many chances to appease Him.
The Chofetz Chaim states that the sin of pgam habrit defiles all 248 limbs and 365 sinews of the body.
The Shulchan Aruch says that semen is the energy of the body and the light of the eyes. When it is excreted inappropriately, the body decays and part of your life is lost.
The Shulchan Aruch goes on to say that it is forbidden to purposely cause an erection or to think impure thoughts. This brings about the creation of semen within the body. It is then excreted out during a nocturnal emission, or drops come out after one urinates. We can all claim that a ‘wet dream’ or a drop spilled after urinating isn’t really our fault – it’s our bodies acting independent of our choices. The fact is that we bring this on by our heated thoughts – whether thoughts of sex, staring at forbidden images, or breaking emotional boundaries with women.
Spilling seed damages the primary channel of Blessings and spirituality from Hashem to the individual. When you disrupt these channels, your soul receives less of its vitality. This brings on a number of hardships. These include, depression, lethargy, sleeping more, health problems, difficulties with maintaining a parnussa, or, livelihood. It also is a primary cause of problems in the home regarding ones relationship with their children or their wife. It is important to know that both single men and married men can commit these sins.
As horrifying as the punishments and spiritual damages we must suffer for these sins – think of how great we can enhance our lives and our connection to Hashem if we do tikkunim for them. What happens when we change our ways, and clear the channel to G-d and allow all of His Blessings to reach us in full force. We can reverse the punishments and turn them into Blessings!
I mentioned how the sin of pgam habrit is like killing ones children. I want to go a little deeper into this subject. The Kabala is many things. It is the Book of Jewish Mysticism, it is one of the many extensions of the Torah. I think another description of the Kabala is that it is the Book of Jewish metaphysics. It is literally the science of spirituality. The basic laws of physics govern the world we see around us with our five senses. There are also many laws that govern the spiritual world around us as well. We cannot perceive this world with our five senses, but we can feel this world with our neshamot, or souls. If you cannot feel this world, don’t worry, with more tsuva and Torah learning, especially in the area of Shmirat HaBrit, you will be able to perceive more and more of some of the deeper realities that the Torah and the Kabala are talking about. We cannot exactly view or explain the complicated details of the laws of gravity, but we know that if you jump up, you will eventually come down. The same general principle applies when it comes to what you are doing regarding the sin of sexual immorality. We don’t necessarily understand the exact consequences of our sins, but we do feel its impact. We can’t explain exactly why we get these feelings when we sin like this. We just know that it happens when we do.
When we spill seed, each drop represents a potential life. That potential life has a soul that is given to it. That means, that with the thousands of drops of seed that we excrete each time we release it, thousands of souls are being brought down from heaven to this world to realize its potential to become a life.
One asks a very obvious question. What happens when the soul does not become life? A husband and wife can have sex many times before the wife, Bezrat Hashem, becomes pregnant. Even if the wife gets pregnant the first time the couple have relations, thousands of drops of seed will not make it to the proper place and become life. It’s also permissible to have relations while one’s wife is pregnant. This act guarantees that the seed used in the act of relations will not create a person. Does this constitute spilling seed? What happens to the souls that are drawn down from heaven?
The answer is that because one is engaging in an act permissible by Torah law, the souls are sanctified. The act of relations, is sanctified as it is performed the way the Torah specifies. The souls that come down with the seed are uplifted and go back to heaven. The couple feels a heightened sense of Kedusha in making this a holy act. A friend told me his personal experience of this phenomenon. Back when he was single, after a night of illicit relations with a woman when he was single, he would feel emotionally and spiritually depleted the next morning. It was hard for him to pray and his learning felt like a chore. When he got married, and engaged in the same exact act with his wife, he felt stronger the next day. He prayed with added with added strength and had a good time learning that day.
If seed is spilled, in a non-kosher manner. The souls that are brought down from heaven have nowhere to go. One is, consequently, spilling souls. The spiritual souls that accompany the physical seed become disconnected from their Source and are vulnerable. What happens to these souls? They are captured by demons. These are spiritual shells that come from the side of evil. The nourishment that is destined for these souls are also captured by these husks, or shells. This strengthens the side of evil as the souls that were discarded are swallowed up by these shells. The souls that we drop are in constant agony. Trapped in these demonic shells, they exact their revenge on the person who spilled them by hanging around that person all the days of his life and causing him constant problems.
This may sound a little far fetched, but it is Jewish reality. On Yom Kippur, we recite prayers directly confessing the sin of sexual misconduct as well as openly admitting to Hashem the demons we have created with our actions. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year and the prayers we recite are of the utmost importance. Our sages wouldn’t include references to creating demons unless it were true. They were able to perceive realities with their strong neshamot that we cannot perceive today. The same way that Einstein was able to perceive the law of relativity with a mind much more perceptive than ours.
These demons that surround us do terrible things. First off, they insert evil thoughts into our heads. Have you ever thought of some evil things and had no idea of what you were thinking? Have you ever ‘scolded’ your mind and had to mentally tell yourself that you do not believe in such things? These are the demons at work.
Another crime they commit against us is that they desensitize us to spirituality. When we sin by spilling seed, spiritually, we are down-spiraling in a deadly cycle of death. The more we sin, the less sensitive we become to everything around us. This includes Hashem, others, and love of Torah.
If you commit the same sin over and over again, you get de-sensitized to the horror of committing it. You feel more at ease with doing it. Creating demons puts an invisible block between Hashem and you. Your ability to fear this sin is diminished. Your ability to feel the power of doing tsuva for this sin is also diminished. You become very distant from the place you need to be in order to fix all of the calamities of your life. This is exactly what the demons want. This is how they work. Whenever you spill seed, you are adding strength to them.
These demons will plague you every minute of every day of your entire existence. When you die, they will still be there, ready to punish you for the sins you committed here in this reality. Remember, we are the ones who strengthen these demons. They started out as empty shells. We brought down to earth our spiritual children and gave them to these demons with our sins.
See for yourself how this impure spiritual force plagues the current reality of the Jewish People.
As deadly and dangerous these sins are, do you ever hear the Jewish leadership doing anything to educate us about it? How many national and spiritual leaders address the severe divorce rate, right now at 70%, among non-observant Jewish couples? How many Jewish leaders fight against the national tragedy that we young Jews don’t get married and begin our families until we are in our 30s and that the population of US Jewery has stopped growing? How many advocates for Israel cancel dinner with their favorite Congressman in order to educate a community on the link between sexual morality and the national security of Israel? As a nation, we have become completely desensitized to these sins.
We are in a serious situation, both individually and nationally. It is not hopeless. Every day we wake up, is a day that Hashem has blessed us, in His great Mercy and Compassion, with the opportunity to fix things. As dire as the circumstances can get, HaKadosh Baruch Hu brings redemption in the blink of an eye. If it is our sins of sexual immorality that cause so much dread among the Jewish People, it will be our tsuva that will redeem us.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe often implies that Tsuva is a very libertarian concept. Tsuva isn’t reserved for the Rabbis. It isn’t only for those who wear a kippa. If you are mired in sin and feel that you are too far gone. If you feel like you no longer have the right to do tsuva. If you feel like a hypocrite for even trying -- THAT’S GREAT! You are literally the star quarterback of the Jewish people. You are our true secret weapon and you have an amazing opportunity to redeem not only yourself, but all of us. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that tsuva isn’t about where you are holding, but where you are going. Spiritual growth is all about the direction you are going in and the force in which you’re heading there. The worse off you are, the more powerful a tsuva you will do when you start gradually correcting your actions.
David Fink is the Editor-in-Chief of the daily investment newsletter, Real Wealth Recon. In 2008, his Real Wealth portfolio MADE MONEY, outperforming the three major indices by 38%, and the average Hedge Fund by 25%. For $99 a year, you get David’s daily market commentary, instant emails for every trade he makes, total access to David’s portfolio, and a weekly review of the major articles published around the world. Why hand over your hard earned money to someone in a suit saying “trust me.” Keep your money and trust yourself. Join the elite investors who are making money this year, and tell Wall Street: YOU’RE FIRED!