Awesome Insights Into The Kabbalah of Marriage: How Men and Women Advance in Avodat Hashem

In this article we will explore the Kabbalah of marriage, starting from the act of going out together, passing through Kidushin and having children.

Shidduchim—the practice of dating or facilitating connections for marriage—often represents a challenging phase in one’s life. For numerous individuals, this journey involves navigating a series of unfruitful dates and wading through less-than-helpful advice. Similarly, marriage introduces its own set of trials, marking the commencement of a couple’s true spiritual and physical challenges.

The Zohar is very emphatic (to say the least) that a man must get married. Yet everyone knows how difficult it is to get married, and even more to keep marriage going.

Join us as we explore these significant life stages from a Kabbalistic perspective, seeking deeper understanding and insights.

Kabbalah of marriage explains a lot about gilgulim

Shidduchim – The first step in the Kabbalah of marriage

Shidduchim, the process of finding one’s spouse, is imbued with profound Kabbalistic mysteries. Discovering a life partner brings immense joy and stability, enriching our lives in ways we all yearn to experience. But it also doesn’t happen by chance.

A foundational concept in understanding Hashem’s Divine Providence is that the events in our lives are not random, nor can they be attributed to a single cause. Contrary to the common belief that life’s occurrences unfold in a straightforward, mechanical manner, the reality is far more complex.

In fact, Hashem orchestrates an infinite number of calculations to facilitate matrimonial unions, taking into account factors such as the couple’s merits, their parents’ virtues, necessary personal rectifications, prayers, challenges posed by negative forces, soul connections, and surprisingly, even elements of what might be considered “luck.” This is exemplified by a Talmudic teaching (Moed Katan, chapter 3) that permits the betrothal of a woman during Chol HaMoed to prevent her from marrying someone else.

This brings us to the understanding that while Judaism believes in the concept of soulmates, there are situations where one may miss the opportunity to unite with their destined partner. In such cases, it is only through Hashem’s compassion that they may find another soulmate from a similar spiritual origin.

The journey to finding one’s spouse is influenced by myriad factors. Recognizing this, it’s essential to engage in sincere Teshuva (repentance) and prayer, which can expedite the process. However, it’s also acknowledged that Hashem might delay a person’s meeting with their intended partner, particularly as a consequence of transgressions related to sexual conduct. This is why we have the Tikkun HaYesod in the weeks of Shovavim, at the time of the publishing of this article.

Therefore, the ideal path involves addressing and rectifying our shortcomings as swiftly as possible, with the hope of meriting to find our true partner sooner rather than later.

Kidushin – Getting married

Marriage, or “Kidushin” in Hebrew, derives from the root קדש (Kadosh), which teaches us fascinating insights into the nature of union. The Arizal teaches that this root, found in terms such as Kidush, Kadesh, Kadish, and Kodesh HaKodashim, signifies the Sephirah of Chokhmah (wisdom), representing a higher, non-verbal wisdom that wards off evil.

Kedusha, or sanctity, implies separation from its former state, embodying a distinct elevation, and this is why the Zivug of Talmidei Chakhamim is from Shabbat to Shabbat.

This concept of sanctification (Kidushin) plays a crucial role in the Kabbalah of marriage. When a man mekadesh (sanctifies) his wife he is granting her special protection and distinguishing her from others. This act of sanctification is not just a physical safeguard but also elevates her spiritually, marking the beginning of their journey toward completeness.

The birth of children further elevates the couple’s spiritual status, aligning them with the Sephirot of Chokhmah (wisdom) and Binah (understanding). Initially, the man draws down illumination from Chokhmah, representing the system of six Sephirot (Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod), while the woman embodies Malkhut. Their growth to a higher spiritual plane signifies the fusion of their souls, as the Zohar states that “Chokhmah and Binah never separate,” though their distinct qualities remain.

As generations continue, and their children have children, the couple ascends to the level of Keter (the Crown or Supreme Will), achieving the pinnacle of spiritual unity, where their souls merge indistinguishably. This stage represents the culmination of their spiritual journey (we could make the case that with great-grandchildren, the couples rise to Atik Yomin, but that is questionable).

The pathway to spiritual attainment for a man includes studying Torah lishmah (for its own sake), but how does a woman achieve this, given her different role in Torah study? Many Sephardi Kabbalists, including Rabbi Shimon Agassi in his commentary to Shaar HaGilgulim, explain that a woman’s spiritual level is intrinsically linked to her husband’s.

By encouraging his study, she not only benefits directly but also earns significant spiritual rewards, highlighting the interconnectedness of their spiritual growth within the framework of marriage. He gets the Ruach, she automatically gets it as well. Same goes for the Neshama.

DALL·E 2024 01 10 19.47.33 A variant of the previous image depicting an ancient Jewish wedding but this time with everyone appearing affluent and the canopy being sumptuous. T

Kabbalah of marriage is the best measurement of a person’s commitment to Avodat Hashem

The profound Midrash cited by our sages beautifully illustrates the importance of inviting Hashem into the sanctity of marriage, using the Hebrew words for man (Ish איש) and woman (Isha אשה). Both terms embed the divine name י”ה within them, symbolizing that when a couple aligns themselves with Hashem, they are blessed with peace and harmony.

However, if they deviate from their spiritual path, removing the divine presence, they are left with a double “esh” (אש), the word for fire, signifying discord and destruction. This allegory emphasizes how the presence of Hashem in a marriage reflects the couple’s commitment to their faith and spiritual roles.

Once I heard a story that a certain well-known Ashkenazi Gadol HaDor had some students over for a meal. One of them politely told the Rav “With all due respect Kevod HaRav, but if I eat more of this soup I’m going to die.”. He replied, “I’ve been eating this soup for 50 years and nothing has ever happened to me. Give it to me, and don’t you dare speak about it to the Rebbetzin!”

The Kabbalah of marriage introduces complex ideas about the spiritual potential of Kidushin, including how it can amplify an individual’s prayers and spiritual connection to Hashem.

More insights to the Kabbalah of Marriage

In the ideal marriage, both partners understand and embrace their roles, prioritizing the collective well-being over individual desires. Such mutual commitment fosters harmony and benefits the community at large, ensuring a peaceful and fulfilling union.

The creation of men and women mirrors the structure of the spiritual realms, with men typically embodying the role of the giver and women the receiver, a dynamic reflected in their physical and spiritual compositions.

The concept of Mochin, or divine consciousness, is central to understanding spiritual fulfillment in marriage. The Zohar categorizes Mokhin into four types: Chokhmah (Wisdom), Bina (Understanding), Da’at of Chassadim (Expansive Consciousness), and Da’at of Gevurot (Constrictive Consciousness), symbolized by the four-pronged Shin (ש) on Tefillin.

These forms of divine consciousness are bestowed by Hashem through acts of devotion, study, prayer, performing mitzvot, and acts of kindness, enhancing one’s spiritual acuity.

In marriage, women often receive their portion of Mochin through their husbands. A husband’s fear of God and adherence to his spiritual duties ensures the flow of Mochin to his wife, particularly through the sanctity of the marital relationship. This exchange is crucial, as a deficiency in Mochin can lead to negative emotions such as bitterness, depression, and arrogance.

Thus, the Kabbalistic view of marriage emphasizes the significance of both partners fulfilling their spiritual roles with dedication. By doing so, they not only bring blessing to their own lives but also contribute to a broader spiritual worlds, demonstrating the profound impact of divine consciousness in cultivating a healthy, harmonious marriage.

These feelings, when left on their very own (or, in Kabbalistic language, aren’t sweetened), trigger great destruction and feed the fallen middot.

This underscores the profound significance of studying Kabbalah and Chassidut, as these disciplines cultivate a genuine awe of Heaven and foster a closer relationship with Hashem. This is real Chokhmah on a very tangible sense.

Rabbinical texts often depict the home as a microcosm of the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple). In this analogy, the dining table serves as the altar, sanctifying meals by eating with holiness or by welcoming the needy and scholars to join. The kitchen echoes the temple’s rooms for preparing sacrifices and housing sacred vessels. Moreover, the bedroom, where marital unity occurs, is likened to the Kodesh HaKodashim (Holy of Holies), the most sacred site where the divine presence was most intensely felt.

DALL·E 2024 01 15 19.55.21 A vivid and realistic scene of a Jewish man deeply focused on building a larger miniature wooden house on a table. The man is distinguished by his kip

An intriguing insight from the Zohar on the Kabbalah of marriage highlights the gravity of wasting seed, equating it with the three cardinal sins: murder, idolatry, and immorality. This act not only brings numerous misfortunes upon a household but also undermines the marriage by depriving the wife of her rightful divine consciousness (Mochin), with the “demon queen” capturing it instead—a teaching that, while startling, is meant to convey the severity of the act’s spiritual repercussions.

Contrary to what one might conclude—that marital relations during pregnancy might be unnecessary since the seed does not contribute to procreation at this time—the Zohar offers an awesome teaching. It states that each act of intimacy between a couple generates new souls, regardless of whether these souls are destined to inhabit physical bodies. These souls remain in the spiritual realms.

This perspective illuminates the kedusha (holiness) of marital relations, underscoring the potential for spiritual creation and connection with every union, and reinforcing the importance of maintaining the sanctity of these moments within the framework of marriage.

Clearly, this doesn’t imply peace relies totally on the husband.

In the journey of marriage, it is equally important for the wife to cultivate her Middot (character traits), transforming herself into a suitable vessel to receive the Mochin (divine consciousness). Marriage is not about competition; it is a partnership founded on significant self-sacrifice and mutual prayer.

This is why it’s so important to follow our sages instructions and Mitzvot, especially Taharat HaMishpacha: they are meant to give us the proper direction in life and safeguard us from problems down the road.

The path to refining these qualities and achieving a harmonious balance within the marriage is long and marked by both triumphs and challenges. Yet, it is through this process of growth and commitment that a couple can attain true and enduring peace. When both partners dedicate themselves to this spiritual and emotional development, blessings naturally flourish within their household.

The principles of Kabbalah and Chassidut offer profound insights into the essence of marriage, highlighting the spiritual dimensions that underpin this sacred union. By understanding the role of Mochin in enriching marital life, the importance of aligning with Hashem, and the need for both partners to refine their character and fulfill their roles, couples can navigate the complexities of their relationship with wisdom and grace.

We see that the Kabbalah of marriage, that it is more than just a legal or social contract; it is a spiritual journey that binds two souls in a mission of growth, sanctity, and divine purpose. Both men and women create a home that mirrors the sanctity of the Beit HaMikdash, becoming a place of peace, blessing, and divine presence in their lives.

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Chaim Apsan

Chaim is a teacher and Kabbalah enthusiast. He loves helping Jews connect with true Torah teaching and enhancing their spiritual growth. With a focus on meditation, he guides individuals on transformative journeys of prayer, contemplation, and connection with Hashem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and kids, and is committed to sharing the wisdom and power of Kabbalah in a genuine way.

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