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|The Sexual Reference in Selichot Prayers|
|Written by Michael|
|Friday, 05 October 2007|
Being a recent baal tshuva, this is my first year for reciting selichot. There is a section that concerns sexual sins, but I don’t yet understand all the Hebrew, and the concept of creating demons is new to me. Can you please translate and explain? P.S. I say Sefardi selichot.
A similar prayer of repentance over sexual sins, and the spilling of semen in vain (masturbation), is recited by Ashkenazic Jews on the eve of Yom Kippur in the “Tefillah Zaka” prayer. The translation of the Sefardi version recited during selichot is:
This confession is based on a deep Kabbalistic concept that we will try to describe in brief and simple terms. When a man has an ejaculation, spiritual forces that are actually living souls are released into the world in all of the drops of his semen. When the sexual act is conducted with one’s wife in the holy manner prescribed by Jewish Law, a great holiness is brought into the world.
Even at times when a child cannot be born from this holy marital union, such as when the wife is already pregnant or beyond the age of child-bearing, the souls released into the wife's sexual organ are Divinely recycled into the Heavenly bank of souls, and thus no semen is wasted or spilled in vain.
This is one of the most misunderstood concepts in Judaism: many people mistakenly believe that the mitzvah to engage in sexual relations with one's wife applies only when pregnancy can result. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As stated, when the semen reaches the womb in a kosher sexual union, even if there is no chance of pregnancy, the souls contained within the semen go through a rectification process which releases positive spiritual energies.
However, if a man masturbates, has a wet dream, or engages in some forbidden sexual act, the souls that are released into the world have no holy receptacle to receive them. Instead, they are “captured” by evil spiritual forces called klipot or husks. These become agents of evil, like evil angels, that are doomed to roam throughout the spiritual world in a bodiless state, without comfort or rest.
In revenge, they come to haunt the man who created them, and are the underlying spiritual cause of many of the problems that beset him in life, whether through physical ailments, livelihood troubles, marriage difficulties, problems with children, and the like. Sages of Kabbalah emphasize that the majority of tribulations that a man experiences in life result from the spilling of semen in vain and the destructive forces this causes.
To rectify these “captured” souls and return them to their holy Heavenly source, the usual paths of repentance do not suffice. The Zohar states that a great and constant repentance is necessary. The “Tikun Clalli” of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, and the “Tikun HaYesod Yeshuat Eliahu” by Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi, have been arranged with Kabbalistic formulas designed to rectify the souls that have been doomed to spiritual captivity because of sexual transgression. Other special prayers, pathways of atonement and rectification, like mikvah, Tikun Hatzot, increased Torah study, charity, acts of kindness, etc, can be found in the book, “Secret of the Brit,” online in the site, in Chapter 5, “Rectify the Brit II”
It is important to remember that while the damage caused by sexual transgression is devastating in its consequences, atonement and rectification are certainly possible for the person, and for the souls he has created through his misdeeds.
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