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What Does It Mean that a High Priest Should Take a Virgin Wife, in the Work?
Article No. 29, Tav-Shin-Nun-Aleph, 1989-91
The Zohar says (Emor, Item 38), “It is a Mitzva [commandment/ good deed] for the high priest to marry a virgin. This is the meaning of what is written, ‘A widow, or one divorced, or a profaned woman, or a harlot, these he shall not take, but a virgin of his own people shall he take for a wife.’ He asks, ‘Why is it necessary to take only a virgin, without a flaw?’ He replies, ‘A woman is a cup of blessing. If it is tasted, it is flawed.’ This implies to Malchut, who is called ‘a cup of blessing,’ and the priest, who offers a sacrifice before the Creator, must be perfect and flawless, since the flaws blemish the priests. Perfect in his body, perfect in his Nukva, by which to observe, ‘You are all beautiful, my wife, and there is not a flaw in you.’”
We should understand what a “high priest,” a “virgin,” a “widow,” a “divorcee,” a “profaned woman,” and a “harlot” mean in the work, and that he should take only a virgin, who is without a blemish, meaning that a virgin is unblemished. What does it imply that a virgin has no blemish in her, and what is the connection, in that he says that a woman implies a cup of blessing, which is Malchut?
The ARI says about Malchut, that each day she becomes a virgin once again (The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 12, Item 144), which is regarded as only a dot, and must be rebuilt until she obtains Gadlut [greatness/adulthood]. It is written in Shaar HaKavanot (Part 2) that each day is separate, and “There is not a single prayer since the world was created through the end of the world, that is similar to another whatsoever. And each day, new sparks are sorted, which have never before sorted until that time.”
We should understand this in the work. Malchut is called the “kingdom of heaven,” which man must take upon himself each day anew. It is not enough that he took upon himself the kingdom of heaven yesterday, but rather each day is a new discernment in and of itself. Hence, we must believe that each time we take upon ourselves the kingdom of heaven, it is considered that we sort out sparks that were outside of Kedusha [holiness], which is called (in Shaar HaKavanot) that “These sparks were previously captive among the Klipot [shells/peels], and they were raised to Kedusha by accepting the kingdom of heaven and by engaging in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds].”
It is as we say in the prayer (Master of the World, after the Omer count), “By this, great abundance shall flow in all the worlds.” For this reason, it is said in the holy books that a person, while accepting the kingdom of heaven during the Shema reading, should take upon himself the kingdom of heaven and intend that the acceptance of the kingdom of heaven will be with devotion. And since each day is a new discernment, and we must build the Malchut so she is in Gadlut, each time it is renewed.
This is why there is the intimation about the high priest. In the work, one who is a servant of the Creator, who wants to draw near to the Creator in Gadlut, is called “high priest.” When he comes to take a “wife,” called “kingdom of heaven,” he must take a “virgin,” since a virgin means that she has not been blemished. A virgin is as it is written, “a virgin soil,” which is a moniker for land that has never been cultivated, as it is written, “It was virgin soil,” which man has never tilled (Avoda Zara32).
In other words, a person should take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven as though he never had the kingdom of heaven and it is a new thing for him. Naturally, now he must think that he is going to do something new that he has never known about. It follows that this acceptance that he takes upon himself requires extra scrutiny, to know what is the acceptance of the kingdom of heaven, and what it requires so that the fear of heaven will be upon him.
This means that one should reflect on what he should do so that this will be a perpetual thing for him. That is, what does the Creator require of a person who has taken upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven. The verse says, “What does the Lord your God require of you but to fear Me,” and to reflect on what is fear. But if a person stops remembering about the matter of accepting the kingdom of heaven, regardless of the reason, and then reawakens to accept the kingdom of heaven, he does not need to continue the acceptance of the kingdom of heaven upon him in the manner he did prior to losing it, and to say, “I must go and awaken the kingdom of heaven,” meaning that it will be continual. Rather, he must begin the work anew.
We should compare this to a person who died and had valuable things, and his children come and want to receive the inheritance that their father bequeathed them. Our sages said about that (Avot, Chapter 2:17), “Prepare yourself to learn Torah that has not been bequeathed to you.” We should interpret that if a person comes to a state where he has forgotten everything, meaning he suffered a descent, it is as though he is dead. That is, previously, he was alive, meaning that he had the kingdom of heaven, which is considered being adhered to the Life of Lives. When it stops in him, he is considered dead, as was said, “The wicked in their lives are called ‘dead.’”
In spirituality, cause and consequence are called “father and son.” It follows that now he is called “a son” and wants to take upon himself of what is left after the demise of his father. We should interpret that “this is not your inheritance.” Rather, one must turn to a new page in the work of the Creator, as though he was born now, and now he wants to take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven and has no one from whom to inherit.
Accordingly, we should interpret what we asked, What do “high priest” and “plain priest” imply to us in the work? We should interpret that a “priest” is one who serves the Creator. Some workers belong to the general public. These are called “plain priests.” And some want to work in the individual manner, to achieve Gadlut, which is to work in truth. These are called “high priests.”
Among high priests, there is a completely different order of work than that of the general public—when a person engages in Torah and Mitzvot in practice and relies on the general public as far as the intention is concerned. Conversely, there are people who want to work also with the intention, meaning they want to aim all their actions for the sake of the Creator.
In other words, a “plain priest” means that his work is in the manner of the general public, and a “high priest” means that his work is in the manner of individuals. By this we can interpret what The Zohar says, “‘Why is it necessary to take only a virgin, without a flaw?’ He replies, ‘A woman is a cup of blessing. If it is tasted, it is flawed.’” We should interpret that a high priest, meaning one who wants to be a true servant of the Creator, must not take a wife, meaning the kingdom of heaven, that has already been flawed in him, meaning to continue the kingdom of heaven that he had prior to the descent he suffered, for this one is no longer “a virgin,” since he had this kingdom of heaven previously, and she was blemished.
That is, like the cup of blessing, “If it is tasted, it is flawed,” meaning that this Malchut was already tasted before he suffered the descent. This is the meaning of “If it is tasted, it is flawed,” since he already suffered a descent. It follows that he already blemished this Malchut, so he must take upon himself a new kingdom of heaven as though he never tasted the taste of the kingdom of heaven, and must turn to a new page in the work.
According to the above, we can interpret what we asked about what is written, “A widow, or one divorced, or a profaned woman, or a harlot, these he shall not take.” We should interpret that a widow is after he suffers a descent, he is regarded as dead. It follows that the previous wife, which is the kingdom of heaven that he had prior to the descent, is regarded as that person’s widow.
Likewise, what is a divorcee in the work? It means that he divorced her because he did not like her, since the minute a person does not agree to work for her, since he does not feel her importance, this is considered that the man divorces the wife. Although she does not want to divorce, since she has mercy on him, meaning Malchut sees that he is immersed in self-love and feels sorry for him, but he divorces her against her will.
This is the meaning of the judgment being that a woman is divorced against her will, since as soon as he does not like her, it is considered that he has divorced her. Therefore, a servant of the Creator, who is called a “high priest,” will not return and take that woman who is a divorcee. Rather, now he must begin to accept the burden of the kingdom of heaven anew and not take what happened into consideration.
Also, we should interpret “profane,” that he must not take a profaned woman. When a person wakes up once again to the work of the Creator, if it is in the manner of a high priest, it means he wants to work on the greatness of the Creator. That is, it is known that when one works in order to receive reward for his work, he does not look at who is giving, whether he is an important person or not. Rather, he looks at the reward. This means that if the owner is a simple person but pays twice as much as an important person who has some factory and pays salaries, he will certainly work for the one who pays higher wages.
But if a person works without a salary, but because he wants to serve an important person, that person always looks to see who is the most important and wants to work for him. It follows that one who wants to work in Gadlut, meaning that his work is built on the greatness of the Creator, since he wants to work without any reward, he is called “high priest,” since a priest is one who serves the Creator, who wants to approach the Creator. It is as we interpret the verse, “Should a man from among you make an offering to the Lord.” It is interpreted that “from among you” means that the offering is “from within you, yourselves,” meaning that the person who offers himself to the Creator is called “high priest.”
That person must not take a profaned woman. This means that whenever he comes to take a wife, he will always take a virgin, one who has never had a husband, meaning that he never used this Malchut. Rather, it must always be a new wife. Conversely, if he already used this Malchut before and had a descent, and stopped the acceptance of the kingdom of heaven, this is because he profaned her and did not behave with her as one should honor the kingdom of heaven, and dealt with her in contempt. Hence, he will not receive that discernment once again, since he already desecrated her.
Rather, a high priest should try to always take a virgin woman, meaning to depict to himself that now he is beginning to do the holy work, and what he had until now does not interest him. Rather, he says he hopes that henceforth, he will keep her and respect her. This is the meaning of the words “He shall take a wife in her virginity.”
We should also interpret what is written, “A widow, or one divorced, or a profaned woman, or a harlot, these shall he not take, but a virgin of his own people shall he take for a wife.” We should interpret what is a harlot in the work. The thing is that when the high priest wants to assume the burden of the kingdom of heaven, he must take a virgin, meaning “virgin soil,” which is a moniker for a land that has never been cultivated. Naturally, such soil cannot be expected to yield crops for food. This means that a person cannot sustain himself from this soil. Only after he cultivates it and gives it all that it needs, he will be able to sustain himself from that soil, and not before.
It follows that when a person accepts the burden of the kingdom of heaven, which is called “a wife,” he must be careful not to want the woman to be a Zona [harlot], from the words Zan uMefarness[nursing and sustaining]. That is, if the acceptance of the burden of the kingdom of heaven will sustain him, meaning he will have nourishments from her while he engages in Torah and Mitzvot, then he is willing to take her. Otherwise, he will not agree to take this woman, and this is called “a harlot woman” in the work.
Rather, he must accept the kingdom of heaven as a burden, meaning “as an ox to the burden and as a donkey to the load,” unconditionally. This is regarded as a “virgin woman,” which is a “virgin soil,” which bears no fruit. If a person agrees to these conditions, he will be rewarded with being a high priest, namely bring himself closer to the Creator.
According to the above, we should interpret what our sages said (Kidushin 70a), in the work: “Anyone who marries a woman for wealth has unworthy children, as was said, ‘They have betrayed the Lord, for they have borne foreign children.’” We should understand what is marrying a woman for wealth. It means that a woman, in the work, is called “kingdom of heaven,” and he takes upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven because he heard that she has great wealth, and wealth means that she will provide for him, meaning that through the kingdom of heaven, he will have good taste in the Torah and in the prayer. Otherwise, it is enough for him to continue the same path that he received by education.
And why does he now need to take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven and exert, if the kingdom of heaven does not add to his provision, so he can sustain himself more affluently, whereas what sustains him now, all the nourishments he currently finds in the pleasures of this world do not satisfy him, so he wants to receive the kingdom of heaven?
This is called “marrying a woman for wealth,” meaning his only reason for accepting the kingdom of heaven is to satisfy self-love. This is also called that he marries an unworthy woman, since it is written in all the holy books that the acceptance of the kingdom of heaven should be with devotion, and there are many interpretations about it.
According to what we learn, the meaning is that he accepts the kingdom of heaven for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake. This means that by taking upon himself the kingdom of heaven, he wants that His great name will grow and be sanctified, and not for his own sake. It follows that if he accepts the kingdom of heaven for his own sake, it is considered an “unworthy woman.” This is called “for wealth,” since “wealth” means that from this he will be able to sustain himself, meaning that through the wealth, he will be satisfied in life. Instead, one should try to take a woman for the sake of the Creator, meaning that the kingdom of heaven, called “woman,” will be for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake.
Now we can understand why a person should accept faith above reason. It is so because usually, a person always considers the profit. If he does not see that he will gain something from the work, he chooses to stay at rest and does not want to make any movements unless he gains something.
Hence, when one is told that he should accept the kingdom of heaven for the sake of the Creator, meaning to sanctify His name, the body asks, “What will I get out of taking upon myself the kingdom of heaven? What is my gain in this?” It is told, “There are no words that the body can understand. Rather, you must believe that this is a great thing for you that you have the privilege of serving the King.” This is called “above reason,” since there are no words to tell the body so it can understand that it is worthwhile.
Therefore, when one does not see the profits within reason, it is considered that the labor is greater than the reward, since he does not know what is the reward, but he sees the labor and does not need to believe concerning the labor. Thus, as long as one has not been rewarded with fear of the Creator, he always looks at the labor, since he cannot understand the benefit from the work, but only believe above reason. Hence, this work is called “hard work,” and requires heaven’s mercy.
By this we can understand what is written (Deuteronomy 25:18), “when you were faint and weary, and he did not fear God.” It means that since he sees that he is making the effort, but he still does not see the benefit from this work, and he must only believe. It follows that one becomes faith and weary, and all because he has still not been rewarded with fear of God.
One should know that faith is the Kli [vessel]. When the Kli is properly completed and is fit to receive, the abundance immediately fills the Kli of faith, which is above reason. The abundance is called “fear of heaven,” and a person obtains this light after he has provided this Kli, called “faith above reason.” Before one is rewarded with fear of the Creator, he suffers the labor because the light does not shine for him.
It follows that one who wants to assume the burden of the kingdom of heaven must work above reason, meaning that it will not be for his own sake but for the sake of the Creator. This is called “above reason,” since the body does not agree to it, since it does not understand anything but that which is to its own benefit.
Now we can interpret what our sages said, “There is no poor public.” It is known that “poor” means one who is “poor in knowledge,” as our sages said (Nedarim 41), “There is no poverty except in knowledge.” Baal HaSulam said that Malchut is called “public.” By this we should interpret that “There is no poor public” means that one who accepts the burden of the kingdom of heaven above reason, it does not mean that he has no reason and he is poor, and this is why he accepts the burden of the kingdom of heaven. It is to the contrary; he stands at a degree that is above reason, meaning even more important than reason. In the work, “above” and “below” mean that “above” means being of superior importance, and “below” means being of inferior importance.
“There is no poor public” means that one who takes upon himself the kingdom of heaven above reason is not regarded as “poor,” meaning one who has no reason. It follows that the heart of the work is to work above reason, since when a person wants to work for the sake of the Creator, it is called “above reason,” namely against the view of the body. However, one must know that we also need the Torah, as our sages said, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.”
This is as he writes in the book A Sage’s Fruit (Letters, pp 115-116), “The purpose of the soul when it comes in the body is to attain returning to its root and to cleave unto Him, while clothed in the body, as it is written, ‘To love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, and to cleave unto Him.’Yet, who knows the ways of the Creator? Indeed, this is the meaning of ‘Torah that has 613 ways.’ He who walks by them will finally be purified until his body will no longer be an iron partition between him and his Maker, as it is written, ‘And I will take away the stony heart from your flesh.’ Then he shall cleave to his Maker.Thus, it is best to yearn for the commandment of the Upper One (meaning the Torah), for ‘He who does not know the ways of the Upper One and the commandments of the Upper One, which are the secrets of Torah, how will he serve Him?’”
We therefore see that one should try to exert to obtain the Torah. In order to obtain the Torah, one should accept the kingdom of heaven above reason. That is, against one’s view, meaning that for himself, he does not need anything, but only for the sake of the Creator. By this we should interpret what is written (Genesis 28:14), “And your descendants will be as the dust of the earth.” “Your descendants” means Banim [sons]. In the work, Banim means Havanah [understanding] in Torah and Mitzvot. The Creator promised Jacob that understanding in Torah and Mitzvot can be obtained only when one agrees to be “as the dust of the earth,” meaning that he agrees to observe Torah and Mitzvot even if he does not feel any feeling in it and tastes only the taste of dust in Torah and Mitzvot, since he says, “I am working for the Creator. If He wants me to work for Him in this manner, I agree.” Then he is rewarded with Gadlut [greatness] and understanding.
Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link