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Women & Judaism

The Woman According To Kabbalah

What do her innate abilities have to do with the ‘World of Doing (Asiyah)”?

The Woman According To Kabbalah
According to Kabbalah the woman is found in the ‘Sefira’ (counting or realm) of Malchut, Royalty which is also characterized by the ‘Shechinah’; the divine presence which is the secret of the last ‘Hei’ of the Tetragrammaton. This corresponds to the ‘World of Asiyah’ (doing) of the 4 worlds, Atzilut (Nobility), Yetzirah (Formation), Briah (Creation) and Asiya (Doing).

All the aforementioned worlds receive their light and abundance from the worlds and levels above them. Likewise the Sefira of ‘Malchut’ which is the last Sefira receives its light from all the levels above it. The world of Asiyah gets its abundance from the three worlds above it Atzilut, Yetzirah and Briah just as the last hei of the Tetragrammaton receives its light from the first 3 letters of the Tetragrammaton. All the other ‘sefirot’ and worlds receive abundance from the world or Sefira above it and pass it to the world or level below it. However Malchut and Asiyah are last and they receive abundance from everything above them and do not pass it on. This makes them ‘receivers’.

Each of the 4 worlds is composed of 4 worlds and 10 ‘sefirot’ (countings) which receive their abundance born from the Malchut and Asiyah of the world or level above them. So Asiyah and Malchut are akin to earth receiving rain and sprouting forth life and birth. The sky is like the giver and the land a receiver. The giving is considered a ‘male’ trait and receiving a ‘female’ trait.

This is the intent of saying ‘For the “Unified Name” blessed be He and his Shechinah’ which we say before praying and doing mitzvoth. When the ‘Name’ the first three letters of the Tetragrammaton is unified with the ‘Shechinah’ the name becomes united and the abundance flows freely from the first letters to Malchut when this unity takes place.

This is why the woman is characterized by the ‘Holy Shechinah’ as Rabbi Joseph would stand up upon hearing the footsteps of his mother saying; “I will stand for the Shechinah coming.” (Kiddushin 31b)

The world of Asiya (where people are found) is infused with great power after having received it from the worlds above it. Every action man does on this world impacts on the worlds above us for the good or G-d forbid the opposite and the abundance flows to our world according to our deeds. Therefore the woman whose root is in the Sefira of Malchut receives from the male just as the earth receives seeds and rain from the heaven and makes it grow; so a woman alone has the ability to form and create a complete man.

This is the secret of the ‘Yud’ in the word man (Ish) which is a spiritual letter with the aspect of heaven and the secret of the letter ‘Hey’ in woman (Ishah) which is of the aspect of earth and the world of Asiyah. The heavens pour water down to earth and allow it to sprout life. That’s why a woman by nature is more expert in and leans more toward the tasks of raising children and keeping the home.

The ‘Hei’ is the letter of fertility and of actualizing potential, As G-d Told Abraham, “Sarai your wife will no longer be called Sarai, for Sarah is her name.” (G-d added a ‘Hei’ to her name to make her fertile) “And I will bless her and I will give you from her a son.” (Genesis 17, 16)

This is why a man must learn Torah on a daily basis and learn all parts of it for he is the “Yud” the spiritual whereas a woman need learn the practical aspects  of Jewish law and character development to know what to do and how to conduct oneself. She needn’t learn Torah every day nor is she obligated to delve into parts of the Torah which aren’t practical laws of Mitzvah observance.

From Rabbi Zamir Cohen’s book on marriage ‘The Complete Digest for a Happy Marriage’ available in Hebrew and currently being translated to English.

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