Jpost reported on Tikkun Shovavim or (Tikkun Habrit), a 6 week regimen of fasting and special prayers designed to to rectify the spiritual damage caused by sex-related transgressions and, more specifically, nocturnal emissions.This (mainly sephardic kabbalist) tradition is focused on cleansing the soul and raising ‘holy sparks’:
Just as the children of Israel went down into Egypt, a place of impurity and defilement, to raise up holy sparks, so too can we rectify what we have damaged in the spiritual world and raise up holy sparks
So says Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri of Yeshivat Shalom in Jerusalem.
What is a holy spark? Suspend your disbelief cherished readers because according ot Aish:
Holy Sparks are like the spiritual fuel of creation, and nothing can exist or function anywhere in the universe without a Holy Spark. These are, in a sense, spiritual packets of God’s Holy Light, that actually represent the constriction and filtering of that Light. Without this constriction and filtering, physical creation could never exist, because God’s Light would remain too intense for anything physical to contain It. Thus, the more Holy Sparks something possesses, the holier it is and by definition the more life it has.
Muffti never learnt about these in Jewish school! Good thing too or his atheism would have been brought on much earlier…In any case, turns out that there is no (at least terrestrial) law of conservation for holy sparks: we can literally use up the sparks. In essence, God seems to have used as many sparks as ‘necessary’ to make creation and then tossed a few more our way for use in making certain places holy. However, these will run out and when they do, we get Moshiach. So now you see why people are anxious to get those sparks going: a concentration of them seems to raise holiness and the more you use, the more you hasten the coming of the Messiah.
OK, that’s all a little weird, but you ain’t heard nothing yet. Why are these kabbalists so worried about sexual impurity? Well, turns out that it all has to do with demons. These creatures ‘use’ the semen of a man’s nocturnal emissions to create more demons, so imagine if a man was to increase semen volume with Semenax pills… And what’s so bad about these perverted demons who steal your semen?
Most of our troubles are caused by these demons…They hurt us, they hurt our children, they cause poverty.
Fortunately you can kill these demons with fasting and repentance. For more on demons, see the Encyclopedia Mythologica article by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis.
OK. So, we have holy sparks and poverty causing demons. Hopefully now you understand why we need 6 weeks worth of prayer to deal with this spiritual chaos. But why now? Well, this period of the year is the time when we read the first parashot from Exodus, about our travails in Egypt. It also correponds with a rather unfortunate part of the year, astrologically speaking. According to Kosher Torah:
Tevet and Shevat exert a negative astrological influence, but this force of negativity (dinim) can only become manifest if and when one’s reckless behavior creates a doorway for it to materialize. If we act in ways that violate Holy Torah, we create the opportunity for negative things to manifest, in the worst of ways, in this most negative of times. Therefore, if something bad happens now, it is not because Heaven ordained it so, but rather because we were not careful enough to have avoided its coming.
So what does one do to create the sparks, quell the reproduction of semen-demons and protect ourselves from the alignment of the stars? There are fasts, prayers but in particular there is a majour ritual known as ‘taanit dibbur’. During this day, you can eat, drink and the like but you are forbidden from engaging in idle chatter. That day, the book of psalms is read three times over. This takes around 10 hours.
But what if you are the kind of guy whose dreams are bland and has no nocturnal emissions? Say you’ve also refrained from sex during needah, homosexual sex, masturbation, receiving felatio, sleeping with non-jewish women, sleeping with close family, anal sex, had an extramarital affair, shtooped any animals or made sweet love to a dead corpse (to name only a few sexual transgressions?) Well, this festival still may be for you! After all:
Even if someone never did one of these sins, he might have done it in a past life.
So says Dror, aide to Rabbi Benayahu Shmueli, participant in the Shovavim ritual.
Reincarnation, Semen demons, holy sparks and astrology. Why is Muffti the only one chuckling?