Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kol Isha, Kol Itta & Aur Chayah

At hashkafah.com, Gretchen generally asked the question:

Does the issur of kol isha apply to gay men?

Many of the responses revolved around the assumption that the prohibition of kol isha (males hearing the voice of a woman) was founded on the idea of the potential of kol isha קול אשה to arouse sexual desire. However, I really don't think this is the case.

I think it is more founded on the idea that "all blessings flow from the mothers" (Sefer Yetzirah). In other words, the concern has to do with the mystical power to bless or curse inherent in the "mystical voice-kol קול (which is the aur chayah) of a woman".

As I've written previously about the isha/itta distinction; isha אשה is of Canaanite origin and represents a soul level unbound to the mitzvot. Consequently, the mystical "voice" קול of isha אשה can introduce "multiplicity disconnected from its source" (in opposition to unity in multiplicity) into reality. This is what the prohibition of kol isha is trying to avoid by forbidding men (as primary representatives of the collective vav in the Divine Name) to hear the voice of isha.

Importantly as well, the level of aur chayah associated with kol is tied to the two mitzvot of tithes and offerings. Isha (as elucidated in ish, isha, adam, itta & obligation) is not bound to the mitzvot. Consequently, the voice of isha represents a junction of disconnection from aur chayah.

In contradistinction, itta אתתא is bound to the mitzvot. Consequently, kol itta קול אתתא is doubly connected to aur chayah through both categories of mitzvot, tithes and offerings. Moreover and significantly, aur chayah is associated with shabbat consciousness. Shabbat consciousness is the condition associated with the Tree of Life and rectified natural consciousness, as opposed to fallen natural consciousness and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

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