Question for ML: Does sexual pleasure slow down one’s spiritual development? Should one reject sexual pleasure? Do these rejections lead to questions of “who” and “what”? I know that the Light that returns one to the source does everything, but do these kinds of games help with advancement in any way?
My Answer: The WHO and WHAT questions stem from egoism and are directed toward the Creator: who are you and what is this work you have given me? It is said that only the Light corrects, and it only corrects to the extent of the intention. All other restrictions only get one confused. Concentrate on intentions, on analyzing your desires, and not on physical actions. This is with the exception of moments when you are no longer able to think and direct yourself, in which case physical actions (such as singing, dancing, meals with friends) can pull you out of such lifeless states.
A Hassidic proverb (back when Hassidic Jews were still Kabbalists): Once when Rabbi Elimelech from Lizhensk said that fasting was no longer a service, he was asked: “Didn’t Baal Shem Tov fast often?” Rabbi Elimelech answered: “When Baal Shem Tov was young, he would usually take six breads and a pitcher of water at the conclusion of Shabbat and retire for the entire week. On Friday, when he was preparing to go home, he would lift his bag and, as he noticed its weight, he would open it and find all six breads untouched. It would always surprise him. Only this type of fasting can be considered real fasting!”