Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
There is a saying, that men give affection in order to get sex, while women give sex in order to get affection. While of course this is not absolutely true, and especially in our times where each gender is feeling more free to express themselves along less designated official roles and behavior, it does seem to be a basic pattern in human nature that endures.
Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses as a scenario where a couple had the chuppah ceremony but did not consummate the marriage. The question was, is this sufficient to enact nisuin (the final stage of marriage that allows a couple to live together), or not? One way that the Gemara analyzes this question is that it is dependent upon whether or not the Chuppah ceremony’s acquisition is enacted through the affection of living together or actual sexual intercourse (חיבת ביאה קונה או חיבת חופה ). Just as we discussed earlier on Psychology of the Daf (Kesuvos 7), it would seem that this distinction revolves around sexuality versus intimacy.
I won’t repeat what I wrote over there, but I will add an interesting thought. It is known that the legalistic discussions of the Gemara considered to be in dispute, with one “right“ side, and one “wrong“ side, in the mystical realm is considered true on both sides. In the mystical world, a machlokes actually represents two different truths, not a wrong or right opinion, since there are many facets to Torah. One example is that in the Gemara Rosh Hashana 33b there is a three-way safek about what is the “Teruah” sound of the Shofar. Therefore, we blow the three sounds we hear on Rosh Hashana. Shevarim, Teruah, and Shevarim-Teruah. Technically, only one sound is the true “Teruah”, and we blow all three versions to cover our bases. Yet, according to Zohar III:232a, each sound activates different Middos in Hashem, and thus all of the three sounds are necessary.
Therefore, in reality both are true. To make a marriage work, emotional intimacy and physical sexuality are both necessary ingredients and are inter-dependent upon one another.
Translations Courtesy of Sefaria, except when, sometimes, I disagree with the translation
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