Keeping the Passion
In Judaism very powerful things are usually seen as having much potential for holiness and, conversely, a lack thereof. Jewish law governs the powerful aspects of life very strictly. Food and sex, for instance, are elemental passions, and they have the most rules in the Torah. They have the most potential to be a vehicle for the holy. Sex and passion are among the most important aspects in a Jewish marriage. Keeping the passion alive is considered a holy undertaking and is an important part of living a holy Jewish life.
The Talmud relates the story about two great rabbis: Rabbi Kahana and his great teacher Rav. One day, the Talmud says, Rabbi Kahana went and hid under his teacher's bed and heard his teacher Rav engaged in conversation and passionate foreplay with Mrs. Rav. Hearing their passionate interaction, Rabbi Kahana forgot his cover and exclaimed, “It seems like your first time together!” Rav realized someone was under the bed and asked, “Kahana, is that you? It is not good manners to hide under your teacher's bed.” Rabbi Kahana answered from under the bed, “It is Torah and I have to learn it.”
At first glace, the story may be shocking. Was Rav's student just being a voyeur? What did he mean when he said “it is Torah”? Everything in this world is subject to Torah and all things have the potential to be holy. When in the right context, everything — sex included — can be a mitzvah. One must know how to do it well since it is an essential part of a couple's relationship, and the relationship of a husband and wife is so important that the rabbis teach that God allows His name to be erased to facilitate peace between husband and wife. Little in Judaism is considered more important than shalom bayit, peace and love in a home.
It's no secret that communication is part of the key to a passionate sexual life. Sexual intimacy does not begin and end in the bedroom; rather, it is a reflection of two people's lives together. Sexual passion is a climactic representation of the intimacy between two people that functions in their life every day. The trust, the sharing of self, everything that happens in every moment of living life is a part of a couple's sex life. So, too, their sexual life resonates between them throughout their daily life outside the bedroom, because sex is a reflection of their relationship. Indeed love, intimacy, sadness, and joy — all the ups and downs and complexities of sharing life with each other — are all intertwined.