Since both sex and narratives are improved by delay, let’s leave the Lisping Barista and the Geeky Guy to their foreplay for a while. We’ll get back to them before they finish, I promise. For now, let’s return to the Epiphany Cafe and hear what Rabbi ! said about what they were doing; the Laughing Rabbi’s take on sex.
A few weeks ago the Rabbi was preparing for another one of his Shabbat sermons and wanted to try it out on us. I could see him working himself up to it, writing furiously on his laptop. A few times he would look up, prepare to speak, but, finding a child in the cafe, desist till the youngster left. Finally, once all present were of age, he cleared his throat and made this declaration:
G-d loves sex!
Rabbi ! has a way of getting our attention right in the beginning of his sermons and coming to the point directly. He went on.
G-d invented sex. He drew the world’s first pornographic image on His drafting table when He laid out how the penis could be inserted into the vagina. He wired all those nerve endings, making those parts exquisitely sensitive. He did the plumbing Himself, soldering all the tubes and lines and passageways into a complex system, to provide both pleasure and progeny. He concocted the recipes for seminal and vaginal fluids. He wrote the program to promote bonding. Of the six days He spent creating the world, He did some of His best work on sex.
It was clear these insights excited Rabbi ! with orgasmic delight. He laughed heartily at his own humor. The rest of us laughed, too; but it was a nervous sort of laughter; the kind where you don’t want to be seen laughing, or don’t want to encourage the speaker too much.
Back on the bus, the Geeky Guy was loving sex, too, even though he lingered on the appetizers and hadn’t begun the entree. It was turning out much better than The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Sex, ever let on. There were feelings involved that he’d never felt before, there was excitement, there was wonder, and there was bliss.
The Geeky Guy, stood over the nude body of the Lisping Barista, He loitered over the pleasant hills and dells, peaks and hollows of her body. There was a pleasing complexion and tone, like a well sanded and varnished piece of furniture. There were the saucer eyes that somehow saw something in him that no one had ever seen.
Back to the Rabbi.
On the seventh day, G-d stepped back and watched all His animals breed. He marveled at what He had done and said it was good. He said it all was very good. For some reason, we don’t believe Him.
The Laughing Rabbi laughed a good belly laugh, as God must have laughed when He first watched his creatures have sex. God must’ve had a sense of humor when He created the giraffe, the duck-billed platypus, and the beast with two backs.
The Geeky Guy kneeled on the bed beside the Lisping Barista and, with his hands began to feel every part of her. His fingers explored the same territory where his eyes had been, but, the systematic scouts that they were, told him much, much more. They confirmed that she, too, had a heartbeat, blood running through her veins, and a stomach that, at intervals, vibrated. She was a bag of flesh, like him. He located her clitoris, right where The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Sex said it would be. She shuddered as the Geeky Guy had when she had first touched his penis. Wanting to feel all of her at once, he pulled her close, her skin against his.
The Rabbi had said:
G-d, didn’t have to create sex, you know. He could’ve designed us to procreate like amoebas and just divide down the middle. He could’ve avoided procreation altogether and just created all the people that would ever be in one shot; but no, He made us feel incomplete by ourselves and gave us a yearning for union with each other.
Why did He create this yearning? I think He created it in us because He created us to be like Him. He has this yearning, you see; so, we have to have it, too.
Everything that exists in our world has a parallel in the supernal world. The desire you see between one person and another, you see between G-d and every person.
No matter how close to the Lisping Barista he could get, the Geeky Guy could not feel her completely. There were still parts of her he was still not touching and parts within that he could never feel. Her skin was the only part of her he could contact. There was so much more of her that was unreachable, untouchable, unknowable. The very thing that joined them, her skin and his skin, together, maddingly, kept them apart.
The Geeky Guy thought that inserting his penis into her might surmount their separation. He’d be inside her; he’d be joined to her. His semen, if he ejaculated it deep within, would remain a part of her, swimming to and fro, seeking out her secrets, probing her innermost recesses. He thought that giving her his penis and his semen was the same as giving himself to her, letting himself be surrounded, encapsulated, enclosed, taken over; but he knew better. Penetration only goes so far. In the end, she was she and he was he.
Rabbi ! had told us all about it.
So, G-d created sex. If that were the only reason to love sex, it would be enough. But, there’s more. Sex is a pattern, a model for our union with the divine. The act of sex is an earthy enactment of what is going on in the supernal realm. The unification of two parts of creation, male and female, is just like the soul being penetrated and filled by the Light of the Creator.
At the same time that G-d desires and works towards union with His world, He also keeps Himself apart. It would be too much, He would overwhelm us, blow us away, if He made Himself too present; or, if we were too present to one another. We want the truth, He wants to give us the truth, but we can’t handle the truth.
He pulls Himself away so we can have free will, so that we can be full participants. He waits till we are ready, till we are beyond ready, to interact with Him, having carefully, sensitively, and masterfully aroused an interest in Him.
G-d can be simultaneously transcendent and immanent in the same way that a person while having sex, can both desire to complete the act, while also desire to prolong it. You want to have an orgasm, but you don’t want to have it too fast.
Despite the fact that their union could not be total, the Geeky Guy was about to penetrate her anyway; but then he noticed something that brought him up short. Something had changed so imperceptibly since he kneeled on the bed. The Barista, who, before, had been so aggressively sexual, so insistent, so avid, was now lying motionless, as passive as the bed on which she lay. Moreover, she didn’t seem to be paying attention. Her mind was elsewhere, and it wasn’t on esoteric Jewish theology. She was dissociated, tuned out, in a trance. Something was wrong.
The Geeky Guy might’ve had his way with her; she was there, lubricated, and he was ready. He had consent. He really wanted to. He was ready to explode. But, no; he wouldn’t do it. It wouldn’t be right. He wanted to do this with her, not to her.
The Lisping Barista didn’t seem to notice when the Geeky Guy got up off the bed, covered her with a sheet, and put his pants on. She still was out of it when he heard someone at the door, preparing to come in. He shook her and told her to hide.