A Deeper Understanding of Virginity
In Judaism, sex isn’t dirty, impure or shameful. However, it is associated with a certain knowledge and awareness.
In the Torah, the word used to term sex is “La’daat” meaning “to know”. In Jewish thought, sex is the highest form of “knowing” a person truly. Sex is the place where a person can let go, becoming completely exposed and utterly instinctual. But, sex can bring a heavier knowledge as well. Often bad sexual experiences, broken relationships, infidelities and shame about the body can lead a person to close up and shut down.
Judaism believes in mental virginity: the renewal of the mind, body and soul. The deeper meaning of virginity is not physical, but emotional, spiritual, and mental. Virginity is not about innocence or worth, but a place where you can renew and go back to yourself before the painful experiences, failed relationships and regrets.
The idea really comes to life during the Hebrew calendar month of Elul, before the High Holy Days when we are judged for the past year. It is said that through this phase of renewal, we connect to the “yechida” or “virginal” part of our soul.
This divine part of us, our essence, is what’s pure-untouched and unaffected by the hardships of life. So that when judgement comes, there’s actually nothing to judge and we go forth stronger.
Interestingly, the Kabbalistic astrological sign for Elul is Betulah, or virgin in Hebrew also known as Virgo.