Parashat Tazria begins with the laws regarding a woman that tazria and gives birth to a male. The word “tazria” literally means “causes seeding”, so the apparent meaning is “causes pregnancy”. Still, the meaning is not clear regarding a woman. Does a woman “cause” seeding or pregnancy? This word also seems superfluous, since a woman cannot give birth without first being pregnant.
Any explanation for the meaning of “tazria” will need to take into account the statement in tractate Nida (32b) that a woman will give birth to a male only when the first one to “mazria” is the woman, not the man. Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag explained (in Beracha Veshalom, volume 2, page 443) that a seed has to partially decompose before it can germinate new life. Thus, the inner meaning of “causing seeding” is to cause decay that allows renewal. The “woman” within each person refers to the desires within each person to receive for himself or herself. (Even for nuts and bolts, the female element is the receiving element – the nut.)
Reading the Torah according to its inner meaning, it is telling us that the desire to receive must “decompose” to give birth to a male. That is, the desire to receive must weaken to give birth to a stronger desire to give to others. If the male aspect – the desire to give – is the primary aspect to decompose, then that will give birth to a new female aspect – a stronger desire to receive for oneself.
This is the essence of the spiritual path of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (known as “Baal Hasulam”) – the weakening of the desire to receive for oneself and the strengthening of the desire to give to others. And this is what connects each part of an individual soul to its divine Root. This spirit of selfless giving is also what can create a divinely-inspired society where individuals are lovingly connected to one other.
By giving we connect. Connectivity can be viewed as an expression within nature of the divine quality of giving. God has “seeded” each soul with an inner compass that causes it to gradually decompose its given self-centered nature and give birth to its ultimate nature of giving selflessly to others. The material quality of this compass is the tendency to increase connectivity.
Consider the following short history of life on our planet. Single-cell organisms connected with other single cells and become more complex organisms. Multi-celled organisms continued to evolve in complexity, creating connectivity among its parts. The ecological relationships we find in nature are forms of connectivity among organisms. Human beings are the crown of connectivity, for we develop language, culture, economic relationships, etc. These are higher forms of connectivity whose advancement is accelerating in our era via the technology of modern networks of transportation and communication – especially the internet.
Humans have begun to explore the universe with telescopes and rocket ships. We even are planning to colonize other planets by using their resources to create new forms of life. We are planning to seed life on another planet! This will create further connectivity within the universe. And here I quote Rav Kook, whose life ended before any rockets were sent into space:
“I am certain that one day men will fly from one planet to another, for this is something good and beautiful, and everything which is good and beautiful – will be!”*
Why did Rav Kook call interplanetary travel “good and beautiful?” My suggestion is that this is an expression of Rav Kook’s love for all of creation. Interplanetary travel will expand connectivity throughout the universe. Since each entity is a soul emanated from higher worlds, then the preparation for redemption is the perfection of each entity’s connection with each other entity in mutual support. This will be the harmonious unity of all souls as part of one communal soul.
* This quotation is cited in Bezalel Naor, Navigating Worlds (New York, NY: Orot/Kodesh Press 2021), p. 351. The source of the quote is Rav Kook’s disciple Dr. Moshe Seidel. See Hayyim Lifschitz, Shivhei ha-RAYaH (Jerusalem, 1995), p. 70.