Zohar 2:89a; cf. 2:204b-205a


“For thus said the Lord- As far as the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who have chosen what I desire and they hold fast to My covenant, I will give them, in My house and within My walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters, I will give them an everlasting name that shall not perish” (Isa. 56-4-5)- Who are the eunuchs? These are the comrades engaged in Torah. They castrate themselves the six days of the week and study Torah, and on the night of Sabbath they prepare themselves for intercourse, for they know the supernal secret concerning the time when the Matrona unites with the King. The comrades who know this secret direct their hearts to the Faith of their Master and they are blessed with the fruit of their loins on that night…. They are truly called eunuchs because they wait for the Sabbath, to discover the desire of their Master, as it is written, “who have chosen what I desire.” What is [the meaning of] “what I desire”? It is intercourse with the Matrona. “And they hold fast to My covenant,” it is all one. “My covenant,” without qualification. Praiseworthy is the portion of the one who is sanctified in this holiness and who knows this mystery.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Eunuchs who Keep the Sabbath- Becoming Male and the Ascetic Ideal in Thirteenth Century Jewish Mysticism,” in Becoming Male in the Middle Ages, 151-185. Edited by J. J. Cohen and B. Wheeler. New York- Garland, 1997.

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