In the name of the Rabbi, the Preacher of the Holy Community of Mezhirech 1

[a] In the act of coition you must regard yourself as naught. 2 This is the meaning of “Rabba drove away the flies” (Nidah 17a), i.e., he did not consider himself even as a fly.

[b] [3 Regard yourself as no more than a tool. When a craftsman hits the rock with a hammer, this happens because of his desire, and not because of the hammer’s desire, to hit the rock; for if it had been the latter, (the hammer) would be independent of the craftsman. Thus things happen according to the infusion of the primordial mind into the tools.

All of (man’s) limbs are but tools: he needs to eat but cannot do so without his tools. He is not to eat to indulge his desire, as he is not to love anything but God and His commandments. Cohabitation is necessary to preserve the species (lit.: the generation), for this cannot be except by the cohabitation of male and female. As he and she are but tools, however, one should not cohabit to indulge desire, and one is not to love anything but God and His commandments. Thus-]

love your wife just like your tefillin (phylacteries) which you care for only for the sake of observing the command of God. 4 Do not muse on her. 5 Regard it like someone traveling to a market, and he cannot do so without a horse. Would he, therefore, come to love the horse? 6 Is there anything more foolish than that? Likewise, in this world a man needs a wife for the service of the Creator 7 in order to merit the World-to-Come. 8 Could anything be more foolish than to forsake his affairs 9 to muse on her? Rather, spurn her [being a sexual object].

When you see a beautiful woman 10 think to yourself that the white substance is from the seed of the father and the red substance is from the seed of the mother, 11 turbid blood, putrid and repugnant, which placed next to food would render that food loathsome. The beauty sown by the [physical] father derives from the Supernal Father, 12 the “World of Love,” 13 while the seed of the mother derives from the Supernal Mother, 14 the “World of Fear.” 15 This is the beauty [of the woman]. Thus it is better to attach yourself to the love and fear of the Creator, blessed is He.

By rendering that sin 16 repugnant in your eyes, all sins will be repugnant in your eyes. For it accounts for the formation of man, 17 who has 365 sinews alluding to the 365 prohibitions [in the Torah]. 18 [Spurning lust, therefore,] negates [the violation of] the 365 prohibitions. 19

R. Israel Baal Shem, peace be upon him, thus said: There is a great desire for this sin 20 because it accounts for the formation of man. 21 Man most likely derives pleasure from his eating and other things, [for] all forms of pleasure derive from that [seminal] drop. Thus he is attached with everything to katnut (constricted consciousness). 22 It is far better to attach himself to the Holy One, blessed is He. 23