The next Friday, Sarai entered Alter’s room. She had gone to the ritual bath, and returned. She had removed her kerchief, and her hair, usually in pleats, hung down around her shoulders. Alter dreaded her arrival. For more than twenty years, he hardly looked at a woman, and now he was supposed to perform his duties as a husband.
He blushed like a yeshivah boy on his wedding night when Sarai entered the room. He felt as if he had just wed, and been told, in hushed tones outside the bridal chamber, what was expected of him. Only now with the bride had forgotten every word. He did not know what to do.
Sarai came and lay next to him in the bed. They maintained a respectful silence. Alter wracked his brain for instructions. He had denied the body for so many years, he had forgotten its natural dictates.
All that came into his head where snippets of The Zohar, odds and ends about the Celestial Union, the Divine Seed, the Coupling that takes place on High, all bereft of practical significance.
Then some words of Maimonides from the Mishnah Torah sprang into his head: “A husband and wife may have intercourse in whatever way they desire; he may kiss any organ of her body he wishes, and he may have intercourse with her naturally or unnaturally, provided he does not expend semen to no purpose…”
So Alter followed the holy Rambam’s advice to the letter. He began to kiss Sarai all over he body, including her intimate parts. Her breathing increased. Her body squirmed beneath him. Her hands moved around Alter’s body.
When he was ready, Alter began to make love to Sarai. They rocked back and forth together, their bodies finding a mutual harmony. There was a feeling of lightness and heaviness, like water moving to and fro, and once again, snippets of The Zohar floated through Alter’s brain; and as he reached his peak, he saw the King and Queen in their Heavenly Chamber, conjoined, mirroring the work of human men and woman.
Then Alter lay down next to his wife and fell into a lasting sleep, knowing he had performed God’s command.