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This week begins the six week period of Shovavim, a time period that the Arizal wrote is an auspicious time to work on oneself, especially in the areas of sexual transgressions.

I have two questions:

  1. Is the Arizal the originator of this idea? Or did he already have a Mesorah for it? If so, what is the earliest source for this idea

  2. If the Arizal was the originator of this idea, is it historically documented that the people who lived during his time period struggled particularly with sexual sins?

  • It can't be that old as Parshat Bo wasn't a universal thing. Some communities used to have Parshat Hashkem instead. – Double AA Jan 15 '17 at 13:59
  • @DoubleAA Or Parshat Pharaoh, as the Tanya Rabbati and Machzor Romi call Bo. Then again, they both refer to Vaera as Re'eh, so you don't even need to get to Bo. – Chaim Jan 15 '17 at 16:04
  • The answer here quotes R. Chaim Vital as calling Shovavim an ancient tradition: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/4750/3388 – Chaim Jan 15 '17 at 16:17
  • @chaim I mean the parsha break was in a different place namely before Barad. Not just a different name. – Double AA Jan 15 '17 at 16:22
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    @DoubleAA very interesting. Do you have source on hand? – Chaim Jan 15 '17 at 16:26

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