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Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
Nisan 18, 5767, 4/6/2007
Just as Jewish women saved the Jews in Egypt, they can save the Jewish nation today by encouraging their husbands and sons to learn Torah, by dressing modestly, and by guarding against sexual transgression. So writes the Kabbalist, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi:
IN THE MERIT OF RIGHTEOUS WOMEN
In order to meet the demand of the hour and help elevate the spiritual level of the nation through a renewed commitment to Torah and mitzvot, it behooves the women of Israel to encourage and counsel one another in elevating their husbands above the daily material struggle of our era. This oppressive yoke leaves almost no opportunity for spiritual advancement and for the study of our holy Torah. The widespread economic hardship of our times makes the situation all the more difficult. Nonetheless, women must inspire their husbands with clear proofs of faith that G-d is ever ready to remember His People and come to our imminent salvation when we strive to sanctify our ways.
This must be done even though the Redemption delays in coming, and seems far away in our eyes because of our many tribulations, including a lack of brotherly love between fellow Jews, in-fighting, and the division into warring camps, all of which cause a weakening of Torah. We are also witness to cumbersome taxes, cutbacks in financial assistance to large families, the needy, and to institutions of Torah. Even radio stations that used to broadcast Torah have been closed down, all at once, like the gourd that grew and wilted overnight for Yonah the Prophet, so that the voice of Torah, and of men of truth, has nearly been silenced.
Nonetheless, my dear sisters and daughters, the awaited Redemption is at our doorstep, "standing behind our walls, spying in through the windows." If we prove meritorious, our righteous Mashiach will instantly come. And this, my precious sisters and daughters, can be hastened if you make a concerted effort to inspire your husbands and sons with faith. With your inspiration, all of the Jewish People will rise up from the long dark exile that shadows our existence, and which a vast number still cling to, as if hanging on to the corners of the altar, as if exile was a good thing. For they do not believe in the signs of our salvation, and have grown content with their life of galut.
Therefore, honored women and cherished daughters of Israel, this heavy burden is upon your shoulders to make it your daily task to proclaim that the Redemption is real and near, both a spiritual and physical salvation for our people. With assistance from Heaven, the Jewish People will, step by step, undergo a process of inner cleansing. Our minds will be Divinely recharged with exalted wisdom, and we will attain intellectual and emotional freedom.
In addition to all of this, honored sisters, always remember our young, precious and holy children. Their true care and upbringing depends on being nursed from the bosom of Torah, to love the Torah with all of their hearts. That is your task, to instill the love of Torah in the generation to come. Without the sound of their Torah learning, all existence would end, because it is the Torah learning of children who have not tasted sin that sustains all of the upper and lower worlds. Endear them to Torah and the commandments, for "They are our life and the length of our days, and in them we will meditate day and night." For from the Torah learning of schoolchildren, great Divine kindness is granted to the world, as it says, "Your love and compassion will always be with us." Along with sending them to learn, you can instill a simple pure faith in their hearts by reading to them holy stories about our holy exalted Sages. This should be enhanced by relating to them the miracles that G-d performed for us in the past, and the miracles that He performs for us even now, every minute of the day. In this way, we will build a blessed and upright generation that will be worthy of a true and lasting Redemption – Amen.
MODESTY – THE KEY TO REDEMPTION
How different is our nation, the House of Israel, in its transcendental holiness and great modesty, in which our holy Torah showed us the way, deeming us "Bnei Chorin" (free men), liberating us from all of the polluted workings of the nations of the world who are drawn toward a bottomless pit of moral turpitude that threatens to bring catastrophic destruction to the world, just as with the Generation of the Flood. Today, the warnings that are appearing in the world are as clear as the noonday sun, as in the case of the tidal wave, "Tzunami," and the flooding of New Orleans, and mudslides and quakes that wipe out whole villages and their inhabitants. These Heaven-sent signs and warnings come with a clear and forceful reprimand to the nations of the world.
How much more must we be on guard, for we are the holy nation that has the Torah for its heritage which shows us the path to holiness and modest behavior. Therefore, the more we follow its ways and live in a holy, modest fashion, especially in regards to the women and daughters of Israel, the more we are spiritually attached to transcendental worlds and to our Father in Heaven. When the precious women and daughters of Israel conduct themselves even more carefully according to the teachings of our holy Torah, and according to the recommendations that I have noted in my books, this is what will bring us to the true and desired goal. Resulting from this, the men and sons of Israel will become more sanctified in all of their comings and goings, since the increased modesty of the women will keep their eyes and minds sanctified in the service of G-d. In this way, everyone will be elevated in holiness. Behold then, holy and honored women and daughters of Israel, your labor and toil on behalf of the nation of Israel has yielded fruit. Today, the nation of Israel stands at an exalted level, ready to rise up the ladder of holiness and enter the stage of final Redemption, in the merit of the holy women and daughters of Israel. For in the merit of your great efforts in guarding the modesty and holiness of the Jewish People, our nation we will be redeemed, just as it was in the past when you guarded the holiness of the nation during our bondage in Egypt. Fortunate are you, precious daughters of Israel, fortunate are you. And fortunate is the nation that lives in this fashion, fortunate is the nation that has the L-rd as its G-d.
LIKE MOTHERS – LIKE DAUGHTERS
Additionally, both young and older women are obligated to learn to use cosmetics sparingly. The excessive use of make-up and coloring is a distasteful and repulsive practice that does not bring honor to the holy daughters and women of Israel. Please be very careful not to overly emphasize the use of make-up, and do not try to imitate the ways of the gentiles, G-d forbid, in this or any other matter. Remember that you are a holy Daughter of Israel, sanctified above all other nations. The Holy One Blessed Be He has given you a transcendent Divine soul, containing nefesh, ruach, neshama, chiya, yechidah, that sets you apart from the nations, and thus it is forbidden to learn the ways of non-Jews and to compete with them in their doings.
It follows that it is forbidden to wear false and fancily colored fingernails over ones natural fingernails, since this lacks modesty and even evokes revulsion. It is also best to do without nail polish. If used, bright colors should be shunned. Rather, the polish should be almost invisible. In summary, our Father in Heaven bequeaths you to appear, in and outside the house, in a proper and modest fashion, fitting a holy Daughter of Israel. You should be modest in all of your comings and goings, in your dress, in your make-up, in your speech and manner of walking, whether at home, in the streets of the city, or at festive gatherings. If you comport yourself in this manner, befitting the holiness of Israel, then of you it is written, "Many women have acted virtuously, but you have excelled them all," and "her worth is far above rubies," attributes of the woman of valor.
In this manner, you will raise up the Nation of Israel in holiness, and in doing so, you will be bringing an eternal salvation. For this, your reward will be multiplied by the L-rd, may He be blessed. Therefore, at this moment in history, the eyes of the generation are focused on you. It is in your power to sanctify G-d’s Name publicly, through your dress and behavior. In doing this, you will be mothers to a righteous generation.
How vital this is today, at this difficult hour when many Jewish people are straying from their heritage, and there is no one to shepherd them back, and no one to reprimand a generation that is falling toward an abyss of darkness, G-d forbid. Rather, everyone is stuck in a deep slumber, no one looks out for his brother’s welfare, everyone acts as he or she pleases, and the daughters of Israel parade wantonly in the streets of Israel in brazen breaches of modesty that have not been witnessed for centuries. It has reached the point that when criticism is aimed at them, they react with great affront, saying, "What do you mean? We are, Baruch Hashem, the most modest women in the world!"
A portion of our women think in this erroneous fashion. Yet they have strayed far from the path of our holy Matriarchs, and have abandoned the way of the Torah, and have caused many holy sons of Israel to succumb to temptation and fall in their service of G-d. For in the absence of guarding ones eyes, a spiritual downfall is certain, and a man, little by little, descends to a spiritual abyss. How much suffering must be endured in climbing back to the path of the Torah. For the eyes are attached to the center of wisdom, and when the brain is polluted (by seeing forbidden images), its vitality is lost, and it lacks the strength to draw power from the wellsprings of Torah. It is as if an idol has been inserted into the brain, causing it to atrophy, as it says in our holy Torah, "The pit was empty, containing no water." When there is no water, then the pit is filled with snakes and scorpions. So too with the brain – when it is empty without Torah, then scorpions and snakes reside there instead. The brain then festers with kleipot and evil spirits which bring about a man’s downfall, until he is lost completely, G-d forbid, unable to prevent his descent to the depths of immorality. This being the case, there is nothing to stop thoughts of licentiousness from overcoming him, and he is led to the snares of the purveyors of pornography, who have set up their shops in the marketplace, causing the multitude to sin. These modern day versions of Bilaam and Balak, enemies of G-d, poison all who come to sample their wares, for when a man pollutes his eyes and his thoughts, he draws impurity and pollution into his brain, contaminating his intellect. This leads to pollution in the house, which was once a pure and holy abode, but is now like a sewer....
It is time to ask the question – in whose merit were we redeemed and liberated from bondage in Egypt? Our Sages have already told us the answer; "In the merit of righteous women our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt." How did this transpire? Let us look at the inner meaning of the verse, "And Egypt made the Children of Israel serve with rigor; and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar (b’chomer) and in brick (b’livanim), and in all manner of bondage in the field, wherein they made them serve was with rigor" (Shemot, 1:13-14). Influenced by the crass material culture of Egypt, the Jewish men at the time sunk into a material existence (b’chomer) whereby the pursuit of physical gratification became their constant fixation. In all of their doings, they placed the material over the spiritual, in order to enhance their pursuit of physical, bodily pleasure. The word, "b’livanim," can be read, "bleei banim," meaning without children. In other words, the pursuit after physical gratification brought them to emit holy semen in vain, in order to avoid having children, so that they would not have to exert themselves with raising and educated them. For this would have interfered with the free time of the parents, who longed to engage in vain past-times and superficial enjoyments like the movies and theaters of today, wasting time in coffee shops, gorging their palettes at exotic restaurants, and vacationing at luxurious hotels. These sensual enjoyments were their craving, so they preferred to be without children, "bleei banim," in order to have the time to pursue their selfish bodily pleasures. This hedonistic quest led to their performing their marital relations in lightheaded, perverse, and unholy fashions. In so doing, they lost their sanctity, especially since they persisted in this evil behavior of shameless sexual practices, in the manner of the Egyptians. Thus they fell into an abyss of sexual corruption, enslaved to their passions, may G-d have mercy, and this is what brought about the hard and crushing servitude in Egypt under the cruel oppression of Pharoah and his servants. Their subjugation was increased when they did not repent from their erring ways, and did not rectify the blemishes they caused to the Brit, as it says in the Torah, "And Yosef died, and all his brethren, and all that generation" (Shemot, 1:6). As is known, Yosef represents the sefirah of Yesod, which is associated with sexual purity. As long as Yosef and his brothers were alive, the Jews guarded the holiness of their sexual lives, even in the darkness of the degenerate Egyptian culture around them. But when Yosef died, the Yesod died with him, meaning that the Jewish men fell from their holy ways. This blemish to the Covenant (pigam habrit) was so widespread, it affected all of that generation. Thus their spirituality died, and this brought a great spiritual darkness upon them, and thus the generation did not merit "the hidden light" needed to bring them salvation.
It was only when Moshe Rabainu was born did the light of the promised Salvation return. For Moshe was perfect in matters of the Yesod, and this influenced all the nation, as is written, "And she saw that he was good" (Shemot, 1:2), for he was born circumcised and rectified in his attachment to the realm of the Yesod. When he grew older, the Torah says that, "Moshe went out to his brothers." He went out, again and again, to his Jewish brethren, armed with his great holiness, to gather them together and teach them the awe and fear of G-d, and the proper ways of behavior. Thus, he awakened their dormant spirituality and, little by little, inspired them to t’shuva. This immediately opened the gateway to Redemption, leading to their departing from Egypt, to their receiving the Torah, and to their coming to the Holy Land.
From all this we learn that whomever blemishes the holy Yesod, and does not rectify it immediately through various tikunim, especially through the tikun of the holy Yesod called "Yeshuat Eliahu," and does not return in true repentance, then this person will not, G-d forbid, merit to see the face of the Shechinah, and the treasured light of G-d will not shine on him. What was true for the Jewish People in Egypt is also true for the Jewish People today.
(Other articles by Rabbi Levi can be found at www.jewishsexuality.com)