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Potifar's Wife

By Tzvi Fishman
6/17/2007, 12:00 AM

Yosef was called "Tzaddik" because he overcame the temptations of Egypt’s reigning temptress, Potifar’s wife. This wasn’t a onetime victory, but a tortuous daily battle. Every day, she tried to seduce him in novel ways. Only his great fear of G-d, and his devotion to the holy ideals of his Forefathers, saved him. Today, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, hundreds of Jews will be traveling to Yosef’s Tomb in Shechem to celebrate Yosef's memorial by reciting all-night supplications, called Tikun HaYesod, designed to rectify sexual transgression.
Rabbi Nachman taught that sexual temptation is the ultimate test that every Jew faces.

Given the promiscuous society we live in, we are all tested with temptations each day like Yosef, on the streets of our cities, in shopping centers, at the movies. Today, all of the seductions of Potifar’s wife have found their way into our offices and homes in the day to day temptations of our computers. Not only because of the easy accessibility of porn sites on the web. Google and Yahoo may seem harmless, but they are loaded with pitfalls and immodest photos that bring deadly harm to the holy Jewish soul.

Google Eyes - Internetitis

Anyone who navigates his way through a session at the computer without falling into its snares, has successfully overcome temptations equal to Potifar’s Wife and deserves the title of "Tzaddik," just like Yosef.

Potifar's Wife

Because Book Week in Israel always stretches into the next week as well, we are going to honor the memory of Yosef with some words about Rabbi Nachman’s "Tikun Clalli," one of our top ten recommended books. Rabbi Nachman’s Tikun is a rectification for sexual transgression, known as Tikun HaBrit, specifically the spilling of the sexual life force in vain, which can come about in many ways, including the abuse of Internet surfing. As our Sages have taught, "The eyes see, the heart desires, and the body completes the action" (Rashi on BaMidbar, 25:39)

If Rabbi Nachman thought it vital to the spiritual health of the Jewish People to compose his Tikun some two-hundred years ago when the majority of Jewish women in Russia attired themselves in modest dresses with sleeves to the wrist and hems to the heel, how much more so is the remedy needed today when everything is left shamelessly open for everyone to see on the streets of our cities and on our computers at home!

The Tikun Clalli is an arrangement of 10 Psalms, followed by a long and heartfelt confession that was written by Rabbi Nachman’s foremost student, Rabbi Natan. Millions of copies of the Tikun have been distributed in pamphlet form around the world in dozens of languages. It is recited daily by tens of thousands of Jews, not only Breslev Hasidim. Others recite it less frequently, following a sexual mistake. Rabbi Nachman taught that sexual temptation is the ultimate test that every Jew faces. Here are a few things that Rabbi Natan writes in the preface to the Tikun. May they help to strengthen us in our own daily battles and inspire us to emulate the great righteousness of Yosef:

"When the Rebbe revealed this teaching, he started by saying that the first remedy is to immerse in a mikvah, as soon as possible, preferably on the very same day that a person becomes impure. The Rebbe first disclosed the 10 Psalms to the Rabbi of Breslov and to my close friend, Rabbi Naftali of Nemirov. He said to them: ‘Three quarters of the world are caught in this trap. Now I am going to make you witnesses of my words. Know that these 10 Psalms are highly effective in the case of seminal pollution. In fact, they are a complete remedy, and they help very greatly. When a pollution occurs to a person who has been having thoughts and fantasies during the day, it indeed causes evil forces (kelipot) to be created, as is explained in the mystical literature. However, if one recites these 10 Psalms on the same day, it is certainly a very powerful remedy. If one can go to the mikvah and afterwards recite these Psalms, it is excellent. Even if he is unavoidably prevented from immersing, through sickness, for example, or because he is on a journey, happy is he, because they are a great and awesome remedy. If he says them with understanding and devotion, this is certainly very good. But even simply saying the words is very effective.’

"The Rebbe said, ‘When my days are ended and I leave the world, I will intercede for anyone who comes to my grave, recites these 10 Psalms, and gives to charity. No matter how grave his sins and transgressions, I will do everything in my power to save him and cleanse him. I will span the length and breadth of the creation for him. I will take a hold of his side locks and pull him out of hell.’

Rabbi Nachman's Tomb

"The Rebbe told us to: ‘Go out an spread the teaching of these 10 Psalms to all men. It may seem like an easy thing to say 10 Psalms, bit in practice it will prove to be very difficult.’

"The Rebbe warned us of the difficulties from the start. We have done all that we could to make the matter known to all those who seek to purify themselves. Everyone must now do as he sees fit. Listen if you want to, or ignore it of you wish.

"Rebbe Nachman was very insistent that one should not allow oneself to be worried in the slightest by this occurrence, especially now that the remedy of the 10 Psalms is available. Fear and depression are very damaging. By reciting the 10 Psalms on the same day as this occurrence, the sin is completely rectified and the person should have no worries at all. The Rebbe taught us that it is vital to always be joyous and not to become depressed about anything in the world, regardless what happens. If you are absolutely determined to let nothing worry you, in the end you will be worthy of overcoming everything and attaining peace. It is impossible to explain all this in print, but one who has sense will understand."

The 10 Psalms are: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150 to be recited in that order. Books and booklets containing these Psalms and the confession that follows can be found at Jewish bookstores.