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Happy Trails To You

By Tzvi Fishman
9/9/2007, 12:00 AM
During the past year, we have seen over and over that the true life of a Jew is in the Land of Israel. We have also seen that we are to sanctify ourselves with the holiness of the Brit that was sealed in our flesh, a sign that we are to distinguish ourselves from all peoples by guarding our lives in sexual purity.

The message of guarding the Brit is repeatedly emphasized in the Torah portion that we read this past Shabbat. Seeing the total destruction of the once bountiful Land which was transformed into a barren wasteland in G-d’s wrath against Israel’s transgressions, foreigners ask in astonishment what brought about this great anger? They receive the answer, “Because they have forsaken the Brit of the L-rd G-d of their fathers…. For they went and served others gods and worshipped them…. And the anger of the L-rd burned against this Land to bring upon all the curses that are written in this book; and the L-rd uprooted them out of their Land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is to this day” (Devarim, 24-27).

Our Sages reveal that the Jewish People never believed in idol worship, but only participated in its rites as an excuse to partake in the sexual deviations that were part and parcel of the hedonist culture of the gentiles living in Eretz Yisrael. It was sexual transgression that brought about G-d’s great wrath upon us and which caused our exile from the Land.  We have attempted to stress that this danger has renewed importance today, when, once again, the immodest, adulterous culture of the gentiles has fastened a hold on the Holy Land, luring the Jewish People into the pitfalls of sexual transgression. 
       
If readers have internalized these messages, and have made deeper commitments to the Land of Israel, and have added more holiness to their lives, then this blog has achieved its purpose. Each day, more than a thousand pages are read on our jewishsexuality site, and this is an indication that the message is indeed being heard. Arutz 7 readers who would like to hear more on these themes are invited to follow me there, where, G-d willing, I will continue to write on these matters, always trying to highlight the eternal teachings of our Sages. For example, readers interested in encountering some Kabbalistic “Secrets of the Shofar” will find them posted there.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with a farewell gift. There is an interesting law about the recital of Selichot. If a person wakes up late in the night and only has enough time to recite either Tikun Hatzot or Selichot before sunrise, he should recite Tikun Hatzot because of its exalted power in evoking Divine compassion. The Zohar refers to the Midnight Lament as the most perfect service. King David says, “I will rise up at midnight to give thanks to you for Your righteous judgments” (Tehillim, 119:62). This was the secret of his great success. He would get up at midnight to learn Torah and sing the praises of G-d.
 
Tikun Hatzot

The Shulchan Aruch states that “It is fitting for every G-d fearing Jew to feel grief and sorrow over the destruction of the Temple (Orach Chaim, 1:1-3). This refers to Tikun Hatzot. The Zohar explains that sins, especially sexual transgressions, cause the Shechinah to flee into exile. More than anything else, it is the prayers of Tikun Hatzot that stir the Shechinah to return to guard over the Jewish People.
 
The Most Powerful Prayer

So friends, “Arise! Cry out in the night! Pour out your heart like water before G-d” (Lamentations, 2:19). Make Tikun Hatzot a regular part of you week. However often you can. Once a week is good. Twice is even better. It is a spiritual multi-vitamin pill guaranteed to bring a new zest to your service of G-d, and to draw down a river of blessings. During the upcoming Shmittah year, only half of the prayer is recited, Tikun Leah. This 15 or 20 minute investment is the smartest, most profitable investment you can make. [For an online text of Tikun Hatzot and related laws, click here.]

That’ it. L’hitraot. Happy trails to you until we meet again. Shana tova, and may you and all of the Jewish People be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a happy, healthy, and prosperous year.  
 
The End