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Holy S@x and the Holy Land

By Tzvi Fishman
1/25/2009, 12:00 AM

The thing that distinguishes the Jewish People from all other nations is the Covenant between the Jewish People and G-d. This Covenant, or Brit, as it is called in Hebrew, was first established between our forefather, Avraham, and the Holy One Blessed Be He. As we have explained on many occasions, this Covenant is not merely keeping the commandment of Brit Milah (circumcision), but also safeguarding the holiness of our sexual lives. This is the foundation of the Jewish People. In return for our keeping our half of the Covenant, G-d gives us the Land of Israel. Our settlement of Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) is intrinsically tied up with the purity of our sexual lives.     

Let’s take a look in the Torah at some of the things we have missed since the start of the war. Remember the dreams of Yosef – how everyone in the family had to bow down to him?

Joseph's Dream

Since Yosef is identified as the Tzaddik (righteous one) who guarded the Brit of sexual holiness by refusing to have relations with Potifar’s wife, this dream is telling us that all of the other elements comprising the Jewish People must take a second seat to Yosef and “bow down” to the all-important characteristic of sexual holiness which is to be the supreme factor in a Jew’s relationship with G-d. That’s right – the attribute that most characterizes the Jewish People is not eating bagels and lox, but our sexual holiness.

After Yosef rises to power in Egypt, when he finally reveals his true identity to his brothers, they are so shocked, they cannot believe that the bearded Egyptian viceroy before them is their long lost brother, who was a clean shaven youth when they threw him into a pit. So Yosef bids them to come closer to him and, as Rashi and the Midrash explain, he shows them his brit milah (male sexual organ) to show them he is a Jew. The Zohar teaches that Yosef was also explaining to them on a deeper level, “This is how I rose to kingship in Egypt - by guarding the holiness of the Brit.”

Later, when Yaakov makes Yosef swear that he will bury him in the Land of Israel, and not in Egypt, Yaakov has Yosef take the oath by placing his hand under the place of his father’s Brit. Strange. Didn’t he have some holy book or parchment that Yosef could have sworn by?

"I swear I didn't steal it."

The fact is that the place of the Brit has the holiness of a Torah scroll. As Rabbi Leon Levi explains, putting ones Brit into a foreign place is like throwing a Torah scroll into the garbage, G-d forbid. As the Zohar states, our forefathers attained their exalted spiritual status precisely because of the holiness of their sexual lives.

Like throwing a Torah scroll into the garbage

Our Sages explain that our forefather, Yaakov, demanded that his sons bury him in Eretz Yisrael because he didn’t want them to have an excuse for staying in Egypt, as if to watch over their father’s grave. Yaakov wanted his children, and the Jews for all generations to come, to understand that the Land of Israel was their one and only home, and not Egypt, New York, or Australia.

Egypt then....
Egypt today

As is known to students of the secrets of Torah, the Jewish People had to descend to Egypt in order to rectify the sexual sins of the world. Without going into the details in this blog, the first verse of the book of “Shemot” uses the present tense of the Hebrew word for “come” when it says: “Now these are the names of the Children of Israel who came (come) into Egypt.” Rabbi Leon explains that the use of the present tense teaches that every year, at this time of the year, the Jewish People are given a unique chance to rectify their sexual sins, which place us in an exile from G-d, just as we were in exile back then. This is the understanding behind the special rectifications and prayers of the six week period of “Shovavim” that we are in the midst of now. Every week in Israel, large congregations of Jews, singles and married people alike, gather together for fasting and “Shovavim” prayers, known as “Tikun HaYesod,” to rectify sexual sins. If you haven’t tried it yet, this is the time to take advantage of this special Heavenly offer.

For now, we will end this blog with Hashem’s very first communication with Moshe, at the burning bush, where He states the goal of the upcoming Exodus. “I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of Egypt, to bring them up out of that land, to a good and large Land, a Land flowing with milk and honey” (Shemot, 3:8).

With his very first speech to Moshe, G-d is informing him, and the Jewish People for all time to come, that He wants us to live in the Land of Israel, and not in Egypt, or Monsey, or Manchester, or Melbourne, or Marseilles.

Get the message, guys?