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Lust on the Slaughter Block

By Tzvi Fishman
3/30/2009, 12:00 AM

Ancient Egypt was the spiritual and cultural cesspool of the world. Promiscuity, adultery, sexual perversion, witchcraft, and idol worship were the norm. The clutches of temptation and sin were so powerful that no one, in the natural course of events, could shake off the shackles of lust that marked Egyptian life.

The Jews were no exception. After 200 years dwelling in such a polluted, immoral environment, we plummeted to the 49th degree of impurity and would have been immediately destroyed if G-d had not miraculously interfered and rescued us with the utmost haste, speeding our exodus from grip of the evil inclination which infested the land.

Our Sages tell us that we were redeemed from Egypt due to the merit of the two mitzvot (commandments) which G-d commanded us to perform on the eve of our departure - the Paschal sacrifice and the brit milah. Both of these commandments were designed to free us from our spiritual slavery to the lusts of the body, and liberate us to true freedom as servants of G-d. They were the rectification and “tikun” that paved the way to Redemption.

Tikun in Mitzrayim

Among a cornucopia of bestial pervesions, the Egyptians worshipped the lamb. Among the domestic beasts, sheep are known for their fecundity.  In a similar manner, licentiousness and sexual debauchery were an integral part of this idol worship.

In commanding every Jewish household in Egypt to take a lamb, the Egyptians' god, and slaughter it for the Pesach offering, G-d was commanding us to slaughter the physical lusts in ourselves that lead to the perversion of the holy marital union, and to the pollution of the holy, life force of our nation. Interestingly, we were commanded to tie the lambs to our bedposts, not to the door, or the window, or kitchen table, but to our beds, precisely to drive this point into our individual and national psyche, that we are to be a holy people, separated by the purity of our sexual lives from all of the other nations in the world.

The Passover sacrifice - "You shall tie it to the bedpost of your bed."

This is the very same lesson of the brit milah. Only a man who was circumcised was allowed to partake in eating the Passover lamb. The removal of the foreskin both symbolizes, and physically effects, the removal of the impure physical lusts that accompany the marital union.

Tzvi with baby at brit

On the eve of our departure from the bondage of Egypt and from our servitude to its debauched and immoral culture, we were called to renew the Brit of our Forefathers, the founding Covenant between G-d and the Jewish People, whereby we safeguard the purity of our sexual lives, symbolized by the brit milah, and G-d, for His part, promises us the Land of Israel as our eternal inheritance. Thus the Zohar teaches that in the merit of the blood of the slaughtered Paschal lamb (the korban Pesach) and the blood of the brit milah, we were redeemed from the spiritual dungeon of Egypt (Zohar, Shemot, 41A).

We see that the commitment to abandon sexual transgression was the key to our redemption from Egypt. This separation from sexual immorality is the essence of the Jewish People, "a nation of priests and a holy nation." Only when we rose above the sordidness and pollution of Egyptian culture could we escape from the chains of its bondage.

So if you want to reach Pesach night with the purity that will allow you to receive the exalted spiritual high of the holiday, now is the time for tikun. Reciting the “Tikun HaKlali” will help you to break free from the bondage of physical lusts and cleanse the blemishes of the past.

May if be the will of the Almighty, that this Pesach begin a year of personal Redemption from the lusts which enslave us and estrange us from our calling as Jews, and a Redemption for all of the Nation of Israel, freeing our remnants from the Egypts of today, by returning all of our scattered outcasts to our Land.

 

Ancient Egypt was the spiritual and cultural cesspool of the world. Promiscuity, adultery, sexual perversion, witchcraft, and idol worship were the norm. The clutches of temptation and sin were so powerful that no one, in the natural course of events, could shake off the shackles of lust that marked Egyptian life.

The Jews were no exception. After 200 years dwelling in such a polluted, immoral environment, we plummeted to the 49th degree of impurity and would have been immediately destroyed if G-d had not miraculously interfered and rescued us with the utmost haste, speeding our exodus from grip of the evil inclination which infested the land.

Our Sages tell us that we were redeemed from Egypt due to the merit of the two mitzvot (commandments) which G-d commanded us to perform on the eve of our departure - the Paschal sacrifice and the brit milah. Both of these commandments were designed to free us from our spiritual slavery to the lusts of the body, and liberate us to true freedom as servants of G-d. They were the rectification and “tikun” that paved the way to Redemption.

Among a cornucopia of bestial doings, the Egyptians worshipped the lamb. Among the domestic beasts, sheep are known for their fecundity.  In a similar manner, licentiousness and sexual debauchery were an integral part of this idol worship.

In commanding every Jewish household in Egypt to take a lamb, the Egyptians' god, and slaughter it for the Pesach offering, G-d was commanding us to slaughter the physical lusts in ourselves that lead to the perversion of the holy marital union, and to the pollution of the holy, life force of our nation. Interestingly, we were commanded to tie the lambs to our bedposts, not to the door, or the window, or kitchen table, but to our beds, precisely to drive this point into our individual and national psyche, that we are to be a holy people, separated by the purity of our sexual lives from all of the other nations in the world.

This is the very same lesson of the brit milah. Only a man who was circumcised was allowed to partake in eating the Passover lamb. The removal of the foreskin both symbolizes, and physically effects, the removal of the impure physical lusts that accompany the marital union.

On the eve of our departure from the bondage of Egypt and from our servitude to its debauched and immoral culture, we were called to renew the Brit of our Forefathers, the founding Covenant between G-d and the Jewish People, whereby we safeguard the purity of our sexual lives, symbolized by the brit milah, and G-d, for His part, promises us the Land of Israel as our eternal inheritance. Thus the Zohar teaches that in the merit of the blood of the slaughtered Paschal lamb (the korban Pesach) and the blood of the brit milah, we were redeemed from the spiritual dungeon of Egypt (Zohar, Shemot, 41A).

We see that the commitment to abandon sexual transgression was the key to our redemption from Egypt. This separation from sexual immorality is the essence of the Jewish People, "a nation of priests and a holy nation." Only when we rose above the sordidness and pollution of Egyptian culture could we escape from the chains of its bondage.

So if you want to reach Pesach night with the purity that will allow you to receive the exalted spiritual high of the holiday, now is the time for tikun. Reciting the “Tikun HaKlali” will help you to break free from the bondage of physical lusts and cleanse the blemishes of the past.

May if be the will of the Almighty, that this Pesach begin a year of personal Redemption from the lusts which enslave us and estrange us from our calling as Jews, and a Redemption for all of the Nation of Israel, freeing our remnants from the Egypts of today by returning all of our scattered outcasts to our Land.