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      Hollywood to the Holy Land
      by Tzvi Fishman
      Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture

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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.


      Iyar 23, 5770, 5/7/2010

      You Have Problems? Here's Why

      The period of “Sefirat HaOmer” is a period of self-examination and character improvement as we prepare ourselves to receive the Torah on the upcoming holiday of Shavuot. On the past, we have written about the Kabbalistic aspects of the counting, and how each day of the counting is connected to a different “sefirah,” or spiritual channel that brings G-d’s light into the world. This is the week of the sefirah of “Yesod” which is connected to the sexual aspect of our lives. One of the foundations of being a Holy Nation which has been chosen by G-d to be the bearers of the Torah is that we live our sexual lives in a holy fashion as well.

      One day a week, on Thursdays, Rabbi Leon Levi meets with people who come to seek his advice with all kinds of problems, from serious health matters, marital strife, livelihood worries, and troubles with children. Out of every 10 cases, approximately 8 are due to sexual transgression, in one form or another, whether it be adultery, internet pornography, not keeping the laws of family purity in the proper fashion, or immodest marital relations in a lighted room, or while uncovered, or in ways that lead to the spilling of semen in vain. When the holy source of life is misused and wasted, the spiritual channel of the “Yesod” becomes blocked, and one’s pool of Heavenly blessing dries up, causing all kinds of shortages and problems in a person’s life, whether it be health, livelihood, peace in the home, and with the kids. (Other factors that cause G-d's caring blessing to abandon a person, in order to bring him or her to tshuva, are things like anger, arrogance, lashon hara, mocking Torah scholars, and the like.)

      This week’s Torah portion of “Behukotai” tells of all the horrible punishments which will befall the Jewish People in the course of exile in foreign lands. The renowned saintly Kabbalist, Rabbi Yaacov Habuchatzera, grandfather of the Babi Sali, writes that all of the calamities mentioned in the Torah portion are the result of sexual transgression, known as transgression to the Brit, which is mentioned several times in the reading.

      Therefore, my friends, as we approach the holiday of Shavuot, and the giving of the Torah, it is a good time to stop and reflect on our lives, our marriages, our children, and to think how we can improve things. One of the ways is to look over the laws of marital relations and the  guidance of our Sages, and make an effort to apply them in our lives.

      Shabbat shalom!