Part 9 - Peace in the Middle East? It’s all up to us.
What do the greatest sages of the Jewish People have to say about the metaphysical consequences of sexual misconduct?
Rabbi Nachman of Brezlov says, “A person, for a simple pleasure lasting a quarter of an hour, can destroy himself from this world and the next.”
“The lust for food, at least gives a person more energy. The desire does not even do that, it does the opposite. It greatly weakens the person.”
Is there any physical proof that can back up these statements? Is there a doctor in the house that can give us a second opinion on Rabbi Nachman’s warning?
Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, famously known as the Rambam can uphold the claims of Rabbi Nachman. The Rambam was also a physician. He was the physician to the Grand Vizer and the Sultan of Egypt. Although he lived over 800 years ago, his works on physical health are studied and applied to this very day. In the United States, hospitals are named in his honor. Not only for his accomplishments in Torah, but in medicine as well. He had a lot to say about this topic. His book on Jewish law called the Mishneh Torah explains the harmful effects of spilling seed in great detail.
“Semen constitutes the strength of the body, its life, and the light of the eyes. Its emission in excess causes physical decay, debility, and diminished vitality. Thus, King Solomon, in his wisdom, said, ‘give not thy strength unto women’. Whoever indulges in sexual excess becomes prematurely aged, his strength wanes, his eyesight becomes dim, a foul odor emanates from his mouth and armpits, the hair of his head becomes bald, and his teeth fall out. Plus he becomes susceptible to numerous other diseases. Medical authorities have stated that for each person who dies of other maladies, a thousand are victim of sexual excess. A man should thus be careful in this regard if he wishes to lead a happy life.”
This is advice from not only one of the greatest doctors of all time; it is advice from one of the greatest Rabbis as well.
Spilling seed also damages ones memory. A part of the fluid that you are wasting comes directly from the brain. It starts in the brain, goes down the spine into the bowels, and then is excreted. When you spill seed, you are literally wasting part of your brain.
What about the psychological affects? There is nothing that causes depression more directly than this sin. When you commit this sin, you are weakening your soul. You are deadening your spiritual and physical energies. You are handing control over from your spiritual side to your animal side. You are no longer in control of your thoughts. We create spiritual demons that hover around us when we spill seed. One of the ways they torture us is to plant thoughts in our mind. Have you ever had a horrifying thought that came out of nowhere? Did your mind ever say something that you found totally repulsive? Have you ever told yourself to “shut up?” It may not be you actively thinking these thoughts.
Do you ever feel that all is hopeless? That some things are not worth the effort? This is not merely depression – it is the direct consequences of what happens to us when we commit these sins. They have a direct mental and physical affect on our mind and our bodies. Believe it or not, this is good news.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe tells us that in realizing what is wrong in our lives, we should rejoice. When someone feels sick, or has a pain in one of his limbs, he goes to a doctor. Once the doctor diagnoses this problem, the patient has a cause for relief. Now, the doctor can prescribe the specific remedies necessary for the patient to heal. The patient, while still feeling the same pain as before, suddenly knows how to get better.
Are you on anti-depressants? Do you hide through the miseries of your daily life through booze? ‘?’ Drugs? ‘?’ Cheap sex? ‘?’ Do these things provide a temporary respite only to return us to the depression we were in that led to this in the first place?
Try this. Give this mitzvah a 60 day trial. We all underestimate the power of Hashem in our lives. We all don’t realize how much joy there is in connecting to G-d. I heard a spiritual leader once say that the real reason for the massive addiction of so many Jews to drugs is because they weren’t shown how to connect their souls to G-d. 50% of all Grateful Dead “deadheads” are Jewish. Where there should be a great light and inner joy inside all of us, there is only emptiness. These poor Jews were built to receive so much from heaven. Spiritually, they are starving. They use the only remedy they see to fill the void. However therapy, or drugs, or women doesn’t replace what our souls really need. Hashem doesn’t judge anyone, He cries for us. Everything He does for us is for our own benefit. The good news is still right in front of us!
Instead of concentrating on therapy, drugs, or sex, try concentrating on a new connection to Hashem. It is free and fun. It is accessible to everybody, and it can attack these problems just as much as the man-made solutions – more even. If you think that running to G-d is a simpleton’s way to hide from reality and that it’s a fool’s errand to convince yourself that you can be happy – THAT’S WONDERFUL! Why make our problems complicated? Let’s be happy. If a commercial can imply that the secret cure to all of our problems is by drinking a miller lite or getting Geico auto insurance, I can imply that the secret cure to all of our problems is a stronger connection to HaKadosh Baruch Hu!
For a person who is not Shmirat HaBrit, or is pgam habrit, most of the things he tries to accomplish in life don’t work out for some reason or another. He is put in many stressful situations and is brought much suffering. He also loses his beshert. What is a beshert? Before we are born, Hashem decrees who we are destined to marry. That person is called your beshert. As a result of this sin, she will not marry you. Even harsher, she will not only reject you, she will outwardly rebel against you. This is a very harsh consequence of spilling seed. It is possible to find someone else, who, according to Jewish law, will become your destined one. However it isn’t the person who was originally meant for you. You will have to wait even longer to find your wife.
The fact is that the Zohar emphasizes that sexual immorality brings tragedy and sickness on those who commit it.
This doesn’t even touch upon the physical illness our generation suffers today. There are 15 million cases of sexually transmitted infections that are diagnosed each year. One in seven people will get a sexually transmitted disease. Three quarters of women who go through the trauma of an abortion are unmarried. 80% of unplanned pregnancies result in a faulty contraception. Even if you use protection, you still run the risk of horrifying consequences. A child born out of wedlock is five times more likely to live his or her life in poverty. After 25 years, there still isn’t a medical cure for AIDS. All of these tragedies are a direct result of misusing ones sexual energy. Every trauma, sickness, and death is a result of an act of pgam habrit. I am not talking politics here. I am not going to write about the arguments of being pro-life versus pro-choice. The fact is that an abortion, any abortion, is a horrible and traumatic experience for the mother. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has expressed views for both pro-choice and pro-life said it best: abortion itself is something horrible. Both sides of the isle can agree that it is something we want to see less of in the future.
There is a remedy to all of these ills. There is a cure for AIDS. There is a cure for unplanned pregnancies. There is a sure fire cure for all of the physical and psychological sickness’ I have just mentioned.
It’s not medicine and it doesn’t cost a dime in doctor’s visits or health insurance.
It’s the mitzvah of Shmirat HaBrit. It will keep you away from sickness. it will make you healthier. It will bring Hashem great joy in Heaven and bring you closer to G-d.
What about the Jewish nation as a whole? Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, said that a soldier serving in Israel can receive Divine Protection in the merit of a Jew putting on Tefillin in New York. Every action we do right here, right now, counts. Does it work both ways? Does the sin of one Jew damage another Jew? Do collective sins bring pain to the Jewish Nation as a whole?
We lost the First Temple due to the sin of sexual immorality. This is generally known. There are authorities that also claim that the slavery in Egypt was a result of sexual immorality. One commentator said that of the many sins the generation of Noah committed, it wasn’t until they started to spill seed that a decree came from Above to wipe out all of humanity.
The Book of Vayikra, or Leviticus states in Chapter 18, Verse 28, very clearly:
Let not the Land disgorge you for having contaminated it.
The word contaminated, B’Ta’am’chem, comes from the word tu-me, or to make impure. Sexual sins are the worst kind of impurity there is.
The Torah, the Zohar, and Jewish history all tell us that there is a direct relationship between our guarding of the mitzvah of sexual morality, and the hold we have on Eretz Yisrael.
The Zohar explains this connection in greater detail. The Brit is the channel that brings the flow of Hashem’s blessings to the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael. The guarding of the Brit is an extension of the establishment of the Brit between Hashem and our father, Avraham. It was this Brit, or agreement, where Hashem promised Avraham and his descendants, that’s us, the Land of Israel. When we don’t uphold the mitzvah of the Brit, we nullify the covenant. Subsequently, in violating this covenant, Hashem no longer protects us in the Land of Israel.
Take a look at what is happening today. Inside Israel and out, there are no boundaries to sex. In Israel, as well as galut (the Diaspora – outside the Land of Israel) we have affairs, we have illegitimate children, and we have sex while the woman is in a spiritually impure state. Women dress half naked in cities like Jerusalem and New York and nobody says anything!
The consequences of all this is unfolding right before our eyes. According to many great sages of our generation, the recent calamities that have befallen the Jewish people are a direct result of our sexual sins. Hashem is passing judgment on our actions. Each individual action is affecting the Nation as a whole.
We are being exiled from our Land bit by bit.
We have evacuated Gaza. We retreated from South Lebanon. We have left big parts of the West Bank. There is even talk of abandoning Jerusalem. It is not a coincidence that the individual who personifies the guarding of the Brit, Joseph HaTzaddik, is the only patriarch of the Jewish people whose Tomb has been desecrated by arabs and turned into a mosque right before our eyes – TWICE! The Tomb of Joseph is in Schem. We know the city by its Roman given name, Nablus. Schem is one of three parts of the Land of Israel where it is documented that the Jews bought the land directly from the inhabitants at the time. Joseph earned the title ‘Tzaddik’ because he successfully withstood the advances of the wife of Potiphar and remained loyal to Hashem. He stayed Shmirat HaBrit despite the difficult challenges he faced.
As our sexual standards go down, Hashem, in His mercy and love for us, is sending wonders and signs to His children to warn them of the consequences of what they are doing. As we give up more and more land, we are losing a grip on the Land we have left. The southwest border of Israel is bombarded with Kassams from Gaza. Terrorists launch rockets onto the dwindling population of Sderot from the very communities where Jews once thrived. The north is a sitting duck as people prepare for the next round of ketushyas from hizbullah. Each year, on average 20,000 Israelis leave the Holy Land, with no intention of coming back. Blame it on a deteriorating society, blame it on a bad government, and blame it on a post-modern world.
The Torah and the Zohar warned us about specific exiles that would occur if we failed to guard the Brit. Thousands of years after these texts were completed, current events are verifying everything these Holy Writings prophesized!
Maybe we need to blame ourselves.
Does it get worse from here? What does the Torah tell us? The consequences can become more severe if we don’t fix the situation. The act of guarding the Brit is the act of maintaining the Covenant between Hashem and the Jewish people. It is the fight to keep all sparks of holiness on the side of Kedusha. When we commit acts of sexual debasement, we are handing over pieces of Holiness that Hashem gave us to light the world over with to the forces of impurity and darkness. Spiritually, this is the same type of corruption as giving bits and pieces of the Land of Israel to Hamas and Al-Aksa martyrs brigade, or, to the physical forces of darkness. Not only are punishment for these sins exile from the Land, the punishment is also that the Land of Israel will be dominated by non-Jewish nations. As we guard the Brit, we secure the channel of Hashem’s Blessings from His source to the Jewish People. When we sin, we destroy those channels, and the Blessings go elsewhere.
For generations, our great Rabbis have stated that the key to Hashem granting us secure and everlasting peace in the Holy Land is to guard the Brit. They also said that if we do not guard the Brit, the gentile nations will rule over us. We are witnessing the clarity of their warnings every day on CNN.
All of our actions directly affect the Jewish people living in the Land of Israel. It isn’t George Bush that’s determining the future of Israel. It’s not Condoleezza Rice that can force a two state solution on us. It’s time to stop blaming our national woes on Ehud Olmert or Shimon Peres. Don’t point the finger at the next Prime minister. Not Netanyahu, not Barack, not Osama bin Laden or Marwin Bargouhti.
It’s you. It’s me. It’s all of us. We have been given a blessing from Hashem to determine our own fate. In the Book of Devarim, Hashem tells us directly, “I have set before you Blessing and curse. I have set before you life and death. CHOOSE LIFE.”
Hashem, in His great Mercy and love for us, placed the destiny of Israel, in the hands of Israel. We decide if we are going to live in peace or not. We decide if we will live secure from our enemies or not. We decide if there will be a solution to the Middle East conflict based on diplomacy coming out of the U.S. State department, or if Hashem will find adequate reason to Bless us peace as a fulfillment of our destiny as a Jewish people on our eternal homeland.
Bush, Cheney, Rice, Obama, Biden, or Clinton are just pieces in Hashem’s great scheme of things. We were chosen to be the real players. We are Blessed from our King with the opportunity to truly do for the sake of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.
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