Part 21 – Tishmor Torah, Yishmor Medina! (If you guard the Torah, He will guard the nation!)
guard the Torah, He will guard the nation!)
The RamBam states, “It is forbidden for a man to bring himself to think about forbidden sexual matters. If a sexual thought enters his mind, he should turn his heart away from lewd and polluting matters and focus on matters of Torah which abound with love and charm.”, Rabbi Yose states, “When a man perceives that evil thoughts are assailing him, he should study the Torah and that will drive them away.”
A man who regularly experiences nocturnal emissions, should be extra careful not to look at women. He should recite the Bedtime Shema with special intention. For those of us who don't understand Hebrew with the speed with which we pray, we can go to artscroll.com and pick up an interlinear version of the Bedtime Shema.
A big defense is fences. You need to separate yourself from this sin by a wide distance. When you find yourself engaging in behavior that isn’t sexual in nature, but lies on the periphery, you need to stop. Such actions include thinking about sex, flirting with someone you are not serious about, or going to a club or a bar late at night.
Working to improve yourself on the conscious level will have many benefits that spillover onto all areas of your existence.
When you begin to have a sexual dream, sometimes you will be saved, and you will wake up just before you have an emission. Demons, which initially appear in dreams as women, will get you excited. In the merit of a mitzvah you will be saved. Don’t underestimate the power of a single mitzvah. You never know where it will save you.
I was very fortunate. The first day I learned about Shmirat Habrit, it was the morning before Rosh Hashanah. That night, the night of the Day of Judgment, I had a sex dream. Right about when I was about to have a nocturnal emission, the image of all the papers I downloaded that morning with the information about this mitzvah appeared, and the excitement of salvation brought me to consciousness. I was saved from a big sin. A nocturnal emission on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur is a sign that you will have a bad year. This one act saved me for the whole year. It is important to place aside some money to give to Tzedaka the next day if you are saved from this.
Moshiach will come in the merit of those who are Shmirat HaBrit! The Zohar intimates that the final Redemption will only come about through Tikkun HaBrit. This means that every one of us can play an integral role in the Redemption of the Jewish People and the Eternal Security of Israel by what they do right here, right now, B’Ezrat Hashem. Simply put: TISHMOR TORAH, TISMOR MEDINA.
The difficult part about sleep is the loss of control. You can’t control yourself while you are asleep. This is the danger of the time you relinquish control of your senses to slumber. It is important to control what you do while you are awake so your mitzvoth will defend you when you sleep.
Here are a few tips courtesy of TrueKabbalah.org,
Try not to go to sleep when you are angry or depressed. There is nothing that gives the side of darkness power like depression. The opposite is also true. The happier you are, the less hold these forces have over you. Try to listen to some music before you say the Bedtime Shema and go to sleep.
Torah protects us more than anything. The more Torah you study during the day, the less a chance of a bad dream or a nocturnal emission. Try to study a little Torah before you go to sleep. Always sleep on your side. Never lay flat on your stomach, even when you do not want to sleep. Do not wear tight pajamas or underwear. Try shorts with no underwear, or boxers, or loose pajamas. Do not sleep with socks on, your feet should stick out from the blanket. Do not use a blanket that is too thick. Make sure there is no dirty laundry anywhere around your head. This includes pajamas that you decided not to use, yet still kept under your pillow. Get a kippa that you can wear while you are sleeping. Remove all metal objects from your body, such as keys. Do not eat anything that warms the body before going to sleep. This includes meat, eggs, milk, and cheese. Do not sleep alone in a house. If you have to, light a candle for a Tzaddik and place it in your room, it can help.
How do we, as a people, fight for Israel? How can we incorporate the mitzvah of guarding the Brit to possessing the Land of Israel?
Let’s start with Devarim, chapter 23, verse 15. It states: “For the L-rd thy G-d walks in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thy enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy, that He see no unclean thing in thee and turn away from there.”
In this verse, Hashem is telling us that when our nation is spiritually clean, He will drive our enemies away and Hashem will have cause to fight for us.
Rabbi Eliyahu Leon Levi, one of the great Kabbalists of our day stated that, “There is nothing in the world that so arouses the anger of HaKadosh Baruch Hu as the sin of transgressing the Covenant. Our hold on the Holy Land is in danger if we don’t live our lives in a holy fashion. Sexual purity is the essence of the Covenant between Avraham and G-d.”
If we don’t hold this mitzvah, we can lose our grip on the Holy Land.
This is the role of the Jewish People in the Global War on Terror. Our job is to be a Holy Nation in our Holy Land – it’s that simple. The fault line for the globe is at its heart: Jerusalem. If the Jewish People merit it, Jerusalem will be a beacon of spiritual light to the world. The greatest weapon mankind has in fighting off the worst form of human evil is a Jew fighting for the Land of Israel – physically and spiritually. It is our national struggle that keeps the world in one piece.
Is this correct? Are our enemies aware of this?
Every day, in our morning prayers, we are commanded as such:
"Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you by the way and smote the hindmost of you, all that were feeble in your rear, when you were faint and weary, and he feared not G-d (Devarim, 25:17).
After we left Egypt, Hashem personally guarded us. He sent clouds of Glory by day, and fire by night to guide us. He protected us under the canopy of His Holiness. How could we have possibly lost a battle to Amalek right after we left Egypt? How could they penetrate Hashem’s Divine Defenses?
Rabbi Tzaddok explains: there is nothing which causes the Divine Presence to flee from the world more than the spilling of semen in vain, which is the ultimate evil. This was Amalek's goal, to remove the Presence of G-d from the world so that mankind could be free to wallow in its lusts and evil inclination.
Amalek met us on the way and tried to entice us to spill seed by way of sexual temptation. Unfortunately, the weak willed men among us were unable to resist the impurities of sexual thoughts and had nocturnal emissions at night. Once they spilled seed, the Holy Presence left them and they were unprotected against Amalek. Without Hashem’s protection, we were lambs to the slaughter.
This is the very same battle we face today. The sons of Amalek try to defeat us by causing us to fall into the pit of sexual transgressions. With Hashem’s protection, there is no nation on earth that can defeat us. If we no longer merit Divine help, it is 15 million Jews against 500 million Arabs, and a billion of their Muslim brethren. Like the Jews in the Dessert, we don’t stand a chance.
The underlying conflict between Israel and the nations is the spiritual one. It dates back to the battle between Moshe and Balak. While we were in the dessert, a king, Balak, tried to destroy us. He knew that we thrived under Hashem’s Divine protection and that he could not overpower us militarily. He hired the greatest prophet among the nations to destroy Israel. His name was Bilaam. Bilaam had the same prophetic abilities as Moshe. When Balak asked Bilaam how to defeat the Jewish people, Bilaam told him that the key to victory was to bring the Jews to sin. He didn’t tell king Balak to sin by making them eat milk and meat together, nor did he instruct them to get the Jews to build fires on Shabbat. He had Balak send tens of thousands of the most physically attractive women to seduce the Jewish men into committing sexual depravities. They were successful. Until Pinchas the Kohen ended Balak’s campaign, 24,000 Jews lost their lives by transgressing in this manner.
It is no coincidence that the first man to conquer the Land of Israel, Joshua ben Nun, came from the half-tribe of Ephriam. Ephriam and Menashe were the two half-tribes that come directly from Joseph, and Joseph was known for his sexual morality. He was known as exceedingly handsome, he lived in Egypt most of his life, and despite the lewdness of that culture, and how much he was desired by all of the women in that society, and he never betrayed the laws of sexual morality. His descendant, Joshua, would merit conquering the Land of Israel. It is important to keep in mind that from the time Joshua ben Nun conquered the Land, we enjoyed a constant presence in our Holy Land until the destruction of the First Temple. Our sages say that the destruction of the first Jewish sovereignty was directly due to our sexual transgressions. Our greatest national era came about from our mitzvoth in the area of sexual morality. As a nation, we fell from the greatest heights when we transgressed concerning the exact same Commandments.
History has proven the statement in the Zohar that if we keep the laws of sexual morality there is no enemy that can harm us. The elder sages of the Kabbalah in Israel have warned that one of the root causes of the miseries we are all facing in Israel today is due to the sexual immorality that has taken over the Land. In Israel, nobody dresses modestly. Clubs and discothèques encourage all sorts of immoralities. Every city has a red light district. It is estimated that there are over 10,000 sex slaves in Israel.
Could this explain why despite possessing the most powerful army in the Middle East, Israel is being amputated bit by bit.
In order to possess the Land of Israel, one has to control himself and guard from these immoralities. As Rabbi Levi says, It isn’t enough just to live in the Holy Land. We have to live here in all the holiness that the Torah prescribes. We have to live here as spiritual Jews who bring light from this special place and shine it to the world.
What does it mean to possess the Land? It isn’t merely about the Jewish People dwelling securely in it. It is about giving yourself over to the Land and allowing it to connect with you. It is about creating an indivisible bond between yourself and the Land that can never be broken.
Do we really possess the Land? If we did, would we still be living here? If we honestly possessed the Land of Israel, we would be thinking about our Holy Land with the same energy and enthusiasm we do when we think about our stock portfolios? What about the people who live in Israel? 20,000 Israelis leave the country each year. Most Israelis dream about life in America.
How can we truly possess a Land that we don’t live in, or want to leave?
What about those brave souls who make the ultimate sacrifice and try to live in the Land of Israel? Do they eventually possess the Land? 50% of westerners who move to Israel, leave within 5 years. Do they possess the Land? I am not condemning anyone. Every Israeli, American, and western citizen is doing their best to live a good life in a great place. Israel is not, in any way, shape, or form, an easy place to live. It is a place with many uncertainties, an abrasive culture, and potential danger at every step. This is before you leave your first taxi!
The day to day challenges of living in Israel as an Israeli or westerner are overwhelming. How do you possess the Land governed by a group of people who deny their own faith? How do you remain in a place where half the people there wish you would just go home and take them with you? In order to survive in the Land of Israel, you need at least a thousand miracles a day to protect you. You need to find a joy and contentment there that is so intense and constant, you could never leave, no matter how adverse the circumstances become. Ask any Israeli who never left, any American who had the stamina to celebrate their Jewish Israeli grandchildren, how did you beat the odds? HOW DID YOU SURVIVE THIS LONG?
They will all tell you the same thing: this is Israel. This is my place. For better or for worse I cannot leave.
They are telling you that the Land possesses them. They are bound to it. They cannot survive anywhere else. As the spies said to the Children of Israel about this place: “it is a Land that consumes its inhabitants!” To possess the Land is to be possessed by the Land. The only way to do that is on a spiritual level. You need to be on a high spiritual level in order to merit the thousand miracles a day that keep you there. You can experience the true inner joys that the Land has to offer.
Most lands in the world are known for their material resources. The Swiss have their chocolate, the Americans have their money, and the Arabs have their oil. What mineral resource does the Land of Israel have? Nothing! We don’t need it, the Land’s greatest natural resource, other than the Jewish People, is its proximity to Hashem and its over-abundance of His presence.
It is no wonder why the capital of this place s an area devoid of any material or strategic value, placed in the center of the dessert. Jerusalem may be built on a hill, but there is one problem, one side of the hill is on even ground. It has natural defenses on three sides, but not four! What about economics? To thrive, a city is established near water. If you want to connect trade between Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, why build a city 30 miles inside Land? Jerusalem is not known for its strategic or economic resources. It was built as a Holy City, as THE HOLY CITY. The Land of Israel is all about its spirituality. It boasts spirituality in its location, its resources, and in its capital city. The key to getting the most out of any Israel experience is to connect with the Land on a spiritual level. Unless you are enhancing the sensitivities of your neshama Israel is a place of soldiers, shwarma, and beaches. Without guarding the Brit, you are not expanding your spiritual abilities. You won’t truly feel the real energy of the Land. It takes chance to meet the right people in Israel that become your best friends. It takes chance to find the ideal community that you will never want to leave. It takes chance to find a job that you like, that will sustain you in the Land for as long as you want. It takes chance that the day to day nightmares that happen in Israel all the time won’t stop your resolve to remain there while almost 1 million Israelis and Jews couldn’t take it.
We are the Children of Avraham. WE DON’T BELIEVE IN CHANCE! THE CONCEPT OF COINCIDENCE IS AN ABOMINATION TO OUR FAITH! Everything comes from Above. Everything is done by Hashem. Hashem blessed each and every one of us with the opportunity to experience a thousand miracles a day in His sacred country.
I am among the 1 million who couldn’t hack it. A combat soldier at the age of 30, I was pretty tough. I survived 18 months in the Army. I lived in a settlement in Judea and withstood the challenges of Israel for over three years. However, I was not shmirat habrit during any of that time. I prayed every day, but I didn’t learn or observe the laws of sexual morality. I lived in a religious town, I volunteered to be a soldier, I did everything I thought was right to be happy there. The only thing I didn’t do was follow the laws of sexual morality. Despite all my efforts I failed. If it was ever possible to conduct a study, I’ll bet that more than 95% of the yordim like me who didn’t remain in the Land, like me, didn’t follow the laws of shmirat habrit.
This reveals a very powerful truth: Each and every one of us has the option to be like Joseph, and to see our children conquer the Land and successfully possess it. Or we can be like yerobam, the evil king of Israel who forced every Jew into every type of Torah transgression, and cause our children to be carried away to Babylon in exile.
It’s our choice.
Our sages state that the final redemption of Moshiach will come in the merit of the tsuva of shmirat habrit. The corrections we perform on our sexual immoralities can be the light that brings peace to the world. The Talmud states that the final generation before Moshiach will be one of the worst ever. Learning will be spurned, as will the scholars. The elderly will be looked down upon. We will be led by dogs. The worst type of people will be in control of the Jewish Nation. The last generation before Moshiach will be unique in that it will have no sense of shame or embarrassment. Think about just 50 years ago. Divorce was unheard of. Today, it is estimated that almost 70% of marriages end prematurely. Not having sex before marriage was seen as a commonly accepted practice among the mainstream of society. It was considered honorable if you spent your life with only one intimate partner. Today, the same honor it is seen by the masses with the same revulsion as if you were a pervert. Once upon a time, illegitimate children were seen as an abomination. A man would sooner marry the woman he impregnated than bear the shame of this disgrace. Today, movie stars who have children out of wedlock are put on the cover of popular magazines. We are in a period of great darkness. The world has totally distorted what is right and what is wrong. All the keys to our true happiness have been taken from us. Overwhelmed by impurity, we are literally living blind. But submerged in this darkness is a massive source of light and redemption. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that the brightest sparks of Divine light are so bright, they had to be hidden beneath the deepest concentrations of darkness. The redemption we can unearth is so powerful, it can bring Moshiach and redeem the world. We just need to look a little deeper to find the strength.
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