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Part III. Ish (איש) and Isha (אשה)

Basis of Tikkun ha-Berit according to the sacred Jewish texts

It is written in the book “Lev Eliyahu” (Ch. Balak): “It says in the chapter ‘Kdoshim,’ ‘Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.’ And Rashi [comments on this], ‘Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel.’ He teaches that this section was announced at a meeting of the people because most of the ‘gufey’ (literally: ‘bodies’) of the Torah depend on it. ‘Ye shall be holy,’ that is avoid illicit sexual relations and [other] crimes, because wherever you find a fence from illicit sexual relations, you find holiness.” Then the authors continues, “Here is, in front of us, at the very beginning of the fundamentals of Torah, a warning about the holiness — the requirement to avoid illicit sexual relations, and [other] crimes.”

It is said in the Book of Zohar, “All Jews have a share in the future world...” The Zohar asks, “Why?” and answers, “Because they keep circumcision, which sustains the world, as it is written: ‘If not for my covenant (circumcision) day and night, I would not establish the laws of heaven and earth.’ (Jeremiah 33:25)” The Ba'al Sulam comments, “This means that they keep the covenant of circumcision in holiness, so as not to profane it by wasteful outpouring of semen and illicit sexual relations.” The Zohar continues, “Therefore Israel, who keep the covenant they accepted upon themselves, have a share in the future world” (Zohar, Hok le-Yisrael, Noah). What was said can be understood as follows: while the conclusion of the Covenant of Circumcision is Union with God, it is incorrect to understand circumcision as a one-time procedure only. It is necessary to “keep circumcision” throughout all of life. And it is the purity of intimate relationships that is one of the essential foundations not only in relationship with people, but also in a relationship with the Most High.

The Zohar also says (I, 62), “The punishment for all of a person’s sins can be corrected through repentance, except for the sin of spilling one’s seed upon the ground, which destroys himself and destroys the ground. About him it is said, ‘For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.’ (Psalm 5:5).” But it happens among young people out of ignorance or misunderstanding! And it's impossible to say about such a boy, “He is guilty himself!” because it is not taught by his father. But perhaps the father had no one to teach him... “To teach” does not mean to moralize on how bad it is to spill seed in vain. It means giving real tools to control impulses and to explain how to use it in holiness and purity.

And also the Zohar teaches us that the purity of intimate relationships is one of the foundations of the existence of the whole world. As one who controls his impulses is called righteous, and the world, as is known, stands on the righteous. Here are the words of the Zohar. “We learn from this that anyone who keeps the covenant that the world is established upon is called righteous. How do we know this? From Yosef, who kept the Covenant of Circumcision and resisted his master's wife, thus merited to be called righteous. And that is what is meant by, ‘And your people all are called righteous...’. And thus Rabbi Hiyya explained the verse, ‘Noah was a righteous man,’ which means that Noah kept the Berit, and for this his descendants survived. This is why the verse says, ‘These are the generations of Noah6: Noah was a righteous man’ because they depended on one another (i.e. the righteousness of Noah is connected with the survival of his descendants).” (Zohar, Hok le-Yisrael, Noah).

And it is also said in the book “Kdushat Levy” (chapter “Bo”), “Man is a model that demonstrates the highest qualities. Legs symbolize the faith, in which there are two aspects. First, the person needs to believe with perfect faith that the Creator precedes the worlds created by Him, which are created and renewed by Him. Secondly, we need to believe that we, His people Israel, are close to Him. Therefore, we can achieve anything we want through our prayer. These two aspects of faith symbolize two human legs. The sign of the holy covenant on the body indicates the quality of Hitkashrut (attachment). A human needs to bind himself to the faith. The body speaks about the quality of Tiphareth. A human needs to do everything so that the Creator can be proud of him... The two hands are the Love and the Awe. The right one is the love of God, the left is the awe of Him. The head is created for the Human to know the Creator's greatness. Myriads of angels, sacred hayot, sacred ofanim and sacred seraphim stand before Him in fear and great awe! A human simply ceases to exist in his own eyes. And only then the joy comes to him[This quotation could be incorrect: I don't know the precise English translation of Kdushat Levy! — Daniel Alievsky] Creating the Spiritual Human, as we see, must go through the disclosure of the highest meaning, reflected in certain acts of human nature, and through involving all of them in complex service to God. “And only then the joy comes to him” — the joy of the final repairing of the world.

Enough has been said for the reader's understanding of the highest meaning of Tikkun ha-Berit.


  1. The list of descendants starts with the word “Toldot” usually, and at this point the Torah says this about Noah.
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