WHY ON PARASHAT MIKETZ IT IS WRITTEN THAT “YOSEF HAD TWO SONS ‘BEFORE’ THE FAMINE” (BER. 41:50)?

According to the Sefer Yetzirah (Mishna 1:5), the space continuum consists of three dimensions and the continuum of time, of two directions (past and future). As such, the Universe is constituted by four dimensions. Moreover, the Sefer Yetzirah explains that there is a fifth dimension, to wit, the moral dimension (spiritual, or soul), which possesses two directions: good and evil. This moral dimension underlines all other dimensions from the space-time continuum. The spiritual trajectory towards good or evil depends on the actions that man impresses upon the dimensions of the Universe, which reverberate in all of the olamot (spiritual worlds and this one, physical). For instance, we see this occurring in the procreative act. As it is known, “if the person sanctifies himself [and has the appropriate kavanot], he will bring a holy garment for the neshama of his child [which will be conceived through the act], and in this way, he will enable him to ser Hashem promptly. Regardless of the greatness that this soul may attain, it is nevertheless important that the father [and the mother] be sanctified during the act. But the neshama itself, apart from its ‘garments’ [i.e., the power of thought, speech, and action which clothe the neshama in its particular spiritual root and degree, which is solely decided by Hashem], is not affected by the sanctification [and kavanot] from the parents; in fact it happens at times that, the soul of a person infinitely elevated comes down and becomes the child of an ignorant and lowly person” (TanyaLikkutei Amarim 2). However, the ‘spiritual replies’ to the actions of man on the physical level are also bound (and thus dependent) by time and its cycles, which albeit intimately connected to the physical continuum, do transcend it. This is the spiritual law of Sof ma’aseh, b’machshava tehilah (“last to be created, first to be conceived”, alluding to the Bnei Israel) which establishes the precedence of time over space, regardless of its dimensional connection. Hence, certain positive actions, even when appropriate but fulfilled on ‘inappropriate times’ can be without any effect or worse yet, with the contrary effect, chaz v’shalom. For example, Kabbalah Ma’asit teaches that kameyot (kosher amulets) for different purposes (E.g., ‘protection for pregnancy’, see Taamei HaMinhagimToldot AdamRabi Menashe Ben IsraelNishmat Chayim 3:25; Midrash Talpiyot 1, Efod s.v. VHaEvenDeguel Machane EfraimVayicraetal.) need necessarily be written not only by someone with extraordinary knowledge and purity, but in precise times, that is, on specific months, days, and even hours of the day! The writing of the kameyot, which disrespects the correct times, loses its positive value, which comes from its alignment with the intermediary angelical forces that govern the five dimensions, thus rendering it incomplete (i.e., without the influence on the angelical entity) and even dangerous (i.e., by calling the attention of negative entities, chaz v’shalom).

And this is exactly how it was for Yosef. He knew the secrets of the illumination from kedusha (holiness) called the time of “seasons, for days and years” (Bereshit 1:14) of plenitude. But he also knew well the secrets “illumination” from tumah (impurity), called the time of time of ‘seasons, for days and years’ of famine. For to know the secrets of kedusha is to know the secrets of tumah. And what is this secret of tumah? “The secret of not procreating [when the sitra achra is ‘illuminated’, to wit] on the ‘seasons, for days and years’ of famine… When the time of famine reigns, it behooves man to sexually restrict and not to allow that the sitra achra be ‘multiplied’ [through the strange souls that in this time of famine descent to the children to be] in the world, chaz v’shalom” (Zohar 204a, Miketz). In fact, the Ramak (R’ Moshe Cordovero) explains that, “The husband’s marital union with his wife should occur only when the Shechinah is in Its place, which means, between the ‘two arms’ [Chesed and Gevurah]. Now, when the Community is in danger [of famine] and the Shechinah is not between the two arms, these unions are prohibited” (Sefer Tomer DevorahPerek Tet, citing the Tikkunei Zohar from parashat BereshitTikun 69). It is for this reason that Yosef HaTzaddik made sure to procreate ‘before’ this bitter time, thus avoiding any admixture in his acts – through the use of the holy and creative power of his brit kodesh – with the sitra achra. In this manner, he truly prevented the increase of the domain of profanity that would have benefited otherwise, chaz v’shalom, from the kedusha.

(Note: it is equally not a proper time to have marital unions on a night preceding a tzom/fast save exceptions).

 

IS THERE TIKKUN FOR THE SIN OF ZERA LEVATALAH? (Part 3)

As it is written in the Mishnah: “Ten Sefirot of nothing, the number of the ten fingers, five opposite five, and the brit yachid (single covenant) is in between, as ‘in the circumcision of the male organ and the circumcision of the tongue’” (Sefer Yetzirah 1:3). The secret of the brit yachid is expressed in the two levels – superior and inferior – of the power of da’at (lit. ‘knowledge’, representing the action-oriented conclusive intellectual power). In general it is additionally associated to the power of the soul related to concentration and sensitivity). Da’at eliyon (‘superior knowledge’) is the final truth that the Divine is the only true essence and reality and that the whole universe is “nothing” in comparisson. As such the absolute objetive of existence is the revelation of Hashem in the world. Da’at tachton (‘lower knowledge’), is the creation’s perception of an existent universe, but the Divine as Creator as an absolute “given”, yet totally “unknown”. And as it is written, “The external expression of the higher da’at is through the means of the speech of the tongue, especially in speaking words of Torah in general, and revealing the inner mysteries of the Torah, in particular… The external expression of the lower da’at is through the union of husband and wife [to procreate], as referred to in the original union of man and woman: ‘and Adam knew Chava, his wife’. [Marital relations are referred to as ‘knowing’ only when the procreative organ is circumcised, and indeed, we are taught that Adam was created already circumcised]… The tziniut [modesty, which is a ‘state of ocultation’] present in the holy union of husband and wife reflects the ‘unknowability’ of the Creator’s essence by His creation, especially in that very moment that the creation most emulates its Creator – the moment of procreation – attaching itself to His certain existence… From the above, we learn that the ‘tongue’ and the ‘procreative organ’ [the two manifestations of the ‘single covenant’ – the union of G-d and man] are interrelated in essence. From this we may infer that their ‘rectification’ is interdependent” (Rav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, “The Healing of Body and Soul – Part 8”; see Tikunei ZoharTikun 69, pg. 99a). This has extraordinary implications. for “The tikkun of one’s faculty of speech [to speak only good and ‘sweet’ words] and the ‘guarding’ of the brit of one’s procreative organ [to express one’s true love for one’s spouse in marital relations in holiness, thus guarding it not to become pogem habrit], ‘depend upon and influence one another’. For this reason the two terms: ‘the word [in Hebrew, milah] of the tongue’ and ‘the circumcision [in Hebrew milah] of the procreative organ, are the same” (ibidR’ Ginsburgh). This means that, among other things, the ‘manner’ in which the person speaks not only indicates the degree he lives his life in devotion to what is holy, but it acts as a fundamental ‘correction’ for the transgressions of the brit. Hence our Sages have spoken: “He who desires to be saved from the sin of spilling his seeds in vain should not contaminate the brit of his mouth. He should be particular in guarding it from sicha betela [idle talk] and lashon hara, for the tongue and the procreative organ go together, to wit, he who damages with his tongue will most certainly stumble with his organ” (R’ Chayim Yosef David AzulaiHaChidaAhavat HaKodeshTsiporen Shamirsiman 7,101. See also Eliyahu de VidasReshit ChochmahShaar HaKedusha, 11 & 17; Shelach HaKadoshShaar HaOtiotOt Shin).

Finally, the severity of transgressing the brit surpasses practically any other averah (see Shulchan AruchEven HaEzer 23:1; Zohar 214b, Vayakhel), for it has repercussions here and in all superior Olamot in a most devastating manner. In fact, the holy Zohar affirms that there is no teshuvah for the sin of spilling the seed in vain (Zohar 60a, Noach and 219b, Vayechi. See also R’ Eliyahu deVidasReshit ChochmahShaar HaKedushah 17 for an explanation of the Zohar’s intention regarding the teshuvah tataah, as it is also brought by the Alter Rebbe in the TanyaIggeret HaTeshuvah 4). Know that this is a transgression that actually eliminates both the person’s desire to come closer to G-d and the experience of awe of Him, and it is the means to exile neshamot in the klipot and sitra achrachaz vshalom. Yet, our holy Rabbanim have taught us that the person should never give up, and that in reality there are some truly wondrous spiritual medicines for this most pressing rectification, which ultimately can rescue the person from the thick darkness which covers him – “the iron furnace of captivity” (alluding to Devarim 4:20). This occurs only through teshuvah, a truthful and deep regret and ‘specific actions’ for the person in need of tikkun. With these corrections, the person may return to become sensitized with the Divine realities and in this way, his desire for connection with Hashem shall be restored y”H.