web analytics
August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Shovavim and the Secret of Good Health and Happiness

A discussion of various practices related to the shovavim period.
Pharaoh was tired and beaten down by the first series of plagues.

Pharaoh was tired and beaten down by the first series of plagues.

As we have previously written, the “Shovavim” period, which extends for the next six weeks, is the time of the year most favorable for rectify sexual transgression, known as “Tikun HaBrit.” These weeks parallel our Exodus from Egypt, from both our physical bondage, and our cultural bondage to the immoral ways of the Egyptians, whose culture was highlighted by the pursuit of idol worship and the sexual licentiousness which accompanied it.

Tired and beaten down by the first series of plagues, Pharaoh is ready to let the Jews hold the prayer gathering which Moshe demands, but only in Egypt. Moshe refuses his offer as being out of the question. Holiness and impurity cannot exist in the same place. To serve Hashem, we have to break free of the chains of immorality and spiritual pollution of Egypt and sanctify ourselves, in order to be worthy of receiving the Torah and to journey on the Holy Land. Thus, during the period of “Shovavim,” a Jew is called upon to sanctify himself even in matters that are permitted to him.

My dear friends, please don’t take lightly the advice and admonishment of our Sages by thinking that the “Shovavim” period and its customs are just a lot of superstitious nonsense, G-d forbid. A person who looks at immodest sites on the Internet, or who is lax in maintaining the proper holiness during marital relations, is playing with fire. He is engaging in a dangerous game of Russian roulette. It’s just a matter of time that either he, or his wife, or his children will suffer a tragedy, an illness, or some other painful tribulation, G-d forbid. It can be the early warnings that Hashem sends in the form of back pains, prostate, migraines, sudden costly expenses, marital friction, or troubles with the kids. For this reason, our Sages call out to us to return in repentance at this time of “Shovavim,” saying, “Shuvu banim shovavim” (Jeremiah, 3:14), “Return you rebellious children.”

Our Sages teach that the spilling of semen in vain is a very grave transgression, punishable by death at the Hands of Heaven, before one’s allotted time, may G-d have mercy, like in the case of Er and Onan (Bereshit, 38:6-10). Spilling of semen in vain can come about, not only through unholy practices, unscrupulous Internet viewing, and nocturnal emissions during dreams, but also during marital relations, either before or after the marital union, so married couples must also take care to conduct matters in holiness. Needless to say, other blatant sexual transgressions such as pre-marital relations, relations with non-Jews, adultery, homosexuality, the use of prophylactics, etc, also bring about the spilling of semen in vain.

Because semen contains myriads of living souls, when a person willfully transgresses, or errs accidentally in whatever manner, these holy souls are lost and compelled to wander painfully in an impure netherworld, unless they are rectified through the sincere t’shuva of the person who sinned. The best time for this repentance, to rescue these spiritual “children,” “banim shovavim,” from bondage, is the period of “Shovavim.”

In other blogs and articles on the www.jewishsexuality.com website, we have listed the various customs of “Shovavim” and the recommended “Tikunim.” For most people, a stringent regiment of fasting is not practical. So what can a normal person do?

I myself try to learn more Torah than usual. The Torah is filled with the Names of Hashem, and through its learning, we rectify the Names we blemished through our misdeeds. It is also important to give more tzedakah (charity). On Mondays and Thursdays, I fast during the day. Since the days are short this time of year, it isn’t very difficult. For people who find fasting overly stressful or weakening, the fast can be redeemed by donating charity. I try to nap in the early evening each day for a half hour, so I’ll have the strength to recite “Tikun Hatzot,” the Midnight Lament, over the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash and over the exile, the recital of which helps rectify the anguish we caused the Shechinah through our misdoings.

Thursdays is a good time to join a gathering in reciting one of the powerful “Tikun HaYesod” prayers that have been formulated by our Sages to cleanse a person of sexual sin, and to return the lost souls to the soul-bank in Heaven. Since staying up all night, learning Torah and reciting “Tikunim” and Tehillim, is considered a “Tikun Karet,” an atonement that nullifies a decree of excision (being cut off before one’s time), G-d forbid, I try to stay awake Thursday nights, focusing on Torah learning and repentance. If one finds it difficult to do this alone without falling asleep, and can’t get to an all-night “Shovavim” gathering, it is possible to invite some friends to learn together, having plenty of tasty refreshments on hand to keep the participants awake. If one starts a little before midnight, after reciting “Tikun Hatzot” and doing some Torah learning, it’s already 4 am and time to jump into a refreshing mikvah and pray the first morning prayer at “Vatikin.” Before you know it, the night has passed, and tons of the spiritual pollution that has been damaging your life falls off your shoulders, drowned by the vivifying waters of Torah and the pre-dawn mikvah.

This year, I hope to add, blee nader, a few “Taanit Debor” to the repertoire – fasts from speaking, which is also a powerful rectification.

If all of this seems overwhelming, then pick out one thing and try to follow it through with heartfelt repentance. Our Sages teach that if a person does even a little below in this world to purify himself, then he is sanctified greatly from Above.

Happy Shovavim!

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “Shovavim and the Secret of Good Health and Happiness”

  1. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Tzvi: "…and can’t get to an all-night “Shovavim” gathering, it is possible to invite some friends to learn together, having plenty of tasty refreshments on hand to keep the participants awake."
    SIGN UP HERE for all those wanting to go to Tzvi's house Thursday nights for learning, refreshments and intertaining stories, hat tricks and other hollywood stunts to help keep you awake.

  2. Yehud, “plenty of tasty refreshments”? Fry mah hide! Thet’s all? Shoot, I’m a-comin’ fun th’ Banias an’ need at least dinner, a midnight meal an’ bustfast plus a couch t’sack out on until noon befo’e ah drive back. Shet mah mouth! In fack, thar might not be inough time t’drive back befo’e Shabbath comes in; so, ah might hafta stay fo’ th’ week ind, an all thet jazz.

  3. ah fo’gotta say, ah don’t hoof it ennywhar wifout may babies, Beauregrad 126 Kg Mastiff who wolfs down whole ribs not spare ribs; Gertrude, 100 Kg St Bernard who packs away ha’f pint of areek fo’ his Shabbat dessert an’ mah lap houn’dog sweetie Henrietta bassett Houn’ she’ll like ev’ry dish clean so yo’ don’t need t’warsh them, dowgone it.

  4. Liad Bar-el says:

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaawn! What did you say about staying up all night? This might help the “Taanit Debor” for you're too tired to talk. Best to check with your spouse before doing the “Taanit Debor” for shalom Biet. Excuse me but it is my understanding that “Taanit Debor” is not being silent in ones speech but rather only saying words of Torah. Many of my friends use “Taanit Debor” and some won't even greet others. I've said to them that the word "Shalom" is in the Torah and in fact is one of HaShem's names, so why not greet and say goodby to others witht the word "Shalom"?

  5. Liad Bar-el says:

    Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: "Yeshiva Students Should Leave Israel to Avoid Draft".

    Tzvi, what would Rabbi Kook say about this?

Comments are closed.

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
Current Top Story
Dr. Ben Carson (left) at the Western Wall in December 2014.
Pro-Israel Carson Breathing Down Neck of Pro-Israel Trump
Latest Blogs Stories
Doug Goldstein

Is GDP outdated an measure of prosperity? Are there any alternative methods of assessing $ growth?

2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin

In their attack on Ban Ki Moon, Hamas admitted to committing a different war crime.

Rabbi Norman Lamm of Yeshiva University

The ideal of Modern Orthodoxy should be not be viewed as a compromise the way most Charedim view it.

President Obama press conference on Iran nuclear deal. July 15, 2015.

Israel shouldn’t rely on US; It has an awful record in protecting allies.

The Halacha of shmirat einayim (guarding one’s eyes) is incumbent on the MAN; it’s his obligation

Dem. presidential candidate Doug Shreffler talks about his campaign & its motto “as good as it gets”

I’ve decided to move away from my safety net-and I wouldn’t change that decision for anything.

Was “Jerusalem” the song Matisyahu planned to perform? It was the PERFECT response to BDS campaign

If the world’s winds of hatred bring Jews to Israel we are ready, joyfully offering them a home here

At what age should the realization start setting in for kids that we live in an uncertain society?

Spain’s SeaWorld canceled Zionist-spy dolphin’s performance unless it supports a Palestinian state

How does the Iranian deal affect anti-terrorist legislation adopted by a number of US states?

Shabbat afternoon soccer games, a tradition in Israel’s league, may become a thing of the past.

Calling the Jewish Press‘closest thing to a frum English-language weekly’ insults the publication

So long as Jews dance for the sheer pleasure of thanking God, Israel will never be defeated!

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

011-OT-Maps-Israel-Tribes

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Detention Camps for US Jews? Sounds farfetched but it did to Japanese-Americans during WW II as well

Torah wasn’t given to be kept in Sinai; Brooklyn or Beverly Hills-It was meant to be kept in Israel!

Rebbe Nachman’s stories awaken the sleeping; our film of his stories has the power to wake the world

Going to Mt of Olives cemetery was like visiting Jurassic Park in a jeep with dinosaurs rampaging

To boost aliya, Israel will encourage Marshall’s, Costco, K Mart & Entenmann’s Bakeries to open here

Of course there’s air in America, but it isn’t the holy air of Eretz Yisrael.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/shovavim-and-the-secret-of-good-health-and-happiness/2013/01/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: