The new Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, isn’t the solution to Israel’s security problems. The solution is stated clearly in the opening of this week’s Torah portion, Bechukotai:
“If you walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments and do them, then… you shall dwell safely in your Land. And I will give peace in the Land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid, and I will remove evil beasts out of the Land, neither shall the sword go through your Land” (Bechukotai, 25:3-7).
Would that G-d would remove the evil beasts from our Land with their butcher knives and swords!
It is obvious that salvation will not come from the new Defense Minister, nor from new elections.
The holy Kabbalist, Rabbi Yaacov Abuchatzera, z’tzal, grandfather of the Baba Sali, explains that all of the terrible tribulations that fall upon the Jewish People, as set forth in the Torah portion, Bechukotai, stem from sexual transgressions. “Both the Rishonim (early rabbincal authorities) and Achronim (later rabbinical authorities) have stated that the majority of man’s sufferings, whether through pestilence, war, or famine result from transgressions to the Brit” (See the book, “Abir Yaacov,” section, Pitochei Chotam; Bechukotai).
In the beginning of the Torah portion, in reward for keeping the commandments, G-d promises the Jews that there shall be ample rain in the Land of Israel, agricultural blessing, abundant harvests and produce, victory over all enemies, and peace in the Land. But should the Jews stray from the Torah, and fall into sexual transgression by violating the Brit, then great trouble and hardship begins:
“But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments; and will not do all My commandments, but break My covenant (Brit); I also will do this unto you: I will appoint terror over you, even consumption and fever, that shall make the eyes to fail, and the soul to languish; and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set My face against you, and ye shall be smitten before your enemies; they that hate you shall rule over you; and ye shall flee when none pursue you” (Bechukotai: 25:14-17).
If the Jewish People continue to violate the Brit, the punishments become worse and worse. The meaning of guarding the Brit is not merely the obligation to circumcise our children, but also to guard our sexual purity. This is what differentiates us from the gentile nations, and this is what guarantees our settlement of Eretz Yisrael, as Hashem promised Avraham in the Covenant of the Brit (Bereshit, 17:8-10). As the Torah portion of Achrei Mot makes clear – the punishment for sexual misconduct is national destruction and exile, G-d forbid, from our Land (Vayikra, 18:28).
In his commentary to the Torah portion, “Bechukotai,” Rabbi Abuchatzera writes in no uncertain terms:
“A person who comes to serve G-d should first rectify any blemish to the Brit in the proper fashion, and afterward begin to serve G-d…. When the Brit is blemished and has not been rectified, everything is canceled and considered naught.”
It is not enough that we be diligent in keeping the Torah but lax in our sexual lives. Rabbi Abuchatzera explains that the sufferings described in the Torah portion result if we blemish this part of our lives:
“Even if you will do all of the mitzvot, I will consider that you have not done them. Even if you will observe My statutes with love, I proclaim that you have despised My statutes. And even if you will perform My judgments with great joy, I proclaim that you have abhorred them. All of this is because you violated My Brit and have not rectified it. For this reason, everything you do is considered canceled and as naught. Therefore, whoever desires to do penitence, let him first rectify blemishes to the Brit, and after that, the things he does to please G-d will succeed.”
In another place, the Torah speaks about the Israeli army: “When you go out to encamp against your enemies, you should keep from every evil thing. If there be a man among you that is not pure by reason of impurity of a seminal emission that chances by night, he shall go abroad out of the camp…. For the L-rd your G-d walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you, and to give up your enemies before you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He see no unclean thing in you and turn away from you” (Devarim, 10-16).
All of our security and wellbeing, both in a national, military sense, and in the camp of our homes, depends on our sexual purity. The Talmud explains that the meaning of “you shall keep from every evil thing” means that you should not gaze upon the beauty of a woman, because a man shouldn’t have sexual thoughts in the day and come to seminal impurity at night,” (Avodah Zara 20A). This includes Google gazing as well.
Our camps are to be holy. Sexual transgressions cause the Shechinah, the Divine Presence, to flee. Without the protection that the Shechinah affords, our country and our homes are vulnerable to all sorts of misfortune, G-d forbid, whether it be enemy knives and missiles, or health, livelihood, and marital problems at home.
Lag B’Omer celebrates the secrets of Torah which Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai revealed in the holy Zohar. Like Rabbi Abuchatzera, he repeats, again and again, throughout the Zohar that the key to personal blessing and national security is the guarding of the Brit. This Lag B’Omer, may the deep messages which we learn from the masters of the secrets of Torah illuminate our path back to Hashem and lead us to peace in our land.tzvi fiTzvi Fishman