11 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 29, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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The Healthy Soul    

The Healthy Soul

Each mitzvah we do connects us to G-d, and enables more Divine Light to shine into our souls. The more our souls reflect Divine Light, the healthier it is...


Part 2 of “A Holy Nation”
RECAP: Last week, we started exploring the four main reasons why people feel disconnected from themselves, other people, and G-d. Last week, we discussed 1) Living a lie and 2) Bad character traits. This week, we continue our discussion.
3. Not keeping mitzvoth
Each mitzvah we do connects us to G-d, and enables more Divine Light to shine into our souls. Some mitzvoth are such fundamental 'conduits' of this Divine Light, that without them, a Jew simply can't grasp truth, or good, or G-d.
The following four mitzvoth have massively positive spiritual repercussions on a Jewish soul.
Netilat Yadayim- Is when we ritually wash our hands when we wake up in the morning. Sleep is considered to be a 60th of death, and when we sleep, part of our soul goes back to the Heavenly realm. The soul 'leaves' and 'returns' to the body via the finger tips. When we wake up, we ritually wash our hands to wash off the vestiges of this tumat met, (literally: impurity of death). Without netilat yadaim, a Jew is walking around in a perpetual fog of tuma, or spiritual darkness, that's very hard to penetrate.
Eating Kosher, and particularly kosher meat- The Torah teaches us that each animal's soul is in its blood. There's a well-known expression that you are what you eat, and for once, it's completely true. We literally become what we eat - we take on the animal's characteristics. That's why Jews only eat docile, 'kind' herbivores who have been ritually slaughtered according to Torah law, to rid the animal of as much blood as possible. When a Jew eats traif, particularly unkosher meat, that unkosher food cakes their soul in a ton of spiritual dirt, that is subsequently very hard to penetrate.
Keeping Shabbat- According to the Torah, non-jews are forbidden to keep Shabbat, or to make a 'shabbat' for themselves on any other day of the week. But a non-Jew can lay tefillin if they want to; or offer up a sacrifice in the Jewish temple - so what's the big deal with keeping Shabbat? The answer is that Shabbat is the definition of religion.
In his book on the beauty of the Jewish Sabbath called Nefesh Shimshon: Shabbos Kodesh, Rav Shimshon Pincus writes that: "Only Shabbos is religion! This is because Das, 'religion', means relating directly to the immediate presence of G-d, and Shabbos itself is a name of G-d."
If a Jew isn't keeping Shabbat, they can't really relate to G-d as being part of this world, or their own world. They may still relate to G-d as being 'up there' somewhere, out of the way, but He won't be a tangible Presence in their own lives.
The last 'big' mitzvah has to do with sexual purity, which we'll discuss in much more detail in the next few sections.
Let's sum up what we've learned so far: without these 'big three' (or four) mitzvoth, it's impossible for a Jew to be living connected to G-d. The person themselves may think they are connected to G-d, but if the connection is not built on mitzvah observance, it's really just serving their ego and their need to believe themselves to be a 'good person', regardless of what G-d Himself actually wants or demands from them.
When people are full of lies, bad character traits and spiritual darkness, it makes it very difficult for them to genuinely connect to themselves, to their spouses, to their family and to G-d.
4. Sexual purity (also known as Tikkun HaBrit, or rectifying the covenant)
Tikun Habrit, or rectifying the covenant, is one of the least understood, and most crucially important areas for a Jew. The great kabbalist, Rav Yitzhak Kaduri is quoted as saying that all the other mitzvoth are 'small change' compared to Tikun Habrit, or sexual purity. "The yetzer will let a person have all the small change he wants, as long as he can keep him away from Tikun Habrit" - which is the main job that Jews are here to do.
There's an organization called Lehavas HaTorah which has published a great free guide on Shmirat Habrit (Guarding the Covenant) called Holy Nation. (See the bottom of this section for contact details, if you'd like to order a free copy for yourself.)
On page six of Holy Nation, they write: "The most basic level of shmirat habrit required of every Jew involves not committing any physical act of wasting seed; guarding one's speech and hearing from impure conversation; controlling one's thoughts; and guarding one's sight."
Yes, that's the BASIC level… In the next section, we're going to learn why sexual purity is so very important. Hang on to your hats, because once you learn this information, it can literally turn your life around overnight.
* To order a free copy of Holy Nation, call: 054-610-8707 (in Israel), or: 718-327-2644 (in the US).
* * *
Check out Rivka Levy's new book The Happy Workshop based on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush

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