Monday, February 23, 2009

End of Shovavim 5769

We have just ended another Shovavim period, a time of tikkun habrit. It is advisable that during Shovavim we study Mishnah, specifically, Masechet Ohalot, for it deals with the laws of tumat hameit (impurity from contact with a ‘human corpse’). Moreover, it deals with the effect of such tumah in a domain as in an ohel (a tent). As such, it figuratively refers to the purity of “man’s tent” – his sechel, the neshamah’s ohel from where it governs all of the guf. As it is written, “‘No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling’ [Tehillim 91:10], and R’ Chisda said in the name of R’ Yermiyah: ‘This means that you will not be disturbed either by nightmares or by machshavot zarot, e thus no calamity shall come near your tent” (Talmud, Berachot 55b). I intend to go deeper, and explain how the brit relates to both kedusha and tumah and the dangers of being pogem habrit (i.e., transgressions with the sexual organ).

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