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Rectification of the Covenant

The present wave of world terrorism began on Rosh Hashanah 5761 (September 2000). The plague came to the surface in the City of Shechem (Nablus) where Muslim fanatics desecrated Joseph’s Tomb in the city.

By noting that present terrorist violence has its roots in the desecration of Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem, we can begin to understand that the rectification of terrorism in general is also connected in some way to Joseph.

Joseph represents the sefirah of yesod, which corresponds in the human body to the reproductive organs.4 This is also referred to as “brit,” which is translated as “covenant” and especially relates to the marital covenant between husband and wife and in a broader sense, to the relationship between God and the nation of Israel, as depicted in the Song of Songs.

Loyalty to one’s spouse is referred to as “guarding the sign of the holy covenant,” a trait personified by Joseph “the righteous one,” or, in Hebrew “Yosef Hatzadik.” Joseph was an extremely handsome and vigorous youth. Notwithstanding his vigor and his youth, while he was a slave in Egypt he withstood the seduction of his master’s beautiful wife, despite the opportunity she offered him and at the expense of his post as head of the household. As a result of his refusal to succumb to her seduction, he was sent to prison. Having withstood this great test of loyalty to his master and to the principles he learned in his father’s home, proving his true chastity, the appellation “the righteous one” is usually added to Joseph’s name. Joseph is thus considered the personification of the rectified state of the brit, the covenant. Disloyalty and imbalance of this characteristic are called “pegam habrit” (lit. “flawed covenant”).

If we delve deeper into the mysteries of creation and their significance, we discover that all the troubles of our era in particular are borne of the nature of “flawed covenant.” The root of this fact is that we are now in the sixth millenium since the creation of the world. Each thousand years of creation corresponds to one of the days of creation and also to one of the sefirot. This means that the sixth millenium corresponds to the sixth day of creation, on which man was created, to the sixth sefirah, yesod and also to Joseph, as we mentioned previously.

This correspondence implies a correlation between all aspects of each concept, which when studied, will give us a profound all-inclusive direction to finding the correct method for rectifying the present state of disharmony and imbalance.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe5 stated many times that all of the troubles and all of the delay in the coming of Messiah are a result of the flawed covenant, and that the antidote and rectification of this malady is Hassidism. The Arizal’s6 appearance and his teachings, and even more so the appearance of the Ba’al Shem Tov and his teachings and the teachings of Hassidism, are all directed at rectifying pegam habrit.

There are various approaches to this rectification in the various branches of Hassidism. Rabbi Nachman of Breslav7, for example, presented the recitation of ten particular chapters of Psalms, known collectively as “tikun haklali,” “the general rectification,” as a rectification for this flaw. Nonetheless, Chabad Hassidism takes a different line. The Rebbe Rashab8 explained that true rectification of pegam habrit can only be achieved by intensive study of the deepest, most profound levels of Hassidism. This study must be followed by concentrated meditation and prayer and finally, by taking all of the energy and inspiration gained by the insights of these activities and applying it in practice by helping other Jews.

4. For a detailed discussion of the sefirot and their corresponding manifestations in the human body, we highly recommend Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh’s upcoming book on Kabbalah and medicine.

5. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneersohn (1902-1994).

6. The Arizal, Rabbi Isaac Luria (c. 1535-1573).

7. Rabbi Nachman of Breslav, 19th century Hassidic leader, great-grandson of the founder of Hassidism, Rabbi Israel Ba’al Shem Tov.

8. Rebbe Rashab, Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber of Lubavitch.


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