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It’s no secret how much of an emphasis Rebbe Nachman puts on guarding the bris. So many of his lessons talk about the importance of sexual purity. Our reproductive organs are the physical representations of the sefira Yesod. Yesod means foundation, because just as when the base isn’t solid, a building is in danger of falling, so too sullying the bris creates a major obstruction in the face of all physical and spiritual flow. But more importantly, guarding the bris opens all the channels of Divine influence and creates vessels to receive the flow of abundance from His majesty.  The Zohar teaches that Joseph is the embodiment of Yesod in this world, as we see that he supported the entire known world with sustenance in a time of famine. Also, a tzaddik, says the Zohar, is simply someone who guards his bris.

I noticed today, while reviewing this week’s Torah reading, that the targum for the word ברית (bris), is קְיָם, which literally means ‘to endure, or exist for a length of time’. Anyone who has struggled with this type of purity knows too well that dishonoring the bris results in an immediate sense of pleasure that doesn’t endure. Continuous pleasure can only result from protecting the covenant with our Creator in devotion, selflessness and loyalty.

My question is, don’t we see many successful people who are promiscuous and licentious? How can they be a receptacle of Divine bounty, if they don’t guard their bris?  And, of course, why aren’t all of His devoted defenders (assuming there are still some out there) doing better financially? The answer, says the Rebbe, is a subtlety.  “A bitter and cumbersome livelihood is a result of breaking ones bris” (Torah 11). And in Torah 29 – “Improving ones bris results in livelihood without anxiety, like the manna“. So, as we see every day, it’s definitely possible for the immoral to be well-off, but they’re likely to be worried about their fortune. It’s only those who work on their purity that enjoy and appreciate their income. It might not be much $, but it comes with a calm and serenity that is priceless.

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