Page 3 of 5Avraham had his servent, Eliezer, take an oath by placing his hand under the place of Avraham’s circumcision, because of its exalted holiness.
Zohar, Bereshit 181b
“Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh,” (Bereshit, 24:2) this is place of the tzaddik, the foundation of the world (the sefirah of Yesod.) The secret of the matter is that from this place the life force of existence emanates to the world.
The Zohar teaches that the Divine punishments stated in the second passage of the Shema fall upon the nation and the Land due to Israel’s sexual transgressions.
Come and see, when G-d watches over the world with the intent to judge it, and finds evildoers there, then, as is written, “He shut up the heaven, so that there shall be no rain, and the ground shall not yield her produce,” (Devarim, 11:17.) And afterward it is written, “You shall quickly perish from the land,” for through the sins of mankind, heaven and earth are shut up and their natural workings are impaired.
Those who do not guard the sign of the holy Brit cause a separation between Israel and their Father in heaven, as is written, “And you turn aside and worship other gods, and bow down to them,” (Ibid.) And afterward, it says, “He shut up the heaven, so that there be no rain.”
For to be false to the holy Brit is considered like bowing down to another god.
From Yosef, we learn that whoever safeguards his Brit in sexual purity, it is like he observed all of the Torah.
Zohar, Bereshit 197a
Come and see, the Holy One Blessed Be He fashioned the kingdom of earth after the model of the kingdom of heaven, one like the other, and whatever transpires on earth has first been approved above by G-d.
The holy kingdom was not a completed kingdom until it was united with the Patriarchs, since the Holy One Blessed Be He fashioned the upper kingdom that it should be illuminated in the world by the (sefirot mystically embodied in the) Patriarchs.
And when Yosef, the tzaddik, went down to Egypt before his family, he drew the Shechinah after him, since the Shechinah only follows after the tzaddik (keeper of the Brit.) This is the reason that Yosef preceded the others to Egypt, where he gathered up all the wealth of the world, as was fitting. Afterwards, the Shechinah went down to Egypt to accompany the descent of the tribes.
And because Yosef guarded his Brit in sexual purity, he merited to be crowned with and attached to the place fitting him (the Yesod,) and thus merited kingship both in the upper and lower kingdoms. And likewise, whoever guards the holy Brit, it is like he observed all of holy Torah, since the Brit is equal in weight with the whole Torah.
Rabbi Abba teaches that the most exalted secret of the Torah is the secret contained in the recondite understandings of the Brit. These secrets are only revealed to those who fear sin.
The man who lives a life of sexual purity, guarding the Brit, is the true man of valor.
Zohar, Bereshit 236b
Rabbi Abba explained the verse: “The secret of Hashem is revealed to those who fear Him, to make known to them His Brit,” (Tehillim, 25:14.) “The secret of Hashem,” is the most exalted secret of the Torah that G-d only grants to those who fear sin. To those who fear sin, G-d reveals the most exalted secret of the Torah. And what is the most exalted secret of the Torah? It is (the secret of) the sign of the holy Brit, which is called the secret of the L-rd – this is the holy Brit.
Zohar, Bereshit 240b
The tzaddikim are the guardians of the Brit.
Rabbi Abba taught: “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O valorous one; thy glory and thy majesty,” (Tehillim, 45:4.)
Is this glory and majesty, to arm oneself with weapons and use them? One who studies Torah and wages the battles of Torah, and arms oneself in this way, this is praiseworthy, this is glory and majesty. Yet it says, “Gird thy sword.”
The main point of the matter, however, is that G-d has given the sign of the holy Brit, and stamped it upon men for them to guard it, and not blemish it – it being the stamp of the King. He who blemishes it, behold, the sword which avenges the blemish to the Brit is raised up against him, (Vayikra, 26:25,) to avenge the blemish to the holy Brit which is impressed on him and which he impaired.
He who desires to safeguard this place should hurry and make a rectification-tikun on himself. When the evil inclination gains strength over him, he should picture the sword that is girded on the thigh to punish anyone who blemishes this place. This is the reason it says: “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O valorous one.” This one is called valorous, and this is his “glory and majesty.”
Zohar, Bereshit 247b
Fortunate are they who are called tzaddikim, for only he who guards the grade of the sign of the holy Brit is called tzaddik. Fortunate are they in this world and in the world to come.
Sexual wrongdoings cause the Shechinah to be exiled from the world, and the prayers of mankind go unanswered.
Zohar, Shemot 3b
There are three transgressions which drive the Shechinah away from the world, and cause it to be that the Holy One Blessed Be He has no abode on earth, and that the cries and prayers of mankind go unanswered.
There are three transgressions which drive the Shechinah away from the world, and cause it to be that the Holy One Blessed Be He has no abode on earth, and that the cries and prayers of mankind go unanswered. And these are the transgressions:
A man who has sexual relations with a woman during the period of her menstruation. There is no impurity in the world so strong as menstrual impurity (niddah.) The impurity of niddah is the most damaging type of impurity there is. The man is defiled and everyone who touches him is defiled with him. Everywhere they go, the Shechinah flees from them.
In addition, this man brings terrible diseases on himself and on the child born from such a union. Because he had contact with a woman in niddah, this impurity is transferred to him and clings to all of his body. A child born from this is possessed with a spirit of impurity, and this impurity will accompany him his whole life, since his foundation is built upon the most powerful and most stringent impurity that exists. For as soon as man has relations with a niddah, her state of menstrual impurity clings to him, as is written, “Her niddah impurity will be on him,” (Vayikra, 15:24.)
The second category is the man who has sexual relations with a gentile woman. For he enters the holy Brit and the sign that upholds the world into a foreign realm, as is written, “For Yehuda has profaned the holiness of the L-rd whom he loved, and has taken to himself the daughter of a strange god,” (Malachi, 2:11.) For we have learned that the Holy One Blessed Be He has no zealousness, except for His zealousness over the holy Brit, for this Brit (the Yesod) is the secret of the Sacred Name and the secret of faith. As is written, “And the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moav,” (Bamidbar, 25:1) then, immediately afterward, “And the anger of the L-rd was kindled against Israel.”