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Secret of Brit Book - Chapter 5: Rectify The Brit II
Written by Michael   
Tuesday, 09 May 2006

The Road To Rectification

11. Tikun Hatzot

We mentioned that to uproot the damages caused by sexual transgression, a person has to transform his former, egotistical pursuit of pleasure into an altruistic orientation to life, devoted to helping others. Instead of focusing on himself and his personal desires, he focuses on pleasing G-d. When he realizes the great anguish he has caused the Shechinah through his sins, he longs to cause her joy. To make up for his shameful desecration of the Brit, he is stirred to devote himself to magnify the honor of G-d in the world, the honor of Torah, and the honor of the Jewish People. In drawing closer and closer to G-d, the penitent comes to feel true anguish over the destruction of the Temple, the exile of the Jewish People, and the exile of the Shechinah with them. The foremost expression of this anguish is the tearful Tikun Hatzot  prayer, composed of chapters of Tehillim and special supplications recited at midnight over the destruction of Jerusalem. Repeatedly, the Zohar extols all those who rise at midnight to mourn over the pain of the Shechinah, to learn Torah, and to sing the praises of their Maker. The Zohar calls this the most praiseworthy service:
At midnight, all of the true tzaddikim rise to study the Torah and to sing its praises. Behold, it has been said that the Holy One Blessed Be He, and all the tzaddikim in Gan Eden, listen to their voices, and a thread of grace is drawn over them by day, as is written, “The L-rd will command his grace in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me.” (Tehillim, 42:9) Therefore, the praises that ascend in the night before Him, this is the most perfect praise. (Zohar, Bereshit 82b)

We have learned that the pain of the Shechinah is the pain of the sefirah of Malchut which, because of transgressions to the Brit, is no longer watered by the river of the Yesod. Thus our prayers at midnight over the exile of the Shechinah, and the Torah that we learn afterward, act to replenish the flow and bring about a reunion between Malchut and Yesod, effecting a great tikun.To quote once again from the Zohar:
 “I have sworn to David, My servant,” (Tehillim, 89:4) this is the secret of faith (Malchut) that it is always bound up with the tzaddik (Yesod.) And this is the foundation of the world, that they (Malchut and Yesod) never be separated. Except in the time of the exile, when the flow of blessing is cut off (because of transgressions,) and the secret of faith is impaired, and all joy (caused by the union of Malchut and Yesod) is stunted. And when nighttime (the exile) comes, joy does not enter before the King.

And even though joy is not awakened, nevertheless, outside of the palace the angels still sing. And at midnight when the stirring from below ascends on high, the Holy One Blessed Be He arouses all the hosts of heaven for weeping, and strikes the firmament, causing upper and lower worlds to tremble. And there is no comfort except at the time when those below awaken to study the Torah. Then the Holy One Blessed Be He, and all the souls of the tzaddikim with Him, listen with joy to that sound of learning, and comfort is felt by all. For from the day the Temple was destroyed below, G-d swore that He would not enter the heavenly Jerusalem until Israel should enter the earthly Jerusalem, as is written, “until holiness be in the midst of you, I will not enter the city,” (Hosea, 11:9) as we have learned. (Zohar,  Bereshit 231a)

Tikun Hatzot brings about the Yichud-union of HaKodesh Baruch Hu and the exiled Shechinah, and effects great rectifications in all of the worlds. In the same way that sexual transgressions brought about the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, separating the exalted spiritual union of the sefirot of Malchut and Yesod, so do our sexual sins today extend this spiritual damage and lengthen the exile. As it says in Tikun Hatzot, “Our sins have withheld the good (Yesod) from us.” (Yirmeyahu, 5:25) Tikun Hatzot comes to reawaken the love and flow of blessing that was lost. Thus its heartfelt recital, a few times a week, or as much as one can, is a vital aspect of Tikun HaBrit.  Those who are able to keep awake to learn Torah afterward will be rewarded with an exalted spiritual light.

Related Articles:
Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi on Tikun Hatzot
What are Tikunim?

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