after the seal

Here's a brit milah Torah, not one I gave over at my son's brit (I'll try and summarize part of that one in the next post) but rather a Torah that can only be seen when immediately involved in the matters of brit milah. Thank HaShem, I merited to perform the first cut in my son's brit milah yesterday. (The more complicated parts of the milah I left to the experienced mohel to perform.)

Yoseph Leib asked a question about an earlier post: The work behind you, (in which I brought down the Noam Elimelech saying that Yichudim are the highest level of spiritual work but not the meat of the labor--more like the dessert) Yoseph's question is as follows:
this raises a very deep question for me: what are the kavanos in davening for, if not for the world? If not for specific things bound to the world?

What's a prayer for Hashem's wholeness, if not a prayer for the world? If we're not davening for specific, worldly things, what could we be davening for?
I thought about the question for about a week before answering it and only in the hind-sight of the brit milah of my first-born son can I properly answer the question:

When you retire, there's still tons of really important things you have to do with your life. But somehow, it isn't the same as when you were killing yourself night and day to put food on the table. Instead, on your pension, you're living off the fruits of your previous labor.

You will tell me that Spiritual Avodah is different.

True, our spiritual Avodah is something which should always be growing and we should go from strength to strength like the tzaddikim in shamayim who never rest, BUT, even to them, the work they are doing in shamayim isn't the same and isn't as precious (to them) as the work they did in this world - olam hazeh.

When we reach the point of sweet sweet yichudim, we've already broken through all the really tough barriers to avodat HaShem. We already know who the King of the world is beyond a doubt, we are already striving to perform His Will in the world.

In essence, removing the orla (foreskin) is the lion's share of the brit milah, however, once this is done, we still need to do the peri'ah (and the metzitzah) and as we know, if someone only removed the foreskin and didn't do peri'ah it isn't a valid brit milah.

Similarly, yichudim are like the peri'ah, it's the seal on one's life, but the ikar, the essential part of one's life is the removing of the orla, that thick foreskin of lies and physicality, that stand between one and serving HaShem. True, the yichudim are sweet, they are the perfect end to the perfect life, but its hard to see them as anything but the dessert.

Nonetheless, without the yichudim, (read: without study of the Kabbalah) as without the peri'ah, we haven't done the job properly and will be sent back to do the job again. Properly.

In order to make sure I'm not bringing down harsh judgement on the majority of the world, myself included, I'm going to interpret it like so: As in the case of my son, I removed the foreskin, but the Mohel did the peri'ah, (and the metzitzah) so too each of us needs to remove the spiritual orla (foreskin) whereas the work of the peri'ah -- the practice of yichudim is reserved for those who are able to perform them, and through them, the rest of us may reach completion.


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