The Arizal said that before the Bris, the essence is hidden and that only after the Bris can the soul begin to come and permeate the body. Before the Bris, the soul simply could not relate to the body. The foreskin in Kabalistic lore represents lust that coarsens a person over the course of his life.
Thus, while he is still doing what he would have done even without a Bris, the hedonistic pleasure associated with these activities is reduced if not eliminated. Let’s give a basic example of something entirely benign such as eating; a person can enjoy good food and even eat it on a regular basis, this does not define him nor does it mean that he will one day become coarse. Now let’s take a different person who does not just enjoy good food but schedules himself around his dining experiences, he constantly looks for where he can have a gourmet meal and feels unsatisfied as a human being if he cannot. His enjoyment and focus in life is about finding better dining experiences, in fact he might actually travel the world in order to ascertain a new culinary experience.
The difference between these two characters is that for the first character good dining is an experience while for the second it represents who he is. Whenever we define ourselves or even deeply engross ourselves in any specific subject or task our worldview changes to such an extent that everything we see is tinted by what we are engrossed in.
If we allow ourselves to become engrossed in coarse and physical stimuli we lose sense of the refined vision our soul has and begin to the see the world as result of physical causality and not as the Almighty’s handiwork. But how do we prevent this from happening when we are constantly bombarded with stimuli that wish to define our lives and goals? In order to prevent this we have to open up our eyes and allow the Almighty to show us his world.
The sense of sound requires personal interpretation as to its meaning. But, sight is something we are actually being shown, and we are not just shown its features but rather it’s essence. Unlike sound, sight can be entirely blocked out at will by closing our eyes, and then we see nothing, as opposed to sound where at best we can diminish the noise coming into our ears. In order to see the world we have to accept that we are constantly being shown the Almighty’s world by the Almighty himself, and the regardless of how personally coarse we are we will begin to see a different world!
To begin this we have to make sure that our activities remain activities and do not become our self-imposed definition. This lust blocks our soul from truly expressing itself, and just as the infant or adult receives his Bris and then connects to his soul, so to we must desire to make a covenant with G-d and allow our soul to feel truly comfortable in our body.
Rabbi Yehoshua Levin, Certified Mohel