Guard Your Eyes

A website for Jews struggling to maintain their moral purity in today's world
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It's all about "Surrender", "Surrender", "Surrender". G-d puts us through so much in our lives just so that we learn to surrender to him, i.e. to realize that we can't do it alone and that we need him for every step of the way. This is not only a philosophy to help someone break free of an addiction, it is true in everything in our lives. It applies to they way G-d has dealt, and deals, with the Jewish people as a whole--throughout history, from when we left Egypt until today in the State of Israel where we are surrounded by enemies on all sides and still keep thinking we can do without G-d ( Click here for a video about this idea). It applies to being successful in earning a living, in finding a true life partner, in being healed from disease, in having peace in life, and in everything that we strive for. As long as we still think we can go it alone, we will keep stumbling, falling and suffering. This is because by thinking we can do it ourselves, we close ourselves to G-d. Our vessel becomes full of the "self" and there's no room left for G-d. The minute we start to "let go and let G-d" and acknowledge to him that we can't do it on our own and we need his constant help, we enable ourselves to become a vessel for G-d's infinite bounty, and we will start to see success in all areas, from our jobs to victory over the evil inclination!


There is a tremendous amount of spiritual energy out there that Hashem is waiting to give to us, as long as we try. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov would often quote a Zohar that controlling one's desires and passions makes them the channel for beracha, abundance and reward, to flow into the world. Practically, what that means is that if you control yourself, Hashem will cause beracha to flow into all that you do. You will begin to accomplish more. Become more successful. You will begin to see an extra measure of Syatah Di'Shemyah--help from Heaven--in all of your actions.


Let's talk about the moment after. Suddenly, as if coming out of a trance, it's over. The addiction got what it wanted, the bubble popped and we are left feeling totally gypped. "What was there about that, that justified me letting it take over my mind and cut me off from reality, from myself and from G-d?" we ask ourselves. "Why do I let this insanity control me?!"  The minute it's over we can suddenly see clearly again. It is like being given back the gift of sanity. Like someone who was drugged up and placed in a crazy house, only to wake up the next morning and ask himself what he is doing there!

R' Nachman gives a parable (and I don't remember the details exactly - but you'll get the general idea). There was a country where all the wheat crop was poisoned that year. Everyone in the country ate from the wheat and became crazy. The doctors all said that the craziness would last for a full year. The wise king, who had his own wheat, did not become crazy. However, he decided that he too should eat from the bad wheat that year so he would be like his subjects and be able to understand and rule them. But the king wanted to remember that he was really a wise ruler and that he would return to his sanity after a year, so he made himself a special bracelet that he wouldn't be able to remove. On the bracelet he wrote the words "Remember you are not yourself this year".

The trick to protecting ourselves from the next time the insanity returns, is to remember the way we feel afterwards, and to keep this memory fresh in our minds so we don't fall into the trap again. Perhaps we should even write ourselves a note about how we feel afterwards, and carry it around to read next time we feel the craziness returning...


One should know that the principle aspect of a Jew's holiness and purity is in sanctifying his eyes. The Torah emphasizes this in the verse regarding Yehuda by asking, "Where is the k'deisha?" While the word k'deisha has the meaning "harlot," it can also be read in its meaning of "holiness," so that we read, "Where is the holiness?" And the answer is "b'Anayim," which means that the harlot was in the place called Anayim, but also that the holiness of a Jew is in the Anayim - the eyes (Bereshit, 38:21).


In his book, "Kuntres HaAvodah," Rebbe Sholom Dov Ber of Lubavitch, one of the early great Rebbes of Chabad, writes the following:

"Everyone who is concerned about his soul, not to pollute it, G-d forbid, should guard over his eyes. And if this is difficult for him, he should endeavor to restrain himself with all of his strength and might. He must take to heart that this matter is instrumental to the wellbeing of his soul, and if he does not guard himself in this matter, then all of his Divine service is accounted as nothing, and all of his achievements are as naught, and his service of G-d will fall lower and lower....

"Behold, there are people who are far from actually committing evil deeds, G-d forbid, but their hearts pull them to look and stare (at women.) They gaze with a seemingly cold detachment, and they do not feel any immediate excitement when they look, but the reason for their being attracted is because they experience an inner pleasure... This gazing, even with seeming detachment, creates an impression and a great stain on the psyche, which will not go away without arousing some actual evil in its wake, G-d forbid....

"Thus, it is every man's duty to control himself and to guard over the things he sees. In so doing, he will save himself from evil, and his service of G-d will find favor. He will bring salvation to his soul, and he will rise higher and higher." (Kuntres HaAvodah, Ch. 2. For an English translation and commentary, see the book, "Love Like Fire and Water," Moznaim Publishing Corp.)


The true strength of a person's piety is demonstrated under the following circumstances: a devout person does not cast off his piety even when people ridicule him; whatever he does is for the sake of heaven; he does not look at women. His piety is put to the test especially when he is in the company of other men in a situation where women are usually around-for example, in a wedding hall where women are dressed in elegant gowns, and all are gazing at the women, and he does not stare. For that, he will be rewarded with abundant good. Therefore, when a man meets a woman, whether she is single or married, gentile or Jewish, an adult or a minor, it is best for him to turn his face aside and not to look at her. And so do we read in Job, "I made a Covenant with my eyes not to gaze on a maiden" (Job 3 1: 1). The verse "He shuts his eyes against looking at evil" (Isaiah 33:15) refers to the person who does not look at women when they are doing their washing.' When they wash their clothes, they lift their skirts so as not to soil them and thus uncover their legs; and we know that a woman's leg is a sexual excitement. And so said the Sage, "There is no greater barrier to sexual arousal than closing one's eyes".

Sexual temptation is the main test in life. It is sent as a challenge to refine us. When you are subjected to this test it puts you in a type of "exile". You should cry out to G-d: scream and cry out to Him over and over again, like a woman in labor who cries out from the pain of her contractions. Seventy times she cries out (Zohar III, 249b). You must do likewise and cry out to G-d again and again until He takes pity and helps you to strengthen yourself and break your desire. New ideas and new perceptions will be born within you. The secrets of Torah, which before were guarded, will now be unveiled for you. The greater the determination with which you stand up to the trial, the greater the revelation you will receive in Torah and devotion to G-d. You will be able to see the seventy faces of the Torah.

Vision possesses such lofty importance because the eyes are the windows to the "soul of the soul." A blemish to the sense of vision, when the eyes gaze upon some forbidden image, is grave indeed, as stressed by the verse in the Book of Eichah, "My eye affects my soul because of all the daughters of the city" (Eichah, 3:51).  This means that what a man sees can cause him to lose a portion of his holiness.


From the Forum at

I learned the hard way!

I have just finished a painful bout of prostate inflammation in my bris that was the most painful experience of my life. Urinating was a nightmare and sex was out of the question. The catheter they inserted almost blew out my brains. I was in the hospital for a week on antibiotics and I wouldn't wish the pain on my worst enemies. I knew it came as a Divine punishment for my watching p-rn and for doing things with my wife that I shouldn't have just to satisfy my lust. I have decided to implement the 12 Torah Steps in my life. I have told my wife and Rabbi, and I am once again going to minyanim at the shul instead of staying home to watch porn. I hope my story will warn others so that they stop their bad habits before they have to go through the hell that I have been through.

Prostate Sufferer


We all believe in "S'char Ve'onesh" (divine reward and punishment). So here's a tip for staying strong and guarding your eyes. Sometimes we tell a child that if he does a Mitzvah he will get as much candy as he wants in the next world. This isn't a lie because the reward will be much greater than this, but the child can't relate to understanding the true pleasures of the world to come. When we struggle with looking at things we shouldn't, we are also acting like children. The only difference is that our desires have matured into different "candies". Sometimes it can help to talk to the Yetzer Hara in his own language so he will understand. Next time you see something that pulls you to stray after your eyes, tell yourself that as a reward for not looking, G-d will allow you to have this very woman that you desire in the next world. Now obviously, the reward in the next world will be much greater than this. Chaza"l say that one minute in Olam Haba is greater than all the pleasures of this world put together! But sometimes this idea is too abstract for the Yetzer Hara to hear, and that can make it hard to relate to. Instead, when you see a beautiful woman or a picture of one, tell your Yetzer Hara; "you know you won't get her anyway, you just crave to gaze at her beauty, so I'll make a deal with you. Turn away now, and as a reward for turning away just this once, you'll have her in the next world as much as you want!". This truly isn't a lie here either. You are only talking to the Yetzer Hara in his own language so he can relate to the incredible reward that you WILL receive in the next world...

Besides, in the Kabbalistic sources, the holy Shchina is sometimes nimshal (a parable to) a beautiful woman, and the zivug (intercourse) of the neshamos (souls) in the next world is a pleasure we can't even begin to imagine. Everything on this world is a branch of the "root" in the upper worlds. If sexual desire is the strongest of the pleasures of this world, then the spiritual counterpart of this desire (it's divine root) will also be the highest form of pleasure in the world to come. But only those who repent and stay pure in this world will merit these divine pleasures.


The words of General George S. Patton.

"Better to fight for something than live for nothing".

"I don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits bottom".


Taken From Tzvi Fishman's Arutz Sheva Blog.

There are many unfortunate consequences for a Jew who follows after his eyes. Since many people look upon this lightly, let me share a Kabbalistic secret to help impress the gravity of this transgression in your minds. In the "Sefer Haredim," in the Gate of Reincarnation, it is written that a person who habitually gazes at women to enjoy their beauty will be reincarnated as an impure bird called the "Roah," which means "he saw."

Regarding this, the holy Torah giant and Kabbalist, Rabbi Aharon Rota, writes: "If you think to say, my brother, what is so bad about this? That if you will be reincarnated in a bird, you can fly around freely to this place and that, what's so terrible in that? But you should know, my brother, that to be reincarnated in an impure thing, G-d forbid, is worse than the terrible fires of Gehinom. Furthermore, unlike a reincarnation in human form, when the person is unaware of his previous life, when a person is reincarnated in an impure bird, he is conscious all of the time that he was once a Jew with a pure and exalted soul, and that now he is doomed to the life of an impure and foul-smelling bird – how shameful and ignominious is his hell. All because he did not safeguard his eyes from looking at improper things" ("Taharat HaKodesh," Chapter on Guarding One's Eyes, Section 18).

But this isn't all, my friends. The next time that you are tempted to take a second glance at an immodestly dressed woman, or to click on an erotic site on the Internet, remember that after the reincarnation in an impure bird, another reincarnation is needed in a less impure beast, then another reincarnation in a pure animal, each time experiencing the pain of death and mental suffering involved, until the cycle is completed, and only then does the person begin the time in Gehinom that has been apportioned to him for his sins.

Is it worth it?


The Torah is called a "Covenant," (BRIT)
The Holy One, blessed be He is called "Covenant,"
The holy sign of circumcision is called the "Covenant"
(The holy Zohar III 73b).

TORAH = 611 = BRIT = 612


If you can't stop looking at pretty women, keep this in mind. From the smallest baby, to the prettiest woman, to the old fat man down the street, human beings are all made out of the same stuff; blood, veins, muscle tissue, guts and fat--all covered over with a thin layer of skin. Keep that in mind and it will help you turn away from looking at what you shouldn't. It will also help you to be humble before G-d, for that is really all we are.


Learn how to bear the mental pain of saying "No" to yourself. Naturally, we go to what feels good and we stay away from pain. We got that from cows. Animals don't understand that a painful experience can be beneficial. Try and explain surgery to a cow. All the cow understands is "Food", I go. "Pain", I go away.

But we humans were endowed with wisdom! Tell yourself, the pain I feel when saying "no" is GOOD for me. The pain I feel is HEALING me, and it is also fixing all that I have damaged in the past.

Here's something an x-addict wrote about pain on an Arutz Sheva Forum:
Many find themselves in destructive behavior when they feel pain and don't see a way out. When I felt pain, I wanted a way to avoid it ... which only took me further from reality.
It's OK to sit with pain ... it's better than the mind-numbing behaviors that remove us from the world.
Thank G-d that we FEEL AGAIN! ... even if it's pain.
Be assured that you are making progress.

Check out this interesting article from the English Hamodia section called "Seeking Solutions". In this feature, readers send in their questions and the renowned psychiatrist, author and Torah Scholar Rabbi Avraham Twerski attempts to answer.

For more on internet addiction from Rabbi Twerski, click here.
One secret to success in overcoming the evil inclination is to enjoy the challenge! Imagine you are playing a video arcade game called "Life" and the enemy is called "Temptation". If a test comes and you overcome it, you get points and move to a higher level each time. Only there's one small thing about this game, you are playing here for your ETERNITY! So, next time you are faced with a test think to yourself; "Oh yes, bring it on! I can do this!"  
Taken from the FAQ page of

Q. Anybody with a normal sex drive and no outlet for it will masturbate. Man or Woman! I once went without masturbating for about a month…toward the end of that month I thought I was going to rape someone. Even while studying Torah I had the urge. The more you deny it the more it affects you. All of that tension just builds up. It's downright cruel to have a sexual drive and then seeing beautiful women and having no outlet for it. Also, recent medical studies that say frequent ejaculation prevents a build up of cancer causing chemicals. Yes, it's good to masturbate believe it or not!

A. A non-religious man once told the Brisker Rav that he doesn't believe in G-d because he has many questions. The brisker Rav told him, "you don't have questions, you have answers".

So my friend, if these questions you ask are really "answers" to why you aren't working on yourself, then there is no real hope for you. But if you genuinely have questions in the hope of one day achieving the purity that G-d asks of us, then you will be able to find answers.

For starters, let me say that all scientific studies are irrelevant to the Torah and to Chaza"l. This is for two reasons.

1) G-d made us, so he knows what is best for us. Chaza"l and the Torah know better than scientists what is good for a person and what is not.
2) Secondly, even if masturbating would be proven beyond doubt to be good for your health, we Jews have been giving up our very lives for G-d for thousands of years, all the more so should we be willing to give up some obscure, vague and improbable health benefit, such as getting rid of some cancer causing chemicals.

Also I beg to disagree with your assertion that the tension builds up to an explosion point. Here are some very important words of Chaza"l to remember: "There is a small organ in a man. When it is well-fed, it is hungry. When it is starved, it is satiated". The less you use it, the less you need it.

Please see as well this Q&A on the FAQ page of

"Why is masturbation bad, and how can G-d want us not to do it, if it's something a person cannot control?"

From the Zochar Chai, Vayechi 377b

The sin of emitting semen in vain is encompassing and it damages the mazal of the person at the level of DAAT. Because the one who sins in this fashion, the image of G-d immediately runs away from him and he becomes a beast, damaging with anger, pride and all evil traits, a destroyer indeed, like one of the demons and even less than them, and his Torah and his prayers are broken by the Kelipot…and as long as he doesn't do Teshuva, he is like one who has no portion in the G-d of Israel and it is forbidden to talk to him.

Bitul (self-nullification). Learn to think "Who am I to want anything? We are not here for pleasure. I am doing the work of the king every time I say "No". What more can a Jew want in this world?

Along these lines of Bitul, R' Nachman offers a powerful suggestion. Whenever you are feeling weak and about to break, go into a room alone. Close your eyes, lie on the floor and put yourself in a place of total Bitul (self annulment). Repeat over and over again "I am nothing", "I am nothing".

For today's Chizuk e-mail, I point you to an inspiring article written by Tzvi Fishman on his Arutz Sheva Blog:  The Best Hanukah Gift For Your Kids
Chankah is an opportune time to work on sexual purity. Here are some excerpts from an Article by Tzvi Fishman. (Click here for the full article).

At the center of the Greek plan to uproot the Torah from Israel was their strategy to lure the Jews into sexual transgression. The Jewish People's belief that G-d ruled over the physical world, as well as the spiritual, was something that the hedonistic Hellenist culture could not allow....

...Craving to be like the Greeks, the Jewish Hellenists stretched their orlah [foreskins] back over the sign of their Brit, in order to look like their masters. Enraptured by the tantalizing synthesis of Greek intellectuality and unbridled bohemianism, Jews abandoned the synagogue and study halls, adopted Greek names, dressed up in Greek tunics, flocked to Greek theaters, bathed in Greek spas, and drank alongside the "enlightened" foreigners in their pornographic pubs....

...Mattityahu and his five sons rose up like lions against the enemies of Israel and G-d. When the Greek governor sent an officer to erect an altar in Modiin and force the Jews to sacrifice upon it, Mattityahu rushed forward to slay him. The "Book of the Maccabees" relates:

"Thus he showed his zeal for the Torah, as Pinchas had done toward Zimri, son of Salu. Then Mattityahu cried out in a loud voice in the town, saying, "Let everyone who is zealous for the Torah and who guards the Brit [covenant - sexual purity], follow me!"

In Mattityahu's very first cry to battle lies the secret of Hanukah.... As Kohen Gadol [High Priest], he was entrusted with guarding the sexual purity of the nation, as it says regarding the Kohanim [Priests], "For they have observed Your word and guarded your Brit" (Devarim, 33:10). Zealousness for the Torah and guarding the Brit go hand in hand. Thus Mattityahu's cry to war was, "Let everyone who is zealous for the Torah and who guards the Brit, follow me!"

The Zohar teaches that as long as Israel is free from sexual transgression no rival nation can rule over them. "Rabbi Elazar said, As long as men remain attached to the Brit and do not loose their sovereignty over it, there is no nation nor language in the world that can do them harm" (Zohar, Bereshit 66b).

This was the secret weapon of the Macabbees.

Repent to G-d every day. Admit your sins and change your ways, as the Pasuk says "Modeh V'eozev Yerucham" - "He who admits and desists will be shown mercy".

In the holy books it says that the secret of confession is as follows: Every deed a person does creates a prosecuting angel. That angel goes up to heaven and prosecutes the one who did the sin that brought the angel into existence. However, when a person confesses to G-d and admits that he is ashamed of his deed, the angel he created loses it's power to prosecute the person and he is easily forgiven. However, this only works with repentance, i.e. if the person changes his ways. Otherwise, the angel will continue to prosecute even stronger than before and point out to G-d that the person who created him was lying when he confessed and said that he feels bad for his sins.
From the Shaar ha'Tefillah by the Beer Mayim Chayim

"And it is not seemly and it is not proper for an intelligent person to run after the filth and desire of this sort, for why is he called man if not for having the spirit of man which ascends above and not that of a beast that descends below to the earth, and every intelligent person knows that it is proper for him to be different from a horse and a dog in his desires".
We need to internalize that these desires are out to destroy us, not to help us. He claims to be our best friend, but he is our worst enemy. The evil inclination's goal is that the value of our lives should be zero. His job is to damage. To do this he was given permission to use pleasure and illusionary "fulfillment" as a bluff to be able to cause us damage. Otherwise, how could he possibly damage, we would tell him to get lost! But we need to realize,  it is like Arafat offering us a piece of cake. We know he doesn't mean the cake, he means to use the cake to damage us somehow. After all, isn't it obvious that the evil inclination wants your soul, not the pleasure? Otherwise, why is a thousand times never enough?!

We need to keep reminding ourselves that it is
an addiction, a disease, an immaturity. That these are not-normal, non-healthy desires. These false pleasures that he offers us, destroy our relationship with our own selves--our own souls, not to mention our precious family life. And the most harmful of all, they destroy our relationship with G-d.
It is very important to remember these three, very powerful sayings of Rebbe Nachman at all times.

"There is no such thing as "Yiush"
(i.e. despair) in the world".

"As long as the candle is lit
(i.e. one is still alive), one can always correct".

"If you believe you can destroy, then you must believe that you can fix".
Long ago, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov had recognized Simcha as the key to success in fighting the evil inclination and coming truly close to HaShem. In stressing the importance of Simcha he went so far as saying that depression - the antithesis of Simcha - constitutes "the main bite of the serpent (the Yetzer Harah)". How far should a person struggle to remain steadfast and avoid depression? The lesson is best illustrated by the following story Rabbi Nachman told to his disciples:

"But what is the antidote for the person who feels so heavy, so depressed, that no words of encouragement or advice have any effect?"

There was once a poor man who earned a living digging clay and selling it. Once, while digging clay, he discovered a precious stone which was obviously worth a great deal. Since he had no idea of it's worth, he took it to an expert to tell him Its value. The expert answered, "No one here will be able to afford such a stone. Go to London, the capital, and there you will be able to sell it." The man was so poor that he could not afford to make the journey. He sold everything he had, and went from house to house, collecting funds for the trip. Finally he had enough to take him as far as the sea.

He then went to board a ship, but he did not have any money. He went to the ship's captain and showed him the jewel. The captain immediately welcomed him aboard the ship with great honor, assuming he was a very trustworthy person. He gave the poor man a special first class cabin, and treated him like a wealthy personage. The poor man's cabin had a view of the sea, and he sat there, constantly looking at the diamond and rejoicing. He was especially particular to do this during his meals, since eating in good spirits is highly beneficial for digestion. Then one day, he sat down to eat, with the diamond lying in front of him on the table where he could enjoy it. Sifting there he dozed off. Meanwhile, the mess boy came and cleared the table, shaking the tablecloth with it's crumbs and the diamond into the sea. When he woke up and realized what had happened, he almost went mad with grief. Besides, the captain was a ruthless man who would not hesitate to kill him for his fare. Having no other choice, he continued to act happy, as if nothing had happened. The captain would usually speak to him a few hours every day, and on this day, he put himself in good spirits, so that the captain was not aware that anything was wrong. The captain said to him, "I want to buy a large quantity of wheat and I will be able to Sell it in London for a huge profit. But I am afraid that I will be accused of stealing from the king's treasury. Therefore, I will arrange for the wheat to be bought in your name. I will pay you well for your trouble." The poor man agreed. But as soon as they arrived in London the captain died. The entire shipload of wheat was in the poor man's name and it was worth many times as much as the diamond.

Rabbi Nachman concluded, "The diamond did not belong to the poor man, and the proof is that he did not keep it. The wheat, however, did belong to him, and the proof is that he kept it. But he got what he deserved only because he remained happy. *

It is up to each of us never to lose hope, and like the poor man in the story to whom everything appeared lost, force oneself to be happy. Even a faked, ungenuine, happiness, has the power to transform our situation and lead us to genuine joy.
One guy writes on the forum:

"I have tried to stop over and over, but just can't seem to. I have even gone like 3 or 4 months without porn, but always the desire grows so strong that life seems too dull and worthless to live without being able to indulge in the viewing of women... "

We would like to address this phenomenon, where life seems so dull without the lust we are used to. This is a common emotional / chemical response to the mind having grown so addicted to this behavior. It is this aspect of the addiction which makes it so hard to stop even though we know we are destroying ourselves every time we give in. One helpful solution is SSRI medication, which takes off the edge of this feeling of "emptiness" when someone is trying to stop.

Another solution is to fight this feeling with the mind. Use this parable:

Some types of angler fish use a light on their head to attract prey right into their mouth. The little fish has strayed into deep waters and is cold, lonely and lost. Suddenly a little light appears. It looks calm and soothing, it looks like the light at the end of the tunnel. The fish is so attracted to the this light - he can't stop himself - and WHAM, he's dinner!!

Those who have become addicted to this behavior have strayed into deep waters. They have become troubled, lonely and depressed. When a beautiful woman passes by, or when the lure of the girls on the internet beckons, he feels he must have this fix for his troubles... he feels desperate for the warmth, the lust... he just wants to let go - the light is beckoning.... But, NO! STOP!!!! It's the evil one! He wants to destroy you! It's all a trick! Don't fall for it, or you're a gonner! 
To truly be free of the insidious desires, we need to make a true and final decision that we don't want these things anymore. When we are standing in Shul on Rosh Hashana or Yom-Kippur, or when we are meeting with a Rabbi we truly respect, is there anything we want more in life than to be considered by G-d as an " Erlicher Yid" (a G-d fearing Jew)? We do believe in G-d, we know the truth. We want to be good. It's just that in the real world we keep forgetting what we truly want. In our day to day lives, the desires of this world fill our mind and make us forget who we are and what we truly want to be.

We need to take a break once in a while and focus. We need to always remember; "I really want to be an Erlicher Yid". We need to tell ourselves once and for all, "I truly don't want these things anymore, not now and not never!"
Let's go back to the ABC's and see what G-d wrote in the Torah about the Yetzer Hara. When Kayin was not will to sacrifice to G-d as much as Hevel was, G-d turned away from his offering. Kayin felt rejected and so G-d said to him: "Why are you sad? If you will do better you will be accepted, and if not, your sins will crouch for you on the entrance of your grave (meaning, that when you die you will be paid back for your sins). " Ve'elecha Teshukaso, Ve'ata Timshal Bo' - "And the evil inclination's desire is to make you stumble, and you shall rule over him".

The Zohar gives a parable of a king who wanted to test his son's loyalty, so he paid for a prostitute to try to entice his son. The prostitute will do her best to make the king's son stumble, but deep down she really wants that the king's son should refuse her, for she too is a servant of the king and wants the king to truly be happy.

It is helpful to remember this parable, and to realize that the Yetzer Hara is also really a servant of Hashem. Deep down, he is happy when you refuse his destructive seducing! Realize that life is all a test of our loyalty, and of how much we are really willing to sacrifice for G-d.
On Pesach we say "Bikesh Lavan La'akor es Hakol" - "Lavan tried to destroy everything" (even more than Pharaoh). The question is asked, where do we find in the scripture that Lavan tried to destroy everything? The holy sefer, the "Ma'or Vashemesh" writes that Lavan is symbolic of the evil inclination. When Yaakov first started working for Lavan, Lavan said to him " Ach atzmi uvisari ata" - "you are my own flesh and blood". Lavan tried to include Yaakov in himself and thereby destroy him. The Me'or Vashemesh explains that the way the Yetzer Hara succeeds in totally destroying a person is by telling him "you are my own flesh and blood", in other words, he tells a person "I am not an outsider trying to get you to sin, rather I am you and you are me!".

A person falls the most when he says to himself "I can't change. This is who I am". NO! This is not who you are! You are the holy Yaakov. The Yetzer Hara is Lavan and he is telling you lies that this is who you are!

Learning to view these insidious desires in third person, not as yourself, is one of the most powerful tools in breaking free of the addiction. Recognize that he, and not you, i.e. the yetzer hara--the addiction, is trying to " La'akor es Hakol" - "to destroy everything". When you separate yourself in your mind from these harmful desires and view them instead as an outside enemy, you have already made significant progress.
All the fascination we have for sexual desire is satisfied in a few seconds. After that we feel sick from it and don't even want it anymore. What a gyp! Is it worth it for this to give away Hashem, with whom our fascination can never be quenched, and with whom the more we experience, the more joy, pleasure and fulfillment we feel, and will feel, for eternity?
Kids think that dolls look so human. They are fascinated with them and have fun playing with them and imagine that the dolls are real. We always have to remember this fact. All the fascination that we have with sexual desire and with the beauty of women is fake. It is satisfied in ten seconds, and after that, it vanishes like smoke. It's so childish to let this fascination take us away from our goals. When we let these things get to us, we are acting like little children fascinated with dolls.

But still, sometimes we are swept along by the world, pushed along by our worries and stress and we quickly forget who we are. We forget how childish we are acting. We need something to wake up in times like these. Try this: Accept upon yourself for three days to give 25 cents to Tzedaka for every time you gaze at a women with the intention of enjoying it. This can give you that little extra push to hold back and realize how childish and immature it is to act this way...
Today I would like to share with you the recovery story of a non-Jew, who saw our site and send us his story to help inspire others...
Dear Rabbi,

After several correspondences and having read much of your website I feel I can trust you.
At the age of 13 I accidentally discovered masturbation. At the time it was more curiosity than anything else and was not really lust or fueled by pornographic sexual fantasy. It was just a new sensation I found to be very pleasurable and as such I refused to give it up despite my conscience telling me something was wrong. Unfortunately, I was too embarrassed to talk to my parents and friends about my problem and instead practiced it in secret. In addition I hid any signs of sexuality from my parents and friends, pretending that I wasn't interested in girls (which would be normal in a teenager).

The habit quickly fastened itself on me and before long I was absolutely and heavily addicted. Without knowing the cause I plunged deeper and deeper into an abyss of misery, the cause of which I did not know.  From being a bright, healthy, confident, enthusiastic and sociable boy I became nervous, listless, depressed and lacked confidence. Slowly, over the years I changed, with my health, looks, intelligence and friendships all fading. I used masturbation as an anti-depressant, to relieve boredom and stress and as a sexual outlet.

Inwardly, I was in turmoil, with my spirit telling me something was wrong with my life, yet I denied that I had a real problem and suppressed these feelings. My bad habit continued until the age of 21 when I was at University. After eight years of self-abuse I had become a complete physical wreck. My hair once thick, luxurious and abundant had become thin and dried without any natural shine. My eyes once bright and intelligent had become dull and shrunken. My back stooped, my heart palpitated and I had night sweats. I lost my appetite and  became incontinent.  I once wet myself after a walk. My heart hurt after any prolonged exertion and my entire chest felt like it had been hollowed out from the inside and was on the point of collapse. I also remember I had never ending phlegm in my throat. I also could not acquire an erection no matter what I saw or how hard I tried for 5 consecutive months! I felt exhausted all the time even when I had nothing all day and was just sitting at my desk. These were just the physical symptoms.

By this time my memory and concentration had become extremely weak. From being able to remember things by merely reading them once, I now could not even recall something somebody had told me to do a moment ago. I lacked all spontaneity and this had grave social consequences; I could not hold a conversation for more than 5 minutes and found it almost impossible to talk to people. I never had any ideas, and despite still attempting to read good books, I no longer appreciated the beauty and wisdom in them. It was as if I was a walking corpse with no life or spirit. My playing of the piano for some reason was completely wooden with no emotion or intelligence of interpretation. I was plagued by an extremely heavy depression and my outlook on life was dark and devoid of hope. I felt full of regret and I wanted to commit suicide. Masturbation had made me very lazy and I wasted so much time without guilt or fear of the consequences. Even when I tried to study it was if some invisible force was impeding my progress. I could not find information I was looking for in textbooks and felt as if I was plagued by confusion. All my efforts came to nothing; it did not matter how hard I tried everything I did failed. I believed that I was a total loser and was completely useless and that there was no hope for me. I really did want to die. Life held no attraction for me anymore- it seemed like never ending pain and suffering.

I changed from University course to the other and failed in both degrees. At school, I had originally planned to study medicine, but I changed my mind to study maths instead because I thought that it would be easy since there would be less to remember. It proved to be the wrong decision. My mind was overshadowed with confusion when I had to decide what career I should pursue. I feel that masturbation had caused me to make many wrong decisions in my life due to a lack of clarity of thought. I don't know why, but there were nice girls at uni who liked me but I was too shy to ever ask them out or to let them know I liked them as well. I never felt confident enough and was always worrying about my unsuccessful studies.  Now, I could no longer deny that I had a HUGE problem. I told my mother that I had been secretly masturbating three time a week for 8 years since the age of 13. She was shocked to say the least! She told me I had to stop and consulted a relative who is a Chinese doctor.

I didn't want to at first but somehow, the force of circumstances impelled me to change. I just wanted what I thought was the easy way out- suicide. The thought of resurrecting my life after so much damage had been done, giving up masturbation and the uncertainty of the future despite my best efforts filled me with fear and despair. The task seemed too much and I did not want to recover if the price was further suffering. Death seemed an answer to my pain- I thought that when I was a dead it would be like I was asleep and I wouldn't have any more problems. However, ironically my very cowardice proved to be my salvation. I feared the pain of suicide so I realized I actually was not going to kill myself. I then had to accept that unless I stopped masturbating, even more suffering awaited me. I made up my mind to break my habit.

This is now the second year I have broken free from my addiction to masturbation. I have recovered my health, and without wanting to sound vain but just to be honest, my looks and intelligence have improved immensely. My local doctor did not even recognize me when I went to the surgery; he thought I was some stranger! I retook my failed year at University and passed and I am now in my final year of degree after having wasted two years due to failed exams. I am no longer filled with fear, confusion, depression and regret. Now I am confident about myself and know I can succeed. Unexpected good things seem to be happening to me which they never did before and all these people who I never thought I would see again seem to be coming back into my life (old friends, girls I liked, people I knew).

I hope I have not bored you with my story. I wrote it so that you could publish it on your site if you thought it might help other people.

Thank you for all your help. May your good work continue Rabbi and the truth spread.
The Arizal explains that the "oneg"- pleasure that one feels from a sexual transgression, turns into "nega" - plague, by a rearrangement of the Hebrew letters.

The Arizal also teaches that every time a man misuses his seed, he is handing a sword to his urge for evil, who ascends with this sword to the man's soul root, and cuts off from there a holy soul. He then makes out of it a powerful klipah-husk, and as a result there comes a great darkness in all the heavenly worlds. The Ari adds that it is in man's power to elevate by means of his tears not only the souls that he himself brings down, but also some of the souls that other men brought down by succumbing to their physical passions. When a soul becomes liberated and ascends on high, some her fellow-souls who are enmeshed by the outside forces become envious of her, and break free from their bonds out of the power of their longing, thus ascending together with her."
(Shaar Hamitzvot, perashat Noach)
A fellow struggler writes on the forum:

I am not very educated in these things, but from my own experience and struggles I can at least say: G-D is very true and frequently helps you when you ask for the right things (in the right way)!

Every time you look at the sexual side of a woman, you do something that brings you away from goodness again. It is important to learn how to not look at women, and if you have to, only into the eyes!! It is very, very, very hard (as I have learned), but it will help you in many ways. Always look at the character of the people, not the appearance. That is the right way
Although we are encouraged to be humble, this is only when we are doing good deeds. This means that even when we think we have done much good, we must always remember that no man has yet fulfilled his obligations fully to G-d. However, when we go out into the street and are faced with tests, we need to turn on our haughtiness module. For this is what the attribute of haughtiness was created for, as it is stated (about one of the ancient Jewish kings) " Vayigbah Libo Bidarkei Hashem" - "and his heart was aloof in the ways of G-d". In other words, we have to realize how great each and every one of us is. With every deed we do we can shake all the upper worlds, for good and for bad. Each and everyone of us was created in the image of G-d. With one mistake, one moment of weakness, we can be cut off from the source of life itself, forever. And should you ask, "can one mistake really cut me off forever"? Well, think about it. You're driving down a two way highway and a big truck is coming towards you on the other lane. Your not in imminent danger as long as you stay on your lane, but one twist of the steering wheel in the wrong direction and it's all over. So take your choices in life seriously. Hold on to G-d and choose life!
The whole world is running after happiness, for what more can a person ask for in life? But what people don't know, or what they choose to ignore, is the simple fact that true happiness only comes from a real inner peace, and not from ANYTHING external. This is hard for people to hear because this truth is much more "subtle" than the happiness that the desires of this world promise us and beckon to us with, saying "with us you will find happiness". We must learn to close our eyes and ears to these counterfeit overtures and remember that true happiness can never be found in external sources. It must come from within.
Often, people just don't trust the power of Torah to save them from the clutches of the Yetzer Hara. They try everything, the 12 steps, meditations, psychotherapy, etc... but they won't sit down and learn a blat of Gemara. My friends! Gemara is "sechel hayashar" - "straight thinking". When a person thinks straight, all the bilbulim and dimyonos (confusion and imaginary fantasies) of the yetzer hara vanish! The Rebbe of Karlin used to say that the best mussar sefer is a Blat of Gemara. The power that the Torah has to cleanse us out is incredible. Like Chaza"l say; "Hame'or Sheba Machziro Lemutav " - "the light in it will return him to good".

So when you feel that darkness creep into your soul, when that insidious void enters your heart and pulls you to gratify yourself with artificial pleasures, take an English Artscroll Gemara instead, go to the nearest Bet Medrash and spend 25 minutes uninterruptedly in a blat Gemara. Sink your mind into the questions and answers of Chaza"l, work out the intricacies of a Sugya, and I promise - you will walk away feeling freer than ever!

"Ain ben Chorin Ela Mi She'osek Batorah" - "There is no free man like he who delves in the Torah"
One of our members, who happens not be be Jewish (but enjoys Jewish teachings), shared some of the tips that helped him in his journey to recovery. I bring you here part of his letter:

"To deal with pornography that is a more serious problem, bordering on addiction, it is necessary to cut yourself off from any access you have to porn. Whether it is cable television (and these days, even network television),  internet or a convenient outlet on the way to work, we must make every effort to clear it from our lives completely. This is difficult as we grow accustomed to having all the conveniences, but if our problem is persistent, we will be rewarded in this life and the next if we make the break completely and as soon as possible. If we are not diligent in this area we will continue to find ways to fall back into the same patterns we are trying to break.

Another thing that could be helpful, and it relates to the above: There are some whose difficulty with porn is so great that only the "white-list" internet filters should be used. Sometimes the "black-list" method merely provide surfers with a challenge to see whether or not they can find porn. When you have the white-list filter, you always know what you do and do not have access to. I tried to find out what white-list filters were available. One of the ones that offers this option is: bsafe. It looks like it is an exceptional filter."
More from one of our members who shared with us some of the tips that helped him in his journey to recovery: (If you have tips that worked for you, send them to us please as well)

One of the only ways I have found to deal with the problem of porn addiction is to have someone to talk with about the problem. I believe we must have someone who we can be open with to share our problem. When we do this on a regular (weekly at the least) basis, we take the problem more seriously. They don't even need to be someone dealing with the same problem. The times when I have felt the most equipped to face the challenge the yetzer hara brings is when I am able to keep the problem out in the open with someone else.

Just a note, be careful of making your wife the one you are open with as she will probably have difficulty understanding the situation.

Another struggler shares with us some of his tips...

There are (at least) three great temptations the evil one tempts us with to make us view Internet pornography:

1) home alone, bored and with nothing to do
2) depressing *I am worth nothing, I can't do anything* feeling,
3) sitting alone before a computer screen with the Google search engine opened up (without a filter on the computer).

If these are all added together it is for most of us a too great of a job to resist the temptation. Therefore, we must, at all costs, avoid the situation where all of these three can come together to attack you with a horrendous force. Even one of them alone can already give us a blow hard enough to send us straight back to Internet hell.

To avoid:

1) Find some nice and interesting occupation, e.g reading the Torah, playing chess, reading GOOD literature etc. Sports also help!
2) Be HAPPY. Read a enjoyable book, think about nice things, treat yourself with a fine lunch, enjoy the world and nature that HaShem, may he be praised, has created, etc.
3) Get a filter and avoid being alone before a computer ! Best: search the internet in the presence of a woman who will smash the computer when you go astray!

Saturdays and Sundays (from my experiences) are most likely the worst days for people like us: they are the days we have more time than on other week-days. If possible, try avoid the whole computer on those days!

The yetzer hara has a trick to get us to sin. Sometimes he makes us believe that without us giving in to these desires, our lives feel dark, void and empty.

A person could have the most fulfilling life. A wonderful wife, beautiful children, a good job, a good spiritual environment, goals and ambitions. His life is full and he is feeling happy. Suddenly, for some reason, lewd thoughts enter his head, or a beautiful women walks by. The yetzer hara can take way all his energy, ambitions and fulfillment for a few seconds, or even sometimes a few minutes. He suddenly feels a deep void, a neediness, and a darkness enters his soul. Suddenly he feels that all he has in life is worthless. He just wants to let go and stray after his eyes, pleasure himself, and fall back into his old habits ands addictions.

How can this be? Does it make sense?! We must realize, all it really is, is a trick of nature to get people to reproduce. It is animal instinct. It is a chemical reaction. And that is why it is so important to guard the eyes. Otherwise you are letting the yetzer hara play his tricks on you again and again, until you will ultimately fall for it.

But even if we saw what we saw. We must remember that it is a trick. We are stronger than that. We won't give up true happiness and long-term fulfillment for this silly chemical reaction. When your mind goes into this state of neediness and darkness, tell yourself that it's a lie that you are unhappy and needy. You really ARE a happy and fulfilled person. It is only chemicals that are telling you suddenly that you aren't happy and that you need these things. Be strong for those few minutes. Don't give in, and you will feel SO much happier later on.
Let this prayer always be on your lips, especially when feeling weak: "Please G-d, I want to love you, not women, not flesh and blood. For you are the true and infinite source of all beauty, all love and all desire".

And as you say this prayer, take all the love and passion you feel in your heart and channel it to G-d. There is nothing more pleasing in G-d's eyes than this, and no more powerful way to recover than this.
Someone who is addicted to por-nogrophy lives in a perpetual cycle, that alternates between three basic states.

1) Void: A feeling of a deep void of "I need, need need". Not a very happy state, to say the least.

2) Giving in: Letting go to "supposedly" fill the void.

3) Depression: A deep inner depression for feeling powerless to break free of this viscous cycle, of living a double life and living against one's own's beliefs and standards... These feelings lead to another void, and so, back to state 1.

What a sad and pathetic existence such a man lives.

People need to know, it is possible to break free! It may take some mental and spiritual surgery, but it is well worth it. We have to be willing to let G-d take it away from us, as we pray " Mal es livaveinu le'ahavah uleyira es shimecha" - "circumcise our hearts to love and fear you". Sometimes these things have become deeply ingrained in our sub-conscious, through the years of abuse. We need to give it up and let G-d take away this aspect of our lives that is destroying us from within. And if you make the journey and break free, not only have you earned your place in the world to come, but in this world too, none of the three depressing states that we mentioned above will remain with you. Life will suddenly take on new meaning and happiness.
We are now in the period known as Shovavim, which is a unique and auspicious time to do Teshuvah. The word Shovavim alludes to the verse "Shuvu Banim Shovavim" which means "Return, wayward children!". The word Shovavim is made up of the first letters of the weekly portions, in which we read about the Jewish people breaking free of the bondage of Mitzrayim. The exodus is mentioned no less than 50 times in the Torah, and we are exhorted again and again by G-d to remember the day we left Eygpt. This is because the saga of our exodus from Eygpt is not just an historical antidote. Every one of us has a person bondage. Our entire life's work is to break free from this bondage and for each and every one of us to experience our own personal exodus.

There is so much to learn from the story of the exodus. It reflects the exact nature of the strong grip that the evil one has on us, and how only with miracles can we truly become free. In the coming e-mails, we will try to explore a bit, some of the parallels between the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt and our own personal struggles with "Mitzrayim", which comes from the word "Meitzar", meaning "distress" and "oppression", and which is also related to the word "Yetzer" meaning "instinct, impulse and urge" - which is the very nature of the the "Yetzer" Hara.
G-d Sent Moses to Pharaoh to take the Jews out of Egypt. However, the first time that Moses speaks to him, Pharaoh replies "I do not know your G-d, and I will not let them out". Instead, Pharaoh makes the work even harder. Moses returns to G-d and complains to him saying "ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, it has become worse for this nation - and you haven't saved them at all". G-d answers Moses, "Now you shall see what I shall do to Pharaoh, for with a strong hand I will send them out, and with a strong hand I shall banish them from this land".

What kind of answer was this to Moses? After all, Moses doesn't understand why things had gotten worse ever since he came and spoke in G-d's name. But instead of explaining to Moses why things got worse, G-d seems to ignore the question and simply replies, "you shall see..."?

The Medrash explains that G-d was telling Moses that the Jews themselves don't want to leave Egypt. G-d was telling Moses, "you want to know why it's getting worse for the Jews? You shall see, that even when it comes time for them to leave, I shall have to take them out with a strong hand, with sticks I shall have to chase them, and with a strong hand I will need to banish them from the land". In other words, even AFTER it becomes worse, even after they "hit bottom", I will still need to banish them from Mitzrayim by force. And indeed, during the plague of darkness, it says in the Medrash that many, many Jews died. These were Jews who didn't want to leave the bondage of Egypt, even after it had gotten worse.

This narrative gives us a glimpse into the process of breaking free from our own personal bondage. When we first start to fight our evil inclination and we come to him in G-d's name, he says to us "Who is G-d? I don't know G-d and I won't let you break free". Instead, it often becomes even harder for the person. He can get depressed, become more addicted, and things in life may start suddenly to fall apart. Why is this? Exactly when we are trying to start the journey to the "Promised Land" - is this G-d's help to us? The answer is, G-d is speeding up the process for us. He wants to show us how bitter it is to be a slave to the evil one. Sometimes, we need to "hit bottom" before we can be ready to break free and start over. And even then, we often need to be taken out with a "Strong Hand".

We can only be worthy of this miracle of Yetziat Mitzrayim though, if we truly want to leave. Even if we are not always acting consistently, we need to want deep in our hearts to break free. We will need to cry out in pain from the bondage of our souls to the Klippot (husks) of Mitzrayim. Never stop praying, not even in the darkest moments. For it is precisely in these dark moments that G-d hears us and remembers us, as it says about the Jews in Egypt "and they sighed deeply from the hard work and they cried out to G-d, and G-d heard their cries and remembered".  

The same G-d that took us out of Egypt thousands of years ago, takes each and every one of us on a similar personal journey in our lifetime on this earth. And G-d is just as mighty today as he was then. So put your trust in him and "let go and let G-d".

G-d said to Moses, I will take the Jews out from "Sivlus Mitzrayim". The word "Sivlus" means to "suffer" and "endure", but it also means to "tolerate" and "bear". The Sfas Emes explains, that in order for G-d to take the Jews out of Mitzrayim, they had to want to leave Mitzrayim. But as long as they were willing to "tolerate" Mitzrayim in their hearts, they wouldn't be able to leave. That is why G-d first had to take them out of the "Sivlus Mitzrayim" - "tolerating Mitzrayim", before he could take them out of Mitzrayim itself.

The same applies to the journey that each and every one of us takes in this world, to break free of our own personal Mitzrayim. As long as we are still " Sovel" and willing to tolerate ourselves being in the clutches of the Yetzer Hara, we won't be able to break free. So before we can pray to G-d to help us break free, we need to pray to G-d to take us out of being "Sovel" the Yetzer Hara. We need to pray that he should make us truly want to break free. This can happen in one of two ways. Either G-d puts it into our hearts to hate the evil inside us until we can't tolerate it any more, or, if we are not as worthy, G-d can make our lives fall apart until we hit bottom and have no where to go from there but up.

Let us pray that we don't need to go down the latter path, and pray instead that G-d put into our hearts a true disgust of the addiction and the lusting.

Everything we are and everything we have, belongs to G-d. So what can we, mere mortals, give back to G-d?

When we say no to our evil inclination, we are giving G-d something back. As one X-addict wrote; "The only thing I feel I truly gave G-d in my whole life was giving up this addiction. For this alone, it was worth to come down to this world" .

If you think about it, there can be no greater sacrifice and gift to G-d than saying "no" to desires that take us away from him. For after all, even if someone gives a large donation to charity, or even if he brings a sacrifice upon the alter, he is still, in essence, giving back to G-d what really belongs to G-d anyway. However, the desires that we have, as human beings, do not belong to G-d. For G-d has no needs and desires, and he created our "desire to receive" out of nothingness, so that ultimately we will be able to receive from him all the good that he wants to give us. So by giving up our "desire to receive" to G-d, we are giving up a part of our own selves, and this is true sacrifice.

Excerpts from an article called "Biblical Sexual Morality"
From by Ariel Bar Tzadok.

Sexual "purity" plays a major role in the Torah concept of holiness. Indeed, the
following parasha Kedoshim opens with the words, "You shall be holy, for I HaShem you
G-d am holy" (Lev 19:1). Rashi's commentary interprets the close proximity of the
commandments forbidding Arayot and the commandment to be holy to refer to one
another. In order to be holy, the Torah states, one must first refrain from forbidden
sexual practices.

One does not need to be a rocket scientist or Rabbi to realize that sexual temptations are
often times over whelming. Indeed, according to the Talmud there is even a secret set of
teachings surrounding the spiritual meaning of Arayot. Violations of these forbidden
sexual unions are considered such a grievous sin that the consequences of violation may
be universal and not just personal.

According to the Torah, the act of sexual intercourse is much more than a mere coupling
of two human animal bodies. Just as human beings are composite entities consisting of
both body and soul, so too does the act of sex contain both a physical and spiritual
element. Indeed, throughout the Bible the act of sexual union is referred to as "knowing"
one's partner. This act of knowing expresses an intimate connection of the ultimate level
wherein which one's deeper most essence is revealed and shared.

Arayot on the other hand is described in another way. Arayot (forbidden sexual unions)
are referred to as, "Galuei Irvah" (an uncovering of nakedness). Here, there is no
knowing, there is only uncovering. The implication is that these forbidden expressions of
sexuality are types of nakedness that need to be covered, i.e., concealed.

Due to the dual physical-spiritual nature of the sexual act, all sexual activity has spiritual
consequences. It is because of these spiritual consequences that there exists a category of
forbidden sexual unions. Due to the dual potential inherent in sexuality, HaShem
ordained these Laws for the sake of safeguarding our souls. Proper sexual conduct
enables us to touch the Divine. Forbidden sexual contact disconnects the violator from
any connection to HaShem.