Guard Your Eyes

A website for Jews struggling to maintain their moral purity in today's world
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When it comes to the desire for food, a person always has that "gray" area of deciding what he should eat--for his bodily strength, and what he shouldn't eat--either because it's not healthy for him or because it's too much. However, when it comes to "lusting" for other women, whether through pictures or in real life, there is no "gray" area. It is plain and simply "bad" for you.

The entire "lust" phenomenon was created by G-d to bring a man and women together for the purpose of building a family. Any other type of lust which is not for the purpose of marriage, and especially if one is already married, is very, very unhealthy, both spiritually and physically. It does nothing besides destroy people's lives and take them away from G-d and from their goals in life.

Therefore, don't be afraid to just give it up to G-d. Just say to G-d with feeling, "Dear G-d, I truly want to give you this habit of lusting, - even if it means ripping my heart out! PLEASE. Take this "lusting" away from me. I want to give it up to you G-d, for the rest of my life, as a true sacrifice. For I know that you G-d, are the true source of all beauty, all love and all desire".


The Medrash Yalkut Shemoni (click here) brings Chazal's words: Who ever turns himself away from aveira (sin), then even if he is a Israelite, he is worthy of bringing a sacrifice on the alter like the Kohen Gadol"... "And who ever makes himself lazy from sin and doesn't sin, merits to enjoy the shine of the Shechina like the ministering angels".


Zohar, Bereshit 61b

Rabbi Yitzhak was in the presence of Rabbi Shimon. He asked him: Regarding the verse, "And the earth was corrupt before G-d," (Bereshit, 5:11,) if men transgressed, why should the earth be called corrupt?

Rabbi Shimon answered him, Because it is written, "For all flesh has corrupted its way." In a similar fashion, it is written, "And the land was defiled, therefore do I punish its iniquity upon it," (Vayikra, 18:25.)  If mankind sinned, why is the earth to blame? The reason is that mankind is the essence of the earth. When they pollute their way in the world, the earth becomes defiled. This is proven by the verse, "And G-d saw the earth, and behold it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth."

Come and see, all sins of man, and all of his acts of defilement, can be rectified through t'shuva (repentance.) But the sin of spilling one's seed on the earth, which defiles the man and casts semen onto the earth, defiles both him and the earth. Of such a man it is written, "The stain of thy iniquity is before me," (Yirmeyahu, 2:22.) It also says, "For Thou art not a G-d that hath pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil (ra) dwell with Thee," (Tehillim, 5:5,) except through a great t'shuva. On this it is written, "And Er, Yehuda's firstborn, was evil (ra) in the sight of the L-rd, and the L-rd slew him," (Bereshit 38:7.)


The Torah says "Ki karov elecha hadavar me'od" - "for it (i.e. the Torah) is very close to you" (meaning that it is not difficult to uphold). The question is though, if so, why is it sometimes so hard?? The answer is, that the fight against these desires is truly only 10% will power and effort. The other 90% of breaking free is simply making the decision, deep and true, that you don't want these things anymore.

So in truth, it's only hard as long as you still think you want it.

Make the decision today, forever! "I don't want to go back to Egypt!"
Think of consequence of your actions. The world won't end if you don't get what you want now.

People write on Arutz Sheva "Talk-Back" about the importance of internet filters...

I feel Freed...from Carmel

We downloaded a filter (I asked my wife to do it for me so I wouldn't know the code) and now for the first time in ages I can sit down at the computer without the nagging temptation. I recommend it for everyone.


Menachem from LA writes....

Thank you for the information. My wife brought my attention to this article and said we should do something about it with our boys getting older (14 and 12). Of course, she is right, since I myself am not immune to the temptation. Who possibly could be since it is only a click away? While a parent cannot always control what goes on outside of his house (especially in a town like LA), to everyone who values Judaism, it is our job to guard the sanctity of the Jewish home.


Yisrael from Bet El...

Immodesty was the root of the sexual transgression that destroyed the First Temple. The Gemara describes how the Jewish women would prance around immodestly in the streets of Jerusalem to tempt the men, and everyone knows what that leads to. (Yoma 9B). People don't have to throw away their computers, but if parents don't install filters they are transgression the Torah prohibition, "Don't put a stumbling block in front of a blind man."


Click here for the leading internet filter choices in the market today, and here for everything you wanted to know about internet filters.

Our Rabbis have taught: Samson rebelled against G-d through his eyes, as it says, "Samson said to his father, 'I noticed one of the Philistine women in Timnah…Get her for me, for she is the one that pleases me ... (Judges 14:2, 3). Because of this the Philistines gouged out his eyes, as it says, "The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes" (Judges 16:2 1). (Sotah 9b)
Sefer Chassidim 1136

G-d created man in His image. As long as man does not transgress and does not derive pleasure from gazing at immorality and does not try to make himself attractive to women and keeps his mind clear from immoral thoughts,
then his image above in the heavenly spheres radiates. And as long as this image gleams, no demon is allowed to touch him. But when a person transgresses, his image above does not radiate, and angels of destruction  attack him. [Note: This manifests itself in multiple forms of suffering that come upon a person].
Sometimes a person wonders, "for how long will I have to fight this? I thought I had already made a lot of progress, but suddenly I see that I'm again struggling with the yetzer hara in the same old ways". A person must realize that the yetzer hara never gives up. Every day he instigates a new fight, in all types of creative ways. But keep hope! Nothing we have accomplished in the past is lost, but G-d wants us to keep going to higher and higher levels. This wouldn't be possible if we made progress once and simply finished. So each day the yetzer hara tries again, in new ways, or, in the same old ways that we had thought we were finished with already. But we must learn from the yetzer hara, and also never give up. We need to strengthen ourselves every day anew. And this is precisely what G-d wants from us.
We all know that "lusting" is bad for us, spiritually and physically. It destroys lives and takes the person away from his life's goals. We all know that there's really nothing there, and that it's all a big bubble of hot air that pops in our face. So why should we let the body rule over us, just because our brains are "wired" in a certain way?

The Tikunei Zohar writes "Happy is the man that controls his evil inclination like a rider on a horse. Woe to the man that the horse rides him!"
This is the way of the evil inclination. The biggest, most tempting fantasy you could think of--the minute it's over there's just no more desire. Nothing. And not only that, but it leaves a void in it's wake. The evil one laughs at us and when we are fool enough to give in to him. He leaves us with an emptiness and with no fulfillment whatsoever.

The opposite is true with spirituality. Before you do a Mitzva, learn Torah or say no to a non-Kosher desire, it can look hard, it can feel dry. "Pharaoh" comes to the person and says "Who is G-d that I should listen to him?" But afterwards, after you've given a little of yourself over to G-d, you are left with an inner fulfillment that shines and shines forever...
We recite the first pasuk of kriyas shema four times a day "And you shall love your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength." And Chaza"l say, "even if he takes your life". So why are so many people willing to give up their love of G-d for such meaningless pleasures?

Next time you are tested, imagine you were being tortured by the inquisition to give up your faith. Would you give in? If it came down to the real test
, most of us would be willing to give up our lives for G-d . So keep this thought in mind. The tests that we go through aren't even 100th as bad as what we would be truly willing to suffer, if faced with the ultimate choice!
Sometimes we excuse our behavior and say that the Yetzer Hara causes us not to think straight and therefore we do the wrong thing. But if the Yetzer Hara tried to get us to stick our hand in fire, would we let ourselves get confused? No! So why do we let him muddle our minds when it comes to forbidden pleasures? The answer is, we are lacking in Emunah. If our Emunah would be stronger, we would see these sins as fire and we wouldn't let ourselves become confused by the Yetzer Hara. So how do we indeed strengthen our Emunah? After all, when we are feeling weak, and we can't see the truth before our eyes, it is hard to picture these desires as dangerous as a burning fire! One good piece of advice is to make the danger more real to yourself. Some people, I have heard, have even resorted to making a resolution to burn themselves with a match before letting themselves sin. This often helps them refrain from sinning altogether. But this might be too extreme for most people. Instead, accept upon yourself to give a dollar to charity every time you let yourself lust, or gaze at that something forbidden, (say, for more than 2 seconds). And maybe resolve or even make a Shavuah to give $10 to charity before you let yourself masturbate. In other words, start to feel the danger, the pain and the loss of every time you slip. This will help you bring up that which you truly do believe deep down, and make it much easier to break free.
Someone once wrote on the forum:

I have been in that dark pit.

If you listen I will help you out of there.

You have to remember.
Remember your youth, your younger days, where life was happy and pure.
Believe , that is how life is meant to be.
The pit is not real (even though it seem momentarily real and painful)

Make a resolution, to move forward to POSITIVITY, to purity of mind and soul, to reality, and out of distortion of reality.
ONE step at a time.
To where there is truth
To where there is purity
To where there is happiness

G-d, the G-d of Israel, is the source of all these things.

How do we connect to the source of Goodness, purity , happiness, reality, truth, inner peace, and self control?
How do we rectify a distorted mind?

Learn a word of Torah today.
Tomorrow, another one, and so on ....
Turn to the mighty purifying waters of Torah, step by step, and HaSh-m , will lead you out of the quagmire.
Trust in Him.

Do His mitzvot , without reason, simply , because He, Baruch Hu , commands us .

This is a starting point.

Experience how, you will be transformed.

If the urge returns, turn to HaSh-m. Know that He is the Source of True life and Goodness, even in this world.
All other pleasure are fleeting and pale , next to the pleasure of connecting to your Maker, of connecting to True life.

Be faithful to HaSh-m, and then you will be faithful to everyone else.

Be strong.

A friend, a Jewish brother.
It is written in the book Rechev Eliyahu that the Yetzer ha Rah tells the person: "Hey, you're not doing anything wrong by looking at women, because your intention is not to enjoy through your eyes, but only to check out if you know this particular woman, and many other things will the Yetzer ha Rah tell him. Therefore a man should build up fences and barriers and he should think that even the strongest of men, like Samson, the most pious man, namely David and the wisest Salomon, stumbled through women and furthermore our Rabbis said: "Better to go after a Lion and not after a woman" and the person should think: isn't she full of impurity and her mouth full of blood and the man who fixes his eyes on her makes for himself molten g-ds and causes a spirit of Tumah to enter within him.
G-d gave us human beings the gift of imagination, something that no other life form has been endowed with. Without imagination we wouldn't be able to function as human beings, to invent, to progress and to search for the truths of the universe and for G-d. Yet, at the same time, imagination is responsible for most of the Yetzer Hara's power over us. The reason why we "lust" for things that we know we can never have and that are bad for us, is because we imagine that we could have them, we imagine that they are good for us. R' Nachman says that the name of the Yetzer Hara in our day and age is "Dimyon" - Imagination. We need to learn to use this wonderful gift of G-d only for the right things. When it comes to lusting and fantasies, we need to turn off the imagination and internalize that all these imaginary desires out there have no connection to us. For in reality, having all these imaginary desires would be bad for us, bad for the people involved and bad for the world. So next time you catch yourself fantasizing or lusting, start to train yourself how to turn off the gift of imagination sometimes, and live in REALITY instead.
Chaza"l and the Torah are generally very careful to speak in the cleanest language possible. When discussing the impure animals that came into the Ark with Noach, the Torah writes "Take with you seven of each pure animal and two of each animal which is not pure". The Torah didn't even want to write the word "impure" when not necessary. However, when it comes to the Yetzer Hara, we find that Chaza"l write things that sound disgusting even when said by the average person, let alone by our holy sages. For example, the Gemara writes "everyone knows that a woman is a barrel of excrement and that her mouth (allegorically) is full of blood, and yet they all run after her". When it comes to the Yetzer Hara, a person SHOULD make these unkosher desires disgusting in his eyes. A person should remember how he came from a "putrid drop" and how he is lusting after blood and excrement that will rot one day in the ground. By making the desires repulsive in his eyes, one purifies and uplifts himself out of the mud of desire.

Someone once wrote on a forum in regard to Gay behavior; "what's so sexy about dipping into the feces? What a stink!!! Human-cesspool-lovers! OOOOOFFFF…" When I first read it, it sounded revolting, but that is the way each and every one of us should learn to view all unkosher desires. How much more beautiful it is to lust for G-d instead of for these filthy cravings, as Dovid Hamelech said to G-d; "Tzama Lecha Nafshi, Kama Lecha Besari" - My soul thirsts for you, my flesh craves for you".
How does one get rid of lewd thoughts that distract him from his divine service and his purpose in life?

They tell a story of a Ba'al Teshuvah who once came to one of the Chassidic Masters with this question. Having done Teshuvah for his past evil ways, he found that he was still plagued by bad thoughts and fantasies. The Rebbe gave him a parable.

There was once a Jew named Moshkeh who owned an inn where he used to sell wine and spirits to the gentile peasants of the area. After a while, he became disgusted in dealing with the drunken gentiles and decided to go into another line of business and so he closed down the bar. That evening, there was a banging on the door. "Moshkeh, Moshkeh, open up! We want some wine and spirits!". "Sorry", Moshkeh replied, "from now on, the inn is closed". The gentiles had no choice but to leave disappointed. For days and even weeks afterwards, Moshkeh would keep getting knocks on the door, but as the word slowly spread that the Bar was closed, the knocking became less and less frequent until the gentiles stopped coming altogether.
The same goes with these thoughts, the Rebbe explained. After doing Teshuvah, the thoughts keep trying to get in. But if you keep telling them that the store is closed, they will stop coming altogether after a while.
The Holy Zohar, Kedoshim

We have learnt that it is forbidden for man to gaze at the beauty of a woman lest evil thoughts be aroused in him and lead him to something worse. When R. Shimon went through the town, followed by the Companions, if he saw a beautiful woman he used to lower his eyes and say to the Companions, Do not turn. Whoever gazes at the beauty of a woman by day will have lustful thoughts at night, and if these gain the better of him he will transgress the precept, "Ye shall not make to yourselves molten g-ds". And if he has intercourse with his wife while under the influence of those images, the children born from such union are called "molten g-ds". R. Abba said: 'It is forbidden to a man to fix his gaze upon heathen idols and upon gentile women, or to receive benefit from them in any way.'
In honor of Rosh Chodesh Adar, let's discuss "Happiness"!

One of the leading causes of addiction is an inner void and depression. Hear from Rabbi Avraham Twersky, a renowned psychiatrist who has written over 50 books dealing with human psychology and an expert on dealing with addictions! Download this MP3 file (right-click and press "Save Target As") of an interview by Arutz Sheva of Rabbi Twersky about finding direction and happiness in life. Click here for a transcript of the interview.
For more from Rabbi Twerski on tackling internet addictions, click here.

Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Be'Simcha!
Chodesh Tov!
Today is the second day of Adar Alef, which equals = 208 = the name of Pinchas, who was zealous in tikkun habris and killed Zimri when he sinned with the Midianite woman. We too, need to be zealous in fixing ourselves. Sometimes, a person thinks that if he strengthens himself enough, his addiction will go away by itself. To his dismay, he realizes after a while that the addiction doesn't go away so easily. Often, the mind has become so abused, by so many sins, that it is almost impossible to change his way of thinking. In such cases, it's not enough to rely only on "Chizuk". So what can one do? He must to be zealous for the sake of G-d, and for the sake of his eternity. He can't keep fooling himself anymore. He can't keep living a double life, doing things that go against his way of living and that take him far from G-d, bringing sadness and despair in their wake. He needs to stand up and do something drastic, like Pinchas did. If it doesn't work with "niceties" he will need to work with "toughness". Let him stand up and make a vow to G-d that he will prick himself with a needle every time he sins, every time he strays after his eyes. Let him vow to burn his skin with a match before he lets himself fall! My dear brothers, sometimes there is no other way! The addiction is so insidious, it keeps convincing you that it's not so bad, that you really will break free of it one day on your own, if only you had a little more Chizuk. No. It often won't go away like that. You must give him no choice. You must twist his arm until he too agrees to set you free - so that he doesn't get hurt, pricked or burned.... And if you find it in your heart to be zealous like Pinchas and truly give the addiction no more choice, you will feel a spirit of holiness descend upon you, and you will finally be truly free and truly happy.
Taken from an article on

It is important to understand that the damage caused by looking at forbidden images is not to the transgressor alone. The eyes are windows to the soul, and the soul is connected to all of the highest spiritual worlds. Thus, a person who watches por-nography on the Internet not only damages his own spiritual and physical being, but also the spiritual channels that bring blessing into the world.
The impurity caused by his transgression pollutes the Holy of Holies of the Temple on high and adds to the prolongation of the exile, the suffering of the Shechinah [Divine Presence], the continued destruction of the earthly Beit HaMikdash [Temple], and the delay in Mashiach's [Messiah's] coming.
On an individual level, looking at impure images creates impure thoughts, and these thoughts pollute a person's faculty of "Da'at," which is seated in the brain. In a sense, a person addicted to por-nography on the Internet "loses his head."
This negatively influences his process of thinking and can cause confusion and other physical problems. The forbidden images he watches also bring about an unholy sexual arousal, and this blemishes the spiritual channel of the "Yesod," something which can negatively affect not only the person, but his offspring as well.
Some Tikkunim for sins of the eyes, collected and translated by
(Note: These aren't just Tikkunim for the past, but will help you also to control your eyes in the future).

A person who was wont to gaze lustfully at women or at forbidden images should accustom himself to cast his gaze downward at all times, and particularly during times of prayer, when the Shechinah is present. (Reshit Chochmah, Gate of Kedusha, 8:15 and 45; Sefer Haredim, Mitzvah T'shuva, Ch.1; also, Rabanu Yoneh, Gate of T'shuva, Gate One, 35)
To the extent that one looked upon unholy things, he should strive to gaze upon holy things like tzitzit, Torah texts, prayer books, blessings, and the like. It is especially helpful to look at the Torah text when one is called up for the reading of the Torah, and to look closely at the written parchment in order to make out the letters when the Torah scroll is held up [hagbah] in synagogue.
Also, seeing things like a synagogue, the study hall of a yeshiva, the Torah scrolls in the ark holding the Torahs, all bring a holy, healing light to the eyes. (Pele Yoetz on Seeing; see also Writings of Rabbi Pinchus from Pelachek, student of the Gra)
Looking at the two Hebrew letters of "shin" embossed on the Tefillin of the head before one puts them on is good for the eyes and the faculty of "Daat." (Ben Yehoyeda, Shabbat 118)
Looking at one's Rabbi, at a Torah Sage, and at the pure, holy face of a Tzaddik, is a rectification for the eyes. This is especially true when one sees them on Shabbat and Festivals. (Reshit Chochmah)
"You shall not go astray after your hearts and after your eyes" (Numbers 15:39) "After your hearts"- this refers to atheism, "After your eyes: this refers to sexual immorality (Berachot 12b). There are desires that are very difficult to control unless one has been taught from childhood, like for example, refraining from looking at women. Therefore, must a man teach and educate his sons on the right path so when they grow old they will not abandon it (Sefer Chassidim 10)
The main enjoyment in the World to Come is through the eyes of the soul (Tzadikkim sit with their crowns on their heads and contemplate the brilliance of the Shechina). But whoever damages his eyes in this world damages thereby the eyes of his soul (Od Yoseph Chai, Vaetchanan)

Someone wrote us an e-mail, and we tried to reply the best we could. Maybe others can take Chizuk from this "give and take" as well...

Excerpts from his letter...

I masturbate because I have no bitachon. I am what they call (although I disagree with the term) a "BT," not born into a religious home, and am in college.... I masturbate because I feel lonely, depressed, and anxious about the future, especially that of whether or not I'll marry. I am ready to give up this whole lewd way of life if Hashem gave me something to grab onto...

Excerpts from our reply...

... About your "confessed" lack of Bitachon... Someone once came to a Hassidic master and complained that he didn't have enough Emunah and Bitachon. The Rebbe asked him, "so what? why does it bother you"? "Rebbe!" the man cried, "but I'm a Jew!". "If so", the Rebbe replied, "you have nothing to worry about".

In other words, the Yetzer Hara wants you to believe you don't have Bitachon. But if it bothers you that you don't have enough Bitachon then it means you really have Bitachon deep down! :-) So don't let him fool you. His goal is to make a person depressed. In such a state a person can reach the lowest levels of impurity and is vulnerable to sin.

Some people say they would be able to stop if only they were dating, married or had this or that. Don't wait. Work on yourself now before it's too late. Masturbation is an addictive behavior. By the time you feel you are ready to stop, you may be addicted and find it very difficult to stop.

Also, in the merit of you working on it now, G-d will send you what you need... I would suggest you talk to friends or matchmakers about finding a date. See here for some great advice on Jewish dating. Also, join a Jewish dating site like Frumster or

May G-d be with you!

Sometimes we are like a David, standing up alone against a great and powerful Goliath. The holy Jewish soul that wants to serve Hashem, is pitted against the powerful Yetzer Hara who seems so much stronger than us. It can look like there is no way to win this battle, in the same way that that there was no way David could vanquish the mighty Goliath. But he did. He did, because he came with Bitachon - Trust in G-d. He did, because he came in the name of the Lord. If only we could see how our little actions affect all the upper worlds... If only we could see what pleasure we give Hashem when we try to serve him even though he seems so hidden from us... If only we could know how our daily battles affect our eternity and that of all of Klal Yisrael... We must believe this even though we don't see it. All Hashem truly wants from us in this world is "Emunah". All the other Mitzvos are just a means to that end. As Chaza"l said; "The prophet Chavakuk put all the Mitzvos into one Mitzva - "Tzaddik Be'emunaso Yichyeh" - "A Tzadik will live in his Faith". Fight the Yetzer Hara. Tell him, like David told Goliath, that although he is stronger, we are coming to fight him in the name of the Lord.

Just sling some stones of Teffilah and Emunah at him and he will fall with a mighty thud!
In honor of Chodesh Adar, let's try a new approach to "letting go" of non-Kosher tensions; "Happiness"! The entire world is in pursuit of this elusive prize, but for us Jews, Happiness is not just a means to fulfilling selfish interests, it is a Mitzvah in it's own right! The Beis Ahron of Karlin writes that what Happiness can bring a Jew to--no Mitzvah can, and what sadness can bring a Jew to--no Aveira can!

The following may seem a bit queer, but it can't hurt to try! Next time you are feeling the tensions build up, or you're feeling vulnerable and down--try this. Go into a room where no one is around and just start laughing out loud, hearty, rolling laughter, for a minute or two. Then dance a little jig and sing "I'm happy, I'm relaxed", "I'm happy, I'm relaxed". You will be amazed how much freer and stronger you will feel!

For an example from a Yoga master, copy and paste the following link into your browser and press Enter. mms://

Sometimes a person can feel bad about being restricted by the Torah from living a carefree and "pleasure filled" life. But G-d smiles and says "My dear child, don't you see? The whole world is blinded by the evil inclination that I created. They are blinded to the obvious and blaring truths about this world, namely, that every human is doomed to certain death, by either accident or illness. Life is nothing but flesh and blood, filth and rot. It has no eternal qualities, and the pleasures offered by this world are fleeting and meaningless. My child, don't you see! Through the precious Torah that I have given you, I have lifted you up above the blindness of the world, above the fleeting, rotting world of filth, illness and certain death, to a life of eternity and connection with the infinite! How fortunate are you to have this gift! Please my child! Choose life!


Excerpts from an article on "Addictions" - by the renowned Psychiatrist, Carl Jung

Addiction is not a disease, it is an attitude. Addiction, in the end, is a behavior that we choose to indulge.

Addiction is something that you act on without thought of consequence. Addiction is something you want so much that nothing at the moment compares. Addiction is all about fulfilling one's desires. It has absolutely nothing to do with fulfilling one's needs. Addiction is selfishness, pure and simple.

Addiction means a loss of thinking ability and a total surrender to desire. This is why all addiction is bad. Anything that closes the mind and allows the individual to act without thinking, lessens one's humanity. Indeed, this is the way of animals, which lack discretionary thinking. Addiction therefore is the height of inhumanity.

Whenever we close off and just do what we want to do, for no other reason than we want to, this is addiction and is very bad.

Addiction must be recognized for what it is. Addiction is a choice, a choice of a weak mind to perform a weak task. This is a criminal offense against morality. This offends one's humanity at its very core.

The only rational answer to addiction is hard labor. An entire reorientation of mind must be achieved, similar to that which is achieved in military boot camp training.

We only contribute to harming the already harmed whenever we are sympathetic to those addicted. We must root out of ourselves such weakness and treat the addicted [and the addiction inside us] with a serious dose of harshness. We must learn to impose discipline and severe, painful penalties for selfish weakness [see chizuk list #121]. This is the way we actually help one another and the way we can successfully end addictions.

We must push people [and ourselves] to think and to act properly. No more, "Mr. Nice Guy," he is too busy indulging himself, taking drugs, [binging on lust], getting drunk and feeling sorry for himself, wishing the world was an absolute ideal place of hippie-dippy love.

You want to make this world better, then follow the role model of discipline set by a military drill sergeant. Live by it, expect others to as well and have little to no sympathy for those who will disagree.

In the Talmud (Baba Metzia 107) it says that almost all forms of death come through the agency of the Ayn ha Ra [Evil eye] and the advice to save ourselves from this is to guard our eyes from looking at forbidden things (Berachot 20) for because of this behavior, Yoseph and his descendants after him merited that Ayin ha Ra had no power over him (Shne Luchot ha Brit, Kedusha)
There is another great rule and that is not to give the Yetzer ha Ra an entrance to come and dominate you. When you are going to the public places and you look at women coming to you, put your eyes to the ground so that they pass by and you not look at them, for you will notice how your evil inclination grows within you to make you look at them, and if you don't think this is a great sin, why does the Yetzer try so hard to overpower you to the point where very few people can stand this trial, but only those who have the love of the Creator engraved in their heart. (Shevet Mussar, Chap 27)
R' Shalom Dov Ber of Lubavitch writes in the Kuntres HaAvoda:
He who worries about his soul, not to bring it to impurity, will fence himself in what respects to the eyes, and if this is difficult for him, he should strengthen himself with all his power and might. And he should know that his soul depends on this. And if we will not be careful about this, all his service is as nothing and nothing will he get out of all his service, and on the contrary, G-d forbid he will descend low very low…And he should not worry about what others say…and this is very hard in the beginning…but with time he will get used to guarding his eyes. And through this he will find rest for his soul from many evils and confusion and then he will be able to serve Hashem and he will work salvation for his soul with the Help of the Blessed One.
What is this whole life compared to eternity? Speak to your body. Tell your limbs that they will one day rot.
What does G-d ask of us today, in this last generation before Moshiach? Think of the incredible mesiras Nefesh and sacrifice that the Jewish people endured for thousands of years in the dark and bitter exile. Reflect on the super-human strengths that the Jews had to have to keep the Torah in the conditions that they were forced to live in, even a hundred years ago. Living in abject poverty in an extremely hostile environment, despised and schemed upon by the non-Jews. Today, who cannot serve G-d as he desires, in joy and freedom? Who today does not have what to eat or a roof to cover their heads? So what does G-d ask from us in this last generation?

G-d has given us such a beautiful world to live in today. He just asks for that little bit of mesiras nefesh. That little bit of self-sacrifice, not to go astray after your eyes and heart in a world full of glitter and pleasures. This is perhaps the one last difficult bit of sacrifice that is left for us to give G-d today. And he is not even asking it of us for himself. There is so much G-dly light and joy all around us, but only those whose eyes are not darkened by lust can be worthy to see it. He only asks us to guard our eyes so we can see that he is right here beside us holding our hand and smiling.
  • He becomes a chariot [Merkava] to the Shechina, and he is considered as if had offered all the sacrifices (The Chida, Avodat ha Kodesh, Tzipporen Shamir, 9:128)

  • When he prays to the Holy One Blessed be He, He listens to his prayers, He answers him in his time of need (The Chida, ibid)

  • The force of his holiness and of his labor endures for ever, for him and for his descendants (Yesod Tzaddik, Chap 3)

  • He will merit to enjoy the pleasantness of the Most Holy, the King of Kings the Holy One Blessed be He, his eyes will behold this beauty in the supernal worlds. (Beer Moshe, Parashat Bo)

  • He will merit to be among the most elevated in the future, among the Tzaddikim and the holy ones of the land through whose merit the world stands, and will feel the brilliance of the holiness of the Bet ha Mikdash when it will be built anew (Yesod Tzaddik, Chap 3)

Someone wrote us: If my Father in Heaven is literally about Unconditional Love, then that means He loves me without conditions. And there is nothing I can do to disappoint Him. Furthermore, I refuse to have faith in an angry & judgmental God who keeps a score card in Heaven, and then uses this to punish me.

Answer: Picture a child asking his father to play with him a game of checkers. The father says to the son, "son, I can't play you because I love you so much that I can't bear to win you, or even to get ahead of you during the course of the game". Do you think the child would be happy? No! The child enjoys the challenge! The child wants to play his father even if he loses. It's the game he wants, not the winning. And it's the spending of quality time with his father, whom he adores, that he desires.

It's the same with life. We want G-d just to love us unconditionally and give us all we need. But before we came down to this world, our souls wanted to play G-d the game called "Life". We wanted the challenge of doing the Mitzvos and beating the evil inclination in a world where G-d is hiding. The score-card of this game is "a good life for eternity"... Yes it's true that G-d loves us so much that he desires to tell us "quit playing this game and let me just give you everything you want!". But we didn't want that. Our soul WANTED G-d to keep that "score-card".

And every time we make a smart move in this game of "Life", G-d smiles and tells us how proud he is!
How to Fight your Enemy
Excerpts taken from an article by By Harry Fisher

(Editor's Note: How many things we can learn from this article about fighting the evil inclination!)

I was a sergeant in World War II. I landed at Normandy and fought the Nazis with General Patton's army up to and into Germany. I was there when we 'liberated' the concentration camps.

I learned from the greatest generals how to fight a war and how not. I saw the results of being hard and not giving in. We pushed through the mud and we pushed through the rain. We never stopped pushing.

When we found some Germans, we hit them hard and did not stop firing until nothing moved. Patton was tough, he was there to win a war against a tough enemy who knew how to kill you and liked to ambush you.

Patton was clear. Don't put your head down in a ditch and wait for the fire to clear. The enemy loves that. They will find you with their mortar shells, so get up and shoot, shoot, and keep shooting.

Patton's philosophy was simple. "Attack, attack and keep attacking." Never give your enemy a chance.

(About the current situation in Israel)
We must defend ourselves and the only way to do it is to be on the offensive. Remember, if you want to live in peace, you must be willing to fight for it, and fighting means just that.
Just remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

How many people can say that they give their hearts to G-d every day?
How fortunate are we that we have something to give G-d!
To all our spiritual soldiers!
Israel is again at war, fighting for her right to live in peace and quiet. In every generation they stand up to destroy our bodies, much in the same way the Yetzer Hara never gives up trying to destroy our souls. So join this battle today and be a part of the final and ultimate victory for the Jewish people! Every time you say "no" to the Yetzer Hara, Hashem strikes down a terrorist! Every time you turn your eyes away from seeing bad, a bomb intended for our soldiers misses it's target! Believe it, for this is the real truth! The physical battles fought here on earth are only manifestations of the spiritual battles being fought with the evil inside each and every one of us, as we are all a connected part of the Jewish people as a whole. Don't stand by idly while our soldiers give their lives for the right of the Jews to live in the land of G-d. You are the ultimate deciders of who will win this war. Fight the evil with your mind and heart, now more than ever!
Often, the need to seek self-pleasure comes from a mild-depression. Almost 50% of humans have a tendency to some form of depression, even if they don't know or admit it, and it is often this feeling of "void" or "emptiness" that can bring one to seek ways to sooth themselves and make themselves feel better. There are a number of good ways to deal with a mild-depression.
1) The best way is exercise. There is no better drug for the mind than getting the heart pumping and the blood flowing to the brain. In just 15 minutes of a good work-out, the empty feelings will have disappeared! This is a little know, but amazing technique which has saved so many people. I personally know of three people who were going through hard times and feeling down and depressed, who say that their lives have literally been saved by this technique. They would take a good, 20 minute walk, once a day, and felt happy and invigorated for the whole day afterwards.
2) The second way is to always keep busy. Torah, work, family and good deeds, there's so much to do if you want to stay active!
3) The third way, is to tell yourself that although you may feel down, giving into self-pleasure is a total cop-out which only helps for the few minutes that you lose yourself in the oblivion. Ultimately however, it only makes the symptoms worse with every time one indulges in such behavior.
4) The fourth way to deal with a mild-depression is through SSRI medication. SSRI medications are taken by millions of people world wide, and today there are types that have virtually no side effects. See here for more info.

(in continuation of #134)

  • He merits to listen and behold G-dly images, and to feel the essence of G-dliness. (Yetav Lev, Vayera)
  • He merits righteous sons and long life (Sefer Chassidim, Siman 495)
  • His sons will live and will not suffer from the problems that come to the world in general (Imre Kodesh, Hasref MiStralisk, 38)
  • He merits that his sons will author interpretation on the Torah. (Sefer ha Middot, 60)
  • He will merit to behold the Higher Merkava (Reshit Chochma, Shaar ha Kedusha 88:47)
  • He merits to keep his eyesight also in his old age (Tochachat Chayim, Achare mot)
  • He merits the creation of Holy and pure angels that will be united with him in the future (Yesod Tzaddik, Chap 5)
  • The Ayn ha Ra has no power on him and on his descendants (Berachot 20, Devash Le Fi)
  • He merits sustenance with abundance (Tochachat Chayim, Achare Mot)
  • He merits a special protection from above, that the Holy One will protect and save him (Tiferet Shelomo, Maamre Shabat)
Sometimes when we're out there in the big world surrounded by all the temptations, with beautiful women wherever we seem to look, we cry out in our hearts "Dear G-d, where are you? I can't see you, I can't feel you! All I see is a beauty of a different kind, wherever I look!"... But then the answer comes to our hearts from G-d, "my son, does there exist any beauty besides me? I am in the beauty you see as well!". For G-d is indeed everywhere, and he is the source of all beauty. The beauty that we see and crave here on this world is truly only a mere shadow of a manifestation of G-d's beauty. We need to train our minds to realize that there are no two types of beauty. There is only one source of beauty in the world. What we see in women is also the beauty of G-d. But G-d has decreed that in order to merit perceiving his true beauty, we must first learn to turn our eyes away from the physical beauty that is also his creation and manifestation. In his great wisdom, G-d determined that only one who is ready to give up the physical manifestations of G-d's beauty, will be worthy of experiencing the true beauty of G-d, in a much more sublime way.
Someone posted this today at Arutz Sheva Talk-Back on Tzvi Fishman's Blog.
"For the past few months I have been going through a difficult time, which I don't care to share w/ you in this talkback. But I will tell you that during this period, I have been EXTRA careful in regard to Shmiras Anayim. I can't begin to tell you how strong my Davening and learning Torah has become since I began a real sincere effort at guarding my eyes. I truly don't look at anything I'm not supposed to....and if something gets in my line of view that shouldn't, I immediately turn away. Sometimes I find just taking off my glasses works wonders, if the setting is not tznius. At first it was difficult, what w/ all the junk on the internet, not to mention the T.V and public places. But now, its not only easy and second nature, but I find it extremely rewarding."
The Sefat Emet writes:
It is written MISHLE 23:26: "My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways". Because the one who guards his eyes and his heart, which are the two agents of sin, merits that the Holy One Blessed be He put His eyes and His good heart over him for Good, as it is written: "And My eyes and My heart was always there" and it is also written: "He will not remove his eyes from the Tzaddik", because through guarding the Brit and through guarding these two agents of sin, the person is on the level of Tzaddik, and measure for measure, the Tzaddik merits the constant supervision through the eyes of the Holy One Blessed be He.
Someone wrote on The Forum that he had overcome his addiction and was doing good, but he requested help now that he was working in an enviorment with non-Jewish, young women and felt he was again in danger of slipping back into his old ways. In response, a Frum psychologist wrote as follows: 
It's amazing to me that in this day and age, on a board that seems to be dedicated to helping people deal with real issues there is no mention whatsoever of the need for psychological examination of the underlying causes for an addiction. It's wonderful that you have accomplished so much on your own but from your post it does not seem that you have examined the underlying reasons that you look at women in this way. My guess would be that it has something to do with the relationship you had with your parents when you were growing up, and I know that that sounds cliched but in 20 years of counseling I have found this to be the most common underlying cause of unhealthy psychological needs.

I disagree with those who say "The problem isn't so much your feelings of lust, but your being in a place which stimulates this type of sinful thinking". If being in a normal work environment causes you to have fantasies to the point that you feel you can not put them aside despite the fact that you are "happily" married, then you need to sit down with a FRUM psychologist and start figuring out why this is happening. It is ridiculous to think that you can run from deep seeded psychological issues - such as letting go of a good job etc... The issues will just come out in a different way - they do not disappear without working them through.

One of the ways in which R' Wolbe z"l explained the idea of a bigger person having a bigger yetzer hara is that this may only be the case if the way that person dealt with the yetzer was by suppressing it and not dealing with it - so of course the suppressed yetzer hara gets bigger and bigger and therefore becomes more and more dangerous...

There's much more to say but I'm out of time...

Hatzlacha Rabbah!
Sometimes a person could have a fleeting thought of how quickly life is passing him by and how great it would be if he could just run away from the hustle and bustle of life and serve G-d in solitude, with all his strength and with true devotion, leaving all the pleasures of the world behind him. After all, what is the 80 years here on earth compared to a true, eternal connection with the Almighty? Know though my friend, that G-d does not desire angles. He has enough of them already up in heaven with him. Rather, he desires that we little people, surrounded as we are by the hustle and bustle of every day life, exposed to the constant temptations of this world, give him our hearts, just a little bit each day. Each time we choose to say "no" to ourselves or turn away from seeing bad, we are giving G-d the deepest satisfaction and uplifting ourselves more than we could ever imagine!
So next time the Yetzer Hara tells us that it's too difficult to say no to the temptations of the world, say to yourself; "Remember the times when you wished you could just run away and serve G-d with utter selflessness... But G-d is not asking something so difficult from us, indeed he does not desire angels -- he has enough of them in heaven. Instead, G-d asks from us something so much easier... He says: "My son, live your life! enjoy your life! ... Just give me a little bit of your heart each day".
Shouldn't we at least give him that?"
Ah, the gift of sight!

Often though, we don't appreciate it enough.

I just read an article in the Hamodia about a twenty year old boy who had a genetic disease and lost his eye sight without warning in the span of just a few days. Obviously this was very difficult for him at first, but now a year later he tells how losing his eye sight has made him realise what is really important in life. He can no longer party and get drunk with his friends like he used to, and he doesn't want to anymore. He no longer sees people by their looks, but rather by who they are. He has come a lot closer to Torah and to G-d, and has found much more meaning in his life.
We should never, G-d forbid, have to undergo such an experience to make us "open our eyes" to what is truly important in life. Let us instead appreciate the incredible gift of eye sight, and not G-d forbid abuse it. How fortunate are we to be able to see all of G-d's beautiful creation, to experience life and be able to take care of ourselves by seeing the world around us! But let us not take this gift lightly. When going out into the street, let us turn our eyes downwards and not allow ourselves to abuse this tremendous gift.
In Likutei Moharan, Torah 23, Rebbe Nachman says that the Jews are all tzaddikim because of the "Brit", and Reb Nosson says that the Rebbe told him that this means because they are circumcised.
But this Brit, this covenant between a Jew and his Creator, does not end with circumcision. In that same Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman also says that every Jew who guards his Brit is considered a tzaddik relative to another Jew who is not at the same level when it comes to guarding his Brit. Circumcision is the first step in bringing a Jewish man into the category of "Tzaddik" and without that mitzvah he cannot relate to the truly great Tzaddikim. He must continue to guard and sanctify the mark of circumcision by avoiding misuse of that part of his body which at the time of his Brit was dedicated to purity and sanctity.
In Likutei Moharan (I:2 and I:130) Rebbe Nachman quotes the Zohar stating that the yetzer hara, the evil inclination, focuses its influence on moral issues. Someone once spoke highly of a certain Tzaddik to Rebbe Nachman. Rebbe Nachman responded, "How is he with that desire?" The Chassid replied "How can anyone know about that?" Rebbe Nachman responded, "But that is the main thing. All the other desires can easily be subdued but the true measure of a Tzaddik is to what extent he has purified himself in that desire" (Chayei Moharan 601).
The Torah does not expect every Jew to achieve the purity of the greatest tzaddikim. At the same time, we must realize that our level of purity need not remain static, and that we are expected to constantly continue to purify and elevate ourselves, in thought, word, and deed.
Excerpts taken from Tzvi Fishman's Blog
This Shabbos is Parshas Zachor.
The Torah commandment states: "Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you by the way and smote the hindmost of you, all that were feeble in and trailing, when you were faint and weary, and he feared not G-d (Devarim, 25:17).

Just what is it that we are supposed to remember? That our enemies hate us? They themselves remind us of this all the time. That they attack us for no reason at all? This is a lesson that Jewish history teaches without the need for any additional reminder.
Rashi says that "karcha" should be understood as "keri," meaning seminal pollution. Rashi explains that Amalek lured the Jews into sexual transgression, then cut off their "milot," the sign of their circumcision, and threw them up to the sky, as if to say, "This is what's left of Your holy nation." Rashi concludes that the protective Clouds of Glory spit out these Jews who were feeble because of their sexual sins. These were the Jews whom Amalek killed.

The universally respected Torah commentary, the "Sfat Emet," explains that Amalek's principal goal in going to war against Israel was to banish sexual purity from the world, represented by the brit milah. This is why they cast the sign of the circumcision into the air. The brit milah is considered the seal of G-d, stamping the Jewish People with the Name of G-d, and distinguishing us from all of the nations. It is our adherence to the laws of sexual purity which set us apart from the gentiles. In contrast, the nation of Amalek represents the spirit of evil in the world, the impure orlah, the husk that prevents the light of G-d from entering the world. This explains why the Name of G-d cannot be fully revealed until Amalek is obliterated. By fighting against the sexual purity of Israel, Amalek pollutes the moral message of Israel, causing G-d's Presence to be screened from the world ("Sfat Emet," Parshat Zachor, Year 5664).

One of our members sent us their story recently. I think we can all learn a lot from it, so I will be sharing parts of it with you over the next few days...
I struggled as a teenager with pornography and masturbation, mostly as an escape mechanism.  When I got married I thought all my problems would be solved.  However, I equated love with sex and became very manipulative toward my wife.  I was able to control my addiction to pornography during most of my 35 years of marriage, occasionally falling, but not realizing I had any type of addiction at all.

Until the Internet.  When I discovered the Yetzer Harah on the Internet, my whole life changed for the worst.  My business began to nose-dive, one Friday I almost was late getting home for Shabbos.  My Internet porn addiction then led to going places and doing things I should never have done.

With the help of SLAA over the past 6 years I have been sober close to 3 years, with one relapse in between during a difficult business period of my life.

The key to conquering this dis-ease is to realize you are powerless over this addiction and you, as a Jew, are powerless over changing other people, because Hashem is in charge.  And no matter how much you think you are in control of your money, your job, your health, your sanity, your serenity, you're not, G-D is.  

This disease is NOT ABOUT SEX.  Sex and Love are just the bi-products of your low self esteem and a life of dis-content brought on by abuse or co-dependency.  You could just as easily be drinking or gambling or eating. So discover the underlying root of what is causing you to get distracted into this insidious media and you can begin to heal.
More from one of our members, who sent us their story recently...
... I know its difficult to go to SLAA meetings.  But I disagree that because they are mixed you shouldn't go. We sex addicts view women as OBJECTS.  But when you go to a meeting and hear their stories, their pain and the result of how men treat them, you will NEVER view them again as objects and you will begin to heal.  Your intimate life with your wife will improve when you realize sex is not the most important part of your life.  It is important when it becomes a spiritual bond, not an escape or a manipulation because you just FEEL LIKE IT.
When you pray to Hashem every day, instead of ASKING him to help you, THANK HIM for the fact that you are still living and make a list of all the things in your life you appreciate having.