More inspiring excerpts from one
of our members, who recently sent us their story...
I slipped during last summer on a trip to
Las Vegas. At every level of this disease, when you fall you
fall at a higher level and its easier to cope and get back up.
(Sheva Yipol Tzaddik V'kom - a Tzaddik falls seven times and
gets up again).
I had stopped going to meetings, did not
have a sponsor and my therapist had left town. I contacted a
friend who put me in touch with the Experiential Healing Center
They suggested I go to a week treatment at a facility in
Nashville called Onsite. (http://onsiteworkshops.com).
The only problem was, it was Tisha B'Av.
I told someone I was going and they asked me if I was going to
wear my Yarmulke. They said it would be a Chillul Hashem if I
did. I decided to go, brought my own Kosher food and got my
own private room. I arrived on Friday and just before Shabbos,
I thought about what this person said. I said to myself,"
you're here to be honest, to finally be yourself and discover
who you really are." I am an Orthodox Jew and I wear it
I went to dinner (Shabbos dinner for
me). Sitting there with my Yarmulke, there were 10 people in my
group, working on Sexual Healing Issues. Two of the
participants came over to me and wished me a Good Shabbos. Well
they really said, Shabbat Shalom, but that's a different story.
They were not religious and were eating regular food, but when
they saw my Kippah and the Challah and Grape Juice, they knew I
Tisha B'Av was on Tuesday night and I
invited these two guys to join me in reading Eichah. A
Christian fellow was listening and asked if he could join also.
What was I going to do, tell him no? The day before we had
begun group therapy and got to know each other's struggles. The
fact that I was there for Tisha B'Av was enough to bring a
constant stream of tears to my eyes for several days. For the
first time in my life I cried real tears on Tisha B'Av. I'm
surprised I have any left.
We read Eichah together and had a
discussion about the Bais Hamikdash, about Teshuvah and our
During the therapy sessions, each person
does work where they play a role in reenacting a trauma in their
life. The other participants play roles also, like their
mother, father, inner child or HIGHER POWER (G-D). Well, out of
7 Christians and 3 Jews, guess who played G-d the whole week?
Me. These two fellows became my good friends and they told me
what a Kiddush Hashem I had made for them in being their hope
So instead of it turning out to be a
Chillul Hashem, it turned out to the opposite on Tisha B'Av, no
Don't ever give up hope. This Onsite
weekend shocked me into now 9 months of total sobriety. Work the
program, read and practice the 12 steps, get a sponsor, call a
friend, get honest with yourself and others and you'll heal.
The hardest thing is to give G-d our hearts.
We can try so hard to guard our eyes, we can make all sorts of
barriers and penalties for ourselves, but if we aren't willing
to truly give G-d our hearts, we end up falling again. What does
it mean to give G-d our heart? It means that we need to be ready
to accept Emunah on ourselves - without any understanding,
Emunah that is beyond logic. This is the only
way to truly win this battle. The proof of this is, how we keep
seeing again and again how using our "mind" and our "logic"
alone is not enough. With all that we know and all we
understand, we keep falling anyway. This is because G-d wants us
to give him our hearts, not just our minds. He wants us to
accept true Emunah upon ourselves, Emunah that is above reason.
Indeed, only when one's Emunah is stronger than
his understanding will his understanding have lasting value and
be able to help him. As Chaza"l say "Kol She Yiraso Kodemes
LeChochmaso, Chachmaso Miskayemes".
If there is any time of the year to
get help from Hashem to break free it is Purim, when all who ask
See the attached file for more on
this aspect of this amazing time of the year.
One case in point is our
where the writer writes as follows:
One Purim, some eight years
into our marriage, I got drunk. I was reading Psalms and I cried
and cried to G-d like never before, to help me out of the
bottomless pit I felt I could never leave. That very day,
my wife was browsing through pictures we had taken from Purim on
my computer and she happened upon pictures of porn. She
confronted me that night about it and I felt that the time had
come to tell her all. I was expecting that when she heard my
whole story, and how young I had started doing these things, she
would accept me for who I was. But G-d had heard my cries that
day and had determined otherwise. My wife reacted with disgust
and anger, albeit with some understanding as well, but she cried
for days. My wife refused to accept that this was who I was and
that this was who she had married, and she forced me to
re-examine that which I had already give up on ever conquering.
Broken, threatened with divorce and yet not believing I could
ever stop, I had finally "hit bottom". I wrote to the renowned
religious psychiatrist, Rabbi Avraham Twersky...etc...
The writer goes on to
detail his long journey to recovery afterwards, but the point is
that it all started from a broken heart ON PURIM.
An interesting story / parable from
the Talmud Tamid 32b
(Alexander the Great) was traveling he sat by a spring and began to
eat. He had with him some salted fish, and as they were being washed
by the spring they gave off a pleasant fragrance; [alternate
version: they came back to life]. So he said: This shows that this
spring comes from the Garden of Eden. Some say that he took some of
the water and washed his face with it; others say that he climbed up
the trail that led to the source of the spring until he came to the
gate of Gan Eden. He cried out: Open the gate for me! They replied:
"This is the gateway to G-d the righteous shall enter through it
(Psalms 118:20). He replied: I am a king! I am an important
personage. [If you don't admit me, at least] give me something [from
Gan Eden]. They gave him an eyeball. He went and weighed all his
silver and gold against it, and it did not weigh as much [as the
eyeball]. He said to the Rabbis: How is this possible? They replied:
It is the eyeball of a human being, [and the human eye] is never
satisfied (that is why it weighs more than all your wealth). They
took a little dust and covered the eyeball, [meaning: man continues
to hoard silver and gold until he is in the grave, covered by dust],
and immediately the eyeball was weighed down. And so it says,
(Proverbs 27:20) "Sheol and Avaddon are never full; and the eyes of
man are never satisfied".
Someone wrote to us how hard his
struggles are and that he knows many Jews "who give into their
desires for companionship with girlfriends and wind up happy".
We tried to answer him with three points, and I share them with
you below so we can all be Mitchazek... And in this merit, may
G-d give him the strength to prevail!
1) Firstly, how are we to define happiness?
If it is defined by pleasure and success in this world, then
yes, there are many people, even wicked people, who are "happy".
But this world is only a hallway to the next. Truly, what is a
mere eighty years compared with all eternity?
2) The Zohar elaborates in countless places
how important the sanctity of a couple is to having children who
will have good hearts and be worthy of serving G-d. If you want
to merit children who will stay on the right path, children who
will not have the struggles that you have today, stay
strong! Know that if you ultimately succeed, you have succeeded
for your eternity as well as for all generations after
you. (According to Kabbalistic literature, struggles that are
"unfinished" by one soul, are passed down to his children and
children's children until the job is done).
3) Giving joy to G-d sounds cliche, but we
need to think about it a little and let ourselves truly become
awed at the opportunity that we have to give him joy. After all,
he is the master of the entire universe, who created
everything!! And to think that little "we" can give him joy with
It has been a long and difficult few
months with the struggle to overcome the addiction, but I have
seen my own progress and awareness mature, and have recognised
that there is will power after all. Not long ago I did stumble
and loose concentration whilst on the Internet, but I have made
the decision not to despair. I regret the fall very much, for
many reasons, but I would rather concentrate on the
opportunities that lie before me, in the near future and
onwards. I am excited about making the necessary changes, even
the more subtle and personal ones. I am on the road to recovery,
and the discovery of who I really am is exciting.
Keep looking for the beauty of love of
life, there is always hope! May Hashem please forgive my most
recent lapse and help me with my recovery.
Three things we can all learn from
1) There is will power after all!
2) There is no such thing as despair.
Focus on the opportunities that lie ahead, not on the past.
3) The road to recovery is not just
about a struggle. Rather, it is a road to maturity, personal
growth and the discovery of who you really are.
I'm sure we've all had some difficult tests
in the past and overcame them. If someone would offer you a
million dollars to sell to him the reward and benefit that you
gained in overcoming these tests, would you sell them? I doubt
So think about it. Do you still feel you need
chizuk today? Someone who just won the lottery doesn't
usually need Chizuk :-) You have something worth more than
millions of dollars!
Sefer Chassidim, Siman 148
did the Holy One Blessed be He create in man, ears, eyes and the
tongue, and to each one of them he created barriers and a wall to
protect them…He put eyelids for the eyes in order to cover them and
hide them from looking at something evil. And the man who
transgresses and hears sin or if his eyes see sinful things and his
tongue speaks evil then the person did not guard what the Master of
the World gave him to guard, he broke the fence and about him it is
written: "He who breaks a fence will be bitten by a snake" -
In Likutei Moharan II:48, Rebbe Nachman
writes that every movement that brings a person out of
physicality and closer to God is "very precious." If a person
progresses even a minute amount, in the higher world he has
traversed huge distances.
Since a person's spiritual level is not static, in addition to
being able to elevate ourselves, we are in danger of falling.
It's important to learn to deal with that possibility and to do
everything in our power to assure that if we do fall, we will
not exceed the minimal boundaries set by the Torah. At the same
time, when we fall, we must never lose hope of elevating
ourselves to higher levels, and even surpassing our previous
levels. Very often, a decline is preparation for a
significant ascent, as Rebbe Nachman and Reb Nosson
often remind us in their writings.
If a person failed to break his fall in time and has
transgressed clear prohibitions, he must be prepared to deal
even with this. In Likutei Moharan II:12, Rebbe Nachman tells us
that when one is in the lowest of depths, stuck in the mire, he
has a special opportunity to find the highest levels of holiness
which are hidden there - but only if he is firmly resolved to
search for God.
Not only is despair pointless, it can also lead to falling to
further depths. But how can anyone escape despair when he
understands the seriousness of these moral transgressions? How
can a person not despair when the Zohar (219b) states that
repentance does not help when it comes to the sin of Er and
Rebbe Nachman states (Sichot Haran 71) that the Zohar should not
be understood literally. Repentance always helps,
and the main thing is not to repeat one's wrong doing.
Let us learn from the butterfly.
Say "no" to the obsessions and desires which
keep us crawling in the dirt all our lives. Instead, let's do
Teshuvah once and for all and lock ourselves into what might
feel like a constrained darkness for a while. And then,
suddenly, we will be renewed and be able to fly high in the sky!
Sometimes a person feels low and Emunah
seems out of reach. In such a state, the Yetzer Hara
can say to a person, "What use is it for you to be strong and
hold yourself back from falling into sin, you anyway feel so far
from G-d and you anyway don't have now any Emunah or
purity of heart!"
The Ba'al Hasulam, a great Kabbalist, was
famous for trying to teach people how to serve Hashem Lishma
(with the purest of intentions). However, he once said that "as
great as we can imagine it is to serve G-d Lishma, the
doing of Torah and Mitzvos without ANY pure intentions
whatsoever is still a lot greater!" In other words, no matter
how far our imagination can stretch to visualize the greatness
of Lishma and how precious it is in G-d's eyes, -
Sheloh Lishma, i.e. doing the Mitzvos even without
any Emunah, - is greater - in G-d's Eyes - than that
What is reason? The rationale behind this is that G-d has great
pleasure when "work" (yegiyah) is exerted by a human
being to do his Mitzvos, even without any thought or belief.
So don't let the Yetzer Hara fool
you and tell you that staying holy is worthless because your
thoughts are anyway impure and your Emunah is weak! For
it is more precious to G-d for you to do his Mitzvos than
you can possibly imagine, even if you do them without
any Emunah at all!
I will remember this Autobiography in
Five Chapters to help me stay on track.
Chapter 1: I walk down the
street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I don't see it. I
fall in. It isn't my fault. It takes a long time to figure out
how to get out of the hole.
Chapter 2: I walk down the
same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I
don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the same
place. But it isn't my fault. It takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3: I walk down the
same street with my eyes wide open. There is a deep hole in the
sidewalk. I see it. I fall in. It's my fault. I get out
Chapter 4: I walk down the
same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around
Chapter 5: I walk down a
Ask yourself "Which chapter am I up
A post from the "talk-backs" of
Arutz Sheva, on
Tzvi Fishman's Blog.
Yehudah from Jerusalem writes:
I know what you are going through for I have
been there and have overcome it with a lot of work and
determination to succeed. You can succeed as well.
- The first thing you have to do is to find
a Torah project to be studying,
- (Second) Humility. Moses was great on
this one, he was close to Hashem; and being close to Him is
- (Third), memorizing T'hilim especially
the ones that mean a lot to you (for me, 125, 86, 25, 100, etc)
or any other Torah subject that you feel would help you grow to
become holy. KEEP THESE MATERIALS WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES
(excluding bathrooms) and read/study them whenever you get the
urge to masturbate or when sexual thoughts come to you.
2. Don't look at nor think about anything or
anybody who evoke sexual desires. Get rid of all your porn
books/pictures/movies, etc. Give up TV programs, for the adds are
nothing but sex. Throw away all sex objects. In fact, throw away all
clothes that have seaman spots on them. I say this in terms of the
fact that they are memories of coveting, lust etc, and these
memories have to be out of your house and off your body. The same
applies to bed covers and mattress. After this, wet dreams are the
thing of the past.
3. Don't think that marriage is going to put
an end to these coveting/lust desires. If you have not broken
and replaced the memories/desires of p-orn and lust, then having
sex with your spouse is nothing but the same, for you will be
thinking of someone else and this can spoil your marriage
relationship. Once you start getting the midlife spread, you'll
be looking around at other people to arouse your sexual desires
and you may as well have been performing adultery for you have
it in your heart. If you realize this then your marriage
relationship will grow more into love and not just sex.
4. This whole project is a constant effort,
for sex is around you where ever you go; so you have to be
strong and take courage that it can be done, for others have
succeeded. I have succeeded, thank G-d, but there are always new
temptations. You will need to learn to be aware of yourself and
your feelings/thoughts so as not to become distracted.
5. The answer and help to this entire effort
is found in the Kriyat Shema. Say it very slowly and with all
May Hashem Guard you.
Internalize this truth and
always remember this line: "The less you feed it, the less
you need it".
Hebrew word for semen is zera, which means seed. This seed
contains not only the physical and spiritual blueprints of life,
but also the life force itself. Each discharge of semen
contains hundreds of thousands of souls. Each microscopic drop
is more than a potential life. It is already a living soul. For
this reason, the sin of spilling semen in vain is considered
like the spilling of blood – like taking the life of a person.
Not just the life of any person, but the life of the child
[somewhat] of the man who commits the sin. (Niddah 13A; Even
Kabbalistic sources explain that that
wasting of semen gives strength to the forces of impurity and
evil in the world. This mystical concept is explained in depth
in the book, "Secret of the Brit." Here, we will only mention
that the impurity that a person adds to the world through sexual
transgression, not only causes many forms of personal suffering,
but also creates a barrier between the man and G-d, dulling his
spiritual sensitivities, and turning his prayer and Torah
learning into heavy, half-hearted endeavors which bring no
satisfaction nor joy.
On our site
www.guardureyes.com we brought some rants (here)
from a non-Jew found who that his addiction to masturbating was
preventing him from going out to meet women and so he decided to
try to stop completely. He opened a blog to keep track of his
progress and I bring you here some more thoughts of his,
from when he was still starting out. (There's always something
we can learn from everyone... )
Based on my experience on going
masturbation free for 4 days I can definitely say that
masturbation is not healthy, it makes you feel less of a man,
it's bad for self esteem and confidence. Look at it this way,
anything you are too embarrassed to share in public with close
friends can't be healthy right? I feel more confident, I don't
laze about anymore, I'm more focused, and I don't procrastinate
as much and have goals in my mind all the time. I do have to
force myself to snap out of it once in a while, usually I do
this by thinking of the most unsightliest thing that comes to my
mind, like a pile of dog sh-t on my favourite dinner plate. That
usually does the trick and very shortly the drive fades away.
I bring you here a few last thoughts from the blog
of the non-Jew who tried to stop masturbating (see
Ever since I gave up
masturbation so have all the other timewasters; videogames!
Masturbation and spending hours playing computer games have
previously engulfed my free time. Now I have discovered the joy
of reading. One of the book that was on my online list was
titled "the multi-orgasmic man…
There were a few things that I
have realised from reading the first 3 chapters of the book on
the way home. One thing that sticks to my mind is 'after a man
ejaculates, his pillow looks prettier than his wife'. I also
learnt that under lab conditions scientists found that
micro-worms who ejaculate live for 6 days, where as worms who do
not ejaculate live for 9 days. Also plants after growing seeds,
die shortly after. The whole multiorgasmic topic is all about
withholding sperm, the facts that I've read have motivated me to
carry on with this wank-free mission. Because ejaculation can be
majorly detrimental to health, and it makes sense because
ejaculation drains out all energy from a man's body as the body
is furiously at work trying to reproduce sperm for the next
See the link above for more
on how ejaculation weakens the body and shortens life-span.
Pesach cleaning is underway in all Jewish
households around the world. As we toil to clean our houses from
leaven, we are in parallel also cleansing ourselves from the
evil inclination, which is symbolized by the leaven. We are
toiling to break free of the evil one, in anticipation for going
out from bondage and slavery-- from ourselves, our desires and
especially our addictions--to freedom, Nachas Ruach and
to living in harmony with G-d's beautiful world. Leaven
symbolizes the Yetzer Hara because it is "blown up" and looks
big but it's really all air. The biggest Yetzer Hara is in the
sexual arena, and it is truly a "blown up bubble" that pops in
your face. We are wired with a bug in our minds that make us
lust after dirty flesh and blood, only to find that we were
tricked into a bunch of hot air, at the expense of our
infinitely precious relationship with G-d.
So get rid of the leaven and get ready to
break free of Egypt, and start to make your way through--what
might "feel" like a desert at first--to G-d's promised land.
Remember, even in the desert, we are always surrounded by G-d's
clouds of glory, and we are miraculously satiated through
the goodness of his hand. He who takes water our from rocks, and
manna from the heaven, will surely hold your hand on this
journey as well. The main thing, as R' Nachman always said, is
not to be afraid. "Lech Tech Acharai Ba'midbar"...
Go after me in the desert... Don't be afraid to give your
heart to G-d.
The Israelites had to rush out of Egypt so
fast, they didn't have time for their bread to rise. Why? Does
that make sense? What was the rush exactly? The Egyptians had
just been blasted with ten plagues as divine punishment for
holding the Israelites captive, they were more than ready to let
them go. So why rush things? Couldn't they have spent the few
extra minutes it takes to let the bread rise and make proper
sandwiches for the trip?
The answer is: they weren't running from the Egyptians, they
were running from themselves. The two centuries of slavery had
taken their toll on the Jewish people's spirit. They had
forgotten their illustrious past as children of Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob, pioneers of a path of ethics and higher morals. The
corruption and depravity of the Egyptian society had slowly
crept into the Israelite mentality, and they assimilated many of
its paganistic ideals into their own. They were slaves to Egypt,
not just in body, but in mind as well.
It came to a point where their unique identity was all but lost.
Suddenly they realised that the legacy of Abraham could be lost
forever, and the message of hope that the Israelites were to
bring the world would not be delivered, all because of them.
Only then did they cry out for help. On the brink of point of no
return, they called out to G-d.
Think of a p-rnaholic. For a while, he fools himself into
thinking that things are in control, he is just casually
browsing the Internet, it relaxes him, there's nothing wrong.
Gradually, the habit overtakes him, and one-by-one he loses
everything he has: his spirituality becomes empty, he loses
his connection with G-d, his wife feels his distance more and
more until she finally leaves him, he loses his family, his job,
his money, his dignity. But it's only when he hits rock bottom,
when he has been stripped of everything, that it suddenly dawns
on him that he has a real problem.
Now he has to act fast. Once he has recognised the problem, he
has to deal with it immediately, before that moment of clarity
passes by and he slips back into self-justification. He can't do
it alone. He's too far fallen to help himself. He has to call
for help. Someone from the outside, someone sober, will have to
reach out to drag him out of his addiction. But they can only
help him if he is willing to go cold-turkey, not to
touch p-rnogrophy and to stop masturbation totally, until he is
cured. He has to run away from the addict that he has been until
now. Otherwise he cannot begin to heal.
That's why Matzah is the crux of what the exodus is all about.
The children of Israel had to make a hasty retreat from Egypt.
Egypt and its lowliness had a hold on them, as powerful as an
addiction. They had to first get out of Egypt in order to get
Egypt out of themselves. To delay would be deadly. Once they had
realised the problem, if they would then have hesitated, it
could have spelt the end for them - they may have sunk to the
point of no return.
Pesach is a de-tox retreat, where the spirit of liberty calls
upon us to free ourselves from our personal Egypt. The Matzah
reminds us that the first step towards freedom is to go
cold-turkey. No hesitations; make a sudden and complete exodus
from the you that was, and march through the desert towards the
you that you can be.
May you trust G-d that you are exactly
where you are meant to be...
May you not forget the infinite
possibilities that are born of faith...
May you be content knowing you are a
child of G-d...
Let His presence settle into your
bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise
Sometimes it seems to work in cycles; you feel
strong for a while and then start to lose the strength to guard your
eyes, and sometimes it can take time until you get that strength
back. But remember, every time you pass a test, every time you
overcome the downward part of the cycle, G-d puts away a diamond in
his treasure chest for you. And he might even give you a little
break for a while where you are feeling strong. But G-d doesn't want
you to just have one diamond. After all, if we passed one test and
were done, we may as well die. But G-d gives us 120 years on this
world because we can accomplish so much with each cycle, with each
up and down... So after a while, he makes us lose everything and
start over from the beginning again, so we can keep getting
diamonds. He suddenly makes us feel as if we have never worked on
ourselves before and we need to find new strength each time to
overcome the downward spin. This is G-d's way, so we keep working
and earning, putting away bit by bit and ultimately doing great
things for ourselves, for G-d and for the entire universe!
Our Sages tell us that we were redeemed from
Egypt due to the merit of the two mitzvot (commandments) which
G-d commanded us to perform on the eve of our departure - the
Paschal sacrifice and the brit milah. Both of these commandments
were designed to free us from our spiritual slavery to the lusts
of the body, and liberate us to true freedom as servants to G-d.
Among a cornucopia of bestial doings, the Egyptians worshipped
the lamb. Among the domestic beasts, sheep are known for their
fecundity. In a similar manner, licentiousness was an integral
part of this idol worship. Our Sages teach us that the Jewish
People only worshipped idols as an excuse to engage in the
sexual debauchery that went with it.
In commanding every Jewish household in Egypt
to take a lamb, the Egyptians' god, and slaughter it for the Pesach
offering, G-d was commanding us to slaughter the physical lusts in
ourselves that lead to the perversion of the holy marital union, and
to the pollution of the holy life force of our nation.
Interestingly, we were commanded to tie the lambs to our bedposts,
not to the door, or the window, or kitchen table, but to our beds,
precisely to drive this point into our individual and national
consciences that we are to be a holy people, separated by the purity
of our sexual lives from all of the other nations in the world.
This is the very same lesson of the brit
milah. Only a man who was circumcised was allowed to partake in
eating the Passover lamb. The removal of the foreskin both
symbolizes, and physically effects, the removal of the impure
The Pesach Lamb on the eve of our departure
from the bondage of Egypt and from our servitude to its
debauched and immoral culture, we were called to renew the Brit
of our Forefathers, the founding Covenant between G-d and the
Jewish People, whereby we safeguard the purity of our sexual
lives, symbolized by the brit milah, and G-d, for His part,
promises us the Land of Israel as our eternal inheritance. Thus
the Zohar teaches that in the merit of the blood of the
slaughtered Paschal lamb (the korban Pesach) and the blood of
the brit milah, we were redeemed from the spiritual dungeon of
The Seder is not just a memorial to events of the
distant past - it is a dynamic process of freedom from
the challenges of the present.
We are slaves. Slaves to our own
addictions, habits, inhibitions, fears, cynicism and
prejudices. These self-appointed pharaohs are layers
of ego that prevent us from expressing our true
inner self, from reaching our spiritual potential.
Our souls are incarcerated in selfishness, laziness
Pesach means "Passover". It is
the season of liberation, when we pass over all
these obstacles to inner freedom. On Pesach, we give
our souls a chance to be expressed.
Reread the Haggada. Every time it
says "Egypt" read "limitations". Replace the word
"Pharaoh" with "Ego". And read it in the present
"We were slaves to Pharaoh in
"We are slaves to our egos, stuck
in our limitations."
How do we free ourselves? By
eating Matzah. After eating Matzah, the Israelites
were able to run out of Egypt and follow G-d into
the desert. Because Matzah represents the suspension
of ego. Unlike bread, which has body and taste,
Matzah is flat and tasteless - the bread of
Usually, we are scared to give up
our addictions and habits, to suspend our egos,
because we think that we will lose ourselves. On
Pesach we eat the Matzah, we suspend our egos and
find ourselves - our true selves.
This night is different from all
other nights, because on this night we let ourselves
go, we liberate our souls to follow G-d unashamed.
We say, "I may not understand what this means, but I
have a Jewish soul, and somehow that is the deepest
layer of my identity."
The Yetzer Hara tells us that we want "intimacy",
"love" etc... he tells us how we desperately need arousal, we need
"beauty" we need "lust", we need to indulge in the
beauty of a woman's body... All these things are one big lie. The
only thing the Yetzer Hara really wants is the ejaculation. The
minute you've had the ejaculation, all the needs you thought you
had for "intimacy", "love", "beauty" etc... they all vanish like a
puff of hot air. The Yetzer Hara is an expert at fooling us. He
dresses up the desire for ejaculation in all types of sublime
feelings and concepts and makes us believe that we want much more
than just to jerk off. But this huge and colorful lie reveals itself
for what it is the minute we have finished the ejaculation. Then,
the beauty you thought you craved so much becomes meaningless, the
intimacy you thought you needed so bad becomes annoying and
unwanted. We all know this and yet we keep letting ourselves become
fooled again and again. How much longer will we give up what is
truly precious for the world's biggest lie?
Don't think you can win the battle against the
evil inclination on your own. You can't. But the good news is, if
you trust in G-d and just keep moving forward, he will do it for
When the Jews stood near the red sea with the Egyptians close behind
them and they cried out to G-d, G-d said to Moses "Ma Titzak Alai,
Daber el Bne yisrael Ve'yisa'u" - "For what do you cry out to me?
Tell the Children of Israel to go forward!" The holy books explain
that G-d was saying, "Leave what's up to me up to me. You just go
forward!". In other words, when it comes to truly breaking free of
"Mitzrayim" once and for all, it is G-d who ultimately fights these
battles for us. We just have to put our full trust in him and move
forward--like Nachshon, who went into the sea until his neck--and
then G-d did the rest. "Hashem Yilachem Lachem, Ve'atem Tacharishun"
- "G-d will fight for you, and you shall be silent".
Now is the time. On the seventh day of Pesach, the same divine light
that came down at the splitting of the Red Sea comes down to this
world again. We all need G-d to split the sea for us, each in our
own personal battle with "Mitzrayim". So let's tune in to the
"trust" frequency and experience this miracle again today as then!
Why Stop Lusting?
Sexual lust is an inordinate thought or
feeling that drives us to use ourselves, others, or things for
self-centered destructive purposes. The spiritual sickness of
lust wants sexual stimulation at that moment instead of what G-d
is offering us. Later, we come to see that lust wants anything
other than what is offered to us each moment. We thought lust
was our friend. We used it for many reasons, entertainment, as a
refuge from pain, or to escape dealing with problems. Somewhere
along the way though, the lust becomes a bigger problem than the
problems we are trying to avoid. The medicine becomes the
poison. Our "solution" becomes the problem. Lust is a wall that
separates us and keeps us from enjoying full relationships with
G-d and the people around us. Lust drives us deeper and deeper
inside ourselves and leads to isolation, loneliness, and
As we break the cycle of of lust by taking
the steps of recovery, our experience of life begins to change
dramatically. As we begin to recover, we gain a new sense of
integrity that makes us happy to be alive. No more hiding! No
more lies! No more double life! As the burden of guilt and shame
is lifted, we have more energy available for friends and family,
work and play. A troubled and dark countenance gives way to a
life that is happy, joyous and free.
Excerpts taken from a
Shaar haTefillah (Shaar Nipol): "And
the person should consider the following account on his soul:
What he gains when he engages in buying and selling in the
markets against the loss he has when he looks at forbidden
things there and the evil thoughts he will have thereby. Even if
he makes millions, all the money in the world, will it suffice
to compensate for the loss of transgressing only one sin?"
The Chida (De'vash le Fi): "With the
eyes he becomes a servant of the Yetzer haRa to look into all
the forbidden and vain places in the world, and through them he
will lose the possibility of enjoying the pleasantness of G-d in
Chatam Sofer (Chaye Sarah): "The Jews,
they are holy and should not stumble through looking at women,
G-d forbid, for all who do thus, are lost in this world and in
the World to Come.
One of our members sent us some
excerpts of ideas from the book "The Light of Ephraim" by
Simchah H. BenYosef.
When Hashem created the universe at Breishit,
he mandated that a soul be sent to this world every time a man
releases his seed, whether intentionally or not. The idea was
that through this process, if man chose to use/release his seed
for the holy purpose that Hashem intended (to create a life with
one's wife in a kosher relationship), man would than be able to
actually participate in the divine plan for the world by causing
souls to be sent down from Shamayim to this world to create life
- which is a pretty amazing privilege. The problem begins
when man uses/releases his seed for unholy purposes (via
masturbation, nocturnal emissions, sexual relations with
non-Jewish women, etc.). This causes spiritual forces called
Kelipot to absorb all of the seed's life-giving potential. When
this happens, the Kelipot are able to capture the souls sent
down from Shamayim (the reason being is that the souls were
forced to down to earth from Shamayim in vain because the seed
was released from the man in an unholy way) and the klippot then
force these souls to cause the man who brought them down in vain
all sorts of trouble. That this is why men feel literally
hopeless and tired after they release their seed for unholy
purposes. These reactions happen not because the men are
unhealthy or depressed, but because the Kelipot have already
begun their mission to destroy the man's life.
I recommend this book because all of these
ideas, even if they appear absolutely outrageous, can be
verified through personal experience, science, psychology, and
mainstream indisputable Torah sources such as the Shulchan
Aruch, the Talmud, and the Torah.
Sometimes a person may be taking a walk or
laying in bed and lustful thoughts start to fill his head and it
seems like he can't control it. At such a time, don't try to
stop the thoughts - they may just become even stronger. Instead,
cry out to Hashem and say "Please Hashem, save me from lust,
which is filling my head and heart! Please rid me of these
thoughts and desires, for they are tormenting me! I want to love
you instead, Hashem--"Kama lecha nafshi, tzama lecha besari"
- My flesh pines for you, my soul thirst for you, Oh Lord."
You will be amazed at how powerful prayer is.
Put your trust in G-d and you will suddenly feel a relief from
This week's Torah portion is "Kedoshim."
"Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, Speak to the
entire assembly of the Children of Israel and say to them: You
shall be holy, for I, Hashem your G-d, am holy."
Rashi states: "You shall be holy by being removed from sexual
transgression and from sin, for wherever you find a restriction
from sexual immorality, you find holiness."
Every Jew is holy by nature of his or her holy Jewish soul.
However, sins, especially sexual transgression, pollute a Jew's
intrinsic holiness in the same manner that garbage pollutes a
stream. Through t'shuva (repentance) a person can remove the
garbage from the stream, but without t'shuva, the pure Jewish
soul remains stained.
The Ramban takes Rashi's explanation one step further by adding
that a Jew does not only have to stay away from
major sexual transgressions. Rather, when the Torah commands us
to "be holy," it is telling us that we have to sanctify our
behavior even in permitted matters, like the relations between a
man and his wife. (Ramban on the Torah, "Kedoshim," 19:1). For
instance, while a man is allowed to have relations with his wife
during the permitted periods, our Sages warn us not to be like
roosters with our mates (i.e. not to over do it). Being holy
also means that a Jew is not supposed to gaze lustfully at
women, whether in the street, at the movies, on TV, or on the
This vital subject is the very
foundation of Jewish life. Jewishness is not just a
religion, or national identity. Jewishness is a call
to live holy lives as individuals and as a holy
nation. The commandments of the Torah are our ladder
of sanctification, and, as Rashi and the Ramban
explain, the first rung is holiness in our sexual
Think about how precarious life it. Just one
cut of a knife, and all our body's desires, fantasies and wishes
are gone. If our body is so feeble, should we wile away our
lives giving in to its petty whims and instincts, thereby losing
touch with the omnipresent G-d and infinite nature of the soul?
The first 40 Days
The act of creation in the forming of the
fetus is completed in 40 days, and this manifests many times in
scientific reality as well as in the spiritual reality. (For
example, Moshe received the Torah from G-d in 40 days). When a
person wishes to distance himself from a bad habit, the first
forty days will always be the hardest, it is during this time
that he paves a path. When a person wishes to become Shomer
Habris then his hardest struggle will be during the first 40
days as he plows his path through the spirits of impurity. After
the first 40 days a person has passed a large milestone and
although he is far from safe, the overall test has just become
easier. This does not mean that he will not be tested
periodically from time to time, it means that he has made a nice
separation between himself and the sin and now he can start
gathering strength to fight the bigger tests when they come.
We have a member on this list who
just passed the 40 day mark. He then started another round of 40
days recently, in which he pledged to try being even more
careful than in the first 40 day round. Incidentally, we pointed
out to him that the second 40 day period ends exactly on
Shavuos, when he will be truly ready to accept the Torah. We
both saw this as a sign from heaven that his hard work is being
smiled upon by G-d. Today he sent us an e-mail as follows:
Well, I'm still struggling to guard my
eyes, but it is getting easier though. I'm glad you are praying
for me and that Hashem is having mercy on me, at least for now.
What you point out about the remaining 40 days is truly amazing;
in fact, [the second] 40 days is beginning to not look like such
as difficult task bli ayan hara. I still need to be vigilant,
now that I know the signs as a result of previous
G-d is like a Story Teller. He loves
beautiful stories, and that's one of the reasons he created the
world. Very often in life we are given situations where there
are no clear cut paths before us. G-d does this purposefully to
see the beautiful stories that we humans will weave with our
deepest emotions and with our love for him... Not everyone is
worthy of living a life that G-d considers a beautiful story.
But we create these stories with our hearts.
All the members of this chizuk-list who have
begun the journey to sexual purity, are already in the middle of
a beautiful story of self-sacrifice and of going against the
odds for the love of G-d. Our daily struggles make up the words
of this beautiful story. And each time we get up again after
falling, another chapter is added.
May G-d give us the strength to make our
stories all come to a happy ending!
Sefer ha Brit, Shemirat Eynaim
Our Master the Chatam Sofer wrote in The introduction to
Parashat Bereshit the following: Our Sages, z'l said (Avodah
Zara 20): "The angel of death is full of eyes and when the time
for a person to die comes, the angel stands above his head, with
his sword ready and a bitter drop hangs from the sword, when the
sick person sees him, he shakes and opens his mouth and the drop
enters the mouth, from it he dies, he rots and his face turns
green" And this is difficult: "Why is he full of eyes? The Gaon
Rabbi Natan Adler, zt'l said that when a person transgresses,
G-d forbid, the prohibition of not going astray after one's
eyes, and savors the taste of looking at forbidden places, with
this transgression he gives eyes to the Yetzer ha Ra, who is
none other than the angel of death, and from this he is full of
eyes, from those same eyes that looked at places that were
forbidden for him to look at, and from this the person shakes
when he realizes that he is the one who, by looking at forbidden
things, caused the angel of death to have so many eyes. And also
Rabbi Yehonathan Eybeshutz zt'l and the Chidda wrote thus.
Dr / Rabbi Yitzchak Twersky from
described to me his approach in helping people deal with these
Our sages call
the fight with the evil inclination "Milchemes Hayetzer"
which means "a war with one's inclination". They don't call it
an "argument" or a "fight" with the inclination, but rather a
"war". What we can learn from this is that military tactics are
necessary in the struggle with the evil inclination.
In a war, if
the other side is stronger and you do battle face to face, you
will surely lose. The terrorists world-wide have learned this
lesson well. They know that they stand no chance against the
great armies of the west. So how are they so successful in
creating upheavals and overthrowing great and powerful
governments? Guerilla warfare. They don't do battle face
to face with powerful armies. They know that if they did that
they would be slaughtered. Instead, they learn their enemies
weak points and where their enemy is going to be at set times,
and they pre-empt them. They spy on the enemy, learn their
tactics and fight them where the enemy is vulnerable. They
ambush the enemy before the enemy has a chance to realize what
has happened. That is their secret to success.
theory applies to fighting the evil inclination. He is stronger
than us, and if we fight him head on we don't stand a chance.
Instead we need to employ Guerilla tactics. We
start by asking ourselves, "how has the evil
inclination/addiction been so successful until today? How does
he get me to fall? In what ways does my mind think in the
various situations that I find myself in? In what habitual ways
have I learned to scan my surroundings? How is my mind used to
thinking and processing information? In which scenarios does it
happen the most, in what moods am I in when it happens, in what
situations do I start to slip?"
Once we learn
the way the evil inclination works with us, we can start to
pre-empt him. We can prevent him from fighting us head on.
We now realize how he has been so successful until now and in
what ways he used to get us to fall, and we start to avoid those
situations. We can already predict in advance the way our minds
will think in given scenarios, and we can be ready for it. We
learn to make fences for ourselves to avoid head-on fights.
This is a
powerful approach to winning this difficult battle and often, a
good therapist can help a person work this all out. But even
just knowing this secret is already a good start on the journey
to ultimate success.
The Vilna Goan says something that's very important to know, especially for
those struggling with powerful desires. He writes that what a person
says he wants, and even what he feels he wants,
has no relation to what he actually wants. The Yetzer Hara
was given permission by Hashem to make a person feel that
they want something they really don't.
The Vilna Goan also says that the same idea applies to what a person
feels they can or can't do. The
reality has no relation to what the person thinks
or even feels that he can or can't achieve. [This is
because the reality belongs to G-d. Our own estimates of our strengths and
abilities don't affect G-d's ability].
So never give in to what the Yetzer Hara makes you believe
you want, because you really don't want it. And never say "I can't achieve
sexual purity" even if it looks so hard. For nothing is hard for G-d. So
give your heart over to him and he'll do the hard work for you.
"Ve'ahavta Es Hashehm Elokecha Bechol Levavcha"... "And you
should love Hashem your G-d with all your heart". We say it a few times
a day, but in what ways are we able to show that we love G-d? Yes, we daven,
we learn a little Torah, we give some Tzedaka, but let's be honest with
ourselves, do we really think that we fulfill "to love G-d with all your
heart" sufficiently with these mitzvos? How many of these Mitzvos do we
do out of rote or because people expect it of us? And even if not, how much
heart do we really put into the mitzvos to be able to call them "loving
G-d with all your heart"?
So how indeed can we really show G-d that we love him? How can we truly
fulfill that which we say a few times every day? The answer is
Sexual Purity. That's the area where we truly need to give our
hearts to G-d. How we guard our eyes and thoughts is hidden, nobody knows.
We aren't doing it for anyone else. And it's not easy. For some of us, the
struggle is very real and it requires truly giving our hearts away to G-d.
But when we realise this, especially those who struggle in this area more
than others, we need to actually thank G-d that he has given us this great
opportunity that not everyone has, to fulfill the Mitzva to truly love him.
Someone sent us an article about the fanatical separation of the
sexes in some Arab countries, and about how their women are prohibited from many
activities and must be covered from head to toe with a Burkah. They then
asked the following question:
wanted to ask you what you thought about these articles. Is this the ideal for
Jews in terms of separation of the sexes? Something tells me the society of the
1st Temple was like this".
A. The approach in Judaism is not one of extreme
separation from the temptations of this world. We don't advocate locking the
women up so that the men should not come to sin. The approach in Judaism is
rather to be able to live in the world we are in, surrounded by temptations, and
yet uplift this world along with its pleasures by keeping ourselves holy.
This idea is illustrated well by the following idea. On Pesach we
bring an offering of barely - without Chametz, which is the symbol of the Yetzer
Hara. On Shavuos we bring an offering of wheat (the two loaves) made out of
Chametz. Shavuos is the only time of the year that we offer Chametz in the Beis
Hamikdash. Otherwise, Chametz is banned as an offering. What is the deeper
meaning behind the barley offering on Pesach and the wheat offering on Shavuos?
The holy Alshich explains that on
Pesach we had not yet recieved the Torah. Instead, G-d shined his light upon
us without us having worked for it. Barley is a food of animals (like
Chaza"l explain that a Sotah brings a barley offering to symbolize
that she did an act of an animal). Although we reached very high levels on
the night of Pesach, we were still a bit like animals in that we had not yet
worked for the high levels that were bestowed upon us. In such a situation,
one must cut themselves off from worldly pleasure in order to retain their
spiritual level. This is symbolized by barley, which contains no Chametz,
i.e. no Yetzer Hara. However, after Pesach, G-d took the light away from us
so that we could work towards the high levels that we had received on our
own. During the seven weeks of Seffirah, we correct different attributes of
ourselves each day (Chessed, Gevurah, etc...). By the time we get
to Shavuos, we are worthy of receiving the Torah. Once we get the Torah
there is no more need for "barley" offerings. We can now offer G-d even the
Chametz. After getting the Torah, we are now able to DEAL with the Yetzer
Hara. We can be involved with the Chametz and instead of sinking into it, we
uplift this world with all its pleasures to G-d. Through the Torah and
Mitzvos, we are able to use this world, together with our human instincts
and inclinations, for the glory of G-d's name. This is the power of the
Someone wrote us his story. Here are some excerpts
that we can all learn from:
….I started on the path to rectification….in
the first month or two the desires were huge, but I thought how far I had gone
and just knew I had to keep going. So another month or two went by, and before I
knew it, my desire to masturbate actually was curbed!!!! I thought about p-orn
and attractive women less, I didn't seek out pictures or stimuli, I even found
myself averting my eyes from scantily clad females… Earlier, I had trained
myself to scan for attractive images to store in my mind, and now I had somehow
trained myself NOT to seek these images around me. That part I hadn't even tried
for so much. In time, I found that as much as I was still a normal sexually
functioning male, (i.e. I was fully capable of arousal if I encountered images
inadvertently or a steamy movie scene), I really lost the desire to act on that
arousal or to touch it. Having trained myself to habitually NOT act on my
arousal, I actually felt myself lose the desire to do so. I no longer wanted to
masturbate… And I took note of the sexual nature of female women around me a lot
less! I was somehow accustomed to not looking so much. Or looking in a way, that
even if I did, it was not stored as a bring-up-later image in my memory banks.
And online, I might occasionally see enticing pictures, but I would never act on
it. It became no longer a challenge.
So after several months straight of
refraining from masturbation, indeed, my desire for masturbation decreased. This
was like an exponential growth, whereby the longer I kept my streak alive, the
easier it was to keep it going!
Thus when the sages say, as you repeat on your site, that
"There is a small organ in a man, if you feed it - it is hungry, if you
starve it - it is satiated", I KNOW THAT THEY ARE CORRECT!!! I've been
through it! Maybe some of our great sages had to conquer this immense
difficulty and I don't for a second doubt they had the willpower and
righteousness to do so if necessary! But I am still awed by their wisdom.
They are correct! Let no one claim to you otherwise. Let no chronic
masturbator use his doubt of that saying as a pretext to disregard it,
because it is indeed true....
The Gemara in Sotah writes that someone who is haughty is likely to
fall into the sin of adultry. The Gemara goes on to discuss the humility
that we should feel and writes that the acronym for ADAM (Man) is "Afar",
"Dam" & "Mara", meaning "Dust", "Blood" & "Bile", and the acronym for
BASAR (Flesh) is "Busha", "Shaul" & "Rima", meaning "Shame",
"Borrowed" & "Worms" (our flesh is borrowed, since one day it must return to
When feeling lust for flesh it may be helpful to remember this Gemara. Not
only can the resulting humility save us from sin, but the actual lust itself
should melt away when one realizes that he is nothing but dust, blood and
bile, and he is desiring nothing but "borrowed, shame, to be eaten by
Start off each day with a prayer to G-d to save us from lust that day.
Once we have gotten up and said Modeh Ani, we should pray to G-d from the
depths of our heart and say;
"Please G-d, relieve me from the bondage of self. Please save me
today from the disease of lust, in my heart and in my mind".
Then commit and say;
"I commit myself to one more day of sexual purity, from now until
__________ (say the next day)".
This reminds us that our sobriety is a gift only for today. Tomorrow
will take care of itself.
Then surrender to G-d and say;
"I surrender to you G-d, today,
-my right to be sexually responsive at all (besides with my
-my right to lust in any form,
-and any fantasies or lust images lingering in my mind".
It is a known fact that someone addicted to po-rnography begins to neglect his
job, his wife, his children and even himself. He misses out on the best parts of
life, such as watching his children grow up, and he lets his life deteriorate
until ultimately he loses everything.
On YWN there was an article about the dangers of the internet. In the talkbacks,
someone wrote to keep in mind the following idea in order to stay strong:
Chaza"l say that there will be a Din V'cheshbon (judgement and reckoning) for
every sin we do. The Vilna Gaon explains the words Din V'cheshbon as follows;
There will be Din (judgement) on the aveirah, and Cheshbon (a reckoning) on the
wasted time used for that aveirah which could have been put to good use.
We must not underestimate our ability to do good with our time for our family
and for the klal (the community). How could one waste time when he could be
learning or playing with his kids, or doing a chesed for someone? Go to a
hospital or a nursing home, or invite some lonely person over. Do homework with
your kids or spend some quality time with your wife. Every second one wastes is
not only bitul zman (waste of time), but it is also a lost opportunity to help
The rule in spirituality, according to the holy books, is that the moment
someone truly wants to reach a spiritual level, G-d gives it to him. The
explanation is simple. G-d's light is always shining. He only wants our good.
But we have to be a vessel to accept his light. To be a vessel means to "truly
want it" with all your heart. This rule doesn't apply always with physical
things, because although we can want something with all our heart, G-d knows
that sometimes it's not the best for us. But in spiritual matters, the moment we
truly want it - it's ours.
Sexual purity in today's world is a tremendous spiritual achievement, but it is
not easy. However, it's not the purity which is difficult, it's "truly wanting
it" that's difficult. For after all, the moment someone truly wants it, G-d
gives it to him. We all know that it's easy to say "I want sexual purity", but
to honestly want to let go of all the sinful lust that lurks in our deepest
subconscious mind, only G-d knows if we truly want that.
So what do we do if we just don't want it enough? Prayer, Prayer, Prayer.
"Poseach Es Yadecha Umasbiah Lechol Chai Ratzon". One way of reading this Pasuk
is "You open your hands and bestow WILL-POWER (Ratzon) on all living things".
G-d is not just the source of the light, he is also ultimately the one to make
us into a true vessel to receive his light.
So pray to G-d to WANT it. Tell him you don't feel enough, in your deepest
subconscious, a true need to be sexually pure and close to him. Ask him to open
your heart to truly want this. And the moment you really want it, it's yours.
In honor of Lag Ba'Omer, we will bring today and tomorrow some excerpts from the
Holy Zohar of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. (Tanslations taken from
Zohar, Bereshit 94a
Another began his exposition by referring to the verse, "Unless the L-rd had
been my help, my soul would have soon dwelt in (Duma) silence,(Tehillim, 94:17.)
We have learned: what is the special merit of Israel that they do not go down to
Gehinom, and are not delivered into the hands of Duma (the angel in charge of
Gehinom) like the idol worshipping nations? The reason is that they are
distinguished by the sign of the Brit.
For we have learned that when a man leaves this world, bands of destroying
angels, wielders of fiery judgment, gather to claim him. But when they examine
him and see that he bears the sign of the holy Brit upon him, they flee from
him, and he is not delivered into the hands of Duma, to be cast down into
Gehinom, for whomever falls into his hands is condemned to punishment there.
Both upper and lower (angels) are afraid of this sign, and no evil decrees have
dominance over a man if he has succeeded in safeguarding this sign, because he
is attached to the Name of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.
Zohar, Bereshit 8a
Rav Hamnuna the Elder said this: "Do not let thy mouth cause thy flesh to sin,"
(Kohelet, 5:5.) A man should not allow his mouth to utter words that may bring
him to lustful thoughts, and thus cause his holy flesh, on which is stamped the
holy Brit, to sin. For whoever does this is dragged into Gehinom. The one
presiding over Gehinom is called Duma, and there are tens of thousands of angels
of destruction with him. He stands at the door of Gehinom. But all of those who
have guarded the holy covenant of the Brit in this world, he is impotent to harm
It is brought down from the Chassidic Masters: "MiBeSaRI" Echeze Elokah - "And
from my flesh, I shall see G-d," (Iyov, 19:26.) - The word "MiBeSaRI" is an
acronym for "Mi'Toras Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai" - In other words, from the Torah
of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, I shall see G-d.
Zohar Bereshit 94a
Another explained the verse: "And from my flesh, I shall see G-d," (Iyov,
19:26.) What is the meaning of "And from my flesh?" It would be more proper to
say, "from my inner essence." However, "my flesh" is to be understood literally
(as being the place of the Brit,) as in the verse, "and the holy flesh is
removed from thee," (Yirmeyahu, 11:15,) and also, "and my Brit shall be in your
flesh," (Bereshit, 17:13.)
For thus we have learned: Whenever a man is stamped with the holy impress of
this sign, through it literally he will attain his awareness of G-d, because the
holy soul is attached to this place (in the parallel spiritual world of the
But if he does not merit this, because he did not guard this sign, then of him
it is written, "They lose the soul of G-d," (Iyov, 4:9,) for he did not properly
guard the impress of G-d. If, however, he guards it, then the Shechinah does not
part from him….
When is the Shechinah established with him? When he is married, then the sign
enters into its intended place….The holy soul is attached to this place, and
everything depends on this sign. Thus it is written, "And from my flesh, I shall
see G-d." This is the perfection of everything, literally from "my flesh," from
this very sign. Therefore, how fortunate are the holy Jewish People who are
attached to the Holy One, Blessed Be He; fortunate are they in this world and
fortunate in the world to come. Regarding them it is written: "But you who
cleave to the L-rd your G-d, are alive every one of you this day," (Devarim,
Excerpts taken from
an article at
The Torah portion that we just read this week, Bechukotai, is known as the
portion of rebuke. The portion begins with G-d's promise that if the Jews
observe the commandments of the Torah, prosperity, blessing, and peace will
befall them. However, if they turn away from the Torah, G-d warns them that
terrible curses and sufferings will be their fate - they will be pursued and
ravaged by their enemies and forcibly expelled from the land into exile where
they will be relentlessly persecuted and killed:
Rabbi Yaacov AbuchatzeraThe saintly Tzaddik and holy Kabbalist, Rabbi Yaacov
Abuchatzera, z'tzal, grandfather of the holy Baba Sali, z'tzal, explains this
Torah portion as referring to transgression of the Brit:
(From the book, "Abir Yaacov," section, Pitochei Chotam; Bechukotai)
"For the matter of transgressing the Brit, and all of the sufferings that stem
from this, is referred in this rebuke (in Bechukotai). So that when the verse
says: "But if you will not hearken to me, and will not do all of these
commandments, and if you shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My
judgments, so that you will not do all of the commandments, but that you break
My Brit...," it does not mean to say that they do not do any of the precepts, or
that they do not occupy themselves with Torah; but rather, they do occupy
themselves with Torah, and they do perform the commandments, but the main thing
is missing, for the Brit, which is the principle matter, is blemished and has
not be rectified. Since the Brit is blemished and has not been rectified,
everything is considered as naught, for it goes to the "Other Side", may G-d
"This is why the verse concludes: 'but that you break My Brit.' That is to say:
'Everything that I said about your despising My statutes, and your abhorring My
judgments, and your rejecting My commandments, is not to be taken literally.
Rather you broke My Brit and you blemished it, and you did not rectify it. For
this reason, even if you hearken to My voice in performing all of the other
commandments of the Torah, behold I proclaim to you that you have not hearkened
to Me. Even if you will do all of the mitzvot, I will consider that you have not
done them. Even if you will observe My statutes with love, I proclaim that you
have despised My statutes. And even if you will perform My judgments with great
joy, I proclaim that you have abhorred them. All of this is because 'you break
My Brit. For you violated My Brit and have not rectified it. For this reason,
everything you do is considered canceled and as naught. And all of the Torah and
mitzvot that you do, it all goes to the Sitra Achra. And because you betrayed My
Brit, I will bring upon all the sufferings in the world....'
As the holy Zohar writes, a person who does not have fear of sin in matters of
the Brit, has no fear of G-d in anything he does. This is because his body which
performs the commandments is blemished. Thus, everything which he does is
"Therefore, whoever desires to do t'shuva (repentence) and serve G-d, let him
first rectify blemishes to the Brit, and after that the things he does to please
G-d will succeed."
Our brains are wired to make us irrational when it comes to sexual desire. The
wiring in our brains tells us that there is something extremely fascinating in
women, something intriguing and sublime. As if all the secrets of the universe
can be found in females. What fools our brains make of us! We need to keep
telling ourselves that this is a trick of human instinct, of the Yetzer Hara.
There's nothing fascinating there. Women come from the same putrid drop that men
do, and their flesh will one day be eaten by worms. Don't let the wiring of your
DNA take away your common sense. Don't lose sight of that which is truly
fascinating and sublime--that we little humans can have a connection with the
Indeed, it is those who are not fooled by the illusions of false enthrallments
who become worthy of experiencing a true captivation with G-d's transcendent
When Avraham was coming to Mitzrayim with Sarah, he told her: "Imri Na
Achosi At, Lima'an Yitav Li Ba'avureich, Ve'chaysah Nafshi Biglaleich"
- "Say, please, that you are my sister, so they should do good for
me, for you, and give me life because of you".
The Ba'al Shem Tov explains that this Pasuk is an allusion to what a Jew
is should do when lewd thoughts come to him... He explains that improper
thoughts come from the spiritual side of Miztrayim, which was Shtufai
Zima (flooded with debauchery). When these thoughts come to a Jew, he
should connect them to the upper wisdom, which is called "Achosi -
My Sister" (like the Pasuk says "Imri La'chachma Achosi At"). For
the thoughts of Mitzrayim that entered his mind only came to him to be
uplifted, and aderaba, they become transformed to the service of G-d. And
it's not that these thoughts came to confuse him and take him away from the
service of G-d, but rather these thoughts were sent to him specifically so
that he can uplift them to their root (which is the love of G-d).
And this is the meaning of the words that Avraham said "I will be
given life because of you".
Here's the original Hebrew text:
Chaza"l say; "Repent one day before you die" which is explained to mean that
one should repent every day, since no one knows when his day will come.
When surrounded by all the illusionary desires of this world, it is easy to
lose sight of our priorities in life. But one way to stay strong is to keep
asking ourselves "Will I be alive tomorrow? Am I satisfied with my spiritual
progress, that if I should be called to meet my maker now I would not be
If we are at least trying to be better each day, we will
not need to feel such shame when we are called back to heaven. But if we are
negligent, G-d forbid, in guarding our eyes and aren't even trying to purify
ourselves, what terrible shame we will feel!
So don't leave it for tomorrow. Start striving for purity today. Who knows
what tomorrow will bring?
The Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu once said "A journey of a
thousand miles begins with a single step".
True sexual purity is a great achievement in today's world, and for some
people it may look very far off. But take that first step today and you will
get there in the end. Every time you say no to yourself, no matter how
insignificant it seems, you have taken another step. If you fall, you don't
go backwards--you are still where you left off last. Just stand up and
continue the journey.