Guard Your Eyes

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A website for Jews struggling to maintain their moral purity in today's world
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251.
In chizuk e-mail #248 we brought some excerpts from a fascinating article by the religious psychologist and therapist, Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin called "Psychological Factors in Sexual Acting Out". It is a wonderful article to help those who struggle with intense sexual desire and unhealthy addictions to understand the root of the subconscious needs they are trying to fill. Once a person understands this, they can fight it better, both on their own and through therapy (see our Therapy Page for Therapy Options).
 
Part 2:
 
What are the early emotional traumas that may make it more likely for someone to develop an addiction to sexual acting out? There are many different possibilities, of course, but the following is a small sampling. A young child in an emotionally supportive home, when dealing with frustration, anxiety, alarm, fear, or dread will feel comfortable turning to his parents for comfort and support. They will protect, reassure, sooth and guide him, thus teaching him by their reactions that; 1) The world is not such a frightening place; 2) Most problems have solutions; 3) Sharing problems with others makes problems easier to deal with. The child will have been soothed by his parents and will learn that comfort is achieved in an interpersonal venue.

In a less emotionally supportive home, parents are sometimes the source of the pressure the child is experiencing and even if the pressure is from external sources, the child doesn't feel comfortable sharing the problem with his parents. Since he cannot address the problem interpersonally he seeks solitary solutions for self-soothing which often involve acting out in a sexual manner. Besides the release experienced via the pleasurable experience itself, there is the additional benefit that he is not dependent on (unreliable) others for relief.

Later in life, even if the person's life becomes more manageable (perhaps as the result of therapy), there is still a feeling that without constant vigilance things will go bad again, so there is often chronic "low voltage" stress which provokes the old "solitary solution." For example, someone who has been hyper-sensitized by chronic emotional abuse early in life may feel pressure to be extra nice to his wife to ensure that she does the same for him since he cannot tolerate even mild criticism. This person may, in fact, have a good marriage with no discernable stress, but the effort to avoid the slightest bit of disharmony (rather than communicating openly and calmly about differences) can exact a tremendous emotional toll. The habituated response to this chronic strain may very well be solitary self-soothing.

A person who had suffered from years of parental rejection will likely remain overly sensitized to being rebuffed for any reason and to any degree. Even if he's happily married and his wife is usually very affectionate, if she, on rare occasions, is not in the mood for relations, he will likely feel overwhelmingly rejected and deprived, and this may also provoke the old "solitary solution."
252.
The Gemara (Maseches Gitten 57b) tells the story of four hundred boys and girls who were taken captive by the Romans and transported by ship for immoral purposes. To avoid this, they all jumped off the boat and drowned. About this the Gemara quotes the posuk which states, "Because for your sake we are killed all day long, we are considered as sheep for slaughter" (Tehillim 44:23).
 
If, G-d forbid, you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel you're going to bust with lust, and you try to strengthen yourself and read through some tips on the site, but your mind is just filled with desire and you just can't seem to shake it. And you are truly afraid that you are going to fall back to your old ways and seek out hard-core pictures of flesh again... Wait! Before you give in, we have one more tip for you to try. It's admittedly extreme, and we would be reluctant to even offer this tip if it wasn't Tisha Be'av today... But as a last resort, maybe it's worth a try... Before you give in and go back to your on-line virtual "flesh friends", we want you to try first viewing some other hard-core pictures of flesh. These pictures are guaranteed to turn you OFF and help you remember the saying of our Sages: "Remember from where you came and to where you are going, and you won't come to sin. From where did you come? From a putrid drop. And to where are you going? To a place of of dust and worms". These pictures will also remind you how fragile life is, how ugly flesh is, and how vengeful Hashem can be when the Jewish people sin. And the Zohar says that there is no sin that arouses the wrath of G-d upon the Jewish people like sexual sins.
 
Click here for the page. WARNING: THE IMAGES ARE VERY GRAPHIC! Bookmark the page for times of emergency only. And remember, it is better to be grossed out in this world than to sin against G-d and be grossed out by your own actions in the world of truth.
 
(See also tip #12 on this page for another "Turn-Off" page. Again, for cases of emergency only!).
253.
For those who did not get a chance to download the video account of "Life-after-Death" that we sent out a few days ago, a transcript of the important parts of the account can be read here.
 
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Someone asked us recently the following question. "How does one know that Hashem has accepted his Teshuva, especially for sexual sins?"
 
Here are three different answers, all of which are true.

1) Chaza"l say that true Teshuvah is acheived "Ki'sheme'id alav yode'ah talumos shelo yashuv lekislo od" - Translation: "When G-d, who knows all hidden things, bears witness on him that he will not go back to his bad ways again". But how does a person know when G-d bears witness on him? The Ba'al Hasulam explains that when a person truly feels that it would be as bad for him to go back to his old ways as sticking his hand into fire, that is a sure sign that Hashem has testified on him that he will never go back to his old ways!
 
2) The Ramba"m writes that true Teshuvah is achieved when you have the same opportunity to sin as you did before, and the same desire, and yet you don't. If that happens, you will know that you have done true Teshuvah.

3) The holy Chassidic master, Rabbi Mendel of Vitebsk writes (in his sefer Pri Ha'aretz) that true Teshuvah is through Messiras Nefesh (to be ready to die for it) and he explains that a person can reach this level if they feel so bad about their sins that they would rather to be dead than to do these sins again. If a person feels this way, then they know they have done an exalted Teshuvah.
 
May Hashem help us all achieve a true Teshuvah!
254.
Important note to all members: Our forum is now 100% anonymous. You don't need to register with your real e-mail address anymore. You can browse the forum and post anytime as a "Guest". In each post, you can use in a "fake" e-mail address and username! So make the most of it, and post your struggles, tips and stories, and get advice from the experts!
 
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Summer time is harder. Wherever you go, there are mixed crowds of vacationers and immodestly dressed women. One-time-addicts are especially sensitive to what they see on the street. The nature of the addiction causes the chemicals in the mind to be quickly aroused. It is not enough to say "I am working on myself and I can be strong". Anything you see can trigger a strong rush to the brain. We have to be willing to admit this to ourselves and take extra precautions.
 
Tip #1. Every time you see something that causes a strong feeling of desire, say these few words: "G-d!! I want to love you, not women!". You may feel at first you are lying to yourself. But if you learn to do this often, you will start to see wonders! Not only does this relieve the desire somewhat (in that you are transferring the rush of lust to G-d), it is also a great spiritual feat that gives G-d great pleasure and can shake all the heavens!
 
Tip #2. Stay home as much as possible. Yes, it's hard. The kids and wife want to go on vacations and outings. Don't refuse them altogether, but limit it as much as possible, and insist as much as you can on going to areas with less people or religious crowds, preferably non-mixed. A disease is a disease. In the same way that someone allergic to pollen tries to stay indoors as much as possible during allergy season, we have to be willing to admit our weakness and be proud that we are doing the right thing.
 
Tip #3. If you must go into an area with non-religious, mixed crowds - Here are two tip to help you guard your eyes.

a. Commit to pinch yourself every time you gaze improperly at a woman.

b. Buy a pair of sunglasses that people from the outside cannot see through. Then, paste non-clear laminating paper on the insides of the lenses. This will allow you to see only vague shapes through the lenses, and if you look downwards you will still be able to see your feet and immediate area while you walk.

Some of these tips might sound extreme, but people who are allergic to pollen sometimes go around wearing 3M pollen masks, as well as sunglasses to protect their eyes. This is not just an allergy. This is your very soul at risk!

255.
Important Note to Members:
 
Moshe Rabbeinu said in last week's Parsha - "Aich Esa Livadi?" - "How can I carry alone?". It is difficult to recover from an addiction on your own. Someone wrote us today that he believes it would be very helpful if we had a "sponsor" or "chavrusah" system where people would pair up with someone else anonymously and act as "sponsors" for each other. They would update each other on their progress every few days, and they would tell each other of their struggles and give each other encouragement. This is truly a wonderful idea. Accountability is a powerful incentive to stay strong, so as not to dissappoint your "e-mail buddy".
 
So, if you're sincere in making progress and want to help someone else make progress too, here's what we'll do. Make an anonymous e-mail address like eicha_esa_levadi@gmail.com and send it to our "Sponsor & Accountability Partner" section of the Forum. To avoid confusion, every time two new e-mail addresses are posted, I will pair them up with each other and let the two of them know.
 
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Here are some excerpts from an article on www.chabad.org that deals with recovery from addictions.
 
Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger has worked with addicts for twenty years. He is the creator of a national seminar which integrates kabbalah and the 12 steps of Alcohol Anonymous, and the director of Chabad Project PRIDE, an addiction crisis drop-in center in Montreal.
 
(For our purposes, substitute the words "drugs" or "food" below, with the word "Lust").
 
As an observant Jew, and especially a rabbi, I am exposed to prayer and praying on a regular basis. Yet, I learned one of my most favorite prayers from a recovering crack addict. He told me that whenever he feels the urge to use drugs, he closes his eyes and prays: "Please G-d, help me find in You what I am looking for in the drug."

The Kabbalists teach us that nestled within every created thing is a spark of G-dliness. When the human body hungers for a piece of physical bread, this is but a reflection of its soul's craving for the spark in the bread. The craving is coming from the holiest place within each one of us -- our soul.

The very fact that we have this yearning is powerful proof of how G-dly we really are! Our prayer is a way to ask for Divine assistance; we're asking to be able to discover what it is we are really looking for.

So next time you feel a pull, an urge to use -- stop, close your eyes, and ask G-d to help you find in Him what you're looking for in that desire.

256.
Here are some excerpts from an inspiring story recently posted on our forum
 
After G-d placed me at the crossroads, and i found myself having to confront my demons, that I have been hesitant (or perceived as unable ) to confront, I went on a drive to clear my mind.
I shut the radio. I was driving in silence, but my mind was filled with noise. Very loud noise.
My mind was racing with all sorts of options for the path I would take for the rest of my life.
Was I ready to give up sin?
Would I survive a life without masturbation and illicit sex?
Would I manage to never again watch TV or movies?
Was I ready to finally commit to Hashem after all these years for real?
Would Hashem even accept my Tefilos and my teshuva? I was, after all, a soul that was filthy and ruined.
Would I have the guts to cut off all contact with people who had helped me sin?
My mind was hoping for the answer to all of the above to be a resounding "YES", but the Yetzer Hara (who of course came along with me for the drive) was tapping me on the shoulder and trying to tell me to just give it all up, and forget Hashem, and go live a "good" life of sin.

I cried like a baby on that car drive.

I listened to some wonderful CD's of Rabbanim discussing Teshuva etc., and it felt as if they were talking directly to me and giving me the courage to go with what i always wanted deep down in the depths of my Neshama.

By the time that drive was over (it was many, many hours of driving) I had made my decision, and there was no turning back.
I came home and went directly to my computer, and deleted  any email addresses, blogs, or other accounts that I had that were in any way related to sin.
I slowly started purging my home of any influences of sin. I got rid of Movies, magazines etc.

I think I know myself very well, the only thing that works for me specifically is to combat Tumah with Tahara.
I knew from past experiences, and from past chapters in my life, that whenever my situation of Tahara (i.e. Torah study etc.) was elevated, my Tumah was weakened.

I started davening with Kavanah, and I started learning a lot of Torah (though it is far from enough)
I installed a filter on all my computers, and started seeking out sites of interest to replace the sites of sin that used to fill my down time. (which is how I found this site, Baruch Hashem)

The main things to remember are:
a) Never trust yourself totally (as the Mishna says) and always be on the lookout for the Yetzer Hara's new trap.
b) Hashem loves us more than we can ever love him (so says Rav Moshe Chaim Luzatto), and he wants us to do Teshuva and will wait our entire lives for us to do it.

I am sure that many people who know me (or those who I no longer allow to know me) say that I went mad! Perhaps.
But I will take being mad and following in Hashem's path any day, over being "normal" and following in the Yetzer Hara's path.

May Hashem give me (and all of you reading this) the inner strength to persevere, and be amongst the select few who merit to join Mashiach  in the rebuilding of the Bais hamikdash and the glorification of Hashem's name very soon.
257.
A Member posted on forum...
 
One thing that works is Tefillah. Instead of asking Hashem for all the things YOU want, thank HIM for all the things he has done for you lately, like giving you a day without acting out.  Keep doing this every day and you will see and feel the results of calm and serenity. When you're calm and serene, living in the present moment, instead of being angry or ashamed of your past and worrying about the future, you will not act out.
 
I once heard from Rav Akiva Tatz shlita to describe the difference between serving Hashem and serving Avoda Zara: They pray to their false G-ds to do for them what they want. We Pray to Hashem to give us strength to do what He wants from us!
259.
In the summer time, many people have lots of time on their hands. The Michtav M'Eliahu (R. Dessler zt"l) writes that the mind is like a vast empty field. This field will not remain empty. If you do not fill it with good positive thoughts, or busy yourself with something, whether it be learning, working, etc, the yetzer harah will surely fill all of this empty space. So, if we keep ourselves intellectually busy, there will not remain any empty spaces for the yetzer to fill.
 
Check out the newly updated Kosher Isle section of our site, for hundreds of ideas and links, to kosher news, kosher video entertainment, kosher radio, music, video shiurim and much more!
 
And you can help others too! Please send us any good links you know of, that can help people fill the time on their hands with 100% kosher media; websites, movies, activities and Torah. The links and ideas should also be at least one of the following: 1) intellectually stimulating, 2) interesting, 3) fun or 4) inspiring. Thank you!
260.
Rallying Battle Cry!
 
Listen up, all you spiritual warriors on our list!
 
We keep receiving e-mails from people how difficult the struggle is and how they keep slipping...
 
Dear Yidden!
 
We know how powerful lust is, and how insidious the addiction can be! BUT...
 
We know that the addiction is destroying our lives, in this world and the next.
We know that it is taking us a way from our priorities in life, from Hashem, from our family and from realizing our potentials.
We know we are not here in this world for pleasure, but rather to work and prepare for the real thing in the next world.
We know that there's really nothing there but a bunch of hot-air that pops in your face as soon as the yetzer hara gets what he wants.
We know that these are non-healthy desires, they are an addiction, a disease, an immaturity.
We know that the more we feed it, the more "he" wants.
We know the Yetzer Hara wants our souls, not the pleasure. Otherwise, why is it never enough?
We know this is our mission in life, to fight this insidious evil, for ourselves and for the honor of Hashem's crown.
We know that we cannot bargain with the addiction. Half measures avail to nothing!
We know that "Just once" means giving up, because it won't solve anything. It will just send us back to square one!
 
Dear Yidden!
 
We are a mature adults who can make the right choices!!
 
It's time to stop beating around the bush and take a stand against this!!
ARE YOU READY TO WORK ON YOURSELVES? ARE YOU READY TO TAKE A STAND?!
 
If yes, then there are ways! There is hope!
 
There are tried and proven methods!
- There's a weekly Hotline (the "Jewish Healing Group") with experienced therapists. WHY HAVEN'T YOU JOINED YET???
- Have you installed a strong filter or accountability software?
- Have you tried to get an accountability partner or sponsor on our forum?
- Are you working through the tips on our site, reading and implementing one or two each day??
- Have you tried using vows (or strong commitments) to make it harder for you to slip (such as: vowing for two weeks to donate $10 to Tzedaka each time you slip, or vowing to take a 15 minute run before you give in)???
 
Listen up you all! We can't help those who are not going to take advantage of the tools that are available to them!
 
There are tried and proven methods that CAN help you, if you believe you can be helped and are determined to be helped!
 
Hashem only helps those who help themselves! Decide TODAY what you want, and stop holding on to both ends of the stick!
 
Join our vibrant community of spiritual warriors, dedicated religious Jews, like yourself - who are FINALLY TAKING A STAND AGAINST THIS EVIL!
261.
I came across some great chizuk that "Mevakesh Hashem" posted on our forum to someone who is just starting out on their journey and is having a hard time:
 
When the Yetzer Hara realizes that you are ready for real to give up the evil addiction, that's when he tightens the screws and convinces you with all sorts of rationalizations that you "simply cannot" give it up. He makes you feel helpless and as if you are a slave to your addiction.

Don't let him win you over again!!

Think about it objectively. Try looking at yourself from an outsider's perspective.

Imagine you were peeking in the window of your room and watching yourself!

What do you see?

You see an otherwise intelligent, caring, mature man sitting staring at a screen at images that aren't even real, and were produced by the lowest people alive today.

You see people on the screen doing disgusting things that if your wife would do, you would never respect her ever again, and perhaps even divorce her.

You see yourself getting aroused by this garbage. You see yourself doing things to yourself that will cause you endless pain and suffering in the next world.

You see yourself spilling seed in vain, and creating countless angels of wrath that will haunt you for all eternity.

You see yourself having "imagined pleasure" for 30 seconds, followed by "real guilt" for a lot longer afterwards.

It's pretty horrible and despicable, don't you agree?

But it gets worse...

Now, imagine......

Instead of you at the window watching yourself, it was your wife watching this whole horrible scene unfolding.....or your Rebbe...or your best friend....or your children (G-d forbid).....

You would do anything in the world to undo the fact that these loved ones ever saw you in such a state of evil weakness, and wish you never ever had done it even once!!

The shame of that happening would be unbearable.....

Well, hopefully your loved ones never saw you in a state of masturbation, and hopefully you will never do it again....

BUT....remember....Hashem is ALWAYS at the window (It says about Hashem that he is a "Mashgiach Min Hachalonos"). He saw everything you did. He sees you now. He will see you if you ever do such a vile thing again!

The shame of Hashem seeing you like this, is the most unbearable shame imaginable. The judgement for living in sin like this is indescribable.....

But, Hashem also loves you (more than any of your "loved ones") and has brought you here to this website, amongst people who have struggled with the same issues as you. Hashem is telling you that he is willing to forgive the past, if you repent, and willing to give you the strength to overcome in the future, if you really want to!

THE YETZER HARA WILL DO EVERYTHING IN HIS POWER TO MAKE IT ALL SEEM OK. HE WILL MAKE THE GIRLS ON THE SCREEN SEEM REAL AND PLEASURABLE. HE WILL MAKE THE FEELING OF MASTURBATION FEEL LIKE THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD. HE WILL MAKE IT SEEM AS IF YOU ARE ALONE IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR ROOM. HE WILL MAKE IT SEEM AS IF YOU WERE BORN WITH THIS INADEQUACY AND HASHEM UNDERSTANDS THAT AS A HUMAN YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO MASTURBATE.

DO NOT LISTEN TO THE YETZER HARA!!! HE HAS ONLY ONE THING IN MIND: BRINGING YOU DOWN FOR ETERNITY!

ONLY HASHEM HAS YOUR BEST INTERESTS IN MIND, AND WANTS YOU TO RUN BACK TO HIM FAST!!!

CHAZAK V'EMATZ!!!!
262.
In this week's Parsha it says: "And Hashem will wipe out the goyim from before you slowly but surely, but you cannot destroy them quickly, lest the animals of the field increase upon thee". I always wondered about this. After all, if Hashem can bring the 10 plagues on Egypt and split the sea, why can't he wipe out the goyim in Eretz Yisrael in one fell swoop? Is Hashem really worried about the increase of the animals? Is that something harder to deal with then getting rid of these great nations?
 
It occurred to me that maybe there is a far deeper meaning here. All the creations of the world have a connection to Hashem based on their needs. The more someone "needs" Hashem, the more connection they have with him. Hashem told the snake after the sin of the Etz Hada'as "and you shall eat the dust of the earth all the days of your life", and Rashi explains that Hashem wanted no connection with the snake and therefore gave him his food wherever he goes. However, the other animals of the field need to ask Hashem for food every day, as it says in Tehillim "Livakesh Mikel Ochlam" - "they ask from Hashem their food".
 
Now Hashem wanted human beings to have even more connection with him than the animals, and therefore humans don't have a natural way to get food like the animals do, but rather are dependant on owning land, toiling the soil, rainfall, and on a good crop and harvest. In last week's Parsha, one of the praises mentioned of Eretz Yisrael is "Limtar Hashamayim Tishteh Mayim" - "From the heavens you will drink water", and the Pasuk goes on to say - "not like Eretz Mitzrayim which drinks like a watered garden from the Nile". But why is that a praise? It would seem that Mitzrayim is more fortunate than Israel! The answer is that Hashem wants more of a connection with us than he wants with the Egyptiams. To them he gave them the Nile river so that they don't need rain fall at all and don't need Hashem at all. However, Eretz Yisrael drinks from the heavens, and like it says; "the eyes of Hashem are on the land [of Israel] from the beginning of the year until the end". Eretz Yisrael needs special divine intervention for water, and the praise of this is that the Jewish people living there are always dependant on Hashem for rainfall and therefore remain strongly connected with him. After all, like it says in last weeks Parsha, "and you will receive buildings that you didn't build, wells which you didn't dig, vineyards that you didn't plant, etc..." and the Yidden will have everything they need in Eretz Yisrael. If they weren't dependant on Hashem at least for rainfall, they would no longer need him and quickly forget him.
 
The same applies with our enemies. And that is why it says in this weeks Parsha that although Hashem will wipe out the goyim from before us slowly but surely, still, he will not destroy them fast - "lest the animals of the field increase upon thee". What this perhaps means is, that if Hashem would wipe out our enemies all at once, we would no longer feel a need to depend on him. The words "lest the animals of the field increase upon thee" mean to hint perhaps, that if Hashem would destroy our enemies fast then even the animals of the field would "increase" over us, meaning that the animals would have even more of a connection with Hashem than we would.
 
And that is why Hashem has given us the Yetzer Hara as well. He wants a connection with us! He wants us to know that we need him, and that without his constant help, we are lost. And that is also why Hashem doesn't destroy the Yetzer Hara in one fell swoop once a person decides to do Teshuvah. Instead, each time we think we got rid of him, he keeps coming back again and again. Only "slowly but surely" does Hashem wipe him out from before us. For if Hashem would get rid of the Yetzer Hara all at once, we wouldn't need him any more and we wouldn't feel dependant on him. And this "connection" that we have to Hashem through our struggles with the Yetzer Hara, is even more important to Hashem than the falls that we have as a result of Him not removing the Yetzer Hara altogether as soon as we want to do Teshuvah.
 
To sum it all up: The most important thing to Hashem is not our progress in destroying the Yetzer Hara, but rather our dependency on him, and our constant knowledge that we need Hashem every day anew to help us break free of our #1 enemy.
263.
From Reb Nachman's Wisdom #6
 
The evil urge is similar to a prankster running through a crowd showing his tightly closed hand. No one knows what it is he is holding. He goes up to each person and asks, "What do you suppose I have in my hand?" Each person imagines that the closed hand has in it just what he desires most. They all hurry and run after the prankster. Then, when he has tricked them enough, that they are following him, he opens his hand. It is completely empty! The same is true of the evil one. He tricks the world, fooling them into following him. Everyone thinks that his hand contains what they need. In the end, the evil one opens his hand. There is nothing in it and no desire is ever fulfilled. Worldly pleasures are just like sunbeams in a dark room. They may actually seem solid, but when a person tries to grasp a sunbeam they find nothing in their hand. The same is true of all worldly desires.
264.
People often ask us how to avoid sexual thoughts and fantasies from plaguing them. Normally we refer them to this page of our FAQ section, but today I want to discuss another important facet as well. There is a common theme throughout Chassidic literature, that the more a person does through action and deed, then the more his mind and thoughts are changed as well.
 
The Parsha of Ekev starts with the words "Vehaya Ekev Tishma'un". Rashi writes that the word "Ekev" which means "heel", symbolizes Mitzvos of "lesser importance". The Beis Ahron of Karlin explains that this is refering to "Action", i.e. the physical act of the Mitzvos, which are of lesser importance than holy thoughts. It is important to point out that there is a difference between the "Ikar" (the main) and the "Chashuv" (the important). The "Ikar" of the Mitzvos is the Ma'aseh - the deed. But the "Chashuv" part of the Mitzva is the thought, that one is doing Hashem's will. Explains the Beis Ahron, "Vehaya Ekev Tishma'un". If you will do the Ekev - the lesser important, physical act of the Mitzvos, then "Tishma'un" - your mind will become uplifted as well and you will merit the "Chashuv" part of the Mitzvos too.
 
The same applies in the area of bad thoughts. The more a person "does" by not doing (as Chaza"l say, that one who sits and doesn't do an aveira is considered as if he did a mitzvah), then the clearer one's thoughts will become and the fantasies will be less intense and less often. Every time you turn away from looking at something bad and every time you say "no" to the addiction, you are changing your mind as well.

And this is one of the foundations of The 12 steps. As it is written in the books, that even when a new behavior seems insignificant, by believing in the importance of what we are doing, we start to see real changes in our thinking and behavior. Every little time we take "action" by saying "no" to the addiction, no matter how small and insignificant it seems to us, we are changing our thought patterns in the place where it really counts, in the "Chashuv" - the mind.  

265.
The Jews who left Egypt didn't make it into the Holy Land. They couldn't believe that Hashem was strong enough to conquer so many powerful nations. But even though they didn't make it, their children did, as is says "and your children who you said would be plundered, they will come there, and they will inherit the land".
 
However, it is important to realize that the children who entered Israel still entered on the shoulders of their fathers. Even though the fathers hadn't finished their jobs, they had already accomplished a lot just by "leaving Egypt". It wasn't in the merit of the children alone that they made it into Israel. This is an important concept to understand. What we don't finish fixing in our life-times is often passed on to our children to finish. There is no escaping it, the job must be done. But the more we do of the job that we were given in our life-time, the less our offspring will need to struggle down the line.  
 
"Stopping the bad behaviors" is analogous to leaving Egypt. And being truly "free" from the addiction, with a clear mind and holy thoughts, is perhaps analogous to entering the Holy Land. Often after leaving Egypt, one still finds it hard to trust enough in themselves/G-d that he will one day make it into the Holy Land as well. However he should know, that the simple fact that he has left Egypt behind makes him worthy enough that G-d will help - either him or his offspring, to merit "entering the land of Israel" one day, and achieving true purity and freedom.
 
Every time we say "no" to our Yetzer Hara, we are in essence saving our future descendants from these same struggles. And no matter what we accomplish at the end of the day, we must always remember and believe that none of our work goes to waste.
266.
Here are some excerpts from a discussion on our Forum that's just packed with great tips and chizuk! (Some slight editing was done to make it easier to read).
 
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"Frumthinker" writes:
 
I came across this site today, and I felt compelled to make some comments here. I won't say that I am very far along with controlling my own addiction - far from it. I just want to share some thoughts that help me with this challenge, and hopefully will help someone else too.  I was raised in a conventional frum environment - right wing yeshiva, top-level high school, night college with learning half a day. I *never* was able to control myself in this area. I won't go through the details of my cycles of guilt before Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur, and the inevitable slipping immediately after. We've all been there.
 
When I am tempted (which I am every day), I try to think of how I will feel after wasting *countless* hours masturbating to Internet porn. How well will I do my job the next day? Just recently, I was on a business trip. I was exhausted when I arrived, but I still spent 3-4 hours online in my hotel room. Imagine how it was to wake up the next morning! This has happened to me many times!
 
Also, try adding up all the hours you spent, and think about something you could have learnt or done in that time. And I'm not even talking about Torah learning, although that would be great. You could have learnt to play the guitar, a new language, some area of your work that you could study in more detail, or read something on a totally different field that might make you a more interesting person. Just do something more useful!

I welcome your feedback!

 
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"Me" writes:
 
Shalom Frumthinker, I think it is great that you are here, and the first thing you should know is that we are all here for one reason. We want it to be different! We have decided that in spite of the daily trials, we want to change. We are tired of throwing in the towel. We realize that to change is not a simple matter, therefore we are all here to support one another.
   
As far your points. I believe that all of us have considered how much time we have wasted over the years. Thousands of hours completely wasted on nothingness. And in the end we got nothing in return, except the heartache, exhaustion, poor family relationships.  But I think that you will agree that thinking about the waste of time has NOT helped you with this struggle. Why? Because as soon as Mr.yetzer comes back for another round, there is only one thing that you need at that moment, and this is your daily fix. The thought of wasting time when you are under his spell will have NO affect. I think that you will agree with me. Please don't forget one thing. The yetzer is so smart that he will let all of us here think about "why did I do this, why did I waste so much time, why, why why?" In fact, through his trickery he is really  fooling us in to believing that through our remorse, and introspection, we are actually doing something about our problem. So, he let's us feel good by thinking that we really are in fact tending to this disease. But he has his limits. Just as long as we don't DO anything about it. Yes, he will let us think as much as we wish about how we want to change, and how we are really not satisfied with our actions...just as long as we don't make concrete changes.
   
Frumthinker, if you want to even have a chance to change, to finally go up, and make things different, then you will need to pull a fast one on the yetzer. The next time "he" starts telling you how you need to change, and he will say to you "we have to look for ways to get out of this, just look at what it does to our marriage etc, etc, and look how much time we waste each day on nonsense, you are so intelligent, how can you possibly allow yourself to  waste countless hours on this trivial tumah. You are much much smarter than this!" But when he finishes talking to you, pull the fast one on him, and remove your access to porn. Yes, trick the trickster and do what he says before he starts to change his tune. Don't think about it, there is NO time to think and reconsider. You have been thinking all of your life. And this is indeed what an intelligent person does, BUT, with the yetzer harah (who also knows how to think), we must STOP thinking and start DOING. There is no time to waste. Use your wisdom, and consider ways to cut yourself off from porn. This is the only way. NO porn = no masturbation = no wasted time = no.....etc !
 
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"Elya K" writes:

Welcome Frumthinker. It's easy to tell you what to do, but until you experience sobriety for awhile you will never get to feel the joy of serenity.  I've told many people on and off this forum to get blocks for their computer.  They cry to me that they have to stop and ask me "what can I do?". But when I recommend they put a block on their computer their answer is "No, I'm not ready for that".

There are chemical imbalances in the brain caused by watching porn on the internet.  If you don't believe it, explain to me why it is so hard to stop. And why are there are withdrawal symptoms where you actually shake and sweat? But psychologically, when you know you don't have access, you forget about it eventually. I'm not saying you will never think about it, but the block is a great tool... an essential tool... to help you heal and get better.

The proven twelve step approach is actually a quest for spirituality. This is a disease of "lack of spirituality".  You're constantly looking outside of yourself for validation, acceptance, companionship... for intimacy.  But true intimacy is sharing everything, not hiding it from those you love.  How long do you want to continue living a lie, to keep covering up everything you do so your wife won't find out? Eventually she will and then it will be too late.  Get some counseling and your counselor or a sponsor/friend will help you and let you know when it is safe to tell your wife. Once you do that, it will release your mind and jet you on the way to recovery.
267.
Taken from www.ilovetorah.com
 
Once, when Rabbi Pinchas of Korets entered his Beis Medresh, study hall, he noticed that his students stopped conversing and then started again. He asked them what it was they were talking about. They told the Rebbe that they were saying how they were afraid that the Yetzer Hara, the evil inclination, would pursue them. The Rebbe responded, "Don't worry. You aren't on such a high level. You're still pursuing him!"

When I first heard this story, it really hit home base for me. Every time I have told it over, it has almost shocked the listeners. It's funny how the simple words of rabbi Pinchas of Korets contain, for most, the antidote for overcoming much of their struggles with their Yetzer Hara.

The Yetzer Hara, guided by the Satan, is said to get stronger everyday as one grows in their level of Yiddishkite, Judaism. Someone once said to his Rebbe, "I wish I had your Yetzer Hara."  The Rabbi taken aback said strongly, in a stern voice, "Chas V Shalom, G-D forbid."  The student innocently thought that because his rabbi was so pure it must be that his Yetzer Hara, evil inclination wasn't so strong. But the real truth is that the higher one's level of piety, the stronger their Yetzer Hara has to become. After all, aren't we supposed to struggle in life with free choice? Without a Yetzer Hara, being a pious man would be easy and therefore have little value to Hashem and ourselves. To value something, you must work for it.
 
So if it feels like the Yetzer Hara is just getting stronger each day, take heart! That means you are growing each day!
268.
We've been working for the past few months with a 20 year old Ba'al Teshuvah, unmarried and schooling in a secular environment. Through great self-sacrifice he has been clean for close to a half a year already. Recently however, he has been feeling a bit frustrated and sent us the following e-mail:
 
Dear GuardurEyes, You've helped me so much to subdue my por-no and masturbation habit. I am so glad to be done with this. I feel almost sterile, with almost no desire to masturbate at all. However, quite frankly, I would like to know that all the suffering I have given myself over by not pursuing women has some meaning on High. Why can't I simply feel something special when I serve G-d, for example when I put on Tefillin? I have no joy from doing these things, but I do them anyway. Why don't you ask Hashem to help me have joy and simcha when serving him, since you seem to have a close connection with Him and He never answers my cries anyway. And while you are at it, tell Him that I feel that He doesn't care about me at all, and that I feel alone without Him, and that it would do a lot of good if He could just stop by from time to time and say "hello." 
 
Since we can all probably relate to his struggles and feelings to some degree, I thought that today we could all try to be Mitchazek together in his merit!
 
Dear mighty spiritual soldier!
 
Your e-mail literally made me cry! You should know that you have a great soul and great strengths, and you are from G-d's select few in today's world who are able to remain clean in these areas. You are shaking the upper worlds with your self-sacrifice. But if Hashem would stop by and say hello, it would be all over. Hashem is loving it too much, and he doesn't want the great game of "Hide-&-Seek" that he is playing with you to end so fast.
 
Hashem is SO awesome and exalted - and your reward is so great, that when Moshiach comes (any day now!) or after 120 years, you will wish you could go back to those days where you had a chance to serve almighty G-d even though he was so hidden. If you would actually "know" what you are accomplishing by serving him, by going against your nature for him to the extent that you are, if you would only know, you would beg once again not to know.
 
This alone should give you tremendous joy.
- The fact that you have the great honor to serve such an awesome G-d, who created everything that exists in the universe and in all the upper spiritual worlds...
- The fact that you have the honor to be one of his great warriors on this dark Earth where he has hidden himself so well...
- The fact that you are giving Hashem such Nachas Ruach with your self sacrifice...
This should all be enough to make you want to dance!!
 
Chassidic literature often emphasizes how important it is for a Jew to value each and every deed that he does for Hashem, no matter how small. It is brought down from Tzaddikim that more a person values every little thing he does for Hashem - the more precious it is in the eyes of Hashem as well. One great Chassidic Master went as far to say that a Jew should feel he wouldn't sell the smallest thing that he did for Hashem for all the riches in the world! If we would only be successful to internalize this, we would be the richest people alive! Think about it. You said "no" to the Yetzer Hara today, or you put on Teffilin. Even though we are not on the spiritual level to feel the "divine light" of the Mitzvah that we did, still, if someone would come and offer us a million bucks to sell him that Mitzva, would we sell it? No! So in a very real sense, every Mitzva is (or should be) more precious to us than winning the lottery. So I ask, how can one feel down when he is winning the lottery every day?!
 
As far as feeling lonely and not feeling a connection with Hashem, one can indeed feel this way if we view Hashem as some sublime essence, detached from us lowly humans and somewhere up there in Heaven. However, the most central theme in Chassidus, and perhaps the Ba'al Shem Tov's greatest revelation was that Hashem is everywhere and in everything, even in the most lowly things! Let me explain how far this goes... In every bit of "desire" or "love" we feel, even in sinful ways, there lies the "fallen" light of "G-dly love and desire". If we understand this great secret, we begin to feel G-d in everything we see and in our own hearts as well. Instead of being pulled after the "fallen" love and pleasures that tempt us every day, we learn instead to turn our hearts to the source of all love, pleasure and beauty - G-d Himself. One who learns this great art merits to live with G-d all day, every day. He doesn't need G-d to come down from Heaven and say "hello" because G-d is right there with him at all times. 
269.
Mevakesh Hashem posted on the forum:
 
We have to realize that if and when you fall occasionally, IT SHOULD NOT GET YOU DOWN!!!  The very fact that the falling makes you feel bad and guilty shows how high you have climbed! That same "falling" was everyday happening in the "old you" and you didn't give it a second thought!

Snax posted on the forum:

I came across a Tosfos Yom Tov in Avos which I would like to share with you. One of the miracles that occurred during the time of the Bais Hamikdash was that the Kohen Godel never had to be replaced by a different Kohen during Yom Kippur because he became a Baal Keri. The question is, that since the Kohen was placed in a special room seven days before Yom Kippur where he would be B'Keduasha Ub'Tahara as seen in Meseches Yuma, then why should he become a Baal Keri? On this the Tosfos Yom Tov  (B'shem Midrash Shmuel) answers that the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Hora are fighting a big battle and when the Yetzer Hora sees he's losing, he strengthens himself with all his might and could bring the Kohen to become a Baal Keri. And he brings as an example, just as we see that many dying men, right before they die they strengthen themselves and start talking as healthy men...

From this we see that falling is a sign of a falling Yetzer Hora Shocked and a strong you/us. Cheesy
270.
It is written in Pirkei Avos "Let the poor be members of your household and don't talk much with women". R' Nachman says that the Mishna is hinting to us a secret, namely, that Tzedaka is a great segulah not to come to sexual fantasies. Even so, continues R' Nachman, the Mishna is exhorting us not to talk much with women, because this segulah is only good to save a person from fantasies if he does not talk with women more than he needs to. And R' Nachman continues, that this is also the meaning of the words "Tzedaka Tatzil Mi'Maves" - "Tzedaka saves from death". For sexual fantasies, explains R' Nachman, are death itself.
 
On a practical level, if one commits (for a week at a time) to donate 25 cents to Tzedaka each time he lets himself dwell on a sexual fantasy, he will likely see good progress. Not only may this help psychologically to prevent him dwelling on such thoughts, but by donating the money to Tzedaka one will also be fulfilling the segulah and thereby prevent further thoughts from coming as well!
 
While we are on the subject of Pirkei Avos, I want to quote from a comment that someone posted on an article about Internet Filters (on a Religious Web-site):
 
"Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Yehuda the Prince said, good is Torah study together with a worldly occupation, for the exertion in both makes one forget sin". Also, a person is not allowed to injure himself. Watching pornography or sites that turn women into sexual objects is like swallowing poison.
271.
No matter how low a person may have fallen and no matter how severe the sins they have done, the doors of true T'shuvah are never closed and G-d's hands are always outstretched and waiting for us to return to him.
 
The main part of T'shuvah is to STOP sinning. The next step, is feeling bad for what we have done and asking G-d to forgive us. (But obviously if someone is not ready to stop, it doesn't help to ask G-d for forgiveness and it doesn't help how bad they feel).
  אני לדודי ודודי לי
I am to my Beloved [Hashem] and my beloved [Hashem] is to me.(Shir Hashirim 6:3). 
 
דרשו ד' בהמצאו קראהו בהיותו קרוב
Seek out Hashem when he is nearby, call out to him when he is near.(YeShaya 55:6)
 
Chazal tell us that the  Pesukim above  are referring to the month of Elul!
 
The 40 days from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Yom Kippur are a special period when Hashem is extremely close to us, and he is waiting for us to return to him, to do Teshuva (repentance) and to strengthen ourselves in Torah, Tefilah and Good Deeds. Not only is it important  to grow spiritually in this time period, it is also much easier to attain higher and loftier goals than it would normally be during the rest of the year. Let's take advantage of this closeness to Hashem and become better Jews in all areas of our lives , and thus hasten the coming of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the bais Hamikdash very soon. Amen!
 
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Some good Teshuvah links :
 
272.
Important anouncement to our members!
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Speak Confidentially & Anonymously with an experienced addiction sponsor, live.
Click here for more info.
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Posted by 'Mevakesh Hashem' on the forum:
 
One who thinks that they are ever "in full control" is opening himself up for a nasty fall, as the Yetzer Hara is a lot stronger than you!

One must ALWAYS realize that they are never "in full control", rather they are in the control of Hashem Yisborach! Then, and only then, does he have a chance of overcoming the Yetzer Hara, as Hashem is of course stronger than the Yetzer Hara.
 
Chaza"l say:Ytzro Shel Adam Misgaber Alav Bechol Yom Veilmalai Hakadosh Baruch Hu Ozer Lo, Aino Yuchal Lo. Translation: "The evil inclination of a man strengthens himself upon a man each day and desires to destroy him, and if G-d wouldn't help him he would not be able to defeat him"

We have to realize this. We have to believe this. We have to internalize this. Then we will be able to experience it and see the Yetzer Hara fall once and for all!
273.
The "Jewish Healing Group" had a great FREE session this past Tuesday night, with a professional sex-therapist on the line who offered a lot of important information of the nature of the addiction. One important aspect mentioned by the therapist was, that although we are all religious, Mussar and Chizuk alone are often not enough to break free from this insidious addiction. This is a disease on multiple levels, spiritual as well as psychological. Take for example someone who suffers from "heart palpitations". It is true that they need to learn how to live a calmer life without stress, but at the same time, if they don't take the medication as well, they won't be able to heal. It is the same with this addiction. Spiritual therapy must go hand-in-hand with psychological therapy. This includes group support, Psychoanalysis, reading books by the experts, learning the tried-and-proven methods, exploring the various treatment options and even sometimes medication.
 
Many people with this disease suffered from trauma in their childhood. Either they were verbally abused, or even physically or sexually abused. Also, often people who suffer from low-self esteem or depression are prime candidates for addiction, since they seek to fill the void they feel inside by "medicating" themselves through "sexual acting out". These issues need to be dealt with professionally. Mussar and Chizuk alone, no matter how inspiring, will not be sufficient to heal a scientifically proven psychological disorder.
 
Here are some great tips that we heard last night from the therapist, on the medical side of dealing with this addiction:
 
1) It is vital that treatment be given by someone trained specifically in sex addictions. www.sash.net - is a site that can help you locate a competent sex addiction therapist in your area. 
 
2) People who have suffered childhood trauma should look into getting treatment by someone trained in dealing with trauma. Here are two great treatment suggestions for childhood trauma.
a) EMDR treatment (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) by a competent therapist. This treatment is very helpful in removing the bad feelings that lead the patient subconsciously to act out.
 
b) Psycho Drama group therapy, where the patient sees others acting out the trauma and then reacts to it by screaming, beating on a pillow and getting it out.  (We know someone who has been using this technique very successfully for a while now. He claims it is the fastest way to really heal from emotional abandonment, trauma, and neglect. The technique, in his words, helps us "let go of the shame, guilt and abuse and literally mourn for ourselves that we went through this - NOT to blame anyone - just to mourn. Once we do that we can heal").
3) Some important books to read by the world-renowned sex addiction therapist Patrick Carnes"Out of the Shadows" and "Betrayal Bonds". Also: "Healing the Shame That Binds You" by Bradshaw. These books have actual exercises and assignments to help a person heal from the shame and the bonds we make with people who have abused us or betrayed us. Also, the SLAA books on sex addiction can be very helpful in learning the proven 12 steps to breaking free.
 
4) If you suffer from depression, look into antidepressant medication. If you suffer from obsessive sexual thinking, look into SSRI medication (scroll down in the link). Today, these medications can work wonders in tandem with therapy, and they have virtually no side-effects! Also, the therapist on the line last night explained that these meds do not have to be taken for life, but rather a period of 8-10 months is often enough to help you on your way to recovery. (All the ideas above can be "Googled" on-line for more information).
 
So dear Yidden! It is vital to realize that often it's not just a matter of chizuk and mussar. This is a medical condition and disease, and it must be treated as such, hand in hand with the spiritual healing.
 
For further questions and clarifications on the psychological aspects of healing from this insidious addiction/disease, please contact one of our most influential members, Elya K. He has a lot of experience and can help direct you to healing centers, treatment options and therapists. There are four ways you can reach him:
 
2) Post on the forum (he is very active there)
3) Join today the "Jewish Healing Group" that he organized and moderates once a week. Not only will you be able to talk to Elya and get group support, but the therapist on the line knows even more than him!
4) Call Elya direct, once a week. See here for more info. 
 
We've all waited too long. The time for excuses is over. Rosh Hashana is coming. Act today!
274.
Dear GaurdUrEyes,
 
I will give you a challenge. I look at porn sometimes but I am B'H not addicted. I have abstained for months at a time but I keep coming back to it. The reason I can't stop altogether is because I believe it is halachically permitted to look at porn if your going to have relations that night anyway. Now I Know that is not good for me, but since it is "mutter" in my eyes, I find it hard to hold myself back. I would like do discus this issue with a talmid chacham who will prove to me that it is "osser". If I know beyond reasonable doubt that there is no "heter", I will bezras Hashem be able to get myself out of it.
 
Thank You.
 
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Dear Anonymous,
 
A non-religious man once told the Brisker Rav that he doesn't believe in G-d because he has many questions. The Brisker Rav told him, "you don't have questions, you have answers". So my friend, if this question you ask is really an "answer" to why you aren't working on yourself, then I don't know if I can help you. However, I believe that the fact you are asking us this question, especially now in Elul, is because you genuinely want to stop these behaviors. You just feel you need to understand more how dangerous and sinful it is, so that you can convince the Yetzer Hara to leave you alone.
 
Last night, right after I received your e-mail, I happened to be speaking about our website with Rabbi Avraham J. Twersky, a world renowned leader in addictions and a true pioneer and Gadol in Klal Yisrael. He was very happy to hear about the things we are doing and offered to spread the word around, and even possibly to contribute some material to our website. I figured that while I had Rabbi Twerski on the line, I would ask him your question to hear his point of view. I read your question to him and his reply was unequivocal, that there's no question that any Posek you will ask will tell you that it is prohibited. He explained that your question was really the "addiction" speaking, and that this is one of the tricks of the addiction. Rabbi Twerski, being the founder of an Alcoholic Rehabilitation Center, compared your claim to an addict who says "I was just trying beer, I wasn't drinking whiskey"... I tried to explain to Rabbi Twerski that you claim you are not addicted and can abstain from these behaviors for months at a time. "So why did he have to go back to it?" he asked me. "I have a lot of people who will refuse to go to AA, and they'll find a hundred reasons not to go to AA. The underlying thing is, they don't want to hear what AA has to say, which is "you can never take a drink again".
 
That is Rabbi Twerski's take on the matter. Now I will also try to address your question as well, to the best of my abilities. As far as the prohibitions are concerned, anyone who is frum and has learned any Torah, should be aware of the severity of these sins. The Torah says "Thou shall not go astray after your hearts and after your eyes which lead you astray,". This applies to any image that arouses one's sexual inclination, and erotic images of any type are definitely forbidden. The Rabbis state that anyone who purposefully arouses his sexual organ is to be banished (Niddah 13A). The Gemara there even goes as far to say "Better one's stomach should burst than he should touch the area of his bris (and possibly bring himself to an erection)". And another Gemara says "better to walk behind a lion than to walk behind a woman". And another Gemara: "whoever brings himself to an erection is destroying the world". This is not Mussar or Chassidus, this is regular Gemara. Chaza"l were fire about this! The Medrash says that anyone who is not careful with gazing at women will come to sin with them in the end. Viewing porn is also included in the prohibition of "Lo Sikrevu Legalos Erva, Ani Hashem Elokeichem" - "Do not come close to revealing nakedness, for I am Hashem your G-d". There is no other Mitzva in the Torah where such terminology is used. Even with idol worship, the Torah doesn't say not to come close! Only with sexual matters, the Torah exhorts us to stay far away from it.  It is also interesting to note that the Torah uses the words "do not come close to reveal nakedness" and not "to sexual relations". This implies that "revealing nakedness" (i.e. even looking) is, on some level, as if one had already done the act.

This little test can be your meter - if an image triggers a sexual twitch, a stronger heartbeat, sweaty palms, or even a silent, "Wow!" then you are polluting your soul, damaging your "Da'at," the ability to know G-d, and cutting yourself off from the Divine Presence, the Shechinah. The eyes are the windows to the soul and they are the vessels to receive the light of the Shechina. One who has damaged these vessels will not be able to bask in the glory of the Shechinah in this world, nor in the next.
 

So with all these sources, how can a frum person even ask such a question? The answer is in this week's Parsha. "Ki Hashochad... etc..." .. "For bribes make wise men blind, and twist the words of Tzadikim". The Yetzer Hara, who offers us bribes of false and fleeting pleasures, blinds us to the obvious truths and makes us think we have real "questions". But he is just disguising them as questions. Don't be fooled, and realize that these are not questions but really his "answers"! (R' Elchanan Wasserman used this very Pasuk in an essay he wrote, to explain how the multitudes of non-Jewish wise men and scientists from around the world, fail to see the obvious and glaring hand of Hashem in all of creation).
 
I also want to address another point. You wrote that you view porn when you will anyway be having relations with your wife that day, and therefore it seems to you to be less severe. Many people don't know this and I am not blaiming you, but this is a grave distortion in the proper (and Jewish) outlook to sexual relations with one's spouse. Viewing porn turns all women into objects of lust. This is the very opposite of what relations in a Jewish marriage are meant to be. The "lust" aspect of sexual desire was created by G-d to cause a man to seek out a woman and take her for himself. Once a couple is married, the "lust" aspect of sex should be relegated to the side and should no longer be a dominant aspect of the relationship between the two. They have dedicated themselves to each other, and when they are together, they should be cultivating an emotional bond through the sharing and sensuality of intercourse. Sex is a "sacred moment" of closeness between the two of you. This is also perhaps why Chaza"l prohibited having relations by day. Firstly, because one may see something about his wife's body that may turn him off, and on the other side of the coin, by seeing his wife's body he is fueling his lust instead of focusing on the true sacredness of the moment. 
 
A man who insists to make "lust" the most dominant aspect of his relations, especially by viewing porn before hand, is losing out on the true connection and closeness that martial relations should cultivate, and ultimately his marriage is likely to fall apart. As his wife has children and her body changes, and/or as she gets older, he will loose interest in her and he will never be able to lead a normal marriage life. A relationship built on "lust" quickly fades away. Also, by fueling the lust through his relations and not focusing on building the emotional bond with his wife, he will continue to be pulled after the other women he sees on the street, and will transgress all the time the Issur D'eoraysah of "Lo Sachmod". That is why once a person is married, he must work on relegating "lust" to the side. It is truly a poison, and the nature of lust is that "the more you feed it, the more you need it". One can never get enough of lust. In the end, either we win it over or it wins us over.
 
To summarize, we can't stress enough that sex between a husband and wife should foster an emotional closeness and bond between the two of you, and should never be viewed as a "lust" based act. Viewing porn before sex, besides the serious prohibitions that one transgresses - as mentioned above, will either destroy one's marriage altogether, or in the very least, will remove any potential for a deep, emotional closeness in his marriage.
 
I hope that my words and the words of Rabbi Twerski will enter your heart and help you resolve now -- in Chodesh Elul -- never to go back to these things again. If you heed our words, you will be worthy with Hashem's help to bring holy Jewish children into the world and raise a family based on holiness and purity.
 
Just one last thought. Even with a strong resolve, one should never trust themselves in these areas and should get a strong Internet filter for their computer to help them through moments of weakness. And never stop davening to Hashem to save you and your offspring from what is perhaps this generation's biggest test!
 
May Hashem be with you.
275.
The Gemara in Kidushin 81/a tells a story:
 
Some women who had been taken captive were redeemed and brought to Nehardai. They were kept in the attic of Rav Amram the Chasid and the ladder was removed. At night, a beam of light reflected off one of the women, revealing her beauty. Rav Amram was seized with lust and he moved the ladder (which normally needs 10 people to move it) to ascend. As he was halfway up, he screamed "There is a fire in Rav Amram's house!" and the Rabanan flocked to his house. After they saw that there was no fire they said to him "You embarrassed us (with your behavior)!", answered Rav Amram: "It is better to suffer embarrassment in this world than in the next".
 
Now that's an inspiring story!
 

One of the deepest problems with the addiction, is the aspect of secrecy that surrounds it. As long as a person says to themselves "no one knows anyway", it is very hard to even begin the journey to recovery. We need to open up to someone and tell them about our struggles. We need to shout "There's a fire!! a fire in my heart!! help me put it out!" ... Once people know, we can find the strength like Rav Amram, to stop ourselves from falling even with the most difficult tests. And remember, it is better to suffer embarrassment in this world than in the next.

 

And that is why group support is so important. Firstly, in group support we receive the support from others that we so desperately need. Secondly, we get to see how there are others even worse off than we are, and we can actually give them support (which in turn, strengthens us). And thirdly, we get to see how people, who were exactly in our situation - or even worse, have achieved sobriety and are well on their way to recovery! These are all very important features of group support. But perhaps the most important aspect of group support is that by opening up to others and staying in touch with them while we heal, we begin to finally feel accountability! Internalize this. It is the secrecy and hiding and lying that we've been doing for years that makes it so hard for us to begin the journey to recovery.

 

So dear Yidden, join the Jewish Healing Group today! - It's a revolution in healing for religious people.

 

If you can't join the group (or even if you can), it is also very helpful to have someone close to you - or someone you respect, that you will be totally open with about this on a steady basis . No secrets, only the real truth. This is a very powerful tool - and a necessary one - for anyone serious about breaking free. The person you choose can be your wife, your Rabbi or a close friend who understands you.

 

And if that's still too hard for you at this stage, at least get a sponsor through our forum to keep in touch with someone - anyone - about your struggles. You might say you don't feel on the level yet to be someone's partner or sponsor, or you're afraid you won't have what to answer your partner when he's struggling. It does not matter! The mere fact that you are totally open with someone about your struggles will already make it much easier for you both to break free of the addiction!

 

May Hashem be with us all on our journey!

 

Note: Even when you do open up to someone and don't withhold any secrets, there is still no need to supply them with all the gory details... Just saying something like "I am struggling with an addiction of looking at improper things on the internet" is enough. The person will understand. After all, most people struggle with these things on some level. If not on-line, then in the street. But it is vital to tell them the full truth of where you are holding and how difficult it is for you, and to keep in touch with them on a steady basis.

276.
It says in Parshas Shoftim:
 
"When you will go out to war on your enemies and you will see horses and chariots, a multitude greater from (than) you, do not fear them for Hashem your G-d is with you, who took you out of the land of Mitzrayim. And when you will come close to the battle... etc...".
 
The holy Sefer Beis Ahron of Karlin explains as follows:
 
"When you will go out to war on your enemies" - this is the battle with the Yetzer Hara
 
"and you will see horses and chariots, a multitude" - this is all the klipot (impure husks) that surround a man because of his sins. (Note: this includes the chemical pathways that have become ingrained in a person's brain through his feeding the addiction for so long).
 
"greater from (than) you" - the words "from you" are used, to imply that all these klipot of impurity indeed come "from you", i.e. from a person's own sins. Still...
 
"do not fear them for Hashem your G-d is with you, who took you out of the land of Mitzrayim" - just like in Egypt we were surrounded by the impure klipot and Hashem took us out of there.
 
"And when you will come close to the battle", explains the Beis Ahron, "and when you will come close to Hashem because of the battle, for this is the main (Ikkar) closeness to Hashem".
 
These are subtle but powerful words. It didn't strike me at first what he was saying, but then I read it again and it hit me. The Beis Ahron is saying that the main closeness to Hashem (the Ikkar Hiskarvus to Hashem) is though the battle with the Yetzer Hara. That means, even more than davening and learning Torah!!
 
This is very profound, and it ties in beautifully with the Chizuk e-mail #262 (above) where we wrote that the most important thing to Hashem is not our progress in destroying the Yetzer Hara, but rather our dependency on him, and our constant knowledge that we need Hashem every day anew to help us break free.
 
Elya K wrote recently on the forum to someone: "I will tell you from 8 years of experience in Goyish 12 step groups, that I discuss more about G-d and fixing my character traits with these people than with any of my friends in Shul.  Everyone in my circles is so focused on Halacha, but no one really talks about if we really give our lives and trust over to Hashem in our everyday life or not."
 
Do we hear what Elya is saying? It is specifically us, those who are struggling with the Yetzer Hara so intensely and are in a daily battle, that have the biggest potential for real closeness with Hashem! Like Elya said, even the non-Jews in the 12 step groups achieve a closeness to Hashem through their battle with the Yetzer Hara that unfortunately not even frum Jews always achieve! So imagine what potential for Kirvas Elokim (closeness to Hashem) a religious Jew has, who has both this struggle and the truth of the Torah!
277.
People spend their whole lives running after happiness and thinking "if only I had this or that I would be happy". But happiness through physical pleasure disappears the moment the pleasure is gone. One can never get enough and is never happy. This has been shown, time and time again, with the worlds most popular and richest people who happen to often be depressed! 
 
A person who wants happiness needs to learn to "let go" of the pursuit of physical pleasure and instead seek the "true happiness", which Rabbi Avraham J. Twerski defines as "self fulfillment". That means to fulfill the true "you" that you want to be deep down, closer to Hashem, a better person, a better father and a better spouse. Click here for an interview with Rabbi Twerski on this topic - (right click and choose "Save Target As").
 
The Ba'al Hasulam compares the Yetzer Hara to an "itch". You keep scratching because it itches, and it feels good to scratch, but the scratching only makes the itch worse. However, if you decide in your mind that you will not scratch the itch any more - come what may, it will burn with a powerful itchiness for about a minute or so and then suddenly the itch just disappears!
 
Giving in to the addiction only makes a person want more. Yes, we scratched the itch for this moment, but Oh' will it itch again very soon!! People spend their lives scratching like madmen, never at peace, until blood pours from their wounds. Instead, we need to decide once and for all, we will not scratch the itch anymore - come what may! It will be hard, yes - it will burn with "itchiness" and we may feel desperate to act out for a while, but suddenly these obsessions just disappear and we discover a new freedom in our lives that we never felt before!
 
Are you ready to take that step of faith and just STOP scratching? You must believe that once you take that one step of PURE FAITH, the road will open up before you!! (Check out this video clip :-)
278.
It's Elul and we all want to start doing Teshuvah, but we ask ourselves "Where do we start?". Someone posted on the forum yesterday something simple yet profound from the Chofetz Chaim (and we added it to our Teshuva page). The Chofetz Chaim says that the essence of doing Teshuvah is to make a careful reckoning of what things brought us to sin or made it possible for us to sin, and to avoid those things from now on. One who does this, is fulfilling the Mitzvah of "doing Teshuvah" properly.
 
It sounds simple but it is truly profound. It's not enough to want to do Teshuvah. We been wanting to do Teshuvah for years and yet we kept falling back into it. Even stopping the sins is not enough. We've stopped in the past for periods of time, only to slip again back into it again. If we want to do Teshuvah this year and finally GET IT RIGHT, we have to sit down and explore carefully what brings us to fall. We need to ask ourselves, "what are all the different situations and circumstances that cause us to lose hope and take the plunge?" Often a trained therapist can help in this, but if we are diligent we may be able to do it on our own. It's not easy, and it may take much trial and error to really learn all the insidious tricks of the Yetzer Hara and how he gets us to fall. But one who is determined, will always stay aware and learn what to avoid.
 
The most obvious pitfall in these areas is the internet. If you haven't installed a strong internet filter yet, forget about doing Teshuvah this Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur - because this is exactly what the Chofetz Chaim means! See our Filter page and find one that works for you today. And make sure to give the password to your wife or to a trusted friend.
 
Along this very idea, Dr / Rabbi Yitzchak Twersky from Jerusalem once described to me his approach in helping people deal with these difficult issues. Go to this page and scroll down to #185 to see what he says.
279.
Someone recently sent us the following e-mail:
 
I first of all wanted to thank you very much for all your efforts & chizuk.

I wanted to share my experience with you so if you think it's appropriate to share it with everyone, you can.
 
I was R'L a serious addict and for me it was a daily and sometimes even hourly struggle, and that unfortunately included Shabbos too. I am now Baruch Hashem totally in control, even though I am in my early twenties. I'd like you to share this with everyone so people know that it is possible to break this terrible habit, and to share with them the methods which I used.
  • Tefillah (which you may have already mentioned in your website). [Webmaster's note: See Tip #3 a - d on this page]
     
  • I found out that if I look at myself in a mirror every time I am tempted, the bad thoughts vanished. For this purpose I carried a small mirror with me all the time & this was an extremely powerful method. I am not sure why this works or if it is mentioned anywhere, but it really works.
     
  • I have very hairy legs and every time I was tempted I pulled my hair and I know this IS mentioned in many places to cause yourself some pain, and that is what I did. [Webmaster's note: See Tip #8 on this page]

Thank you.

280.
Someone posted something beautiful on the forum.
 
Ahhh, the Yetzer Harah.  Yes, this shmendrick IS stronger than us, and yes, without Hashems help, we have NO chance of overcoming him. He knows this truth, and I personally have experienced this over many many years. I had realized that the ONLY chance I would have would be to get closer to Hashem and find things that would bolster my ratings in Shemayim so that I would merit extra heavenly assistance. 
 
As the Michtav M'Eliahu says, you cannot fight the Yetzer Harah head on, you will lose. He compares it to a spring. The more you push down on a spring, the stronger it's tension will be to spring back on you. So, it is almost like a no-win situation. If you try to fight him by facing him straight on, you are finished. He is too strong.
 
So, what did I do to deserve the heavenly assistance that we need?  I took it upon myself to tovel (immerse) in the coldest mikveh in Israel (even colder than the Arizal's).  Every Erev Shabbos I went to this mikveh with all of the kavanos of the Arizal, and even in the winter, no matter how cold it was, no matter how rainy or windy, I would enter this Mikveh. It was so cold that I felt as if my legs were being crushed, until finally, after about 2 minutes, they became completely numb. I welcomed this numbness. But, to dunk my head - this was difficult. I had to do it so quickly without thinking about it. Then, when I dunked my head for the 4th time, it felt like it was being squeezed in a vise. I thought my skull was going to crack.  
 
I told Hashem that I was able and willing to to cause myself physical discomfort, just please don't let me have to fight the Yetzer Harah with my mind! I did this the entire winter, and what happened? IT DIDN'T HELP!!!  As soon as I thawed out, the menuval was there.
     
So, I gave this up, and came to the conclusion, that there is no way out, we are obligated to fight him with our mind as well. There's no shortcuts. I saw in a sefer by the Shomer Emunim Rebbe (Taharas Hakodesh) that avodas hashem is like being far down under ground. You look upward, and you can see light....the way out. So you try to climb up the sides of your pit, carefully fitting your feet into the crevices, and little by little you get closer to the light... the way out. You carefully watch your footing, and then.. .all of sudden, you slip, and fall all the way down again. Once again you start all over again, seeing that light up above. And again, just as you get closer and closer, you lose your footing, and you fall all the way down again, and this keeps happening again and again. BUT, he says, after NOT giving up, then min hashamayim (from heaven), they lower down a ladder to you and you climb all the way up.

What is the point?  Yes, we cannot possibly defeat the Yetzer Harah on our own. Hashem is the only one that can help us. But before he does, he wants us to be moser nefesh for him. I have learned that being moser nefesh is not a choice, it is the only way that we can win, it is the only way that we will get the heavenly assistance that we need. After we continue to try and try and try again, then... they lower down a ladder for us and we climb right up!
281.

Recovery from harmful addictions is like a caterpillar climbing a staircase. For the caterpillar, stairs are a challenge. After a short upwards incline, the caterpillar reaches a plateau, a long flat surface that is not going up at all. Things go smoothly for a while as the caterpillar traverses this surface, until the he hits a wall. It seems like the end of the road. The journey to recovery has reached a dead end.
 
But after bumping into this wall, the caterpillar looks around and realizes that the journey is not over at all. The only way is up. So the caterpillar starts climbing. He then understands that this was no dead end. It was the next step upwards, to reach a new height. What seemed like an obstacle was actually an invitation to go higher.
 
The same happens in recovery. After an initial high we come to a flat period, where things coast along. Suddenly, the Yetzer Hara attacks again and new obstacles appear that seem to threaten everything we've gained until now. It looks like we've failed and the journey is over. But this is normal. We are being beckoned to go to a higher level, to raise ourselves above our current state and reach upward. It is at this moment that we need to look up and start climbing.

Recovery is not always a steep incline. That would be too exhausting. The plateaus give us time to reenergize, and they are just there to prepare us to go to the next level. But the challenge is in front of you. Grab it, and caterpillar your way to new heights!

282.
Someone that I am a sponsor for, recently wrote me as follows:
 
One of the ideas mentioned on the weekly call this past Tuesday that I thought was great, is that it's OK to let painful feelings just sit there.  It's OK to be in pain - it's part of life and it will pass.  We addicts are not aware of this.  We think we need to find a "fix" for all pain, and that "fix" is to act out.  Obviously this type of fix is only temporary and will lead to more pain...which requires another fix... in a viscous downward cycle.
 
This reminded me also of Tip #4 under "Mind Tips" on our site where it says:
 
Bearing the Pain. Learn how to bear the mental pain of saying "No" to yourself. Naturally, we go to what feels good and we stay away from pain. We got that from cows. Animals don't understand that a painful experience can be beneficial. Try and explain surgery to a cow. All the cow understands is "Food", I go. "Pain", I go away. But we humans were endowed with wisdom! Tell yourself, the pain I feel is GOOD for me, the pain I feel is HEALING me, and it is fixing all that I have damaged in the past (like surgery).
Here's something an x-addict wrote about pain on an Arutz Sheva "Talk-Back":
Many find themselves in destructive behavior when they feel pain and don't see a way out. When I felt pain, I wanted a way to avoid it ... which only took me further from reality.
It's OK to sit with pain ... it's better than the mind-numbing behaviors that remove us from the world.
Thank G-d that we FEEL AGAIN! ... even if it's pain.
Be assured that you are making progress.
283.
On an article on Arutz Sheva called "The Internet Inclination" exactly one year ago today, (September 15, 2007) about the problems of internet pornography, someone posted in the "Talk-Back" his doubts that pornography could be classified as an addiction. In reply, "Velvel from Silver Spring" posted:
 
Just like with any pleasure, the pleasure sensory is stimulated in the brain. Simple neuroscience. Whether its cocaine, a tasty sandwich, or pleasure one might get from bad things during movie, the serotonin levels spike & the dopaminergic pleasure pathway is activated, in the standard "addiction" pattern. Little do people know, we are actually "addicted" to food, but that's a healthy addiction, and most people are able to moderate their food intake. The same CANNOT be said for mind altering drugs & the porno.

Porn was shown to be MORE powerfully addictive than most drugs, in one study. It's not a big surprise or a big wonder why that would be. It's an intense pleasure stimulation, even more direct than a hard drug. I have also read that upon repeated exposure to certain types of images, one will seek out more and more perverse types of images...
 
It is important to understand that pornography and sex addictions are generated simply by a repetition of pleasure stimulation in the brain. Usually, this is a result of a deeper problem, such as a difficult childhood, a low self esteem or an inner depression. In such cases, the subconscious mind often looks for ways to sooth itself. Since masturbation (and often pornography) are readily available to a person from his youth, these pleasure simulations are often used already at an early age to "medicate" the feelings of an inner void, and the repetition of the pleasure stimulus quickly turns into an addiction. After a while, the sexual urge becomes so powerful through feeding the addiction, that one begins to think of his "needs" as an unconquerable force that they cannot reckon with.
 
However, once we know this truth, that our subconscious mind has been using this method simply to sooth the various deep psychological issues that we might not have even been aware of, we can seek help for the issues that caused the addictive behavior in the first place. This can be done through therapy, preferably with someone trained in childhood trauma, low self-esteem, depression, or whatever the issues might be. Also, it is vital that the therapist be trained in sexual addiction. A list of competent therapists in your areas can be found at www.sash.net. See also this page.
 
Also, once we realize the way it works, it is much easier to break free. You see, masturbation and porn are simply "physical pleasure stimuli" like all other physical pleasures. It only SEEMS to us to be so powerful because we have fed the addiction for so long and used this method to "medicate" the inner darkness we felt. The same addictive pattern often occurs with food, which is also readily available to a person from his youth. Ask the millions of people in OEA ("Over-Eaters Anonymous") all over the world.
 
So, with this simple realization, the addiction to porn and masturbation is no longer this "huge unbeatable monster", but simply a physical pleasure, just like food, alcohol or gambling. All of these behaviors cause a "high" in the brain, and when used to medicate feelings of inadequacy or inner-darkness - over prolonged periods of time - turn into addictions that seem to be unconquerable.
 
So blow the illusion away today. This monster is just one big balloon filled with hot-air!
284.
Attention all our holy members! There is no greater way to incur heavenly mercy in the days of awe, and to receive divine intervention with our own struggles, than by helping others (it's simply Midah Kineged Midah)! I have prepared a flyer for www.guardureyes.com and attached it to this e-mail. If you can print it out and hang it up in your local Shuls, Shteiblachs and neighborhood news-boards (perhaps when no one is around to see), you can be helping hundreds of Yidden without even knowing it! And one day, after 120, you will come up to Shamayim and tens or even hundreds of souls will come forward to testify on your behalf. And you will ask "who are these souls?" and they will reply, "these are the Yidden that were helped by the signs you put up"!
 
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Someone wrote in to us recently:

 
I daven each morning with a minyan and then go to learn for an hour with a Chavrusah. Usually the davening and learning feels kind of dry, and often I do just because I feel I have to, and I want to get it over with already so I can start my day. This morning, I was bringing my son to school, and a woman that was always a "turn on" for me in the past, was bringing her kid to school as well. She walked over to where I was standing and was telling her kid to say hello to my son, and was trying to be friendly. All types of fantasies started to flood my head, but I resolved to be strong. I smiled politely and averted my eyes from looking at her until she finished her little game with the kids and walked away. As I was fighting with myself not to look at her, I felt a bitter taste. It was very hard. And I walked away feeling somewhat of a void inside me. But then the strangest thing happened. I went to daven right afterwards, and I never felt such a joy and closeness to Hashem like I did that davening. The whole davening, I really felt I wanted to give over my heart to Hashem. And the learning that followed the davening too, was full of strength and happiness. I couldn't believe how fast that hour went by!
285.
Someone wrote in today some thoughts that help him, and I would like to share them with everyone:
 
I just want to tell you that your site and chizuk etc. seems to have helped me a lot, and is continuing to do so. Hashem Yishmereinu veyechzkeinu. Some additional thoughts:
 
1. Stopping these things is a great zechus (merit) to parents and Rabbe'im in the World Of Truth, since they are judged for what their children, grandchildren and students do. The opposite is chas veshalom true as well. What a horrible, selfish thing to do to them. Beyond words.
 
2. Chaza"l say that in the next world, the yetzer horah will be shown to the Resho'im as something very small that they couldn't overcome, and to the Tzaddikim as a great mountain that they overcame. The idea behind this, if I remember one pshat at least correctly, is that each step in fighting the Yetzer Hara is only one small step that has to be taken at a time. In the end, it all adds up of course, to many, many steps and something very large that was overcome.
 
3. Our sages said "There is a small organ in a man, if you feed it - it is hungry, if you starve it - it is satiated". I believe this means that every time one controls him impulse (for anything), it becomes easier the next time to avoid it. The inverse is true of course as well. Hopefully, after 40 days (like the Mishna Brurah writes about getting up early in the morning), the whole struggle becomes BS'D much easier as a rule. Just forty days! (This may be a little different for various types of people, some needing a little more time, some less).
 
4. Our sages said "Leolam yargiz adam yetzer tov al yetzer hara" meaning "a person should always arouse the anger of his good inclination over his evil inclination". Say to yourself that you do not want to be a slave to such a MENUVOL (pervert) and will not be. Yes, get angry!!! Ask yourself, "am I such a fragile sucker to do what this creature is enticing me with?!!"
 
286.
I want to share today a beautiful thread from our forum...
 
"Mevakesh" wrote:
 
Chaza"l say that when one says Krias Shema he should gaze at his Tzitzis. Seeing his Tzitzis (which were blue from Techeiles in the time of Chazal) will make him think of the sky, which  is blue, and thinking of the blue sky will lead to thoughts of Hashem who made the sky, which will lead to thoughts of serving Hashem, etc...
 
Somebody once told Rav Dessler Zt"l that he doesn't understand the above Chaza"l. Which person, he asked, when he sees his Tzitzis will have this whole domino effect in his mind to lead him to think of Hashem?! That is so far fetched!
 
Rav Dessler responded: Chaza"l say that one should not walk behind a woman, as walking behind her will lead him to think about her, and thus to think about other women and thus to think of sinning, and eventually lead him to sin. Asked Rav Dessler, "Can you identify with that thought process?" When the man responded in the affirmative, Rav Dessler explained: A persons thoughts go in the direction that the person is heading, in the direction that his heart leads him! If you are a person heading in the direction of sin, everything you see, hear or say can easily lead to thoughts of sin! If you are a person heading in the direction of Hashem, then everything you see, hear or say can easily lead to thoughts of Hashem!

"Me" replies:
 
I also had wondered about this Chaza"l concerning the Tzitzis and I had come to the conclusion that Chaza"l were just on a different level than us. I figured that in our generation, we are so far distanced from their state of holiness, that we just don't merit for the Tzitzis to have the same affect. But Mevakesh, now that you mention this, it makes sense to say that if we were to really work on making this connection with our Tzitzis, (a "holy" connection) i.e. just like we previously did with our sins, where we brought everything to a state of arousal, a state of excitement (and this is what caused our neurons to emit fire), and this is the type of excitement that will remain our memory banks forever to be easily retrieved from our memory if we ever, Chas Veshalom, revert back to this state.  So now, everytime I feel a state of spiritual arousal, especially now in Elul, when I hear the shofar, or everytime I feel yearning for Hashem, I will  grab and caress, and look at my tzitzis. By doing this, I will be building a connection to Kedushah (holiness), to think of Hashem, and thereby in fact, utilize that Tzitzis the same way that Chaza"l did. In other words, if I was successful to build such a system of triggers for Tumah (impurity) in the past, then for sure I can do it with Kedushah!
287.
This was a really great post on our Forum by "battleworn" and I want to share it with everyone:
 
I've been thinking that the website is really loaded with great advice, but it would probably be helpful to some people to lay down the basic steps. So I'll try to start and I welcome your comments (on the forum).

1) Accept the situation as G-D given, regardless of how you got there. Don't feel bitter or frustrated. The disgusting filth that you find yourself in, is the fertile soil that the real "you" needs to grow from.

2) Accept that there is no quick-fix hocus-pocus solution.

3) Take responsibility to deal with it in any and every way necessary.

4) Establish that you will not give up no matter how many times you chas vesholom fall.

5) Daven to Hashem at least once a day to help you succeed.

6) Stay away from bad places and from unrestricted internet as much as possible. Also keep busy.

Now it starts getting a bit more complicated... (webmaster's note: a competent therapist may be required for the following steps):

7) Figure out if the addiction is just a vicious cycle that feeds on itself (this can be the case even if it was originally started by something else), or, is there a different source of anxiety, depression or whatever, that is feeding it. If you can't figure it out by yourself, get help fast.

8) In the event that there is an outside cause, you need to know if it's just lack of fulfillment (or something similar) which you can tackle by yourself, or is it something deeper that you will need therapy for.

9) Make sure that any therapist that you go to, appreciates the gravity of the sin. It's not necessarily enough that he/she is "frum". (Webmaster's note: It's also not necessarily vital for the therapist to be "frum". Even a non-frum or non-Jewish sex addiction therapist can be made to understand that for "us", any form of sexual acting out or masturbation is a "no-no". They are generally trained to help you work with whatever guidelines you set, according to your standards of morality).

10) In any and every case, the main thing is to break the cycle and never give up.

11) Always beware that the vulgar, despicable, monstrous menuval will try every trick imaginable (and unimaginable)

12) If at all possible, add time and energy to davening and torah learning. Often, that can make the whole difference.

13) Make maximum use of the absolutely fantastic forum as well as the website, and subscribe to the email list.
288.
Taken from the website www.ilovetorah.com
 
Every tzaddik is faced with the most difficult tests. Chazal say that the higher ones level the greater their evil inclination. There is no tzaddik that exists that wasn't tempted and didn't face sin head to head. We think that because they are righteous they were never normal human beings just like us facing the simple temptations we do. Yosef  HaTzaddik covered his face and ran away from Potifar's wife. Rabbi Abraham Abulafia was brave enough in his sefer, Chayay Olam Habah, to admit that he defiled his body from the wasteful admission of seed. He says that for fifteen years, the Satan was at my right hand to mislead me." Also he said that the numerical value of Satan, 359, is the same as that of Zera Lavan, white seed, which is in reference to semen. This goes to show you one of the main goals of the Satan, and that is sexual desire.

Rebbe Nachman says that sexual desire is the great test a man faces in this world. (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom 115) The Rebbe said that he was able to overcome this desire but he had to cry out to Hashem again and again. The temptations were very real for him but he later said, "A man with even the smallest amount of real intelligence, will not find this a temptation at all." The Satan wanted so much for him to slip on this desire that he was willing to let the Rebbe overcome every other desire if only he would slip up on this once. The Rebbe did the opposite though, and said he would ignore his other desires and not work to control them at all, but the sexual desire he would completely eradicate (Shevachay Haran 16). As a young man, even amidst the fire burning inside him, he overcame this desire completely. He later said, "I do not have any feeling of desire at all. Men and women are all the same to me." When he came in contact with a woman, he didn't even have an extraneous thought. (ibid)

289.
I want to share with you today this thread from our Forum:
 
SufferYisroel writes:
 
I want to share a technique that was very helpful to me when I wanted to stop masturbating once and for all. I committed to myself that every time I lose myself and do it I would give a substantial sum to Tzedaka! After a while and working on being very determined, I did it less and less often. Firstly, it was becoming very expensive, as I was keeping to my end of the deal and giving the Tzedaka! I couldn't afford to do it! After a while, this kept me in line and helped me to cool off a bit, and that allowed me to focus on strengthening my self control. Eventually, with tremendous help from above I was successful. It is now almost 8 years later and I have thank G-d been in control of myself!  It is very possible to do, don't let the wicked yetzer horah tell you otherwise. I was hooked to online porn, and even just any visual stimulation was enough to get me crazy. But you can take control. It is exceedingly possible! I am living proof 8+ years in the making. I still live with the fear of messing up and I pray for help everyday. But my battle is from a different angle now. YOU CAN DO IT!! I have, and you can too! 
 
Mevakesh Hashem writes:
 
Indeed, as Chazal say "Al taamin B'Atzm'cha Ad Yom Mosecha - do not trust yourself until your dying day". Precisely because you live with the fear of messing up is why you pray daily. And precisely because you are aware of your weakness, even almost a decade later, is why you pray and why you have been granted the strength to persevere!!!
 
And I would like to elaborate a bit more on this idea. There's a story in the Gemara (Kedushin 81b) about Rav Chiyah Bar Ashi who had stopped having relations with his wife for years because he was old and week, and yet he would fall on his face every day and pray that Hashem save him from the Yetzer Hara. One day his wife heard him praying and she couldn't understand why he needed to pray for this, even though he was old and weak. So she dressed up as the town harlot and passed by him as he learned in the garden, and he didn't know it was his wife and he "sinned" with her. Afterwards, he wanted to kill himself for having sinned, and he sat inside the oven to burn himself to death and atone for his sin. And his wife found him there and asked him what he was doing. And he told her what had happened and refused to come out. So she admitted to him that it was her, and finally after proving it to him, she convinced him to come out.
 
And yet, even though he realized he hadn't really sinned, the Gemara says that this Tzadik fasted for the rest of his life, only because he had "thought" he was sinning.

We can see from this story how one must never stop davening to Hashem to be saved from the Yetzer Hara. Even this great Tzadik, who was already old, weak and greatly removed from these temptations, still felt the need to fall on his face and daven every day for Hashem to save him!
 
And let me just end on a positive note. One who does daven every day with a broken heart for Hashem to save him from "lust" - will see miracles! On guardureyes, we are seeing this again and again, in the "Recovery Stories" and with the wonderful spiritual warriors who are posting on the forum every day!
 
No prayer goes to waste, no matter how insignificant it seems, and even if we feel we don't really mean it. Whenever you see something that turns your heart, cry out to Hashem and say "Hashem, save me from lust for flesh and blood! Help me instead to lust for you! As it says in Tehillim: Tzama Lecha Nafshi, Kama Lecha Besari - My soul thirsts for you, my flesh pines for you!"
290.
When Moshiach comes - any day now, G-d willing, we will yearn for the days when we had the struggle, when the struggle was so real. There is no greater connection with Hashem than when a person feels that he needs Hashem every second to save him.
 
The Sefer Shamati (from the Ba'al Hasulam) explains that the real definition of "Simcha Shel Mitzva" is as follows: Davka when a Jew feels no simcha in serving Hashem and he feels dried out and so far from Hashem, yet he knows what he really wants deep down and instead of letting these feelings stop him, he arouses himself to rejoice in the realization that he "needs" Hashem so much... That is true Simcha Shel Mitzvah and that is the truest connection with Hashem that a person can have.
 
And the Ba'al Hasulam gives a parable. If someone is dying and only his friend can save him, he will beg his friend to save him with every ounce of strength he has. He will be totally dependent and attached to his friend. However, if he is not dying and he only wants his friend to give him something of "extras", then he will not be so attached to his friend through his desire and request.
 
When a Jew feels that going back to his old ways is "death itself", in that it will tear him away from the source of "life itself", then it becomes to him a matter of life and death. And when the struggle is hard, he knows only Hashem can save him from this death! And he will not stop needing Hashem and begging Hashem to save him every day. And this is the TRUEST and STRONGEST connection a Jew can have with Hashem, says the Ba'al Hasulam. It is even stronger than the connection of Tzaddikim whom Hashem has already saved from the Yetzer Hara. For such a Tzadik is like someone who got a present from the king, took it and left. But the man who is begging the king to spare his very life, davka BECAUSE it is so hard and he has so little strength, this is a man who is truly davuk (attached) to the king.

Tzadikim who had already beaten the Yetzer Hara were known to have greatly yearned for the days when they still had these battles, and felt so dependent - and therefore attached - to Hashem. As the Pasuk says "Me'rachok Nireh Li Hashem" - "from afar Hashem appeared to me". It is the feeling of being far, that in reality brings us so close. And this should give a person the greatest joy, ironically, davka at the time he feels no joy - because in such a state he has no one to rely on but Hashem.
291.

Dear members of our Chizuk list!

 

I must share with you what's happening lately on the GUE Forum, especially now, so close to Rosh Hashana.

 

The other night, I was reading out loud from the forum to my wife what everyone had written just recently, and after a few minutes I just couldn't go on any more. I choked up and started crying and I just couldn't stop. My wife had to wait a few minutes until I was able to continue.

 

The next day, I found out I was not alone. Read this amazing post called "A pre Rosh Hashana Message to my dear brothers and sisters" where "Mevakesh" describes how he too couldn't hold back the tears when reading the latest posts!

Yidden! There is nothing in the world more beautiful as what is going on in this forum. Yidden who never met, living thousands of miles apart and yet loving and supporting each other, probably more than they do with the friends they mix with every day! It's the powerful love of fellow warriors on the battle field, who know they are all in this together till the end.

There is nothing more wonderful than the weaving of these beautiful stories that Hashem has waited so long for. What can be more inspiring than to watch these journeys of sacrifice unfold before our very eyes, to watch the miracle of human beings giving over their hearts to Hashem?

 

So dear Yidden, if you haven't taken advantage of this amazing tool yet, be a part of it too! Join this incredible community today, for the glory of the king's crown, and watch yourself really start to grow!

 

 

Here are some inspiring recent posts:

 

  

Berachot to All! I have recently grown peyyot, and though in the workplace I try to keep them tucked back, they inevitably fall into my face-right at the sides of my eyes!
It then occurred to me:
As tzit-tzit remind the hands to perform mitzvot, so to do the peyyot remind my eyes to obey mitzvot!

 

May Hashem guard your eyes and keep your heart devikut!

 

 

Chevra, this is something new and amazing, we're coming to Rosh Hashana with a plan. That's the most important part of teshuva. And we also have each other. This is great and it's all thanks to guardureyes, he should be blessed with all the berochos there could possibly be. And so should the rest of you. I want to suggest that we all agree to daven for each other. It dosen't matter that we don't know the names, Hashem knows. And anyway what better names to use than these (pseudo-names), that are used for teshuva and for "zikuy harabim"...

 

 

…. I beg you to take full advantage of the tremendous gift that Hashem has given you in bringing you to this forum. Nowhere in the world will you find people that love you, care about you and understand you, as much as here. Read everything and keep us posted on your struggles, successes and any questions. We're with you, and as mevakesh says, "together we'll prevail"l. A Kesiva Vachasima Tova and please daven for all of us and the continued success of GUE's forum and site :) CHAZAK VEAMATZ!!!

 

 

I have to speak my heart. In addition to my battling the despicable disgusting menuval, I've been having a lot of pain in my life in general. Whenever I come to the forum and see the wonderful stuff going on here, it gives me chizuk in a way that nothing else can. There is no way to describe the feeling of hope and chiyus I get here. I can't thank Mevakesh and GUE enough. I wish you and all the chevra here, the greatest year with continued and growing success in being mezakeh es harabim. And we should all be zocheh to greet moshiach very, very soon.

 

 

The treacherous murderer is always working full time to somehow get me. Some of his main tools are depression and anxiety, combined with curiosity. I don't get aroused easily, but he's happy just to get me to look. Since I discovered this forum, which was about a month and half ago, he hasn't had any hope of laying his filthy bloody hands on me. Thanks to GUE and friends. So that's it for now, YOU GUYS ARE GREAT!!!

 

 

WOW, do I have chills right now. I just read this forum from start to finish and to say it is giving me chizuk is a huge understatement. I am flying high emotionally. This is the best preparation for the Yomim Noraim, a time when all of us are trying extra hard to succeed. I am no prophet, but I can say with certainty that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is looking down at everyone on this sight and kvelling with unbelievable simcha and nachas. All we ever try to do is the ratzon Hashem, and right now, right here, on this website, you guys are smashing the samech mem (evil inclination) to pieces and spreading the glory of Hashem's malchus in the world, precisely the point of Rosh Hashana. Thank you and let this be the reason you are all written in the book of Bracha, simcha, Parnassa, and all good things.

 

 

We all need support, but bechira is a precious gift given by the Creator to each of us. Without bechirah we can have NO reward. As a matter of fact, without the yetzer hara we can have no reward! I must tell you, although the yetzer hara wants us dead, he at the same time is our BEST FRIEND! Fighting him and winning is what Hashem wanted!! There can be no reward without the struggle! The bottom line, after all the support we are getting from the fine, fine people on this site, the bottom line is that we have to defeat our own personal yetzer hara with brute force. No one is following me around to see what I do or don't do. I know there are people here who are with me in my struggle, but when push comes to shove, I'm alone. During lunch, I can do one of 2 things.... but I know that "guardureyes" and "elya" and "mevakesh", and "niceguy" and "battleworn" and everybody here are 'watching' me. But in reality, I'm alone at that moment. So don't give me so much credit, take some for yourselves every time you win. By the way, today I'm starting day # 21 of sobriety. My warmest wishes to all of you.

 

 

B'H i think its twelve strong days and going strong! i'm going with what you all said and counting all the way till 90. I'm feeling better but i still have this feeling in the back of my head that i could slip back any time. But B'H i am feeling good and i started helping others with this issue . I'm determined to break this into the open so people don't suffer in silence. We need to get people to open up, to share. The hiding is the most deadly part of it, and once that is behind you a huge battle is already won. People need to know how many were suffering like them but have beat it. I told someone that and they didn't believe me!
 
One more day clean. One day I'll be saying I haven't touched myself in an asur way in 8 yrs. 8 yrs ! Can you imagine the kedusha! I've just started down the road and I already feel big Siyatta Dishmaya in my life and learning! I want this to continue!
292.

When we say "no" to the Yetzer Hara and we feel pain, that is not our pain. That is the Yetzer Hara in pain. We are striking HIM where it hurts. And sometimes, when it takes real Messiras Nefesh to turn away from the bad things we used to do, that taste of "death" we may feel is the Yetzer Hara DYING. The only reason we feel it so strongly is because he has become so attached to us through the addiction. But he is dying, we are feeling HIS "death throws" while we are beginning to LIVE!

 

So when you feel pain, rejoice!

 

"Zeh Hasatan Holech Le'misah - Va'anachnu Nikanes Le'chayim Tovim Aruchim U'leshalom!" - "This Satan goes to his death, and we enter to a long and peaceful life!"

 

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"Battleworn" posted something really nice today on the forum to strengthen a fellow struggler:

 

The fact that you are struggling is not a chidush (it's nothing new). But the fact the you're waging war against such a powerful force, now that's a chidush. And that you haven't given up even though you're feeling weak, that's a huge chidush. The midrash says (shir hashirim 7, 1) that those who stand up and prevail over the despicable menuval, the whole generation depends on them.

 

When someone overcomes the sex-drive it is considered (for obvious reasons) "lemaala miderech hateva" - supernatural, and in turn Hashem does supernatural things for him. If you take the passion and turn it towards Hashem (who is really deep down the source of the desire) you can experience immense spiritual pleasure and develop an intimate relationship with Hashem. 

 

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Dear Yidden, attached is a small PDF flyer. Help others be inspired as well, and begin their journey to Teshuvah and recovery. Print out the flyer and distribute it discreetly, in your shuls, neighborhood bulletin boards and community outlets. And if you can afford to send it to your neighborhood weekly paper and sponsor an ad, who knows how many hundreds of Yidden you can be helping? What greater merit could there be for this Rosh Hashana, to atone for the past and face Hashem with hope for true Teshuvah, than having helped others in these areas?

 

May we all be worthy to be written in the book of LIFE.

293.
A Jew needs to use both the attributes of humility AND haughtiness - but both, for the service of Hashem! As the Pasuk says "Vayigbah Libo Bedarkei Hashem" - "and his heart was proud in the ways of Hashem" (about one of the kings of Klal Yisrael). One of the previous Karliner Rebbes once said, that when a Jew wants to serve Hashem he should feel humble and broken hearted that he hasn't even started to serve the Almighty as is worthy of such a great and awesome G-d. However, when he goes into the street, he should arouse his pride and remember that he is a ben-melech - A son of the King, and that it isn't appropriate for him to be pulled after the lowly desires of this world.
 
This follows the Ba'al Shem Tov's teachings that every Middah (attribute) needs to be used for Kedushah. The same applies to lust and love for forbidden pleasures. It is our job to learn to transform our lust for flesh and blood to lust for Hashem... And the Ba'al Shem Tov also explains how the "love" we feel for forbidden things is actually a "fallen" love of Hashem. For Hashem is the source of all love, all beauty, all pleasure and all desire. All of the Middos are rooted in the upper worlds and they all come from places of holiness. But they have fallen to the Klippos and been downgraded in this world of darkness. As children of the king, it is our job to uplift these attributes and return them to their source, by using them for Kedusha!

So when the heart is pulled after the things we see or things our Yetzer Hara wants us to do, we need to cry out to Hashem and say "Hashem! ... All this love I feel, all this lust and desire! It belongs to you. You are the source! Help me, help me please Father, to direct my lust and love towards you, for you are the source of all beauty and all desire!" And when we walk in the street, arouse your pride as the "son of the king", and don't let yourself be pulled after the filth and grime of the Yetzer Hara!
294.
We just read this week: "Atem Nitzavim Hayom Kulchem..." - "You are standing today, all of you, before Hashem your G-d". The Meforshim say that "Hayom-Today" is a remez to Rosh Hashana, where we all stand before Hashem to be judged. And the holy Ohr Hachayim says that the "treaty" that Moshe made with the Yidden there, was to make each Jew responsible for his friend - "from the Elders and Judges to the Wood-Choppers and Water-Carriers". We are all responsible for one another!
 
In honor of the first birthday of the GuardurEyes Chizuk List, and in honor of having reached the 150 member-mark, we turn again to our dear spiritual "comrades-in-arms", with an appeal to help us help others. There is no greater Teshuvah than to help other Yidden in the areas that we struggled, and there can be no greater Segulah to recieve divine help in the areas that we are still struggling, than to give others hope in these areas as well. If each member of the Chizuk list would donate a mere $10 or $18, we would have enough to purchase ads in many major outlets in the Orthodox community, on-line and in-print. What greater merit could there be for Rosh Hashana than help other Yidden retun to Hashem and to spread glory of Hashem in the world? That's what Rosh Hashana is all about!
 
Note: Besides for PayPal, we now have various anonymous donating options as well. See here.
 
Also, some people expressed a reluctance to hang up the flyer (that we sent out recently) in Shuls and the like, because of some of the sensitive wording. We are attaching to this e-mail a DIFFERENT flyer, where we replaced the words "pornography addiction" with "internet addiction" and the words "sexual purity" with the words "moral purity". So now there's another way you can help other Yidden, print out and spread around the flyer!
 
And the merit of helping others in these areas, may Hashem grant us all true sobriety and inner-peace this year, and may we all be written in the book of life, happiness, and true fulfillment!

 

 

From the Book "Windows to the Soul" by Rabbi Zvi Miller. Chapter 3.

 

If we have not properly guarded our eyes in the past, we can change our behavior and Hashem will help us to improve our ways.

 

In fact, Hashem sent us an uplifting and encouraging message through Yechezkel HaNavi: "Throw off all of your aveirot and make a new heart and a new spirit for yourselves." (Based on Yechezkel 18:30)

 

Rabenu Yona (Yesod HaTeshuvah) illuminates the path of return to Hashem: "If a person has acted improperly and wants to take shelter beneath the "Wings of the Shechinah" and enter into the gates of repentance, I will show him the way to proceed.

 

On the day that you lift your heart to return to Hashem, throw off all of your aveirot as if they never were. Consider yourself as a newborn child, having neither merit nor culpability. Today is the beginning of your deeds. Today you will reflect on all of your ways so that you do not stray from the good path. This outlook will facilitate your complete return to Hashem because you will be unburdened from the weight of all of your aveirot.

 

Do not be hindered by thoughts that hold you back from returning to Hashem. For you might feel, 'How can I have the nerve to return to Hashem, after I acted so inappropriately so many times? How can I come in front of Hashem? I feel embarrassed, like a thief who was caught in the act of stealing. How can I enter His courtyards; how can I observe His Mitzvot?"

 

Do not allow these negative thoughts to enter your heart! These feelings of despair are the influence of the negative impulse.

 

Rather, know the attribute of our merciful Creator is that "His arms are always open to welcome those that return to Him."

 

Even more, He releases us from the psychological barriers to repentance by urging us to "throw off our misdeeds." Therefore, Hashem grants each one of us the opportunity to rectify our ways, regardless of our past conduct. He lets us renew ourselves and gives us a fresh start.

 

So throw off the burden of your past aveirot and start over. Hashem gives everyone another chance!  

295.
Dear Yidden,
 
This morning on Erev Rosh Hashana, we stopped by the Kever of Shmuel Hanavi and I davened for all of us... I mentioned all the "spiritual" names on our forum that I could remember, Mevakesh, Chasdei Avos, Jack, Snax, Battleworn, Me, Elya, Niceguy (ben Nicedad), etc... and also all those on our e-mail Chizuk list. I davened that in the merit that all of us are "Habah Letaher" - simply by being on this list and posting on the forum, and in the merit of Shmuel Hanavi, we should all be worthy of special Siyatta Di'shmayah this year to break free of the Yetzer Hara's clutches and come closer to Hashem!
 
And I ask you all as well, dear spiritual warriors, to daven for all of us this Rosh Hashana. And in this merit, we should be zoche to what our Sages have said, that "he who davens for his friend will be answered first!"
 
Here are some excerpts from a beautiful and holy "battle cry" from Mevakesh for right before Rosh Hashana!
 
Cry, Baby, Cry!!
 
Rabeinu Yonah quotes a Yerushalmi in Brachos (Perek 1 Halacha 5) which says: " There are two channels with which a person sins, his heart and his eyes. Therefore, the sins that were performed with each channel need to be atoned for in the way in which the sin was performed. Sins that came about through the channel of the heart, need a broken heart to facilitate atonement. And sins that were committed through the channel of the eyes, need TEARS to facilitate atonement!"

Rabbeinu Yonah continues, and quotes a Pasuk in Tehilim (119) "Palgei Mayim Yordu Eini Al Lo Shamru Torasecha" - rivers of tears flowed from my eyes, because I have not guarded your Torah. Rabbein Yonah explains this Pasuk to mean that not guarding what our eyes see is considered as if we have not kept the Torah, and indeed warrants rivers of tears for atonement!

My dear brothers and sisters, Rabeinu Yonah is talking to us all!

Our eyes have caused us to reach the low levels to where we reached, as we didnt keep the "Lo Sasuru Acharei Eineichem" properly! Baruch Hashem we are all on the road to Tesuva Shelaima (some of us just starting, some of us well along, but the main thing is that we are on the road!)

However, Rabbeinu Yonah is telling us that we need more than just Teshuva. We need to cleanse the very channels with which we have sinned, with TEARS.

CRY MY DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS, CRY YOUR HEART OUT TO OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN. HE AWAITS OUR SINCERE TEARS AND WILL USE THOSE TEARS TO MAKE THE MORTAR WITH WHICH HE IS BUILDING THE BEIS HAMIKDASH HASHLISHI.

Never in the history of Klal Yisroel have we stooped to such low and degenerate levels of znus, filth and such an impossible environment.

But, as Hashem always keeps the cure close by, NEVER in the history of Klal Yisroel has there been such a power of good ready to combat the evils of the street. We all owe a tremendous Hakoras Hatov to Guardureyes, who has started a movement of good. A movement of Teshuva like never before. A revolution of Anti-filth! A real army ready, willing, worthy and able to fight, capture and slaughter the Yetzer Hara!

My dear brothers, Rosh Hashana is less than 24 hours away! CRY!!! CRY!!! CRY!!! CLEANSE!!! CLEANSE!!! CLEANSE!!! CHANGE THE WORLD!!! I CAN! YOU CAN! WE CAN!!!!

A KESIVA V'CHASIMA TOVA. PLEASE DON'T FORGET DO DAVEN FOR EACH OTHER AND 5769 WILL BE THE YEAR THAT MOSHIACH TRIUMPHANTLY ARRIVES AND ALL THE FILTH WILL BE ABOLISHED FOREVER AND EVER.
 
AMEN!
296.
Battleworn posted his story on the forum, and he writes one of the best pieces of Chizuk that he heard as a Bachur, which helped him not to give up:
 
I heard back then, I think in the name of R' Abramski zt'l, what I think might be the most important yesod in chizuk. He said that when a person is itching to say loshon horoh (it's easier to talk about that) and he holds back 1,2,3 times and then it just bursts out. He thinks "I blew it, I messed up, it was a waste of energy. But that's not the case at all. Because, (although he must do teshuva for the fall), for each "regah" that he overcame the urge, he will merit "Or haganuz sheain kul malach uberya yecholin leshaer" ("The hidden light of Hashem that no Malach or creation can fathom").
 
This idea was extremely relevant to me because the evil menuval would always say to me "you might as well give in now because you know that at the end I always win." 
 
And somewhere else on the forum, Battleworn posted something similar:
 
Someone once came to the "Steipler Gaon" to complain about this problem. So the Steipler asked him "Are there times that you're misgaber?" so he answered "usually I fail". So the Steipler asked again "And are there times that you're misgaber?" so he answered "Yes, but rarely" so the Steipler explained to him that the times that you fail are erasable, but every time you pass the test - it's a Kinyan that's yours to keep.
 
This the exact opposite of what the devious, sly menuval always tells us: that it's all worthless if we eventually fall. Don't believe him, it's a big lie.
297.
Taken from an article by Rabbi Avi Shafran on www.Matzav.com. (Click here for the full article).
 
Among the collected letters of Rav Yitzchok Hutner, zt"l, is one that was written to a talmid whose own, earlier, letter to the Rosh Yeshiva had apparently evidenced the student's despondence over his personal spiritual failures. The Rosh Yeshiva's response provides nourishing food for thought.

Citing the saying that one can "lose battles but win wars," Rav Hutner explains that what makes life meaningful is not beatific basking in the exclusive company of one's yetzer tov" but rather the dynamic struggle of one's battle with the yetzer hora.

Shlomo Hamelech's maxim that "Seven times does the righteous one fall and get up" (Mishlei, 24:16), continues Rav Hutner, does not mean that "even after falling seven times, the righteous one manages to gets up again." What it really means, he explains, is that it is only and precisely through repeated falls that a person truly achieves righteousness. The struggles – even the failures – are inherent elements of what can, with determination and perseverance, become an ultimate victory.
 
One of the users on our forum claims that two pieces of Chizuk helped him as a Bachur never to give up. See yesterday's Chizuk e-mail for the first piece. Today, we bring you the second piece, which happens to be this very letter from Rav Hutner. Here are his words:
 
R' Hutner wrote to a talmid that complained to him that the rotten menuval was giving him a hard time. He discusses the pasuk "Sheva yipol tzadik vekum" and he explains that it's the falling (7 times) that makes the person in to a tzadik. It's a very powerful letter, and he ends off saying (based on Chaza"l in Biraishis that "tov meod" refers to the "yetzer harah") and he writes: "Had I received a letter from you saying that everything is great in your avodas hashem I would of said it was a good letter. Now that you wrote me what you did, I say it's a very good letter."
 
This was a great chizuk to me.
298.

"Rabbeinu Yonah discusses various barriers to teshuva in Sha'arei Teshuva. But perhaps the greatest barrier most of us experience is a lack of belief in our capacity to change"... Yonason Rosenblum in an article on www.matzav.com. (Click here for the full article).

The following excerpts were taken from www.sexualcontrol.com

The Biggest Obstacle

Just about anyone who acts sexually addictive has made some attempt to stop. It might have been only for a day, but they tried - and they failed. If you've tried to overcome sex addiction before and weren't able to, the biggest barrier to your success is believing you cannot succeed.

Let's imagine you wanted to teach a kid how to ride a bike. You've taught lots of kids and you're sure this kid can make it. He doesn't believe he can. He tried to learn before but was not taught correctly. Now he's sick and tired of failing. You know that the only thing holding him back is his belief that he can't do it.

Let's change the problem from learning to ride a bike to learning how to overcome sexual addiction. Remember that the kid felt hopeless because of his past mistakes. This same problem can become your biggest obstacle to success. But, you are not doomed to failure. A good counselor can help you identify those mistakes and help you correct them before they get in your way.

But what if you don't believe that you can correct your mistakes? Ask yourself this question: What if I'm wrong? What if my situation isn't hopeless? What if I really can overcome my addiction?

Here's what it takes to overcome sexual addiction:

  • Free will
  • Knowledge
  • Hard work.

Good counseling will provide you the knowledge. Good counseling will also help motivate you to make the free will choice to stop. Providing the effort is up to you. Just like the kid who can learn to ride the bike if he makes the effort, you can overcome sexual addiction, once your efforts are properly guided.

Don't let past failures defeat you. Learn from them. Don't give in to hopelessness. Use it to build motivation.

The first obstacle to overcoming sex addiction is not in your genes, your childhood or your environment. The first obstacle is the decision not to try. If you're willing to make the effort, good counseling can guide you to success. The decision to make the effort and find the right guidance doesn't apply only to sexual addiction. It applies to accomplishing anything.
299.
Dear fellow warriors,
 
We were at the Me'aras Hamachpelah and Kever Rachel this morning after the Slichos of the Yud Gimmle Midos. I davened long and hard for everyone on the Chizuk e-mail list and the forum, and for all those who are "Ba'im Letaher" (coming to be purified), that we should all have special Siyatta Dishmaya this year to break free of the Yetzer Hara's grasp once and for all. And I also davened, that the GuardUrEyes website, chizuk list and forum, and all those who have joined and are part of it - and who post on the forum and have a sincere desire to come closer to Hashem, that this entire network should all come together as one entity before the Kisai Hakavod and should silence all the prosecutions on Klal Yisrael in the coming year and be Mevatel the bad decrees and bring great mercy on the Jewish people.
 
Yidden! So much Teshuvah is going on in the Chizuk e-mails and the forum! So many people are giving their hearts over to Hashem and sacrificing their deepest desires and life-long habits on the Mizbe'ach of their hearts for Hashem's glory!
 
United, we have a tremendous Koach. All those who consider themselves part of our community of Yidden striving for Kedusha, I believe that one day we will be shown incredible, earth shaking decrees that we were able to be mevatel from Klal Yisrael, and the tremendous chesed and shefa that we were zoche to bring down to this world! We are cleaning out the grime and dirt from the very bottom of the barrel, in this last generation before Moshiach's time. We here on this list, were found worthy by Hashem to do this job, and we rejoice in our ability to do something so precious and important for the king! 
 
It doesn't matter where you are holding in your struggle right now. It is not the progress that counts, it is the SINCERITY of each individual struggle that counts. If you are sincere in your desire to make progress and you rely on Hashem and trust that he will help you, then you will get there!
300.

A pre-Yom-Kippur Battle-Cry from "battleworn" on the forum.

 

Dear Holy Brothers, Precious Yidden, great warriors,

Yesterday we read in the Haftoroh, "Shuva Yisroel ad Hashem Elokecha Ki Chashalta Baovonecha". The Gemarah points out that "avon" refers to sinning intentionally while "chashalta" (you stumbled) implies that it was unintentional. The message is, that once we've sinned, we're bound to keep stumbling. And the solution is, to return all the way till Hashem. Don't try to go half way, because it won't work. We don't need to turn off our passion, rather we need to turn it to Hashem.

The "Reishis Chochma" in shaar haahava tells this story. There was a Jewish man who got this crazy crush on the king's daughter. He managed to tell her that he wants her, so she answered that they'll meet in the cemetery. She meant that only when they're dead will he get anywhere near her, but he understood what he wanted to understand. So he went to the cemetery to wait for her and of course he waited and waited. Eventually he came to his senses, but then something interesting happened. He decided to take all that passion and desire that was welled up in him, and redirect it to Hashem. He became a very great tzadik and all his berochos would be fulfilled.

 

And then the Reishis Chochma says, that one who has never had desire for a woman, is like a donkey and even less than that. The powerful drive that we have is not a "problem" that needs to be cured. We were given it for a purpose, it just needs to be redirected. If we use it in the right way, the wicked menuval won't even be able to get near us. If we learn to experience spiritual pleasure, the despicable menuval has no chance of enticing us with his garbage. When we have an intimate relationship with Hashem, we don't get depressed, anxious, bored or unfulfilled etc. (Of course the war is never over, and he will do anything he can to get you out of that position of being close to Hashem).

 

Now is the time, "Dirshu Hashem bihemutzo" is referring to the Aseres Yimei Teshuva, grab the opportunity. Perhaps find a dynamic rebbe or at least a sefer that can change your life (they most definitely exist). You will be shocked when you see what a great person you can become.

This is what Hashem is waiting for, and this is the greatest Nachas Ruach for Him: To go from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high. And I believe we can all do it.

Gmar Chasima Tova!!! and a very very successful year!!!

 

 

Just an interesting note from something I read in the news:

 

"Boris Yefimov, a Russian cartoonist despised by Hitler and beloved by Stalin, just passed away now, during Aseres Yimai Teshuvah. He was 109, old enough to have seen the last czar pass in a coach, become friends with Trotsky, have Stalin personally edit his cartoons and vote for Vladimir Putin. When Yefimov was just 107, several Israeli newspapers reported that he was very likely the oldest living Jew, though he began to practice his religion only when he was 100".

 

Did you hear that Chevreh? He started keeping Mitzvos at 100 years old! It occured to me, that perhaps Hashem took him back davka during the Aseres Yimai Teshuvah to teach us all that it is never too late to do Teshuvah!  

 

Teshuvah Song