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301.


Erev Yom-Kippur 5769: Turning a NEW PAGE!

We all do/did the Minhag of Kaparos on Erev Yom-Kippur or in the days preceding it. One may ask... before Yom Kippur, we immerse in the Mikvah and supposed to be all clean and dressed in white. So why do we need to get all dirty with the smelly chickens and watch the blood and filth as the Shochet slaughters them, right before Yom-Kippur?
 
The purpose of Kapparos - and indeed the proper way to do Teshuvah - is to be humbled and broken hearted by remembering our feebleness and how temporary we are. As we say in the Vidui on Yom-Kippur: "Afar Ani Bechaya'i, Kal Vachomer Bemisasi" - I am dust in my life, and much more so in my death. And like it says in this week's Parsha Ha'azinu - "Ani Amis Va'chayeh, Ve'ein Miyadi Matzil" - I put to death and give life, and there is no being saved from my hand. Everyone will die. Doing Kapparos with the chickens, seeing and "feeling" the trembling chickens, smelling the filth and watching the slaughter, we are forced to remember that our bodies are not different than the chicken's. And indeed, when doing the Kapparos we are saying that we should have been slaughtered in place of the chickens. We are the same flesh and blood and we experience the same life and death, dust and rot. One day, our eyes that gazed at improper things will be eaten by the maggots, and our brains, which thought improper thoughts and desired other flesh and blood, will rot and disintegrate in the earth.
 
Normally we don't focus on these things and try to serve Hashem with Simcha all year round. But on Erev Yom-Kippur, the Kapparos help us remember this truth once a year, and inspire us to do Teshuvah with a humbled and broken heart.
 
The Yidden In Kiev Didn't Need Chickens That Year
 
Exactly 67 years ago, towards the end of the Eseres Yimei Teshuvah, leaflets were distributed around the city of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, a part of the Soviet Union at that stage under Nazi control, informing all Jews that they were to report the following morning to a section of the city near the cemetery and that they were to take with them their valuables, warm clothes and personal documents. The leaflets also warned that any Jews that didn't would be shot.

By 8am the next morning, on the 8th of Tishrei, over 30,000 Jews had congregated near the cemetery as instructed. Rumours abounded as to what was going to happen to them. They were understandably scared, but tried to calm each other with assurances that everything would be fine.

The general consensus was that they were going to be deported. Yes, that was it, they thought, they were going to be sent away and resettled. After all, they had been told to bring their personal documents, right? Some even arrived early to get a good seat on the train.

They couldn't have been more wrong. There was no train; neither was there any plan to resettle them. Instead, they were led through the cemetery, where their documentation was checked. They were told to leave their baggage and that they would be reunited with it at their destination.

They were then pushed through a corridor of German soldiers, who beat them with sticks and kicked them, all the time laughing and mocking their victims. A famous eyewitness account said the soldiers "seemed to be drunk with fury in a sort of sadistic rage".

After leaving this corridor, bleeding, screaming and crying uncontrollably, the Jews were led to an overgrown area near the edge of a ravine, called Babi Yar. There they were shot and their bodies dumped into the ravine.

The whole process was executed with military precision. Most of the victims had no idea what was going on until it was too late.

First, in groups of 10 or more, they were machine-gunned and then pushed over the edge. Then soldiers walked among the injured and dying lying in the ravine and shot them at point-blank range.

Over the next 36 hours throughout the day, into the night and throughout the next day a total of 33,711 Jews from the city of Kiev were massacred. Assuming it was a non-stop process, that works out at about 15 men, women and children killed every minute simply because they were Jewish. (Taken from www.vosizneias.com)

             

Yidden! Let these holy martyrs of Kiev be in our minds this Yom-Kippur. Let our hearts be broken before Hashem, and let us remember that we are mere flesh and blood, slaughtered by our enemies for Hashem's sake throughout all the generations. Let us get ANGRY once and for all - REALLY ANGRY - at the Yetzer Hara who causes us to sin against the Almighty and abuse the gift of life that we were given, for the mere 80 years or so that we spend on this temporary earth. Let the tears come. Let our hearts be broken and humbled. For this is the real Teshuvah, as it says in Tehillim: "Zivchei Elokim Ruach Nishabra, Lev Nishbar Ve'nidkeh Elokim Lo Sivzeh" - The (true) sacrifice of Hashem is a broken spirit, a broken and humbled heart Hashem will not discard. 
 
And may we all be written in the book of LIFE and be Zoche to a G'mar Chasimah Tova!

302.


Dear holy Yidden,

 

We might have a tendency to think that after Rosh Hashana and Yom-Kippur when we worked so hard and achieved spiritual heights, the Yetzer Hara won't bother us for a while. I must warn you. It is exactly the other way around. Precisely when there is so much spirituality and closeness to Hashem going on, the Yetzer Hara works over time. Therefore, please dear Yidden. To make sure you don't lose all that was gained in the past month, we all need to be on the highest alert. After having been chased away during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, the Yetzer Hara comes back with a vengeance these days. There are many pressures now, work related, financial... we need to build a Sukkah, buy Arba Minim. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious or stressed. And it is often these very emotions which trigger the addiction again. So we need to be on the highest alert and say to ourselves: "No matter how low or vulnerable I may feel now, physically OR spiritually, this is ONE DESIRE I have already decided that I am giving up to Hashem!"

 

Even if you find yourself slipping in other areas, such as eating too much, sleeping too much, lack of patience with the family, etc... and the Yetzer Hara says to you - "what's the use? You already lost that spiritual high from Yom-Kippur, give it up!" He'll do anything to make us fall into the addiction again, he'll make us feel spiritually low in other areas as well. But it is really THIS area that he wants us to fall in, more than anything else! Because he knows that if we fall here, he has us around his little finger.

 

So ignore the falls in other places for now. Stay committed to this one thing and shout in your heart "I am NEVER going back there again! This desire is my one true sacrifice to Hashem!".

 

And if you overcome and chase him away, you will find that all the other areas you thought you were slipping in as well, were really no big deal. You will be able to quickly climb back up and will experience the true joy of the coming Yom-Tov!

303.


Whenever faced with a struggle, remember this important saying:
 
"LET GO AND LET G-D"
 
This idea can be found in Tehhilim (37) as well:
Roll your ways on G-d, trust in him and he shall do.
 
Someone sent us a piece from the Husiaterner Rebbe, Reb Ya'akov zy'a from Rhizin. He writes that the time between Yom-Kippur and Sukkos is a time of Teshuvah Me'ahavah (Repentance through Love). And he brings the Gemarah (in Yummah 86b) that says that when a Jew does Teshuvah through Love, his past sins become merits. It says in the Torah about the first day of Sukkos: "Take for yourself on the first day" - and Chaza"l write: "Rishon Le'cheshbon Avonos" - "The first day of the accounting on one's sins". Why would we want to make an accounting of our sins, and what does this have to do with Sukkos? This cryptic Chaza"l can now be understood in a new light. Since a Jew does Teshuvah through Love during these days, on Sukkos he can start to count all of his PAST sins as MERITS!

304.


Vesamachtah Bi'chagecha!
 
Sukkos is a time of Simcha.
 
The Chassidic Rebbe's of Karlin once said, that with Simcha Shel Mitzva, a Yid can break down all barriers!
 
The Yetzer Hara just flees when Jews rejoice with Hashem's Mitzvos.
 
Have a Simchadik Yom-Tov!
305.

Here is an (approximate) translation of a Zohar that I came across in Parshas VaYerah:
 
Rabbi Yitzchak says. To what is the Yetzer Hara similar? To a band of highway robbers who murder and steal from people. They take a man from their ranks who is a smooth talker, and they stake him out on the highway. And there he awaits people on the road and goes out to greet them, making himself as a poor man who wants to be their servant and friend, until the people believe him and trust in his love and in what he says. And he brings them with his smooth talking to the place where the robbers are waiting, and in the end, he is the first one to kill them and rob all they have after giving them over into the hands of the robbers to kill them and steal their money. And the people cry out "woe to us that we listened to this man and to his smooth tongue". And after the robbers have killed these people, this man goes up from there again to stand on the highway and convince others to follow him. What do the wise men do? When they see this man coming towards them and enticing them, they know him and know that he is trying to trap their very souls, and they kill him and take a different route. So it is with the Yetzer Hara. He comes up from the band of robbers - from Gehinnom - towards men, to entice them with the sweetness of his words. And the fools believe in him and in his love, and he makes himself as their servant. He gives them beautiful women who are prohibited, he gives them people to harm, he takes off the yoke of Torah and the yoke of heaven from them. And the foolish trust in his love until he goes with them and brings them to the path where the bandits await; the way to Gehinom, where there is nowhere to turn right or left [to escape]. And when he gets there with them, he is the first to kill them, and he turns into the angel of death and takes them into Gehinom and brings down upon them the angels of destruction, and they cry and shout "woe to us that we listened to this one". But it doesn't help them [for Teshuvah and regret no longer help one over there]. Afterwards, he goes up from Gehinom and entices others. But the wise, when they see him, they recognize him and overpower him until they control him. And they turn from that path and go on another path to be saved from him.
306.

You may find that the Yetzer Hara feels stronger these days than usual. Because it's vacation-time, people are often not learning as much Torah as they usually do.
 
Hashem says "barasi Yetzer Hara, barasi torah tavlin" - "I created the Yetzer Hara, and I created the Torah as a medicine" ... And the Zohar (Chadash, Ki Setzai) says there is nothing that is "Mekatreg" (prosecutes i.e. defends against) the Yetzer Hara like learning Torah. The Zohar brings the Pasuk "if your enemy is hungry, feed him bread"... "bread" meaning Torah, as it says "Lechu Lachmu Bilachmi" - "Go eat of my bread"....
 
So dear Yidden, you will notice consistently that the Yetzer Hara gets stronger when we are learning less. Make sure to sink your head into a Blat Gemarah every day, without exception. The Gemarah is "Sechel Hayashar" - "Straight thinking", and when a person works hard on a Blat Gemarah to understand it well and figure it out, asking questions, finding answers, etc... his mind becomes holy and "straight" thinking. Immoral lusts, on the other hand, come from crooked thinking. The Yetzer Hara can't find his way in to a "straight thinking" Yiddishe Kup.
 
Also reading the Holy Zohar for a few minutes each day, even without understanding it, is a big Segulah to chasing away the Yetzer Hara.
 
Tip: The Holy Sefer "Chok Liyisrael" provides a daily dose of Tanach, Mishna, Gemara and Zohar. The perfect combonation to keep the "Menuval" away!
 
See this page for more great ideas to making your life more full with Torah!
307.

Sunday is the Ushpizin of Yosef Hatzadik, and Monday - Hoshana Rabba, is the Ushpizin of David Hamelech. The Zohar in Parshas Lech Lecha, discusses the merits that both Yosef and David had that enabled them to achieve kingdom.
 
Here is what the Zohar writes:
 
The Pasuk states "And Yosef said to his brothers, come close to me, and they came close" Why did Yosef call them, were they not already close? But when Yosef said to them, "I am Yosef your brother" they were wondering, for they saw Yosef in the celestial kingship (through Ruach Hakodesh). And Yosef said to them, this kingship [that you see], because of "this" I earned it, come close to me, and they came close, and he showed them the sign of circumcision, and he said "this caused me the kingdom, because I guarded it". From here we learn that one who guards this sign of the circumcision, kingship is guarded for him. From where (else) can we know this? From Boaz, because he swore (when Ruth came to him alone at night) "By the life of G-d, lay here till the morning". Because his Yetzer was strong upon him until he made a Shavuah and guarded this Bris, and because of this, he merited that kings came out from him (David and his descendants), kings that ruled over all other kings and the Melech Hamoshiach who is called in the name of Hashem.
 
We also see from Boaz the power of vows. The Zohar says "his Yetzer was strong upon him until he made a Shavuah". That implies that once he made the vow, his Yetzer no longer bothered him even though Ruth was still there alone with him. The reason for this is because the urge to "act out" is psychologically tied directly to what one "perceives" as his "ability" to act out. However, if one is able to convince his mind that "acting out" is simply not an option, the entire urge simply vanishes. That is why vows are so powerful. For a G-d fearing Jew, once a vow has been made, it is simply "not an option" any more.
 
However, making vows is tricky and risky business. See this page for tips and advice on how to make vows in safe and effective ways.
308.

Today is Hoshana Rabba, the last chance for Teshuvah before the final "Chasimah" of the new year. We need to have a clear cut plan if we want to succeed in doing true Teshuvah. We need to make sure that visiting forbidden sites and masturbation is simply "not an option" for us any more. Once a person succeeds in convincing his mind that it isn't an option for him, the battle is already basically won. There are two powerful - and often necessary - tools that we can use to convince our minds that these behaviors are not an option anymore:
 
1) The first way is by installing a strong, fool-proof filter and giving the password to someone else. Without this, there is little hope for success. There will be weak moments in the future, and our minds need to know that it's just not an option. Anyone who wants can put in my e-mail address at eyes.guard@gmail.com as the place to send the password if it was forgotten. This way, you won't be tempted to ask them to send you the password by e-mail. A strong filter keeps it "out of sight and out of mind". Get one TODAY, on Hoshana Rabba, and show Hashem you are serious about making the change.
 
2) The second tool to making it not an option anymore, is vows, which we discussed a bit in yesterday's chizuk e-mail. Often however, people are not sure how to proceed with vows, and are afraid to take this important step. And even if they do make vows for a short time period, they will often be "lazy" to renew the vows when the time is up. Someone expressed these concerns to us recently by e-mail, and here is what we tried to answer them:
 
Let me help you by offering you a clear plan, step by step, of how to proceed.
 
A) Write up a list of what situations and triggers cause you to feel weak and fall, or even make you afraid that you might fall.
 
B) Then, based on this list, you need to design a set of vows that keep a fence around these stumbling-blocks. For example, if you find that you start to slip when browsing the internet alone in the room, prepare a neder not to browse internet (that is not protected with a strong filter) unless someone is in the room with you and can see the screen (not that they actually have to see the screen at all times, but you can say that they "can see the screen if they wanted to, without having to change places"). And, if you find yourself slipping when looking through magazines, prepare a neder not to open any non-Jewish or non-religious magazines that you can assume might have immodest pictures in them, unless someone asks you to, or unless someone asks you to look at something in them, etc...
 
Notice I am writing "unless this" and "unless that". It takes experience and it will take time for you to learn exactly what situations you need to protect yourself from and what situations you need to leave some lee-way for, in case something important comes up. Prepare these vows carefully in a text file on the computer.
 
You can even use more crafty vows, such as; "Shvuah that in the next 2 weeks, if I open any web site on the computer that I can assume will contain immodest pictures or videos, I will give $25 to Tzedaka (for every half hour that I do this in)". Or "Shavuah that if I masturbate in the next 2 weeks, I will go to the Mikvah within 24 hours - or give $20 to Tzedaka", or "Shavuah that before I masturbate I will do 20 minutes of exercise".
 
Don't say these Shavuos yet. Just prepare them. And write down the time-frame you want to make the Shavuos for, together with each shavuah you prepare. The vows should not be for more than a week or two at first.
 
The vows can cover more than just internet and masturbation, you can prepare vows for anything that is a stumbling block for you, like "not to drive alone with the car into certain areas" or "not to call certain telephone numbers" etc... Each person knows what his triggers and stumbling blocks are.
 
C) When you feel you covered the important areas, read it over again and make sure that you thought of any exceptions you want to make, in case your intentions would be clean.
 
D) When you are sure the wording is right, make the vows while reading from the exact text and wording you prepared.
 
E) Make one more vow at the end, that you will make another set of vows towards the end of the time period you set, BEFORE the previous vows expire. This will protect you from sinning when the time-period is up, if you find yourself "lazy" to make new vows right away.
 
And each time you make new vows, return to the text file you prepared and re-adjust the vows and the time-periods based on what you learned from the previous weeks. Vows that you found were not protective enough (like if you found ways around them) need to be strengthened. Vows that were too much (like if they excluded even innocent things that you happened to need but couldn't do because of the vows) should also be adjusted. Slowly over-time, you will learn exactly what vows are right for you and you will be able to extend the time periods as well. After a while, you will have a clear, comprehensive list of vows saved in a file in the computer and you will even be able to make the vows for up to a year at a time, say from this Hoshana Rabba until next Hoshana Rabba.
 
Wishing everyone a true Teshuvah and that we should all merit to dance with the Torah with true joy and without shame!
309.


One of our members, who had hit bottom and was willing to try anything to break free, was still struggling to understand what is so important about the 12 steps groups, and how, as a frum Yid, it could possibly offer more than Chizuk and Mussar could provide. We presented his question to Rabbi Avraham J. Twerski, a Gadol and Talmid Chacham, as well as the author of over 50 books and a world renowned expert in addictions. He promised to answer us more in depth when he gets back to the U.S next week, but meanwhile here is what he replied:

 

Years ago, someone asked why there is no recovery program based on mussar. I wrote a book called "Self-improvement? I'm Jewish!", which is such a program and shows how it is identical with the 12 steps.

 

1) I have attended many mussar shiurim. Everybody understands the importance of mussar, but I doubt if many people walk away with the feeling, "If I deviate from this, I'm dead!" A person sincere in recovery realizes that his very life depends on following the program, not theoretically, but very practically. If people would accept mussar that way, it would work.

 

2) No one in any mussar shiur I attended has ever spoken up and said, "I tried to do things my way, and I fell right back into my old ways." That helps bring home the message that one's life depends on following the program.

 

3) I don't recall anyone in a mussar shiur being so touched that they began to cry. It happens often in the 12 step program.

 

4) No one in a mussar shiur shares strength, hope and courage.

 

These things are what makes the difference.

 

Twerski

310.

Dear Chevreh,
 
I just have to share some of these incredible posts from our forum since after Yom-Tov.
There's so many valiant battles going on there, so much inspiration, Teshuvah and Ahavas Yisrael!
 
(Scroll down to read them all)
 
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"Crakerjack" posted:
 
Hi All,

I posted last week regarding the change this year in how I feel. In previous years the feeling of Prikas Ol were very empowering at this time of year and the ensuing Yom Tov of Succos/Shmini Atzeres/Simchas Torah had little or no impression on me.

This year has been AMAZING! I feel so different. I have been looking forward to shaking my arba minim each morning and wrapping myself up in my tallis for Hoisha'anos. It never used to be that way - NEVER!

Also, for the first time this year, I have reached the target of Shmini Atzeres without missing a minyan, staying clean and pure since well before Rosh Hashana......

As a direct result of my hard work (my G-d it's been tough) I have utilised the free offer of 'koroiv H-shem le'koire'ov' and I've found that my closeness to H-shem has brought me closer to my dear wife which has reaped the obvoius benefits.

With the greatest start of a year for me ever, I now feel stronger that ever before to battle the winter. I know it'll be tough and not always upbeat but that's no excuse for not trying.

I can tell you that Simchas Torah this year was like Yom Kippur. It was a Simchas Torah like never before. I held that beautiful Sefer Torah so tight and danced with my eyes closed and went round and round the Bimah in my own thoughts. Yes, we dance with the sefer torah in recognition of finishing the whole Sefer torah and we are besimcha because 'asher bochar banu mikol ha'amim'. But, my thoughts during the hakafos were somewhat different....

I was thinking, 'Please dear most compassionate Hashem, help me throughout the cold and unforgiving winter. Help me have the strength to continue my recent Aliyah. Help me have the chutzpah to tell people posing as the Y'H to disappear. Help me serve You with a clean heart. Help me be a frum yid and act like one ALWAYS. Help me benefit from your beautiful umbrella called yiddishkeit and be sheltered from the dark and uncertain world out there'.

I cried and sang and clutched that Sefer Torah so tightly - I didn't want to give it back to the gabbai! People asked if I was ok. I said 'yeah! I'm just tired, been up with the kids etc'.....!

I daven and hope that the recent powerful days assist me in my fight to get through the winter sin-free and that the tefillos that have been said with such kavonoh are listened to by Hashem and that He helps me prevail the greatest battles of all.

Finally, I hope all you dear contributers have the strength the continue the fight/struggle throughout these next few days and months and in the zechus of helping each other we should all be zocheh to have a 'gut vinter', a year full with the most beautiful simchos in all our families, a year full of nachas from our most precious beautiful children, a year full of hatzlacha in being able to provide for our families during these financially testing times and a year that we can capitalize on the opportunities to draw closer to Hashem and ready ourselves for the greatest day of all - the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu Bimheirah Beyomeinu - Amen

I love being Jewish. I love the fact that this site exists and I love each and everyone of the contributors for their wise advice and caring words of support.

With much love,

Menachem
 
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"Chasdei Avos" writes (to someone who's making good progress):
 
I believe that right at this moment, if you look up into heaven, very high up, and then look even higher, above the clouds, you will surely see the malachim, srafim, and oifanei hakodesh (angels) dancing together with the Ribbono Shel Olam at your success in avoidas Hashem. You are bringing constant glory to the heavens and to Hashem and to all yidden in the world and have already contributed to the hastening of Meshiach.

Thank you everyone for inspiring me to be clean (bli ayin horah and bisiyata dshmaya) for my longest stretch in many many years.

You guys give me incredible chizuk and inspiration to fight this war with all my koichos.

Thanks and continued hatzlaacha

Chasdei Avos
 
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 "WeWillNotBeForsaken" says:
 
I am new to this website and I too am attempting a new start (second day sukkos). Over the years I have tried nearly every conceivable method of trying to break this habit on my own - that didn't work. So far, the thing that seems to be working best for me is just going on this site and browsing through the forums and latest posts (like yours).  The posts are inspirational and infuse within me a strength to be strong for at least a couple of hours (until my next browsing of these forums). There are other people who are going through / have gone through the same trials as us. IY'H we will both be successful.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
"mdmjerusalem" says:
 
HI "WeWillNotBeForsaken"
congratulations to your joining the Lamed Vav club
where yiden join up to form a Military
and OH boy, we are prevailing!
 
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"battleworn" writes:
 
I just logged in for the first time since before Yom Kippur, and I feel like this thread has made my year. I don't know if all you guys can imagine how much I love all of you. These posts are (in my eyes) the most beautiful thing in the world. Chazak Veematz, keep shteiging higher and higher and please take us along.
 
This is the real thing. The real purpose of this generation is to fight this lowly taavah. Everything else is background. The greatest nachas ruach for Hashem is when people get together for His sake. This is what's going to bring Moshiach, as it says at the end of Sefer Malachi (Oz Nidbiru...).

There is so much wonderful chizuk on this forum, website and emails. Read it as much as you could and allways come back for more.
 
Have a super year.
 
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"Mevakesh" writes:
 
Since I joined this forum, my Olam HaZeh is 1000% more enjoyable as well! The fake, phony "pleasures" I used to indulge in and sin to attain, are nothing compared to the feelings of closeness I feel to Hashem when I daven, learn, watch my eyes etc.
 
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"Me" writes:
 
Dear friends,

Please let us not be tricked by this filthy stinking, ________(fill in the blank) menuval.

Yes we know that during the Chagim, he tried to stick his foot in many times, because when there is greater kedushah(the yom tovim), then there is greater tumah, i.e. Mr. Menuval.

But, now we have finished with the chagim. Let us not forget that on one hand it was the Chagim that helped us. We tuned into the kedushah and ran from the tumah. We used the kedushah as a catalyst to jetisin from his filthy grasps. Yes, he was still there, but at the same time we had tremendous Kailim, (tools) at our disposal.

Now as we enter the winter, back to the "chol", he will start once again to boggle our minds with worries, anxieties etc, and we will not have the kedushah of the yom tovim at our disposal.

He knows this! 

So, my point is. Let us NOT let our guards down. Yes, we must be prepared for his new attack. He is thinking..."let's see what they can do now with out the aid of the yom tovim. The kedushah has gone, but I am still here."

Dear friends, YES, lets us in fact show him what we can do. All of us together. Let's be prepared and be michazek ourselves and each other.We are NOT prepared to give in. NEVER. This is a different ball game now. We are here together, He CANNOT beat all of us together as a unit.

May Hashem help us that Mar Cheshvan will not turn out to be "MAR", but rather a "sweet" prelude to the lights of Kislev.
311.

Our website and network is called "GuardUrEyes" because the eyes are the "windows to the soul". All the limbs of the body - including the heart and mind, follow the purity of the eyes. No matter how complex this disease seems to be, emotionally, psychologically, physically, etc... it all boils down to guarding the eyes. Even a heart and mind that has been polluted from years of abuse, will also become pure and holy over time, once a person has learned to guards his eyes.
 
Here are some "mind-tips" to help you guard your eyes:
 
1) When struggling, tell yourself that no matter how painful it feels NOT to look, it is even MORE PAINFUL to look
   a) You feel suddenly far from Hashem and from your goals. 
   b) You feel the disease coming back and a feeling of helplessness and depression sets in.
   c) And you know that what you see in the street you can't have anyway. So looking and desiring what you can't have anyway HURTS.
So essentially, the pain you feel when not looking is MUCH BETTER than the pain of looking.
 
2) Also, the pain you feel when NOT looking, is "healing pain". It's the pain of a "work-out". As they say in body-building exercises: "No pain, no gain". On the other hand, the spiritual and psychological pain of looking, is the pain of the disease getting worse. Which pain do you choose?
 
3) The pain you feel when not looking is not really your pain at all. It is the pain of the Yetzer Hara in his "death throws". He is screaming that you are hitting him hard. So enjoy the pain! You are feeling the pain of your enemy as he is dying!
 
"Me" posted on the Forum
 
When I was struggling with shmiras HaEinayim, I felt that the Y"H was literally pulling and pushing my head in any direction that he wished. It was as if I had no free choice. The reason I felt like this is because...this IS what was happening. He was in control. Wherever I would walk, I tried and failed. Then, I decided to make very very small goals. I would accept upon myself, that the walk from shul to my home, (about 100 meters) I absolutely no matter what, would not look anywhere except at the ground. It was difficult, but this was a goal that I could handle. After a few times of doing this, I was able to increase the goal. During the same period when I was driving,which is much more difficult as we are looking almost everywhere in order to drive safely, I could see with my peripheral vision, that there were "interesting" things walking on the sidewalk. I literally had to scream and shout with pain in order to break the pull of the Y"H. This too worked, and immediately afterwards things became much easier.
312.

If you are sitting by the computer at work and a strong urge comes to you, just get up and walk out of the room. Take a walk and pray. Whenever you feel weak, just stop what you are doing and pray.
 
Say: "Hashem, please save me from this menuval! He is too strong for me! Only you can help me. Otherwise I am lost. I want to love YOU Hashem, not flesh and blood."
 
Say it with all your heart. This is what Hashem wants to hear. He lets the yetzer Hara come to us every day, just so that we should cry out to him. And he listens.
 
Never say "I've prayed for this 1000 times before already". Every time is unique. All the Teffilos gather together, one by one, until they finally break through the heavens when you least expect it, when you feel the farthest, when you feel it is hopeless, when you feel you just can't win.

Remember, every time the Yetzer Hara strikes is a valuable opportunity for Teffilah. And that is what Hashem is waiting for.

313.

Chevreh, NOW is the time to recover and do Teshuvah. Once Moshiach comes we will have no more work to do. We will yearn for the days when we still had struggles, when we could still get rewarded for our hard work. We will yearn for the days when we still had the opportunity to give Hashem our hearts.
 
And another important note on this topic:

 

If we would KNOW for sure that Moshiach is coming THIS YEAR, would it still be hard to break free of these sinful behaviors? I don't think so.

 

A Jew is meant to live with the full belief that Moshiach could come ANY DAY. We all say it, but do we believe it?

 

If we are finding the struggles really hard, it obviously means we don't believe enough.

 

Here are some pointers that might help :-)

 

Moshiach 2009


1. Bircat HaHamah - The Blessing on the Sun - Once every 28 years
Since creation, there was only two times that the year we say Birkat HaHamah fell out on Erev Pesach.
The first was the year Hashem redeemed Israel form Egypt.
The second was the year of Purim, when Hashem saved the Jews from the evil Haman, who wanted to kill and destroy all Jews.
This year Birkat HaHamah falls out on the 1st Day of Passover. (which will be the 3rd time in history)
When it was told to Hacham Ovadia Yosef, that this year Birkat HaHamah falls out on the 1st Day of Passover, he started crying like a baby.

2. Chofetz Chaim in a Dream to His Student
Recently, the Chofetz Chaim came to one of his last living students in a dream several times and said that Mashiach is born. When this was told to Rabbi Elya Svei, he said he knew about this for over ten years.

3. Rabbi Elya Svei Mashiach 2009, told to him from his Rebbe, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman
In 2004 at a funeral of a Rebbe of Mirrer Yeshiva, Rabbi Elya Svei said that Mashiach is coming in 2009. He said it was told to him and calculated by his Rebbe, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, who was the top student of the Chofetz Chaim. Incidentally Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman wrote books and spoke about how the timing of Maschiach is comparable to a pregnant lady in her 9th month, which at any moment can give birth. Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman was murdered in the Holocaust, over 70 years ago, so if the Mashiach was so close in his times, how much more so in our times more than 70 years later.

4. The Collapse of the Stock Market, Wall Street, Financial Markets, Housing Markets, Mortgage Markets, Insurance Markets, Real Estate Markets
Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merill Lynch, Wachovia, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Washington Mutual, Goldman Sachs
And surely MORE to come.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 8000 and dropped to a low of 7882

5. The Iran dictator (Yemah Shemo) declaring he wants to wipe Israel of the globe and definitely has Nuclear Weapons.
Since Hashem sent us a very good President George Bush, who is a true friend of Israel as well as shown that he want to eradicate terrorists, the Iranian Animal is petrified to start with Israel, but with this years election of a new President, who know what can happen.

6. Barak Obama as President?
Obama's spiritual advisor and confidante for 20 years was Reverend Jeremiah Wright who repeatedly lauded Louis Farrakhan, conferring upon him honorific titles, often sounding like a devoted disciple of his. Farrakhan called Judaism the 'synagogue of Satan.' And see this article about how the Muslims of the world view Obama as their savior, possibly even their "Messiah".

With all this, the TRUE Moshiach must be close!

 

7. Iceland & Greenland Ice Packs
Iceland and Greenland is mostly comprised of ice. Scientist discovered that due to Global Warming, the shrinking of the Ozone Layer and the change in weather patterns, the ice packs in these two countries are starting to melt. They predict that in 5 to 10 years it will fully melt and the water (melted ice) would be added to the worlds oceans. This extra water, would increase sea level around the globe by 20 feet.

Basically all homes, buildings etc, that are built on locations that are at sea level (which is a good portion society), will be under water. Hashem promised NEVER to bring a Mabul (flood) again. If this is set in motion to take place, then Mashiach, must come before this happens.

8. Brisker Rav
The Brisker Rav said during the Holocaust that within 70 years Mashiach will come. 2009 is the 70th year.

9. Rabbi Elya Ber Wachtfogel
Said this past Yom Kippur 2008, was the last Yom Kippur. He's been telling everyone to do Teshuva beore Mashiach comes.

10. Rav Chaim Kanievsky
The Chazon Ish (his Grandfather) and Rav Shach (one of his Rabbeim) came to Rav Chaim Kanievsky in a dream and both told him to tell everyone to do Teshuva in order to get ready for Mashiach, whom is coming very soon.

11. "In It's Time I Shall Hasten It"
The words in Yeshaya: "Be'tah Achishena" (meaning "in it's time I shall hasten it" i.e. the Moshaich) equal in Gematria to exact Jewish date of the World Trade Center Bombing, the 21 Elul 5761. That means that what happened 7 years ago was clearly for the purpose of "hastening" the arrival of the Moshaich. As the Zohar says, that before Moshaich comes Yishmael will arouse great wars in the world Indeed, that attack by Yishmael brought about what some are calling WWIII - the global war on terror. In the past 7 years, there have been multiple wars with Yishma'el. We watched the collapse of Afghanistan, the fall of Iraq, and it sure looks like some other great wars are still on the horizon.

12. "Motzai Shi'vi'is Ben David Bah"

13. 5679 equals in Gematriah: "Eliyahu Hatishbi"



For more on how close Moshiach is, listen to Rebbetzin Jungreis over here.
And check out this amazing blog dreamingOfMoshiach.blogspot.com

 
So don't wait any longer. Today is the day we decide forever that these behaviors are a things of the distant past! 
314.

One of our Chizuk list members who we've been helping over the past few months, sent us yesterday a beautiful update to his story, which appears
here on our site.
 

I am now clean for 90 days.  As expected, the single most important factor in staying clean was and is a connection to Ruchniyus.  However this doesn't happen by itself.  3 main factors helped me establish that connection.  The beginning is "sur merah" stopping the addiction and the downward slide.  The goal is "aseh tov" improving and growing in Torah and Yiddishkeit.  And the common denominator is the process of self discovery through therapy.  More specifically, here's how those 3 elements work for me.

1)  After reading about other people's struggles and recoveries on the Guard Your Eyes website, I revealed my addiction to my Rav, a therapist and my wife.  The last part was the hardest and caused the most excruciating emotional pain I have ever experienced in my life.  B"H we have a good marriage, and not knowing how she'd react and whether I would cause irreparable damage to the relationship was a huge hurdle that I had to overcome.  No one could make that decision except me.  Some may say that causing her pain is unnecessary and keeping this from her is not dishonest because it's for her own good and you're "hiding" a positive thingyour recovery.  This did not work for me and ultimately, telling her and going through a painful period has strengthened our marriage.  This is also one of the biggest ongoing reasons to stay cleanI don't want to go through that again!

 

2)   I began seeing a therapist on a regular basis.  The root cause of the addiction has to do with avoidance of emotional pain usually caused by a difficult childhood with unmet emotional needs and unreasonable expectations.  Identifying this, recognizing that there were/are emotional needs that are legitimate and that adopting certain unreasonable expectations without questioning them will cause pain helps make you self aware.  And if you're self aware, you know when the Yetzer Horah is talking and can decide not to listen!  Also, it helped me identify and begin to overcome my resistance to learning Torah.  When you're told from a young age to "learn, learn, learn" and your emotional needs are not addressed, you hate learning and associate it with all that pain.  However real Ruchniyus is individual, not the result of doing what you're told but rather the result of a real connection with Hashem.  This helped develop the third component of my recovery

 

3)   I began to learn and grow in Ruchniyus.  The primary method that works for me is Mussar but not the way it's usually thought of in terms of doing more and being more medakdek in Mitzvos.  Rather, it's an emotional journey.  I focus on absorbing the Hashkafah what our purpose is in the world and how to actualize it internally.  Whether anything changes on the outside or not is irrelevant!  I'd be happy to discuss in more detail if anyone is interested (write to eyes.guard@gmail.com to be put in touch).

 

Finally, the practical day to day steps that help me avoid a fall are thinking of who I am, what I'm about to do and the consequences (thanks to the healing hotline!).  I have a written list of the consequences of acting out as well as the positive consequences of keeping clean that I review periodically or when feeling weak.  Now that I've told some key people about my addiction, one of the consequences is the need to reveal any failures to themand that's a strong deterrent.  I've identified "good" activities, "bad" activities and "middle" activities and set up fences to avoid the risk areas.  I remind myself to just get through today.  And I remind myself not to get too confident.  I'm vulnerable and may always be and I can't let down my guard.

 

Looking forward to staying cleannot for the next 90 days, but "just for today" (as they say in the 12 step groups).

 


 

Elya K, who moderates the Jewish Healing Group comments below:

 

This is a beautiful story and makes our work worth every second. 


I will say, if a person has a good relationship with their wife now, I concur that getting it over with, eliminates the secrets and lets you live a life of freedom. Marriage is a true partnership, with ups and downs. No one expects perfection. However guys, before you just blurt out anything to your wife, PLEASE speak to a professional beforehand to help guide you through it.  It can be very traumatic for your wife and damage your relationship.  Some people do it with a counselor in the room.

315.

One should know that the principle aspect of a Jew's holiness and purity is in sanctifying his eyes. The Torah emphasizes this in the verse regarding Yehuda by asking, "Where is the k'deisha?" While the word k'deisha has the meaning "harlot," it can also be read in its meaning of "holiness," so that we read, "Where is the holiness?" And the answer is "b'Anayim," which means that the harlot was in the place called Anayim, but also that the holiness of a Jew is in the Anayim - the eyes (Bereshit, 38:21).
 
I saw also in a Sefer recently that the word "Re'iyah" - which means "Sight", equals in Gematria the word "Gevurah" meaning "Strength". This is to show us that the main strength of a person in fighting his evil inclination is by guarding his sight. One who guards his eyes is the REAL Gibor.
 
R' Nachman writes that the Tikkun for sexual fantasies is to be Mechadesh Chidushai Torah. And he explains that the reason for this is because fantasy comes through a person's "imagination", therefore, by working out new insights in Torah through the power of the imagination (i.e. by comparing one thing to another), one fixes the spiritual damage that he caused through the imagination of improper fantasies and causes his imagination to become holy.
 
In light of the above, here's a Chidush Torah of my own for now (to get you all started :-). We read today on Rosh Chodesh, "Zeh ha'isheh asher takrivu l'hashem" and "Ishe Raiyach Nicho'ach L'Hashem". Perhaps the word "Ishe" that is always used in the Torah when talking about Korbanot, is coming to hint to us that the most desirable "sacrifice" to Hashem and what gives him a true "Raiyach Nicho'ach", is when a man sacrifices his "desire for women" and gives it away to Hashem.

Please send us your Chidushei Torah!

316.


Someone sent us his story recently, and at the end he writes:

 

"I've come a long way, and with the help of this site and the forum, I'm able to climb further up. But till today, I still have a hard time talking to women and I feel like I blush every time I have to face one. Hashem should help us all".

 

Dear Yid, don't get discouraged. Anyone who was once addicted to these things may be easily triggered for a long time. This necessitates extra precautions when out in the street and when dealing with women. It's a disease, but we learn to control it. It's kind of like someone has a thyroid deficiency. It never goes away, but as long as he takes the pill each day, he's fine. With the help of the site, the forum and sometimes even therapy, we learn to control it and it becomes 100 times easier to deal with. However, it may never fully go away. This is what we were given by Hashem. And actually, it's a gift. Because once we learn the techniques and are able to turn away from bad every day, we never stop growing closer to Hashem. If it would just "go away" the game would be over. But Hashem has too much Nachas Ruach from the love we show him each time we turn away from bad. That's why he doesn't just "take it away", even after we've made great progress.

317.

When the Yetzer Hara strikes hard and we feel suddenly weak, vulnerable and afraid of falling, here are three things a person can do to save themselves:
 
1) Stop what you are doing and cry out to Hashem. "Hashem, the Yetzer Hara is too strong for me. I need you. I can't do this without you!". These type of Teffilos, coming from the heart work wonders!
 
2) Make the Ta'avah disgusting in your eyes. Imagine the object of your fantasies as it truly is, flesh and blood, rot and filth. Picture that the skin was being pealed off of the object of your desires, and that you could see what was inside. (For more on this, see tip #11 on this page). This is a powerful technique, and it can also be used effectively when fantasies strike in middle of davening or learning Torah.
 
3) Make a vow to give yourself a painful penalty if you fall. I recently saw a post somewhere where a person writes how he vowed to give $200 to Tzedaka each time he fell. After spending $400 one week, he stopped cold turkey and never went back to it again. This may sound a bit extreme, but this is a fight for our lives, for our very eternity! Each person should find something painful for themselves that they must do no matter what, if they fall. Maybe jogging 2 miles, or, like in the army, to do 100 push-ups. (For more on making "safe" vows, see here and here).
 
Remember these three powerful techniques and you will feel strong again!
 
R' Baruch of Medzibuz explaines that the true meaning of Torah She'Ba'al Peh is that every Jew needs to be Mechadesh (discover) insights in the Torah each day by learning new ways to serve Hashem. And he explains that when we make new fences and guards in areas that we need to strengthen ourselves to uphold the Torah - these are the true "Chiddushim" in Torah, and that is what is meant by "Torah Sh'Ba'al Peh".
 
As we say "ve'Sen Chelkeinu Betorasecha" - each person has their own Chelek in the Torah. How? Because each person, through his own unique struggles and the fences that he makes for himself because of these struggles, he creates new paths and chiddushim in Hashem's Torah.
318.

R' Avraham J. Twerski
, world renowned expert on addictions, author of over 50 books and a great Talmid Chacham, is one of the guiding forces for our website. His advice, experience and immense knowledge, are invaluable to us and provide direction and technique for all of those struggling with these addictions.
 
Rabbi Twerski holds that THE most powerful tool in breaking free of addictions are the 12-Step groups, which combine the vital aspect of group support together with the tried and proven 12-Step program of recovery. To quote his words "Psychotherapy is the frosting on the cake, but the 12 step program is the cake".
 
Someone recently sent us a list of concerns and questions about joining non-Jewish groups in their area. It is precisely because of many of these concerns that we started the "Jewish Healing Hot-line", an anonymous phone conference group that meets on the phone once a week with a religious counselor. However since "Live Groups" are an even more powerful tool, we forwarded this person's questions to Rabbi Twerski to hear his views on the matter. We thank Rabbi Twerski for taking the time to answer these questions and for contributing to our network. We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to see Rabbi Twerski's replies to these important questions on this page.
 
See also the attached file for an excerpt from this week's Modia magazine's "Seeking Solutions" by Rabbi Twerski, on the importance and effectiveness of group support.
 
Attention Everyone: One of our Chizuk-List members would like to start a Frum 12-Step group in the Jerusalem area. If anyone on this e-mail list is in Israel and would be interested in joining this group, please write to us. Also, if anyone on this list would like to take upon themselves the worthy Mitzvah of beginning a Frum 12-Step group in their area, please let us know and we will do our best to help recruit members and spread the word.
 

319.


The core of the famous "12-Step" program and the secret to its great success, are the first 3 steps:

 

1. We admitted we were powerless over lust, and that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. 

 

All wisdom can be found in the Torah, and Rabbi A.J Twerski has a book called "Self improvement? I'm Jewish!" which shows how the 12 steps are essentially the same strategies described by the Sifrei Mussar.

 

To understand what makes these 3 steps so profound, someone pointed out to me a beautiful piece from the Maharal (Netiv Koach Hayetzer, Perek 4). The relevant Hebrew text can be downloaded here.

 

The Maharal writes something that sounds very simple, yet he claims that it is the deepest secret to understanding the battle with the Yetzer Hara. The Maharal writes, that as long as a person believes he can overcome the Yetzer Hara himself, he will fail. This is because he is pitting his strength against the strength of the Yetzer Hara, like two people who are fighting with each other. The Yetzer Hara is an angel of G-d, and we are mere mortals. Obviously, the angel will overcome the mortal. The only one who is stronger than this angel is Hashem himself. He alone can help us overcome the Yetzer Hara.

 

This is the secret to understanding the great success of the 12-Step program. Even the Non-Jews were given the enlightened wisdom to understand this secret. It is only when we acknowledge that we are powerless (on our own), and turn our will and lives over to the care of Hashem that can we begin to see victory over this powerful angel.

 

And the key to this, is prayer. Every day, and especially when the Yetzer Hara strikes, we must cry out in our hearts to Hashem: "I am powerless without you Hashem. Only you can take these burning desires away from me. I give my addiction over to you, Hashem. Help me to see the beauty in you, not in flesh and blood. Help me to transfer my lust and love to you. I give my life over to your care".

 

See this page as well, for more on this fundamental secret to success.
320.

One of the members of our forum who goes by the name "Jack", has been struggling for 38 years. Thank G-d, Jack is already past 60 days clean with the help of all the wonderful people who offer support on the forum.

Jack's time-line can be viewed here, and his thread on the forum can be viewed here.

Jack was on the "Jewish Healing Group" phone conference once in the beginning of Elul, when the therapist on the line mentioned a recent study that found that it takes 90 days for a person to change the neuron paths in the brain, and thereby change an ingrained thought pattern. The therapist claimed that the study found, that if a person was able to refrain for 90 days from a certain type of behavior they had become accustomed to, it would become much easier afterwards to continue.

At that moment, on the phone-line, Jack decided to start his journey and aim for 90 days. Recently, Jack pointed out to me something beautiful. As we know, all wisdom can be found in the Torah. Today in Israel, the 7th of Cheshvan, we start asking for rain by saying "Ve'sein Tal Umatar". The Halacha is, that if one is not sure if he said it or not, he must repeat the Shmoneh Esrei. However after 30 days, one no longer needs to repeat Shmoneh Esrei when in doubt, because we assume that his mind has already gotten used to saying it.

Get this. 30 days is 90 Shmoneh Esreis! Chaza"l knew that it takes 90 times of doing something to get the mind used to it!
321.

The Netivos Shalom of Slonim writes that the struggles a person finds himself struggling with the most in life are an indication of what his particular Neshama was sent down to the world to fix, and the path that his soul is meant to use, to come close to Hashem.

Never think of this struggle as a problem that we "unfortunately" have to deal with. Adaraba! It was given to us by Hashem so we can GROW! This is our opportunity to come close to Hashem. That is why he gave us this struggle. He is calling us. He wants me and he wants YOU. And this is one of the main reasons we came down to this world.

Hashem wants us to use this struggle with sincerity as a "spring board" to come closer to Him. He has given us the "spring board", now all we have to do is JUMP on it. And if we fall, chas veshalom, we just gather momentum for a higher jump next time.
322.

Rabbi Avraham J. Twerski sent us an article he found in Hebrew that he thought would be useful for our Chizuk (I believe that Rabbi Twerski personally translated it into English for us).


 

Advice for Someone Tempted to View Forbidden Pictures - and a Tikkun

 

If the yetzer hara is so powerful that you feel you cannot resist it, tell the yetzer hara, "Just wait a bit. I'll grant your desire in 15 or 30 minutes." You should know for certain that every second you put it off, you are fulfilling the mitzva "And do not explore after your heart and after your eyes after which you stray," as the Talmud says, that when a person is tempted to commit a sin and refrains from doing so, one has a mitzvah. One should rejoice that one has the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of teshuva, and inasmuch as one mitzva leads to another mitzva, he may find that after the 15 or 30 minute delay he can put if off for longer, and in this manner he can placate his yetzer hara.

 

If, after the delay, one falls prey to the yetzer hara, one should know that the mitzva accrued during the delay is not lost and stands to his credit, and by merit of this, it will be easier to resist subsequent temptations. One should pray to Hashem that the mitzvah of delay should strengthen him in his struggle with the yetzer hara.

 

One should be most careful to fulfill the mitzva of tzitzis properly with a talis katan of the prescribed size, and look at the tzitzis from time to time, because this is a segula ("magical force") against the yetzer hara, as the Talmud says in Menachos 44. He should kiss the tzitzis, bring them to touch his eyes, and say audibly, "And do not explore after your heart and after your eyes after which you stray."   

 

When they lift the Torah in shul, look at the script in the Torah and think that looking at the holy words should protect you from looking at improper things. Also, look at the Shabbos candles, whose glow is that of Hashem's presence. On Chanukah, look at the Chanukah candles for an extended time.

 

Every day, recite Chapter 51 of Psalms, and concentrate on the verse, "Hashem, create a pure heart within me." and also on the verse, "Return to me the joy of Your salvation." 

 

You should know that each time you suppress the yetzer hara, you give Hashem great delight. The Talmud says that the place occupied by a baal teshuva is superior to that of a perfect tzaddik. When you succeed in subduing the yetzer hara, you should not feel depressed about the past, as Rambam says, "Yesterday the sinful person was distant from Hashem, but with teshuva he is close to Hashem, and Hashem receives his mitzvos with great love.

323.

"Nomer" posted on the Forum


When you have an urge to check out a news story that involves anything sexual just to peak your interest or to stay informed of the 'news', AVOID it like the devil!!! I have fallen into this trap quite a few times and although it seemed innocent at first, it resulted in anything but innocence. One thing led to the next very quickly before it was too late. This type of 'news' is somehow accepted as newsworthy for the rest of the world and it plays on the radio and the internet along with the weather or financial news. However, a politician caught having a relationship with a zonah or the media's expressions of attraction to a VP nominee's looks, or details of a sex-crime, is definitely not acceptable to any sincere Torah Jew. Let's avoid listening or browsing such stories as we will gain nothing and lose a lot. Let's not let the Yetzer Hara control us but rather let's control this bully from now on. I once heard a stark contrast between Dovid Hamelech who spoke "to his heart" (El Libo) and was in control of his Yetzer Hara, and Naval who spoke "in his heart" (B'Libo) because he wasn't in control.
 

"PostalServico" posted on the Forum

I've learned this lesson myself. Just say no to the gossip and celebrity news!

After I had installed a filter on my computer, this was the first thing that got me...But not any more! B"H I have removed that tool/weapon/strategy from the YH's arsenal.

I'm very glad that you have realized this trick! I have failed many times since I've decided to keep shmiras habris and einayim, but each time I've learned what brought me to fall and became to determined not to fail in the same way again. The YH has fewer and fewer tools at his disposal these days, but I'm still vigilant for when the YH mounts an attack again.

Stay strong! Keep up the great work your doing!
 
 
"Mevakesh" posted on the Forum

This is so true!

So much of what the non Jewish world has accepted as "matter of fact" and "normal" news is 100% Assur for any Jew to be listening to, looking at or thinking about.

I personally have stopped listening to the radio and I have stopped reading secular newspapers and "news" magazines. Period.

I know that not everyone can do that, and each person needs to do it at his/her own pace.

But just know that the Yetzer Hara's major tool against us is the media. No matter how innocent it looks, it is poison for all Jews, especially for us struggling with sexual addictions, masturbation and impure thoughts.

You don't need the media to get the news. There are plenty of frum websites that offer the same news, and leave out the garbage. (See this page of the "Kosher Isle")

YOU CAN ALL DO IT!!! IT WILL TOTALLY UPSET THE YETZER HARA! (ISN'T THAT A GREAT INCENTIVE?)

Chazak Ve'ematz!
324.

One of our members was once a hard-core addict in the worst ways and was sent by Rabbi Avraham Twerski to the SA groups. His life had hit rock bottom and having no choice, he joined the groups and worked the 12 steps program until it became his very "life-blood". He learned to give up his addiction to Hashem and is now already 3 years sober B"H. Today he helps others find their way as well. Recently, he posted the following to someone on the forum:

Like you, I am a grateful recovering sex-addict.

Giving tzedaka, fasting, praying, tikkunim, learning, etc. I did it all but nothing helped until I realized that I am sick, as chaza"l say "ein adom chote eloh eim kain necnes bo ruach shtus" ("a person doesn't sin unless a spirit of foolishness enters him"). Porn, masturbation, cyber-sex, prostitution, etc... are all a mental obsession which I got my self into, and once hooked a person can not stop, as chaza"l say "aad she'naase olov melech" ("until he [the Yetzer Hara] becomes king over him"). This is the job of the Yetzer Hara, to get people hooked so he owns them for life...

Giving Tzedaka while not realizing that it is Hashem who helps - not the zechusim (merits), is like a "toyval v'sheretz byado" (one who immerses in a Mikva while holding the impurity in his hand). A person must know that nothing, absolutely nothing happens without Hashem. He enabled us to get into this by giving us the bechirah (free choice) and he can take us out of this.

The only option is prayer, davening, davening, and davening. Also, all of us have may things that trigger us, like people, things and places. We must know these things by heart and ask Hashem for help to avoid these things at any cost, otherwise our life is in danger.

325.
 
Attention all members: Please see below for a few important announcements.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's Jack's 70th day clean, dealing with an addiction spanning 38 years. It hasn't been easy for Jack, but he's been in contact with us a lot, and with Elya K (the hot line moderator) and we are doing this all together. Yesterday, Jack wrote us:

Of course it's going to be hard. 38 years, a couple of times a day, hundreds and hundreds of movies, thousands upon thousands of dollars spent, looking at every thing that passes by, etc, etc..."Hard" is not even the word. But if you are there to catch me, I don't mind falling. And you have all been there, from day one.

Did I ever tell you that I do not take shots to get cavities filled? I'd rather live with the pain than the numbness. I got this from my father. He was walking around with a tumor filling his entire left lung for 2 years. He had stage 4 cancer for 4 years. He wouldn't give up - the doctors were amazed. His feet were swollen like balloons and he was sweeping the kitchen floor, with a cane in one hand and a broom in the other!

This attitude is what keeps the Jewish people going. Like it says, "Ka'asher Ya'anu Oso, Kein Yirbe" - proportionate to the amount the Egyptians battered us, that is how much we excelled - a stubborn people!! We won't die, will we? No matter what you throw at us, we are still here. In every generation - they try to kill us, gas us, annihilate us, pogrom us, anything and everything, but we are still here. Hitler didn't win, did he? So what's a little abstention from Tumah compared to all that?

 
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Announcements:

1) We may be starting soon an "SMS" Chizuk list for cell-phones - so you can get Chizuk on the run. Small messages, with a limit of 160 characters. Send us an e-mail from your cell-phone to sign up, and tell your friends about it too!

2) For those looking for accountability partners, please download the questionnaire, fill it in and e-mail it to us. We are trying to match up people based on common situations (i.e. marriage status, time-zone, recovery standpoint, etc...)

3) Our website is in touch with a company run by religious people that provides Rehab for unhealthy addictions, and they are starting now a track for sexual addictions as well. Full anonymity. Click here to learn more about the 12-Step Torah Rehab program, in beautiful vacation-like settings in Florida.
326.
 

Most Yidden go through life content with doing the Mitzvos in the same way that they were taught as kids, never developing a deeper connection with their spirituality. However, this struggle often forces us to realize that without a true connection to our ideals, even the "frumest" Yid can easily stumble in the worst sins. This forces us to explore our spirituality in a new light.

Someone struggling with this issue once wrote:

I realized that I am deficient in my spiritual life after listening to a tape by R' Ezriel Tauber on this exact issue. I realized that doing what I was taught and imitating everyone else to fit into my lifestyle, was not helping me fight my yetzer hora. I heard this shiur from Rabbi Tauber just as I was beginning to explore options other then internet pornography (i.e. taking it worse levels).

 

It was only because I was literally throwing away my wife, kids, job and social life if I got caught, that I didn't proceed. But I then realized there was nothing in ruchnius or hashem that was stopping me from doing the worst aveiros, so when Rabbi Tauber was saying that "the world has so much to offer, and unless one recognizes the importance of his individual avodah he stands no chance in fighting his yetzer hora" it really hit home. Also, a sentence in this story also hit home where he writes "However, real Ruchniyus is individual, not the result of doing what you're told but rather the result of a real connection with Hashem." 

 

As the author of this recovery story once wrote to me as well:

Learning Torah is supposed to banish the yetzer horah.  When I first began struggling with pornography, I'd try to learn and hoped that it would work the way it's supposed to. Imagine my surprise when sitting in front of a Gemara became the best place to fantasize!  Not only could I indulge, but I could look good doing it!  I realized later that the problem wasn't with learning, it was with my connection to it. The learning didn't mean very much to me then because it wasn't consistent with my state of mind.

Therapy helped me identify and react to my own feelings, to do what's right for me at the time. The more a person does this, the more in sync they'll be. And then when they learn, they'll feel it. It gets to you. Eventually, you'll develop your own personal path in Avodas Hashem. 

Putting the ideals that we were taught about Hashem and Judaism into practice on a day to day basis, is an intellectual exercise until you make it part of your emotional state of mind.  Once you do, you'll make it part of your daily routine in a way that works for you. It will be automatic, because you'll "need" it. You'll figure it out on your own.

I'm not saying it's easy or quick, or that I'm holding there myself. But it's the path I'm on and hope to continue on.

327.

"Battleworn" posted recently on the Forum


I want to point out a few things that I didn't know when I was a Bachur. I hope others will benefit from my experience.

1) The struggle is not a problem but rather a gift from Hashem to make us grow. Although we must always avoid nisyonos (tests) as much as possible and we daven every single day
"al tiviaini lidai nisoyon", but when Hashem in His infinite wisdom and infinite love gives it to us, we must realize that it's exactly what we need.

2) Every bit of effort that we invest to be misgaber (hold ourselves back), is immensely important in the eyes of Hashem.

3) We don't always have Bechira (free choice). We can never know what is expected of us. So we always need to try our best - not one drop less, and we may never ever give up. But after the fact, there is no reason to assume that we could have done better. So don't ever get down from a fall.

4) Perhaps my worst mistake of all was that I concentrated all my effort on not masturbating (often trying to stop at the last second.) I was not at all aware of the damage I was doing to myself by not guarding my eyes and my thoughts. In fact, I had never learned about the importance of shimiras einayim at all. I think that this alone is a fatal error.

5) Hashem doesn't expect us to go it alone (This is one of the main yesodos of the Baal Shem Tov, and by now it's accepted by everyone.) You need to belong to a system/community/Yeshiva/Chasidus etc. A tzibur is much much stronger than a yochid. And you need to ask for help if you're in trouble.

There is no question at all that my life would have been very very different had I known these things. But of course it is all for the best, and I hope that through my suffering, many others will be spared from sinning and suffering.

For MORE great Chizuk from this Battleworn Soldier in Hashem's army, see here.

Note: If you want small Chizuk e-mails sent to your cell-phone, send an SMS e-mail from your cell to eyes.guard@gmail.com. Tell your friends!
328.

Elya K, moderator of the 12-Step Phone groups and Hot-Line, posted on the forum a few weeks ago:

In Koheles, Chapter 11:9 it says: "Rejoice, Young man in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in THE SIGHT OF YOUR EYES, but know that for all these things Hashem will bring you to judgment".

Part of me says "I can't stand it anymore, I have to act out" or  "If I only can do it one more time, that will save me". "Look one more time". "Go to that place one more time". That is my addiction talking. How do I overcome this? I ask myself, "Do I really want to go back to secretly sneaking around, lying to my family, covering myself up so no one will see me?  Do I really want to go through this pain of withdrawal all over again." NOOOOOO!!!!!! 

But once a person lets their guard down, stops talking to friends, stops going to meetings, stops reading, it's easy to rationalize and say, "I can do this on my own". And then we fall.

What's the answer? Koheles gives it to us in THE VERY NEXT POSUK.  Listen carefully.

Chapter 11:10:
"Therefore, remove anger (resentment, fear) from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity". HEVEL!

This is the answer guys.
"Remove resentment, fear and anger from your heart". For many people, resentment is the #1 cause of falling. Think about it.  Do you ever act out when you felt on top of the world, that the world was yours and everything was going great. You had no worries? I doubt it. If you have, I'd like to hear your story.

We're not talking about emotional, physical, or sexual abuse here. Such people need PROFESSIONAL HELP. We're talking about everyday annoyances that we blow up way out of proportion and they affect us.

See this 4 Step Exercise from Elya, to help you remove anger and resentment from your heart.
329.

Q.
B"H I'm doing well. But I'm still easily triggered and sometimes can't get certain thoughts or images out of my mind.  I console myself by saying, 'yes, but you're not acting on them', but still...when does it go away? How do you control your thoughts?

A. In worldly pursuits, one only finds happiness when he GETS what he was looking for. But in spiritual quests, it works differently. The pasuk says "Yismach lev mivakshei Hashem" (Happy is the heart of those who seek Hashem). It doesn't say "Yismach Lev Masigei Hashem" (Happy is one who "has" Hashem). It is davka through the act of "Mevakesh" (seeking) that we find joy and fulfillment in spiritual matters.

Therefore, we need to rejoice that we WANT to be free from these thoughts and Taavos and be closer to Hashem, even if we have a long way to go. After all, if we didn't have these bad thoughts, we wouldn't get rewarded, nor would we come closer to Hashem by not acting on them. It's only because we have them and don't act on them, that we are able to grow each day. And it's only through these constant struggles that our aspect of "mevakesh Hashem" grows and defines itself anew each day. And this is what Hashem truly wants from us. "Seeking" out Hashem, especially when we feel weak and the Taavos are strong, is what gives us a true "Kesher" (connection) with Him. And Hashem desires this "Kesher" with us even more than our success in vanquishing the Yetzer Hara.

For more tips on controlling our thoughts, please read through this page (beginning to end).
330.

One of our members (whose story can be seen here) wrote the following e-mail to his partner who was struggling to break free of this addiction:


There are 2 areas that need to be addressed when dealing with this - the root cause, and the practical day-to-day challenges.
 
For the root cause, I would suggest a good therapist.  A common theme (including in my own story) is the avoidance of emotional pain.  "Pain" is a broad term and includes simply feeling disconnected from your own goals and ideals or from other people; feeling bored, lonely or simply not productive. Some questions I'd pose: 
  • Do you truly feel all the things you were taught about Hashem and Judaism or is your understanding just intellectual?
  • How do you put those ideals into practice on a day to day basis?
  • Do you have questions that were never fully answered?
  • Do you have a real connection to a Rebbe or Rov who knows your background and who you trust and admire?
  • Do you have resentment towards "the system" and feel like many frum people are hypocrites?
  • Do you feel like you're part of a community of like-minded people, one where you truly belong and fit in?
If any of these questions "hits home" then there's a good chance that you experience some level of emotional pain due to the "disconnect"  that exists in your life.  Acting out through pornography and masturbation is a way to temporarily feel good and avoid the pain.  Since you're bothered by it and working on overcoming this, you obviously realize that it only makes things worse almost immediately after you're done.  A good therapist helps you understand why you have those questions to begin with and the more you understand, the more you can overcome them. Often, it has to do with childhood experiences and how you were raised.
 
For the practical aspect, I'd suggest the following.
  • Does your wife know about this? If so, is she supportive? If not, it could be you should tell her, BUT it depends on your relationship and needs to be done carefully. This was a big deal for me and I'd be happy to discuss it in more detail if this is relevant to you. (Write to eyes.guard@gmail.com to get the author's e-mail address).
     
  • Who else knows? Accountability is very important. Having a partner for E-mail correspondence is a great step however almost by definition, having to tell me if you act out is not as effective as someone you're close with personally and don't want to disappoint.  After all, who would better understand and "forgive" than someone who went through the same struggle?
  • A good book that helped me is Ten Keys to Breaking Pornography Addiction (http://www.no-porn.com/tenkeys.html).  It outlines some good techniques like being able to distinguish "you" from the "addiction" (Yetzer Hora), identifying circumstances that are higher risk and avoiding them, and others.
  • Describe in writing how you feel after acting out and make a list of consequences as well as benefits that result from overcoming the urge.
There are others that could be used based on your specific circumstances but that should be a good start.
 
You should also install good filters and accountability software like Covenant Eyes. The GUE website has a lot of good options (here).
 
I also joined the Jewish Healing Hotline by GUE and found it very helpful.
331.


Over the past few months, a member by the name of "Battleworn" has been posting his story on the forum in stages (Battleworn's complete story can be seen on our website over here). It is a story of sincerity and striving, and
it is a classic example of "the greater the person, the greater the tests". Throughout the story, we see how each time he achieved new spiritual heights, he was challenged anew. It is a story of a true "battleworn" soldier, whom the king has entrusted at the very front lines. We all salute GENERAL Battleworn!

 

I would like to share with everyone the last installment to this inspiring story (posted today):
 

At that point, my marriage was at it's worst state ever. About five and a half months ago, I tried making a strong detailed kabbala to stay away from bad searches and bad sites. That helped for a very short time. (The hadracha on this site for making vows is the perfect solution to this problem [webmaster comment: See here and here].) Right about then, I had a meeting with my wife's therapist, (that she's been seeing the last few years). In the past, there had been a bit of a disagreement between the therapist and I (although we always got along very well and I always agreed to give everything a try). In this last meeting, everything seemed to become very clear. On the one hand, it felt good to really understand what I'm dealing with. But at the same time, it was a very hard pill for me to swallow. The next day the menuval grabbed the opportunity. He got really cunning and managed to get me to break my kabala.

A few days later, I began to search for a website that helps with these things. First I Googled "kedusha", but that didn't get me anywhere. But B"H I kept trying until I found GUE, the greatest site in the world. It was very exciting, although the forum -which is my favorite by far, wasn't up yet.

 

By the way, there has been discussion here about a Torah source for the 12 steps. I want to say that I had never heard of the 12 steps before I discovered GUE. When I saw the 12 steps for the first time, there were no chidushim to me. I had learned it all over the many years of my battles, at least 90%, perhaps 100%, from Torah sources. [I also think the question is irrelevant, as others have pointed out.]

I should have subscribed to the chizuk email list right away, but I was lazy about figuring out how to set up a private email address. What I really was looking for and really needed was a forum. I followed a link to a different site that has a forum, but it was just not the right thing. The next time the disgraceful, despicable menuval started up, I decided that I had better take care of the email thing. So B"H I did it, and the first time I opened my mailbox I saw a link to the forum. I clicked on that link -bless that day- and pretty soon I was crying. To see my holy, precious, beloved brothers and fellow warriors joining together to fight back effectively and give each other support and chizuk, is by far the best therapy and the best chizuk I can ever hope for.

That was about 100 days ago, and since then the rules of the game have changed. Of course I know very well that I can never let my guard down. But I also know that I have won a new and different kind of battle, than ever before. Until now my main weapons were Torah, Tefilah and simcha (of course that's the way it should be). But Hashem wanted me to learn, how to stay clean even in the darkest times. I have hardly been able to learn during the last six months, even though normally I absolutely love learning. I have hardly been able to daven properly, and I feel like I forgot what simcha is. But bi'zchus GUE and all the fantastic chevra here, I've learned to fight and win even without my weapons.

I deeply yearn for the day when my shmiras einayim will be like it once was. And also, of course, my davening learning and everything else. But until then, I promise not to give in to the menuval, come what may.

I hope I don't scare anyone with my story. Quite honestly, I don't think Hashem does this to most people. One thing everyone can learn from me, and from the menuval, is to never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever give up.

332.

There's an interesting Gemara in Nidda (24b):

Aba Shaul says, I used to be a grave-digger. One day, a cave opened up under me and I stood in a (huge) eye-socket of a skeleton until my nose. When I went back, they told me it was the eye of Avshalom. And lest you'll say that Aba Shaul was short, he was the tallest in his generation. And Rav Tarfon, who was the tallest in his generation, came only to Aba Shaul's shoulders. And Rav Meir, who was the tallest in his generation, came only to Rav Tarfon's shoulders.... etc....

The Maharsha writes that this Gemara is a Mashal. Aba Shaul is saying that he was once sunk in impurity. It reached a point where he had fallen in until his nose - meaning, he could hardly breath a breath without impurity. Then he says "when I went back" - meaning "when I did Teshuvah", they told me it was the eye-socket of Avshalom (son of David). Avshalom had "huge eyes" in a meta-physical sense. He desired to take over his father's entire kingdom and take his father's Pilagshim (concubines) as well. He had eyes that desired to swallow everything that was not his. Aba Shaul is saying that once he did Teshuvah, he was able to recognize that the impurity he had sunk into was a result of this "eye of Avshalom", which means "the desire to look at and swallow all that was not his". And the Gemara continues, lest you say, Aba Shaul must have been a low-life to have eyes that desired everything, no! he was such a great person, that he became the tallest (read: greatest) in his generation!

We can learn from this Gemara two important lessons.
1. The source of impurity is the eyes. The eyes see and desire that which does not belong to them, and through this, one can sink so low until he can hardly breath without impurity.
2. When a person who has these struggles does a true Teshuvah, he can reach the greatest heights of spirituality.

So never say, "I have sunk too low. For me it is too late". Aba Shaul was there, and he became the greatest in his generation!
333.

After yesterday's Chizuk e-mail (#332) about how the eyes desire to swallow up that which is not ours, someone sent us the following inspirational e-mail that I think we can all learn from:

 
Thank you for this last post. For me, this was a truly powerful and relevant Chizuk because it deepens something that I've been using lately to help fight the yetzer hara. Last year while learning Baba Metzia, the Rav gave and incredible explanation of the concept of 'kinyan'.  He drew from Rebbe Nachman and other sources and described that there are many levels by which a person can 'acquire' something. a) A person can see something, desire it and become slightly attached to it. b) He can state aloud, 'it's mine'. c) He can pick it up.  d) He can sign a document of acquisition. These examples exist along a continuum of 'acquisition', from the most shallow to the most deep and enduring.
 
Ultimately, our soul is here to acquire our body (and its associated physicality in the world) in order to fulfill the soul's purpose. Our souls all signed a contract when we came into the world. The soul needs the body and its associated physicality in order to fulfill this contract.

And as I walk through the world, I can acquire things cheaply and shallowly, or I can really invest in them and they become part of me. Ultimately, true fulfillment of purpose comes from having real relationships with the things or people in my life, in a way that contributes to the fulfillment of the soul's purpose.  The shallow 'acquisitions' that I make, don't contribute to real fulfillment. Quite the opposite. They create a cloud of confusion about my soul's purpose in the world. Clarity and truth are what bring fulfillment. It's only when I'm truly connected to that which is relevant to my soul's purpose that I can accomplish that purpose, and feel fulfilled in this world and Iy"H in the next. The shallow 'acquisitions' that come from looking with my eyes and their desires, are like the cloud that confounds and confuses my consciousness, preventing me from seeing that which is truly relevant - or Shaiyach - to my soul.
 
So as I walk around the world, I make a practice of reminding myself that real fulfillment comes from attaching myself to that which is Shaiyach. And with the help of G-d, I remind myself when I notice my eyes going after desires, 'Not Shaiyach'.  And if it's not shaiyach, there's no real fulfillment, just confusion.
 
So try it. Keep in mind a phrase that evokes to you something like 'this object of desire is not relevant or connected to my soul, and in fact will just bring confusion'.  For me, the phrase is 'Not Shaiyach'.
 
Thanks for all these great tips and posts. They are Iy"H truly strengthening my avodah in the area of attaching my soul to that which is relevant, and clearing it of the confusing attachments that are not relevant.
334.
 
Special Announcement!

According to the Chassidic Masters, the world of Teshuvah is next to the world of Negginah in the upper worlds.
 
We added a new Music Page to our site, containing the most moving and inspiring Niggunim (hand-picked by the experts) to help inspire feelings of Kedusha!

From now on, if you feel bored, weak or vulnerable to the Yetzer Hara, chase him away with these beautiful and heart-warming Niggunim!
 

And now for today's Chizuk... "Me" posted on the Forum:

I saw in the Le'kutei Moran (Torah 25) an unbelievable Limud that pertains to all of us. (The following is my Hakdamah): We have our ups, and then our downs. Then we go up again and down again. Sometimes when we start to fall, we get depressed, and maybe even say, "Ribbono Shel Olam, why have you left me to fall again?! Especially after all of my hard work and strides to cleanse myself. Was everything I worked for a complete loss?"

So, Rabbi Nachman Zt"l states that there is not one Yid that is on the same madreiga (level) as another yid. Everyone of us is standing on our own madreiga. Then, when we begin to rise to the next higher level, we are in fact taking over the place of the one who was previously above us. Each level has it's own klippot (impure husks) that must be dealt with and must be subjugated by us. The one who was on the higher level before us was successful to win the battle over these klipot on his level, but now when he goes up one rung, and I begin to go up as well and take over his place, these klipot become alive once again, and it is up to me to subjugate them. This is the struggle that I am feeling. This is all of the Taivos that start to enter my head again. It is these klipot that are waiting for me at the next level UP. Yes, the previous Neshamah that was there succeeded to put them under control (he beat them and conquered this level), but now we must do this once again for ourselves. This is part of GOING UPPPPPP! 

This is incredible. I always use to think that I was doing good, and then after several weeks, all of sudden I could feel the lusts and thoughts coming into my mind, and I feared that I was falling down again, and that I was going to lose everything I had gained. But in reality, these renewed lusts and thoughts were really due to the fact that I was approaching the next level UP!!  I was going up, NOT down. I was in fact battling for new territory!

335.
 
Dear Holy Yidden! 

In addition to the new Music Page Feature that we just announced on Friday, the Guardureyes Network has added today yet another powerful tool to help those who are starting out on their journey. "Mevakesh" and "Battleworn" have been pushing for this feature for a while, but I didn't get around to it. On Motzai Shabbos, after seeing the post of this holy Bachur in Israel (over here), I decided that the time had come to add this feature to our site.
 
Introducing "THE WALL OF HASHEM'S HONOR".
 
See here for the "Wall of Honor" page (for those clean 90 days and up)
See here for the "Journey to 90 Days" page, (for those starting out)
See here for the 9 different Levels.
See here for The Rules

We welcome your comments and suggestions for making this even better!

To start your journey to 90 days of sobriety (and to the "Wall of Hashem's Honor"), please send your info to wallofhonor@gmail.com. Please include the following:
    1) Your "username" on the forum (or any made up name that you shall be known by)
    2) Your marriage status
    3) If applicable, your current sobriety record (before your latest push) 
    4) Your most recent starting date and how long you are clean for so far.


We will all cheer each other on and give each other group support, and we can check back to the chart often and see how each of us is doing. Also, this will help us all keep track of how long we are clean for, and it will give us concrete goals to achieve. There are a total of 9 levels, and each time you pass a level you get a "Crown" with a new title and a new "Award".

So everybody - for the sake of Hashem's Honor, if you are starting out on your journey, send me your info and I'll put you up on the chart today.
Let's try and beat the old records and aim for 90 days, which will get you onto the WALL OF HASHEM'S HONOR!
We love you all and want to hear from all of you...
336.
 
I recently read an amazing story of an older couple from Russia. The wife called the Chevrah Kadisha and told them that her husband had died. They came and took the body and prepared him for burial. The next day, the Chevrah Kadisha came to the Beis Hakvaros and no one was there besides for the old lady. They quickly arranged for a Minyan and said Kaddish. Afterwards, the wife began speaking to her departed husband and she said: "My dear husband, when you get up to Shamayim and they ask you why we didn't have children, tell them it is because when we lived in Russia we couldn't keep the Halachos of Taharas Hamishpacha, and by the time we arrived in Eretz Yisrael we were too old to have children".
 
When the Chevrah Kaddisha heard this, they all began to weep.
 
Yidden, Holy Yidden! Do you understand what that means? They lived their entire youthful years together without ever being together as husband and wife - for the sake of Hashem's Mitzvos! Who can imagine the self-sacrifice that Jews had throughout the generations to upkeep Hashem's Mitzvos and guard the holy character of the jewish people?
 
What a fallen generation we live in today. But take heart. We here on this e-mail list and on the forum are a spark of light that still shines in a dark world. On the GuardUrEyes network we experience the sincerity of yidden striving for Kedusha against all odds. So join us today in giving Hashem our hearts!
337.

Rabbi Avraham Twerski answers Jack (Part 1)
 
For those who are not yet familiar with Jack, he is one of the most popular and sincere members of our forum. He is 49 years old and has been struggling with this for 38 years. Jack was on the "Jewish Healing Group" phone conference in the beginning of Elul when the therapist on the line mentioned a recent study that found that it takes 90 days for a person to change the neuron paths in the brain, and thereby change an ingrained thought pattern. The therapist claimed that the study found, that if a person was able to refrain for 90 days from a certain type of behavior they had become accustomed to, it would become much easier afterwards to continue. At that moment, on the phone-line, Jack decided to start his journey and aim for 90 days. I'm happy to announce that Jack is already 84 days clean with the help of all the wonderful people who offer support on the forum and with the help of the Live Hot-line, and by keeping in almost daily touch with us as well.
 
However, on day 65 or so, Jack began to feel a crisis. Here's what he wrote me, and I forwarded his plea for help to Rabbi Avraham J. Twerski, world renowned addiction expert and Tamid Chacham.
 
I'm DEPRESSED - i feel like I lost my BEST FRIEND!! The p-n made me happy. There's nothing that can replace that for me. I am empty inside now. I spoke to Elya (on the Hotline ) last night, and he listened to me. There's nothing that made me as happy as those images on the screen, and now that i gave that up, i don't know where to turn for happiness. I'm having a rough time of it. jack. 

 
Rabbi Twerski sent us a fax with a initial response to Jack. It is attached below. 
 
Tomorrow we shall see a continuation of this thread IY"H, where Jack continues to press for practice ways to fill the "void" that he feels, and Rabbi Twerski responds again.
 
Jack's time-line can be viewed here and his thread on the forum can be viewed here

338.

 

Rabbi Avraham Twerski answers Jack (Part 2)

 

Jack continues to search for practical ways to fill the "void" he feels after stopping the addiction. He wrote me the following (and I forwarded it to Rabbi Twerski):

 

"Sensual pleasures fill a void. But Torah, which is spiritual in nature, cannot possibly fill a missing emotional hole. How do we use Torah to fill in a hole that was caused by something emotional, in my case parents who really did a lot of damage to me emotionally? If you can help me fill the void in this matter, then maybe it will help me with overeating also. You see, I eat (sometimes) till I'm sick and can't do anything productive - all I want to do is sleep. If I can fill the void, i can also stop eating to the point of sickness, and start to progress in areas that i really want to progress in. i could have been a big talmid chacham if i wasn't sleepy all the time from over-eating. You see, my parents did a 'wonderful' job with me".

 

Rabbi Twerski Replies:

 

Dear Jack,

 

In order to have both physical and emotional health, we require proper nutrition. If we lack certain essential vitamins and/or minerals, we develop "deficiency syndromes". Lack of iron and B vitamins may cause depression.

 

If a child was raised by abusive parents, who, in addition to being unkind to the child, deprived him of proper nutrition, he may be very depressed as an adult. A physician who examines the person may diagnose the nutritional deficiencies and prescribe the missing vitamins and minerals. The person may say, "How are those going to remove the pain of the abuse?" The answer is that the vitamins and minerals will remedy the deficiencies, and he will have to get therapy to deal with the consequences of the abuse.

 

Human beings are more than just intelligent animals. Indeed, we come into the world essentially as animals and we are to develop ourselves into the spiritual beings we were meant to be. If we lack spirituality, that creates a void. If we lack spirituality and also had abusive parents, we must fulfill ourselves spiritually and get therapy for the consequences of abuse. A lack of either will not solve our emotional problems. Of course, if a person numbs oneself with chemicals, one will not be aware of any void, because one will have no feeling at all.

 

Yes, we come into the world as animals, and we are to rise above the animal level. Animals are motivated only by their desires. No sense of duty, no sense of responsibility, no sense trying to improve oneself. Many people never rise above an animal level, and are nothing more that intelligent animals who use their intellect to gain gratification.

 

It is terribly unfortunate that some people descend to below animal levels. Animals have a sex drive and they gratify it, but they do not make an industry out of sex. They do not have perversions. They do not ruin children with pedophilic molestation. They do not exploit others' drives for their own profit.

 

If we fail to become that which we were meant to be, i.e., spiritual beings, we will feel a void. We would feel that void even if we had the most loving and caring parents in the world. If we fill that spiritual void, we may nevertheless suffer from emotional trauma or deprivation in childhood. The two are separate and should not be confused.

 

Think seriously about who you are and what you can make of yourself. Sexual gratification may give you momentary pleasure, but does nothing to make you into a better person.

 

If we are unhappy, we may blame our parents, but blaming someone for our misery is just an excuse so that we don't feel we must do anything to make changes in ourselves. It is true that we may be what our parents made of us, but if we stay that way, it is our own decision to do so.

339.

The Yetzer Hara is stronger than us. We have no hope of beating him alone. After all, he was created by Hashem, so it's like trying to fight Hashem himself! The only way we can win him over, is when Hashem himself steps in to fight for us. But how do we get Hashem to do this for us? 
 
I saw a beautiful piece in the Sefer "Shamati" from the Ba'al Hasulam that sheds light on this great question. David Hamelech writes in Tehillim, "Ohavei Hashem sinu Ra, shomer nafshos chasidav miyad reshayim yatzeileim" - "Those who love Hashem hate evil, He guards the souls of his righteous, from the hand of the Reshayim he saves them". The Ba'al Hasulam explains that "evil" refers to the Ratzon Lekabel which is "the desire to receive" that was implanted in every person by Hashem so that he can ultimately bestow all his good upon us. However, it is this very Ratzon Lekabel that separates us from Hashem, since it makes us 'wanters" and "takers", while Hashem is the very opposite of that, he only wants to "give". Just like two people who like opposite things can't be friends, and conversely, two people who like exactly the same things, become very close. Therefore, explains the Ba'al Hasulam, true Deveikus with Hashem can only be achieved when a person breaks his Ratzon Lekabel and insists that he wants to be like Hashem. This means not to be a "taker" but only to be a "giver", to give of himself to others, and to give Hashem Nachas Ruach
 
The problem is, no one can break the Ratzon Lekabel. It is the very nature of our existence and it was put in place by Hashem himself. How can one break his very nature? So the Pasuk reveals to us the secret. "Those who love Hashem", says the Pasuk, "Hate evil". Hashem doesn't ask of us to break the Yetzer Hara, he asks us only to HATE IT. When we recognize how this Ratzon Lekabel has been the cause of every misfortune and evil that has ever befallen man, we begin to HATE IT. When we realize that it is only the Ratzon Lekabel that seperates between us and Hashem - like a stone wall, we begin to HATE IT. And when we finally hate the Ratzon Lekabel with a passion, the Pasuk continues: "He guards the souls of his righteous, from the hands of the evil ones he saves them".
 
How deep and profound this is! Hashem is not asking us to break our nature. He is not asking us to be mighty-super men and conquer a huge Yetzer Hara. Instead, he asks us only to Hate the Menuval (as 'Battleworn" always says on the forum ). To hate him for being the one thing that separates us from Hashem. To hate him for being the source of all misery and suffering in the world, since the time of creation. And when we hate him with a passion and cry out to Hashem, Hashem steps in and "from the hands of the evil ones he saves them"
 
So Yidden! That's the secret. The more we hate him, the easier it gets. Take this and RUN WITH IT.
340.


Important Announcement

A new FREE anonymous phone-conference is starting this coming Sunday at 3 PM Central, 4 PM Eastern (to accommodate European and Israeli times as well). It will be moderated by Elya K, an experienced addiction sponsor. Contact Elya or eyes.guard@gmail.com for the phone number and PIN to join the call. (Also, let Elya know if a different day and/or time would be better for you in general).

The original phone conference is still happening every Tuesday night, at 9 PM ET, with a professionally trained addiction therapist on the line. It's only $10 a session, to pay for the therapist (save yourself hundreds of dollars by not paying for a live addiction therapist!) To join this group, contact Z. Citroenbaum at zcitr@yahoo.com

See here for more info on the groups.

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An inspiring Post on the Forum from "Chasdei Avos"

I just wanted to share that I have been clean, bli ayin Horah, since Rosh Chodesh Elul. I get chills just saying that. Thank You Hashem so much. 
 
I must say, my shalom bayis, including both emotional and physical, continues to get much much better the longer I am careful in this area.
 
Singles: Just imagine, the more you are careful now, the much more amazing your relationship will be, both emotional and PHYSICAL.
 
Small vort: We all know that frum jews are a tiny tiny portion of jews in general. Further, frum jews who are pro-actively fighting this war are a very small portion of frum jews. Although Hashem loves every single Yid more than any love we could ever imagine, the more we strive to do Hashem's will, the more we open the channels to receive and appreciate His endless love. EACH OF US are not only loved endlessly by Hashem, but we are unclogging the pipeline through which we connect to Hashem's love. By Hashem, there is no such thing as time. THEREFORE: Every second that you fight this war (forget about the long term for a moment) is a second that Hashem's love flows through a sparkling clean pipe with no junk clogging its path, directly into our system. Perhaps that's why I have heard, that at the very moment that one is misgaber (overpowers) his evil inclination, it is a very opportune time to ask Hashem for anything you need from Him.
 
I said it before, but I am addicted to this web sight. Any time I sit by a computer, this is the first place I run. Thanks. 
341.

Reminder
 

A new FREE 12-Step phone group is starting Today (Sunday) at 3p.m. Central / 4 p.m Eastern. It is fully anonymous and you can listen in without talking if you want (no one will know you are even on the line). Those in Israel and Europe can now participate as well. Write to eyes.guard@gmail.com to get the phone number and PIN. (If a different time is better for you, let us know. We may change it next week).

 


 
We have been in contact recently with someone who claims that they have been trying to stop masturbation for many years and cannot succeed. The failures and the severity of the sin according to Chaza"l, were making him depressed, and this in turn would cause him to fall even lower. Therefore, he wrote me (just last night) that he has decided to continue masturbation (albeit less often) and stop feeling guilty about it, since he claims that "the guilt" only made it worse. He also finds it hard to believe that Hashem can possibly consider this sin to be so severe in cases where a person cannot stop.
 
After davening today, I was thinking how to answer this person and I happened to randomly open up a Sefer next to me (Nesivos Shalom from the Slonimer Rebbe zatza"l). It seems that Hashem really loves this person because the words I saw there address his situation EXACTLY. I was so amazed that I scanned in the page. Click here to see the original. Below, I will try to give a summary of what it says there.
 

 
The Nesivos Shalom (Parshas Noach) brings the Pasuk that is the source in the Torah of masturbation being bad. "Vayehi Er Bechor Yehudah Ra Be'einei Hashem, Vayemiseihu Hashem" - "And Er the son of Yehudah was bad in the eyes of Hashem, and Hashem killed him". The Nesivos Shalom explains that there are two types of "bad". 1) "Ra" without a "Hei", and 2) "Ra'ah" - with a "Hei""Hei" represents the name of Hashem. "Ra" without Hashem (like it says by "Er") is "bad" with no hope, and "Ra'ah" with a "Hei", is "bad" with hope. 
 
It says about the Jewish people "Lo Hibit Aven Biyaakov... Hashem Elokav Imo" - "He sees no sin in Yaakov... Hashem his G-d is with him". Asks the Nesivos Shalom, how can it be that G-d chooses not to see sins in the Jewish people? Chaza"l say terrible things about anyone who says that Hashem is a "Vatran" (that He lets us off the hook when we sin)? So the Nesivos Shalom explains that the end of the Pasuk holds the answer - "Hashem Elokav Imo" - Hashem his G-d is with him. A Jew that sins because he can't control himself, but deep down his heart is breaking about how far he is from Hashem and he doesn't let go of Hashem, in such a case Hashem chooses not to see the evil and will forgive this person. And even if during the sin he doesn't feel bad, but afterwards he feels bad about it, and the good inside him makes him feel guilty and he asks himself "How could I have sinned and ignored the word of Hashem?" then there is also still hope for him. For this is the Koach that brings to Teshuvah. 
 
And the Nesivos Shalom goes on to say that the guilty feelings we have, are a GIFT from Hashem that come from the good inside every Jew. Indeed, a Jew who does NOT have these feelings anymore, no longer has hope - like "Er" the son of Yehudah (where the Ra is written without a "Hei"), and that is why Hashem killed him. 
 
And he goes on to say that this can be a test, if a person wants to know where he stands. If one no longer has a guilty conscious when sinning, then he can know that he is in a very bad state indeed. Because a person who gives in to the Yetzer Hara only because the Yetzer hara has tempted him strongly and he can't hold back, is still not "bad' in essence and G-d will forgive him. But one who doesn't feel guilt anymore, that means that the bad has taken him over totally and there is no hope. 
 
And he writes that this is a Tikkun for every Jew to be able to get out of the bad. That even when he falls, he should make sure that the fall does not become part of his essence. For one who continues to hold on to Hashem and feel guilty when he is far from Hashem, then even if he did the worst sins, he still has hope and will be forgiven.
 
(Until here are the words of the Nesivos Shalom).
 

 
So I say to this dear Jew: Instead of working on NOT feeling guilty, we need to REJOICE that we DO feel guilty. For this is our only hope. The guilt that we feel is our life-line and "kesher" with Hashem, and through the guilt, Hashem ultimately saves us from the yetzer Hara! The Nesivos Shalom is telling us that a person who feels guilty and is trying his best, then in spite of all the scary Chazal's about the terrible severity of this sin, Hashem will stay with him, forgive him and ultimately save him!
 
There is one important distinction though, that we must make. The holy books emphasize that there is a subtle difference between "guilt" ("Merirus") which is healthy, and "depression" ("Atzvus") which is is dangerous. When a person feels bad about sinning, the healthy "guilt" should make him take himself into his hands and try again. It should make him feel bad about how far he is from Hashem and try to get closer to him. On the other hand "Depression" (Atzvus), is truly unhealthy and makes the person just want to give up and continue his downward spiral. 

So instead of ignoring "Guilt", we need to learn to ignore "Depression". Ironically, when feeling guilty, we should REJOICE. For this is the only hope and Kesher with Hashem, even for one who has fallen to the lowest depths!

342.

We recently wrote to Rabbi Twerski about the bachur (who we wrote about in yesterday's e-mail) who claimed he could not stop. Rabbi Twerski's answered us, and his response is invaluable as it adds a whole new dimension to understanding the battle with addiction. Rabbi Twerski writes:

 

His conviction that he cannot overcome the addiction is the addiction talking to him, saying, "Give up the fight, It's useless. You'll never succeed, so why put yourself through the misery."

 

Contrary to logic, marriage does not help sexual addiction, and continuing masturbation after the marriage can ruin it.

 

Other than try to stop and pray etc, what has this young man done to make essential changes in his character? That's where one should begin.
 

I attended an AA meeting where the speaker was celebrating his 20th year of sobriety. He began by saying, "The man I once was, drank. And the man I once was, will drink again" (but the man I am today, will not). Alcoholics who have not had a drink for many years but have not overhauled their character are "dry drunks" and will often drink again. The same is true for sexual addiction.

 

How does one become a different person? By working diligently on improving one's character traits. Learning how to manage anger, to rid oneself of resentments, to overcome hate, to be humble, to be considerate of others, to be absolutely honest in all one's affairs, to admit being wrong, to overcome envy, to be diligent and overcome procrastination. In short, one should take the Orchos Tzaddikim (I'm sure it's available in English), and go down the list of character traits, strengthening the good one's and trying to eliminate the bad ones. This does not happen quickly.

 

When one has transformed one's character and has become a different person, one will find that this "new person" can accomplish things that the old person could not.

343.


Special Announcement: 

 

MAZAL TOV to our dear member Jack for reaching 90 clean days! 

 

We added a new "Simcha Niggun" to our Music page in honor of Jack's achievement (scroll down to the 'Simcha Nigunim').

 

Let's put on Jack's Simcha Niggun (set it to loop) and let's dance together with Jack in our hearts! Let's lead Jack under the canopy, like a Sefer Torah, and accompany him to the WALL OF HONOR! We'll send the Yetzer hara flying with our true Simcha shel Mitzva!

 

When you have time, read through Jack's "90 day Log" over here. You are guaranteed to be inspired.

 

To all my dear brothers - warriors in arms, Jack is Mechayev us all. He is 49 years old and before he started, he hadn't had a clean day in 38 years. He suffers from low-self esteem, fear, anxiety, an abusive childhood, and constant pain (from a burst appendix in his youth that never healed properly). If Jack can do it, we all can.  Like the Gemara says; "Hillel Mechayev es Ha'aniyim" (Hillel obligates paupers to learn Torah). With Jack's amazing achievement yesterday, the time for excuses has ended! 

 

We strongly encourage all those who want to begin their journey to freedom to start a Log of their own on the "Wall of Honor" section of our forum. Currently, we have a few valiant warriors there, like PostalServico, Be-Holy and Ano-Nymous who are doing great battles against the Yetzer Hara and making great strides. Let's all do it and cheer each other on!

 


 

Here are some inspiring quotes from Jack, taken from his "90 Day Log":

 

On Day 16 jack wrote us:

thanks to you, my life is better. i can speak to my kids about yiddishkeit without feeling like a hypocrite. i can sing zemiros at the shabbos table without feeling guilt. i can shake the rabbis hand without saying to myself - 'if he only knew'. ok, i'm doing the work, but you are there, which makes all the difference between now and prior to now. and i feel exactly the same about elya k - he is there, with his comforting soothing, understanding, non-critical, non-judgmental voice. between you two and all the people on the forum who are rooting for me, i can pull through this struggle. i can't express in words how much i owe you. (someday, we'll meet and you'll know who you helped).

 

On Day 22 Jack wrote: 

dear all, in today's yom, it says 'Hashem knows the thoughts of man that they are HEVEL. this brought to mind a beautiful vort on koheles. it says there that everything is hevel. why is it important for us to know this? because we have to look at the things that Hashem made forbidden to us - that they are hevel. in other words, don't feel so bad that they are forbidden to you, because they are hevel anyway. if hashem didn't let you have something that was really wonderful, that would be a reason to complain. But He didn't do that. He only made osur to us things that are really bad for us, so don't feel bad about this and don't complain!

by the way, have all of you gotten on that weekly phone call yet? have you spoken with elya k. yet? if not, what are you waiting for? you can't do this by yourself - it's too hard. you need caring fellow Jews who are willing to listen to you, understand you, and are willing to go out of their way to help you - like elya k and guard. So get on that phone and start the healing!

 

On Day 31 jack wrote:

Today is my 31st day. This is the most difficult battle that i have ever undertaken voluntarily. and i couldn't do it without the phone support. if you are trying this on your own, maybe the forum is enough for you. but, for me, i need the phone support - the withdrawal symptoms are too strong - i need to unload on a human being who is there for me and will listen. did you ever see a drug addict coming off drugs? (i can only imagine) what it's like. well, what i have is not a chemical dependency, but the withdrawal symptoms are (i can only imagine) just as powerful, and i need a support person to listen to me scream and cry it out of my system. i don't know how long i will need this, but the people are there for me, and that's how I'm doing it. and that's what changed from the past 38 years, when i always wanted to stop, but couldn't. the withdrawal was just too much to bear alone. but now, i have a new family, and that's what's doing it for me, plain and simple. Jack

 

On Day 52 jack wrote:

You know what we sang this simchas torah? we sang baruch elokeinu shebaranu lechvodo VEHEEVDELANU MEEN HATOIM - WE ARE separate from those that are mistaken!! Hashem separated us from them!! you know what else we sang? ashreinu mah tov chelkainu - how good is our portion!! No one in shul could know what my kavanos were at the times we were singing that - but everyone here knows. It's the first clean simchas torah in my life! I'm feeling so much better at not having to hide from my friends, my rabbi, my chevrusas, my wife, my kids, my work colleagues, who else? anybody on the street who, when they see me, think i 'm a religious jew. but now, i dont have to hide, and it makes life so much better.

 

Don't we know halacha is for our benefit?? G-d cares for us, and he wants us to do the what's good for us - uvacharta bachaim - choose life, He says in the TORAH. but we have bechirah, and this is the only way that life can make any sense. because without the struggle, there can be no reward.

 

So, everybody, fight on, and enjoy the results, because this IS what Hashem wanted, and wants for us.

 

On Day 72 Jack wrote:

I went to therapy 22 years ago. i had a genius of a therapist who was able to explain to me what my parents had done to me. This took 2 1/2 years. after this, i knew the work was still to be done - the therapy only served to enlighten me on what my life was all about - and enlighten it did! i then 'stumbled' across a group of people running an exercise class for Jews where the people there were much like the people on this site - willing to help a fellow Jew in need, like i was. i wasn't criticized, although i was one of the slowest progressors in the group. my self esteem and self-confidence were lowwww. they helped me build it up. this took me 20-25 years. my self-confidence is still not that great, but it's way more than it was before i started therapy. The porn was ALWAYS there, it 'helped' me feel happy, although temporarily. i would need a 'fix' every so often, just like a drug addiction. of course i knew it was wrong, but it was what i 'needed'. Then for one short second, this site popped up in yeshivaworld.com, and i quickly copied down the URL. that was about 2 1/2 months ago. i was lucky in my life to have 'chanced upon' the people who helped me, and when i found them, i didn't let go. There are so few people like guard, and the others here, that when i saw what was going on here, i knew that i had finally found the help i needed. i started out life very rough, with a traumatic childhood, a holocaust survivor father who was brutal to me, and a very tough young adulthood, but then, 'somehow', i met all the right people. You on this forum have also met the right people, don't let them go, and join that phone group!!! you cant do it alone, it's too powerful a force! this man guard is standing at the top of the mountain pulling us all up - don't you see that?? but, who is pulling HIM up?? I think Hashem gave him special kochos that he has chosen to use for the greater good. But i think that rabbi Twerski is HIS inspiration, and who is rabbi Twerski's inspiration? Years and years of proper mesorah stretching all the way back to avrohom aveenu. Just read rabbi Twerski's books about living each day, etc, and you can see the wisdom of life that he has, and he has  also has chosen to use HIS special kochos for the good of klal yisroel. i wish all my friends out there hatzlacha raba from the depths of my heart.

 

On Day 77 jack wrote:

As you may know, the issues i am discussing with you and Elya are much more than just the addiction - it is a matter of finding satisfaction in the things i do so i don't need non-kosher forms of satisfaction, which is all i knew up till now. Now, learning this at 49 is pretty late, most people have it already much much younger. me and Elya talk about these deep issues every week. Elya can relate to my feelings of low self-esteem because he comes from the same place. As i said, if i am successful, i will find out much more than just how to control the addiction. We are discussing the essentials of a happy life here.

Get the whiskey ready for day 90!

344.

Someone asked us this question:
 
 
The 12-Steps say that we need to surrender to Hashem and he will fight for us. But weren't there Tzadikim who wanted to earn their spiritual levels on their own?

Answer: 
 
Tzadikim who wanted to do it alone doesn't mean they didn't need Hashem. It means they didn't want levels or "Madregos" that they hadn't earned themselves. David hamelech sang Shira that Hashem saved him from the hands of "Shaul". "Shaul" means also "borrowed" in Lashon Kodesh. Sometimes Hashem gives a person special spiritual feelings and levels to help them through hard times, but these "madregos" are really borrowed. They are not really ours. And sometimes, when we get to where Hashem wanted us to get to, the feelings and joy we felt in Avodas Hashem are taken away from us so we can grow even more (in spite of losing the feelings). So David was thanking Hashem for saving him from "borrowed" madregos and letting him earn these levels on his own. However, at the end of the day - Hashem is the one to do the work for us, like the pasuk says "Lulai Hashem Ozer Lo, Lo Yuchal Lo". But if Hashem is the one to do it, how do we earn the levels on our own?
 
So here's the secret. Hashem doesn't do the work for us UNTIL we have tried everything possible and have come to the conclusion that no one can help us but Him. At that point, we have a "Kli Shalem" (a complete vessel) and Hashem is there to fill it up. In other words, we DO have to work hard, very hard. But the work we do is not necessarily to make progress, but rather to get to the point where we know 100% that we can't do it on our own. As long as we didn't work as hard as we could, we still think in the back of our minds that maybe we could do it ourselves and the vessel is still not complete. Only after we've done all we can and still can't win the Yetzer Hara, at that point we NEED Hashem so badly and the Kli is Shalem. The rule is that Hashem's light is always shining, but the reason we don't feel it is because our vessels are damaged and / or full of other things. As soon as we need Hashem 100% and have a complete vessel for his help, the light of Hashem automatically shines in and we are saved.
 
You may ask, but WHY did Hashem make the world this way? Why couldn't he make it that we could really achieve it on our own? Wouldn't that give Him more Nachas? The answer is simple yet beautiful. Hashem is not looking for our success. He is looking for us to have a KESHER with him. If we could succeed on our own, we wouldn't NEED him and we wouldn't have a strong Kesher with him. Hashem has enough "mighty" Malachim in Shamayim. He is not looking for "Super Men" who can do it alone. Instead, he wants us to have a KESHER with Him. And when we know 100% that we have no other hope than Him, THAT is a complete Kesher
 
But to really "know" this, we have to work very hard. Perhaps though, if we train ourselves to acknowledge all the time that he is the only one who can help us, and if we constantly say this to Him and ask for his help, then maybe we will have to work less (and fall less) in the long term before coming to a full realization and having a "Kli Shalem".
 
The same principal above, applies with any type of "Redemption", whether it's from the Yetzer Hara or whether it's the redemption at the End of Days. Like Chaza"l say, Moshiach won't come until we all recognize that "Ain Lanu al mi Lisha'ein ela al Avinu She'bashamayim". For at that point the vessel is complete and the light of Hashem will flood the world.
345.


A member on
the forum called "Tahor" posted today:

 

I am in my 40's. My second marriage. My first ended because of multiple affairs. At that time, I spent hour upon hour in Torah study. I attended the place of assembly regularly (SA groups). I formed small groups of men for accountability, and yet I failed again and again. 


Two things led to success: Stark accountability and brokenness before Hashem's presence. And two things keep me safe now: Full accountability to my wife, and the fear of losing again what I lost: my reputation, my children, employment, the respect of my sons and first wife, thousands of dollars of child support, etc.

I am now a shift supervisor in a retail store. I have working with me many young, attractive, and attentive females.  There is always for me an initial attraction, but if I refuse to act out of that attraction, it subsides, and I realize it was just infatuation. My wife often asks me if I'm having "trouble" with anyone. I tell her the truth. We pray, or she prays for me. Afterwards, I do not feel anything anymore for this person. The confession is often even more empowering than the prayer, or so it seems.


I am working on not being so personal with the opposite sex. It is hard, I like to be involved in peoples' lives, male and female. I care when people are sad. I look out for the little guy. My wife warns me to maintain a strictly professional relationship with my female coworkers. 


The first thing to guard against, is to avoid flattering compliments toward them. You may think it, but don't say it. The compulsion will pass, and you'll be glad you didn't say anything later.


A final note of encouragement: I have found that when I resist those I believe are available, if I am strong enough, long enough, Hashem removes them from my workplace. They quit, move away, get fired. It's as if he says to me, "You've endured long enough! No more torture". 


Then, another comes. But with each new coworker I become stronger and stronger. 


I have to remember, I am not only standing for myself, but for Jews everywhere, even for Israel itself!

It says in Proverbs 7:4,5. 
"Say to Wisdom 'You are my sister!' and call Understanding, 'Friend!' that they may safeguard you from a forbidden woman, from a strange woman who makes her words glib". 


Berachot, 
Tahor

 

 

Dear Tahor,

 

Whenever I read such things from holy Jews like you, what they have been through and how they have learned to give Hashem their hearts, it brings tears to my eyes - and I'm sure a lot of others on the forum feel the same way. Tahor, you are holding up the world! You are perhaps doing more for the good of Klal Yisrael than even some big Rosh Yeshivos may be doing, and no one even knows. It's the simple "shift supervisor" who is shaking the upper worlds with his pure Teshuvah. Ashreinu that we have people like you in Klal Yisrael! May you serve as a source of inspiration to everyone on our forum and site. And may this e-mail to everyone on our "Chizuk List" serve as a merit for you, to keep you strong in your service of Hashem - as great as the kohanim who brought the Karbonos on the Mizbe'ach in the Beis Hamikdash. As it says by the Korbon Tamid that we bring twice a day; "Zeh Ha'Isheh asher Takrivu La'hashem" ("Ishe" means also "woman"). I am sure that in heaven it is announced on some days: "Today's Korbon Tamid was brought by Tahor".

346.

 

A young man who goes by the username Ano-Nymous posted his story on the forum about two weeks ago. After reading his story, we decided that the time had come to add a "90 Day Chart" and a "Wall of Honor" on our site, to encourage people to make progress and be able to keep track of it in a very real way. Ano-Nymous took up the challenge straight away, and began to keep a log of his progress over here. Yesterday he wrote:

 

It's amazing how the YH retreats when he sees he's beat. But I know this trick and won't fall for it again. He makes you think he's surrendered, but then when your guard is down, he POUNCES on you. So I realize that he hasn't given up. He's just retreated for now. I must keep my guard up, and I will. On the Chabad website they have a page where you can pledge a mitzvah in honor of those killed. I pledged to finish my 90 days. This is the most liberating feeling imaginable! I've been a slave to the YH for seven YEARS and I'm breaking new ground now every SECOND I restrain myself. Each moment pushes me further away from the Tumah!

 

Let's take chizuk from Ano-Nymous and let's all pledge together with him to do better than we have done before, for the honor and memory of the Kedoshim. If they gave their very lives for Hashem, we can give up some Tumah for the honor of Hashem!

 

347.

Read what this holy Jew posted recently on the forum
(edited a bit for clarity):

As I require Internet access for my line of work, I had fallen into harmful patterns of not only porn usage, but also secular media and culture exposure.  My rationalization for this was that I needed "something" to distract me from the travails and troubles of life. My method of relieving stress was to waste time on the Internet and specifically to watch movies.  Weekends were generally the worst and I would tell my wife that I had work to do and would stay up until all hours of the night browsing the web, watching video clips on youtube and watching movies.  For a long stretch of time, I was slipping virtually every weekend.

I knew that I needed to do something to break my dependence on the secular media, so close to 2 months ago I made a conscious decision to give up secular media almost completely. I resolved that over Sukkos I would strengthen myself in Torah and be'ezras Hashem, break my dependence on the media. Over Sukkos, I decided to take the Mesechta that I was learning the previously (I did not know Gemara well at all and was not really "Koveah Itim" properly) and really put in time.  As a result of this commitment, I was able to spend most of the Yom Tov learning, and I had committed to myself to keep it going after the Yom Tov as well.

Following Yom Tov, I had a few minor slips when I was feeling down or frustrated. To my surprise however, I had little desire to listen to the radio, watch movies or follow sports, and was able to get back into my learning relatively quickly.

Baruch Hashem, I have found a new ta'am (taste) in my learning and I now turn to the Gemara instead of the Internet when I am bothered or frustrated.  I no longer go online Saturday nights, but rather learn instead.
 

Happy indeed is he who finds ta'am in Torah to replace the empty and filthy time-wasting behaviors that the Yetzer Hara tries to convince us that we need! And what greater Teshuvah can their be than to replace these sinful ta'anugim with "Vihisaneg al Hashem"!
 
See this piece of Tehilim below (37) which contains two great secrets of how to break free of the Yetzer Hara's grasp.
1)
Pasuk Daled: Replacing the forbidden pleasures with Spiritual pleasure.
2)
Pasuk Gimmel and Hei: Trust in Hashem; "Let go and let G-d" (the core of the 12-Steps).

tehilim let go

For more posts on the dangers of secular media, check out Chizuk e-mail #323 on this page (scroll down).

For those who must have open internet for their work, we highly suggest Accountability Software. See here for a few options.



Reminder
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The new FREE anonymous phone-conference will take place again today at 3 PM Central, 4 PM Eastern (to accommodate European and Israeli times as well). It is moderated by Elya K, an experienced addiction sponsor.

Contact us or Elya to ask for the phone number and PIN to join the call.


Note: We encourage those who join the conference to open up and let their voices be heard on the line. This is an important part of the healing process, and makes it much more beneficial for everyone. Please don't fear that your voice will be recognized. The chances of that are by far outweighed by the benefits.
348.


Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin, a religious psychologist and therapist, wrote a fascinating article called "The Psychological Factors in Sexual Acting Out". This article that can 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).

Since the article is too long for one Chizuk e-mail, we divided it into four parts. In chizuk e-mail #248 (scroll down) and #251 we brought the first two parts of the article, and we bring you the third part here.

Part 3

The emotional functions of sexual acting out
 
Sexual acting out is often motivated by a (subconscious) attempt to contain and transform [painful emotions] - such as depression, anxiety, aggression, shame, and fear - by turning them into feelings of excitement and aliveness, rather than allowing them to be overwhelming and depleting. The sexual encounter [usually] takes place during periods in which the integrity of the self is threatened by some disappointment, some frustration. The aim of the sexual encounter is for both a soothing and an obtaining a compensation for what they had to put up with or what they have been through.
 
In my clinical experience, I have found another factor that often serves to maintain the overwhelming impulse to act out sexually. Someone who has been emotionally deprived, severely criticized and/or abused throughout his childhood will often feel that he is not deserving of pleasure. When he attempts to partake in a pleasurable experience, feelings of guilt will cancel out the pleasure. Only the intense sensations involved in sexual acting out can override the inhibitions to pleasure. This causes the child to become interested in sexuality prematurely and eventually this can lead to a sexual addiction.
 
Pornography
 
Pornography, on a superficial level, simply serves the purpose of ensuring a more intense, momentarily self-soothing, physical experience. However, there often seems to be another level of emotional need being addressed.
 
A lack of affectionate intimacy in childhood often results in a frustrated need for intimacy without the tools to achieve it in a healthy way. (Like someone who did not get sufficient attention as a child, who now needs intense attention that can only be achieved by acting immaturely). This is often the appeal of pornography. In ordinary circumstances a person wouldn't see someone else unclothed unless they had an intimate relationship. Therefore, seeing someone unclothed via pornography creates the illusion of intimacy.
 
For some people, standard pornography is not intimate enough because everyone knows that the person they are viewing in a supposedly intimate moment is really an actress who is forgoing her privacy for the sake of money or drugs. They therefore, find it difficult to attain the illusion of intimacy with standard pornography. They prefer voyeurism where they believe they are "sharing" a truly private, intimate moment. They, of course, have to block out the fact that the person being observed did not consent to this "intimacy." (In the case of voyeurism via pornography they also have to accept the illusion that the observed are not aware of the fact that they are being filmed). An added emotional "benefit" of voyeurism is the feeling of power in forcing the "intimacy" on the other person. This is especially appealing to someone who was made to feel powerless in his early family environment.
 
Interestingly, many people suffering from voyeurism have no desire to see friends in intimate situations because when there is a real relationship there is no need for the illusion of a relationship.
 
For some people, the act of viewing someone unclothed is sufficient to achieve a satisfaction of the emotional need for intimacy. For others, the eventual sexual release adds a necessary intensity to the emotional experience (like an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence).
 
After the fact, there is usually a double disappointment: First there is the guilt and shame over the act itself. Then there is the painful disappointment that the hoped for emotional comfort (i.e., the illusion beyond the pleasure - as described above) was not achieved beyond the momentary illusion. It is like when a failed dieter eats cake to alleviate loneliness. The loneliness is alleviated for only a few moments while the shame and feeling of failure linger on. One wonders why the inevitable disappointment doesn't eventually undermine the illusion. I believe there are a few possible explanations.
 
Firstly, As Rav Dessler explains, Hashem gave the yetzer horah the power to create illusions that resist the lessons of experience. Otherwise, it would be virtually powerless. When faced with an acute or chronic frustration of a basic need (such as the need for intimacy, attention, acceptance, etc.) the power of the illusion intensifies in proportion to the frustration. One finds this with a person dying of thirst in a desert who imagines seeing an oasis up ahead.
 
Secondly, there is a little bit of truth in every illusion. When one is desperate this little bit becomes enormously appealing. For example, a shipwreck survivor on a raft in the ocean who, after days of unbearable thirst, will finally break down and drink the ocean salt water even though he resisted it for days because he knows it will kill him. None-the-less, since it contains the illusion of water, at some point, it feels like it's worth it to get that temporary relief. Likewise, someone desperate for intimacy may feel, at some point, that the illusion of intimacy is all he can hope to get and that may be better than nothing.

(We hope to bring Part 4 of this fascinating article in the coming days).
 
 


Important Announcement
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As you may have noticed from yesterday's e-mail, we have begun using a more professional system for our mailing lists. It is no longer necessary for the webmaster to manually subscribe or unsubscribe members, it can all be done now automatically by the members themselves by simply clicking on the links at the bottom of this e-mail. To update which lists you want to be subscribed to, simply click on the words "Update Profile/Email Address" at the very bottom of this e-mail. You can now choose to join the new Shmiras Ainayim Chizuk list that we mentioned yesterday, by simply checking the check-box next to the name of the new list, on the page that opens.

To review, the new Chizuk e-mail list that we are starting TODAY (in addition to the current one) will be on general Chizuk on
Shmiras Ainayim. It will focus less on the "addiction" aspect, and more on general Chizuk that anyone can use, addicted or not. The new list will also be less intense and explicit, and more appropriate for all of Klal Yisrael. We encourage everyone on the current list to sign up for the new list as well, and to let all your friends know about it.

Note: We strongly advise anyone who struggles with masturbation or pornography, even if infrequently, to remain on the current list as well.

349.


For today's Chizuk E-mail, I want to bring two good questions that were posted on the forum, along with two great answers from Elya K, Moderator of the 12-Step phone Conferences and Hot-Line.

Question 1

It feels like sometimes the effort to to avoid tumah, pritzus, etc..  itself seems to cause one to think about the very thing that they are trying to avoid. Am I wrong? Maybe just putting forth a little less effort will enable some people to have more success (perhaps just by getting busy doing something else). It's like the way one thinks of food on a fast day. Some people think about food more on a fast day than other days, even if the other days they might end up fasting accidentally. The very thought of it being a fast day can cause one to think of food. Am I making sense? So what is a good solution? Anyone have any ideas?

Elya answers:

You raise some very good questions. There is an axiom which says, "What we resist, persists."  The more effort you spend pushing away every obstacle and constantly thinking about how to avoid it, the more you will think about it and eventually act out. 

That's why the trick is to accept the fact that there is Pritzus in the world and that you have no power over controlling it. Hashem took away the Yetzer Horoh for Idol Worship but not for this. (If he did, none of us would have been born!)

It's a good idea to read recovery books instead of thinking so much about how to avoid it. Books by Rabbi Twersky like "Self Improvement? I'm Jewish" is a good one. Also any books by Patrick Carnes (www.GentlePath.com).

You are right.  Finding other things to occupy your time when you're bored, tired, hungry or upset is another key to staying clean. Pamper yourself with things which are permitted.
 

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Webmaster adds to Elya's answer: The Pasuk says "Sur Mera, Va'asei Tov"- "Stay away from bad and do good". The Chassidic Sefarim say to read it differently. "Sur Mera" - HOW? Through "Va'asei Tov".

In other words, instead of focusing on
"Sur Mera", focus on "Asei Tov". Focus on recovery, on learning to flow with life - not fight against it. Read books, post on the forum, inspire others and become a better person each day. And before you know it, the "Ra" will disappear on its own.

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Question 2

Did anyone out there ever have a serious problem with using the phone to listen to inappropriate things, or even worse- to have sexual conversation on the phone? Anyone ever spend money on this? What could one do about this? Unlike the internet, there are no filters that I know of for the phone! One can't live nowadays without a phone, especially when living with other people! Any thoughts on this?

Elya answers:

I have used the phone in the past and especially chat rooms on the computer. Indeed, we cannot literally cut ourselves off from all forms of communication, unless you want to live in a cave somewhere. 

All of these urges become easier to deal with when people are involved in a program, have a sponsor, go to therapy or even partner with someone on this forum to stay accountable. There is a reason we are attracted to talking with people on the phone.  This is often an addiction of the "need for intimacy".  For example, if someone grew up and was constantly yelled at, and every time he appealed for help he was ridiculed or abandoned emotionally, this will often cause him in later years to constantly be looking for this connection, especially from women, if he didn't get that as a child. 

Once you explore your past and figure out what underlying subconscious issues might be causing it for you, you can then heal by talking about it and listening to how others have dealt with this issue. (Often, a good therapist can help with this as well).

I work on the computer. The last time I fell, my counselor made me stay away from the computer for an entire month.  My wife had to read my emails and I answered them. But after a month, I no longer had that pull toward looking at porn. I was re-motivated to work and get on with my sobriety. 

Get into a group, talk, listen, participate, get a sponsor, and you'll see, it will get much easier. 

Also, go to www.slaafws.org and read the pamphlet on withdrawal.

350.


An 18 year old Bachur posted his story recently on
our forum along with the tips that he uses to help him stay clean. The story is particularly inspiring due to the fact that this boy received no Jewish Chinuch from his parents, and yet he is clean already for almost a year!

If he can do it, what excuses could we possibly have - especially those who are married and received good Jewish Chinuch from day one!


Since the story and tips are a bit long for one e-mail, I will bring it in stages. The first stage is below. (I edited it a bit and removed parts that are perhaps less interesting / inspiring than the rest).

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For ba'alei teshuvah, like myself, one of the hardest things to change and to grow in is one's hashkafos; the way the one sees the world, the way one thinks, and the way one feels. My parents were always very open about 'sexuality' and the like; not wanting to 'shelter' me. I had very little, if any innocence in this regard. For years, I would sneak off for long periods of time to read my father's stash of filth magazines - this started when I was maybe 6 or 7. From the age of 10 or 11, I would masturbate at least once a day, up until I turned 17, last year. For so many years, the filth was being pumped into my head. It took a lot of siyata dishmaya to snap out of it and break the habit. I had many ups and downs, many times when I felt like going back, throwing in the towel and doing it 'just this once'. It felt so painful at first, to break myself away from that pit. My whole body was aching. I had headaches. I felt very depressed, and anxious; the chemicals in my body weren't used to such a quick riddance of the toxins created when one is aroused. In the beginning, I had stopped masturbating, after falling about 3 or 4 times after my initial decision to stop. But at that point I hadn't stopped looking at forbidden images yet - whenever I would look at them, I would get such pain, since I wasn't able to release the hormonal surges, but I had made a firm commitment to give up masturbation, and I wasn't going to break it. I made this commitment after seeing the kitzur shulchan aruch, the breslover seforim, and many others which explained how terrible it is to be pogem one's bris.

I first became frum when I was 13, baruch hashem, and I am now about to turn 18 - from when I was 14 on I knew hotza'as zera levatalah was an issur gamur, but I didn't know how bad it was, and I didn't understand what made it so bad. For me, it was like eating, literally - a fact of life that I felt was 'natural', due to my background. It took me a while to see that it was interfering with my learning, and, as the seforim say, being 'oiker daas' - I felt my cognitive abilities weakening. I was brainwashed as a child to think that only 'prudes' worry about sexual indiscretions. I heard my father's religion of immorality in my head, saying the behavior was healthy and normal, but now those thoughts make me want to spit in disgust. I then realized that I had in fact been brainwashed by society, my parents, and the media, all of my life. I had to set out on a mental journey - one I'm still on, to break these middos and make my way of thinking as close to the Torah as possible. I've been clean of pgam habris since January (11 months), and free of pornography since February (10 months) - new worlds have been opened up for me in my mind; I'm able to feel things now that I never felt before. Now, I'm proud to be a yid, I no longer look for ways of avoiding the so-called 'prudeness' of Torah like I used to, I no longer am afraid of sounding 'fanatical' - I know now that THEY are the fanatics, they, the dirty goyishe world, are fanatically anti-kedusha and anti-holiness. Everything they do is for taiva. The internet, in all its filth, was made for taiva, Hollywood, the type of clothing they make, the newspapers (even 'respectable' ones advertise pritzus), the television and music - it's all a massive campaign against kedusha and taharah. When I first saw the breslover seforim saying this, I thought it was an exaggeration, but now I see it's 100% emes! The world truly IS against us and G-d, knowingly or not, they are our enemies, and they are agents of the sitra achra.

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Two inspiring things we can learn from the above:

1) Although the withdrawal symptoms are very difficult at first, it is truly possible to break free!

2) New spiritual doors are opened before those who succeed in conquering this addiction. Indeed, those who were given this struggle from above are being beckoned by Heaven to use it as a "spring board" to achieve a whole new level of spiritual awareness and closeness to Hashem, for now and all eternity!