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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Whenever faced with a struggle, remember this important
"LET GO AND LET
This idea can be found in Tehhilim (37) as well:
âÌåÉì òÇì éÀäÉåÈä
ãÌÇøÀëÌÆêÈ åÌáÀèÇç òÈìÈéå åÀäåÌà éÇòÂùÒÆä
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!
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
Have a Simchadik Yom-Tov!
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.
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!
this page for more
great ideas to making your life more full with Torah!
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
for tips and
advice on how to make vows in safe and effective ways.
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:
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
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
Let me help you by offering you a clear
plan, step by step, of how to proceed.
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.
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
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.
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.
When you are sure the wording is right, make the
vows while reading from the exact text and wording
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
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
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
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
I just have
to share some of these incredible posts
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)
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
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
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
With much love,
"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
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.
congratulations to your joining the Lamed Vav club
where yiden join up to form a Military
and OH boy, we are prevailing!
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.
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
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.
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
a) You feel suddenly far from Hashem and from your
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!
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
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
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.
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:
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.
Jew is meant to live with the full belief that Moshiach could
come ANY DAY. We all say it, but do we believe it?
we are finding the struggles really hard, it obviously means we
don't believe enough.
are some pointers that might help :-)
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.
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.
Rabbi Elya Svei Mashiach 2009, told to him from his Rebbe, Rabbi
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.
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
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.
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".
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.
The Brisker Rav said during the Holocaust that within 70 years
Mashiach will come. 2009 is the 70th year.
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.
Shi'vi'is Ben David Bah"
equals in Gematriah: "Eliyahu Hatishbi"
So don't wait any longer. Today is the day we decide
forever that these behaviors are a things of the distant
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
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
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 thing…your 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 clean…I 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
firstname.lastname@example.org to be put
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 them…and 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.
forward to staying clean…not 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
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.
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
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"
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
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
of my own for now (to get you all
started :-). We read today on Rosh Chodesh,
"Zeh ha'isheh asher
"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
when a man sacrifices his "desire for women" and gives it
away to Hashem.
Please send us your
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.
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!
Make the Ta'avah
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
). This is a powerful technique, and it can
also be used effectively when fantasies strike in middle of
davening or learning Torah.
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
what, if they fall. Maybe jogging 2 miles, or, like in the
army, to do 100 push-ups. (For more on making "safe" vows,
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
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
is the frosting on the cake, but the 12 step program is the
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
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.
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
2. We came to
believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to
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
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
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
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".
as well, for more on this fundamental secret to success.
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
Jack's time-line can be viewed
here, and his thread on
the forum can be viewed
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!
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.
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).
Someone Tempted to View Forbidden Pictures - and a Tikkun
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
"Nomer" posted on
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
this lesson myself. Just say no to the gossip and celebrity
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
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.
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
of the "Kosher
YOU CAN ALL DO IT!!! IT WILL TOTALLY UPSET THE YETZER HARA!
(ISN'T THAT A GREAT INCENTIVE?)
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
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.
Attention all members: Please see below for a few
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?
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Battleworn" posted recently on
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
"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
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
moderator of the
12-Step Phone groups and
posted on the forum a few weeks ago:
Chapter 11:9 it says:
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
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
What's the answer? Koheles gives it to us in THE VERY NEXT
POSUK. Listen carefully.
remove anger (resentment, fear) from your heart, and put away
evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity".
This is the answer guys.
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
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
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?
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).
One of our members (whose story
can be seen
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
- How do you put those ideals into practice on a day to
- 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
email@example.com to get the author's e-mail
- 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
- 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.
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].) 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.
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
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!
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
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.
According to the Chassidic
Masters, the world of Teshuvah is next to the world of
Negginah in the upper worlds.
We added a new
to our site,
containing the most moving and inspiring Niggunim
(hand-picked by the experts) to help inspire feelings of
From now on, if you feel bored, weak or vulnerable to the
Yetzer Hara, chase him away with these beautiful and
And now for today's Chizuk... "Me" posted on
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
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!
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"
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
), I decided that the time had come to add this
feature to our site.
Introducing "THE WALL OF HASHEM'S
for the "Wall of Honor"
page (for those clean 90 days and up)
for the "Journey to 90
Days" page, (for those starting out)
for the 9
for The Rules
We welcome your comments and suggestions for making this even
To start your journey to 90 days of sobriety (and to the "Wall
of Hashem's Honor"), please send your info to
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
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...
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
When the Chevrah Kaddisha heard this, they all began to
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
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!
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.
happy to announce that Jack is already 84 days clean
with the help of all the wonderful people who offer support
forum and with the help of the Live
Hot-line, and by keeping in almost daily touch with us
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.
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):
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".
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
The problem is, no one can break the Ratzon
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,
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
"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
). To hate him for being the
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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 email@example.com!
for more info on the groups.
An inspiring Post
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.
Just imagine, the more you are careful now, the much
more amazing your relationship will be, both emotional
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
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
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
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.
to see the
original. Below, I will try to give a summary of what it says
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
"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
worst sins, he still has hope and will be
(Until here are the words of the Nesivos
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
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.
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!
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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
Simcha shel Mitzva!
When you have
time, read through Jack's
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
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
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
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
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!
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?
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
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
"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.
A member on
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
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
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
comes. But with each new coworker I become stronger and
I have to
remember, I am not only standing for myself, but for Jews
everywhere, even for Israel itself!
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".
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"
means also "woman"). I am sure that in heaven it is announced on
some days: "Today's Korbon Tamid was brought by Tahor".
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
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
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!
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
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.
Replacing the forbidden pleasures with Spiritual pleasure.
Pasuk Gimmel and Hei:
Trust in Hashem; "Let go and let G-d" (the core of the
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.
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.
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.
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
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, 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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).
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.
Webmaster adds to Elya's answer:
The Pasuk says
"Stay away from bad and do good".
The Chassidic Sefarim say to read it differently.
- HOW? Through
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
will disappear on its own.
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?
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.
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
read the pamphlet on withdrawal.
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
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.
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!