Guard Your Eyes

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The Shmiras Ainayim Chizuk List

1-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-300 301-350 351-400  

                          

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The Shmiras Ainayim Chizuk List          E-Mails 101-150

101.


IT IS FORBIDDEN TO GAZE AT WOMEN

Regarding one who gazes at women who are forbidden to him, even if he is like Moshe, who was given the Torah from G-d's hand to his own, he will not be free of the judgment of Gehinomm. Eventually, he will sin in matters of forbidden relations. He provokes the evil impulse against himself. He will come to the wasting of semen, which is a grave sin. (Shaare Kedushah, Part 2, Section 5)

G-D KNOWS WHEN ONE DERIVES ENJOYMENT FROM LOOKING AT WOMEN

A man, quite unexpectedly, crossed the path of a beautiful woman, and, noticing her beauty, enjoyed her looks. He should not think that since he did not plan to be captivated by her charms, he has not sinned. It is written, "For G-d will judge every deed-even everything hidden" (Ecclesiastes 12:14), and the sensual pleasure derived from a chance encounter is a sin. Rather than deriving pleasure from seeing the beautiful woman, he should consider the very fact that she came his way as punishment for a transgression. Conversely, if unexpectedly an opportunity for a mitzvah presents itself to you, you should be happy and thank G-d for sending it your way. (Sefer Chassidim 177)

IF YOU CAN'T AVOID LOOKING AT WOMEN DON'T GO DO THE MITZVAH OF ATTENDING A WEDDING

The Gemara says: A mitzvah that brings a wrongful act in its wake is better left undone (Talmud Yerushalmi, Challah 1:5) For example, it is a mitzvah to gladden a groom and his bride. But if a person knows that there will be brazen people present at the wedding who will do vulgar things, and he cannot avoid gazing at women, then he should not attend that wedding. (Sefer Chassidim 393)

102.


TO HAVE THE IMAGE OF G-D ONE MUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO LOOK AT FORBIDDEN IMAGES

G-d created man in His image. As long as man does not transgress and does not derive pleasure from gazing at immorality and does not try to make himself attractive to women and keeps his mind clear from immoral thoughts, then his image above in the heavenly spheres radiates. And as long as this image gleams, no demon is allowed to touch him. But when a person transgresses, his image above does not radiate, and angels of destruction attack him. (Sefer Chassidim 1136)

SAMSON REBELLED THROUGH THE EYES AND WAS PUNISHED THROUGH THEM

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

GAZING AT WOMEN MAKES TESHUVAH VERY DIFFICULT

... And among these twenty-four things, there are five for which the transgressor is not apt to repent, in that they are taken lightly by most people, so that the sinner does not actually regard them as a sin...(3) Immodest gazing [at a woman], the gazer thinking that he is guilty of no wrong, saying to himself. "Have I fornicated or approached her?' - not realizing it is written (Bemidbar 15:39): 'And do not go astray after your heart and after your eyes'. (Orchot Tzaddikim, Shaaar ha Teshuvah)

103.


Humility Versus Haughtiness

Although we are encouraged to be humble, this is only when we are doing good deeds. This means that even when we think we have done much good, we must always remember that no man has yet fulfilled his obligations fully to G-d.

However, when we go out into the street and are faced with tests, we need to turn on our haughtiness module. For this is what the attribute of haughtiness was created for, as it is stated (about one of the ancient Jewish kings)
"Vayigbah Libo Bidarkei Hashem - and his heart was aloof in the ways of G-d". In other words, we have to realize how great each and every one of us is. With every deed we do we can shake all the upper worlds, for good and for bad. Each and everyone of us was created in the image of G-d.

For the remainder of Chol Hamo'ed, try this: Accept upon yourself to give 25 cents to Tzedaka for every time you gaze at a women with the intention of enjoying it.

104.


THE HOLY AUTHOR OF KAV HA YASHAR RECOMMENDS US WAYS TO AVOID SINNING THROUGH OUR EYES

King David, peace be upon Him said in Psalms (119:37): "Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity; and give me life in your ways". A person should know that many things depend on the sight of the eyes. Therefore, it seems to me that right after waking up, a person should be careful, if he gazes upon houses, he should concentrate his thought on the fact that the Holy One, Blessed be He gave us the mitzvah of the Mezuzah on the doorpost of the house, and also the mitzvah of making a fence on the roof of the house. Upon leaving his house, if a person sees a clean animal apt to be sacrificed to G-d, he should think that the Holy One, Blessed be He commanded us to bring Him sacrifices. And if he sees unclean animals, he will think that they are forbidden to eat...and this is of great benefit, to bring his eyes into Holiness.

And one thing opposite the other, just as when the person fixes his sight on holy things, he creates a garment for the sights of his eyes in holiness, when the person happens to look at forbidden things and on foreign women, then he causes himself to absorb great TUMAH (impurity)... Therefore, our sages established barriers to avoid looking at places that can lead a person to sin, like for example, women and virgins, that bring man to emitting semen in vain.

Therefore King David said: "Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity; and give me life in your way", where vanity in Hebrew [SHAV] has the numerical value of 307 which equals the initials of the words Spilling Seed [SHICHVAT ZERA = SHIN ZAIN].

105.


THE YETZER HA RA WILL FOOL YOU AND TELL YOU YOU'RE ONLY LOOKING TO SEE IF YOU KNOW HER

It is written in the book Rechev Eliyahu that the Yetzer haRah tells the person: "Hey, you're not doing anything wrong by looking at women, because your intention is not to enjoy through your eyes, but only to check out if you know this particular woman, and many other things will the Yetzer ha Rah tell him. Therefore a man should build up fences and barriers and he should think that even the strongest of men, like Samson, the most pious man, namely David and the wisest Salomon, stumbled through women and furthermore our Rabbis said: "Better to go after a Lion and not after a woman" and the person should think: isn't she full of impurity and her mouth full of blood, and the man who fixes his eyes on her makes to himself molten g-ds and causes a spirit of Tumah to enter within him.

RABBI SHIMON BAR YOCHAI WOULD PROTECT HIS COMPANIONS SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT LOOK AT FORBIDDEN PLACES

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

Our Sages said: "He who conquers his eyes from looking at forbidden women merits and sees the face of the Shechina"...

106.


"You shall not go astray after your hearts and after your eyes" (Numbers 15:39) "After your hearts" - this refers to atheism. "After your eyes" - this refers to sexual immorality. (Berachot 12b).

The main enjoyment in the World to Come is through the eyes of the soul (Tzadikkim sit with their crowns on their heads and contemplate the brilliance of the Shechina). But whoever damages his eyes in this world damages thereby the eyes of his soul. (Od Yoseph Chai, Vaetchanan)

107.


CONDUCT UPON GOING OUT TO PUBLIC PLACES

1- It is forbidden even to look at the small finger of a woman if his intention is to enjoy from looking at her, and it is as if he is looking at a graver place (Shulchan Aruch, Even ha Ezer, 21)

2- And a place that is normally covered, if it is uncovered, then even without the intention of finding enjoyment it is forbidden to look. And he who has the possibility of going through a place where no women are exposed and goes ahead and goes by a place where women are exposed, he is called evil, because one must remove himself from a place where one can come to sin. (Bava Batra 57)

3- And even when one has no choice but to go to a place where there will be women with parts exposed he must restrict his eyes and he is called a Chassid. (Bava Batra 57)

4- He who looks at the heels of a woman or above them or at the exposed part of the arms, the punishment for this is to have sons who will come out with defects, G-d forbid.

108.


YOUR EYES MUST LOOK DOWN WHILE WALKING THROUGH PUBLIC PLACES


5- Therefore in the markets and in every place where there is indecency, one must go with alacrity and with speed and not with a slow pace, and much less to stop to talk to friends in the marketplace, for women pass by with uncovered parts. (Even ha Ezer, 21)

6- The way of walking through public places is to have his eyes look down as when he is standing in prayer, and walks in the market like a man occupied with his dealings. (Rambam, Hilchot Deot 5:9)

7- If one chances upon a woman in the marketplace, it is forbidden to walk behind her, rather one must run and leave her to the side or behind him (Even ha Ezer 21:1). And the prohibition holds for all women even if they are covered from her feet to the head. (Ridbaz b, 770)

109.


A MITZVAH THAT COMES THROUGH SIN IS BETTER LEFT UNDONE

A Rabbi whose students come into his house, should make a Bet Midrash in one side of the house, so that the ones who come in and leave should not look at his wife or his daughters, for if not he is doing a mitzvah that comes through sin (Sefer Chassidim 991)

How many times have I rebuked those women who sit in the entrance to their houses during the day and all who pass by turn to look at them according to the wishes of their evil inclination, G-d forbid (Shevet Mussar, Chap 27)

TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN WHILE THEY'RE YOUNG AND CAN LEARN TO CONTROL THEMSELVES

There are desires that are very difficult to control unless one has been taught from childhood, like for example refraining from looking at women. Therefore, a man must teach and educate his sons on the right path so when they grow old they will not abandon it (Sefer Chassidim 10).

See Chizuk e-mail #76 on this page (scroll down) for more on teaching the kids about Shmiras Ainayim.

110.


He who doesn't turn to look at women and doesn't talk empty words and keeps anger to himself and doesn't become arrogant and occupies himself with the Torah and good deeds, in the future he will be higher in level than the Ministering Angels. (Sefer Chassidim, 140)

When he will guard his mouth and his eyes, he will merit all the levels of Holiness. (Shne Luchot Ha Brit, Kedusha)

In the Talmud (Baba Metzia 107) it says that almost all forms of death come through the agency of the Ayn haRa [Evil eye] and the advice to save ourselves from this is to guard our eyes from looking at forbidden things (Berachot 20) for because of this behavior, Yoseph and his descendants after him merited that Ayin haRa had no power over him. (Shne Luchot ha Brit, Kedusha)

Even when one has the need to talk to a woman, his eyes should look down and not look at her for any reason, because the life of a person depend on this, and it will be good for him in this world and in the World to Come. (Tochachot Chayim, R Chayim Phallagi, Vaetchanan)

He who wants to guard his eyes will strengthen his faith in the Holy One Blessed be He, and even when he has the need to look at this or that place, if G-d desires He will send him the one person he is looking for as it is written (Iyov 22, 29) "And the one of lowly eyes, He saves". That the Holy One Blessed be He saves the one who lowers his eyes whenever is needed. (Yesod Tzaddik)

111.


IF THIS SIN WERE NOT SO GREAT WHY DOES THE YETZER HA RA TRY SO HARD TO OVERPOWER YOU

There is another great rule and that is not to give the Yetzer HaRa an entrance to come and dominate you. When you are in public places and see women coming to you, put your eyes to the ground so that they pass by and you not look at them, for you will notice how your evil inclination grows within you to make you look at them. And if you don't think this is a great sin, why does the Yetzer try so hard to overpower you to the point where very few people can stand this trial, but only those who have the love of the Creator engraved in their heart?
(Shevet Mussar, Chap 27)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are those that are ashamed to look down in public places because they are embarrassed in front of their friends. But this shame is evil and has to be conquered. And this is what is written in Sefer Chassidim Siman 9:

And the main form of strengthening one's Chassidut from beginning to end is that even though he is being ridiculed, he does not abandon his Chassidut, and his thoughts are with G-d above, and he doesn't look at the faces of women even when they are mingled with men. For example, when they are at a wedding all dressed up and all other men are looking at these women and he is not looking, one who does this will merit great good that is hidden for those who fear Him and his eyes will be satiated with the brilliance of the Shechina. And as the Rama wrote in the first siman in the Shulchan Aruch: "And he should not be ashamed before other men who ridicule him in his divine service".

112.


From Kuntres Ha'Avoda, R' Shalom Dov Ber Mi'Lubavitch:


He who worries about his soul, not to bring it to impurity, will fence himself in what respects to the eyes and if this is difficult for him, he should strengthen himself with all his power and might. And he should know that his soul depends on this. And if we will not be careful about this, all his service is as nothing, and nothing will he get out of all his service, and on the contrary, G-d forbid he will descend low, very low...

And he should not worry about what others say...

And this is very hard in the beginning... but with time he will get used to guarding his eyes. And through this, he will find rest for his soul from many evils and confusion and then he will be able to serve Hashem and he will accomplish salvation for his soul with the Help of the Blessed One.

113.


THE REWARD FOR THOSE WHO GUARD THEIR EYES FROM LOOKING AT FORBIDDEN THINGS

(5 out of 15)

1- He becomes a chariot [Merkava] to the Shechina, and he is considered as if he had offered all the sacrifices. (The Chida, Avodat ha Kodesh, Tzipporen Shamir, 9:128)

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

3- The force of his holiness and of his labor endures forever, for him and for his descendants. (Yesod Tzaddik, Chap 3)

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

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

114.


THE REWARD FOR THOSE WHO GUARD THEIR EYES FROM LOOKING AT FORBIDDEN THINGS

(6 through 15)

6- He merits to behold and listen to the G-dly images, and to feel the essence of G-dliness. (Yetav Lev, Vayera)

7- He merits righteous sons and long life. (Sefer Chassidim, Siman 495)

8- His sons will live and will not suffer from the problems that come to the world in general. (Imre Kodesh, Hasref MiStralisk, 38)

9- He merits that his sons will author interpretations on the Torah. (Sefer haMiddot, 60)

10- He will merit to behold the Higher Merkava. (Reshit Chochma, Shaar haKedusha 88:47)

11- He merits to keep his eyesight in his old age. (Tochachat Chayim, Achare mot)

12- He merits the creation of Holy and pure angels that will be united with him in the future. (Yesod Tzaddik, Chap 5)

13- The Ayin haRa has no power on him and on his descendants. (Berachot 20, Devash Le Fi)

14- He merits sustenance with abundance. (Tochachat Chayim, Achare Mot)

15- He merits a special protection from above, that the Holy One will protect and save him. (Tiferet Shelomo, Maamre Shabat)

115.


G-D'S EYES ARE OVER THOSE WHO GUARD THEIR EYES FROM SINNING

It is written MISHLE 23:26: "My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways". Because the one who guards his eyes and his heart, which are the two agents of sin, merits that the Holy One Blessed be He lay His eyes and His good heart over him for Good, as it is written: "And My eyes and My heart was always there" and it is also written: "He will not remove his eyes from the Tzaddik". Because through guarding the Brit and through guarding the two agents of sin, the person is on the level of Tzaddik, and as measure for measure, the Tzaddik merits the constant supervision of the eyes of the Holy One Blessed be He.

(Sefat Emet)

116.

 

Three things created the Holy One Blessed be He in man; ears, eyes and the tongue. And to each one of them he created barriers and a wall to protect them... He put eyelids to the eyes in order to cover them and hide them from looking at something evil. And the man who transgresses and hears sin, or if his eyes see sinful things and his tongue speaks evil things, then the person did not guard what the Master of the World gave him to guard, he broke the fence and about him it is written: "He who breaks a fence will be bitten by a snake".

(Sefer Chassidim, Siman 148)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the holy Zohar (Pekuddei 263b) it is written that there exists a celestial being called PATOT, and he seduces humans to look at forbidden places, where there is no need to look. And after the person dies, when he is already buried, this same PATOT comes to the grave, and gives the soul back to the person. Then he breaks the bones that surround the eyes, and takes the eyes, and afterwards he judges the person with heavy and severe judgments, may G-d save us.

(Kav Ha Yashar 2)

117.


MAKING MONEY vs. LOOSING YOUR SOUL

And the person should consider the following account on his soul: What he gains when he engages in buying and selling in the markets, against the loss he has when he looks at forbidden things there, and the evil thoughts that he will have thereby. For even if he makes millions, all the money in the world, will it suffice to compensate for the loss of transgressing even one sin? (Shaar ha Tefillah, Shaar Nipol)

Through the eyes, he becomes a servant of the Yetzer haRa to look into all the forbidden and vain places in the world, and through them he will lose the possibility of enjoying the pleasantness of G-d in the future. (The Chida, Devash le Fi)

The Chatam Sofer wrote (Chaye Sarah): "The Jews are holy and should not stumble through looking at women, G-d forbid, for all who do thus, are lost in this world and in the World to Come.

118.


ALL THE MACHINATIONS OF THE EVIL INCLINATION RELATED TO SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ENTER THROUGH THE EYES

Due to our many sins, all the machinations of the Yetzer haRa concerning forbidden relations enter through the eyes, and through this the person comes to commit all sins in the Torah, therefore the angel of death is full of eyes, according to the work of the eyes of the person during his life time.

(Yaarot Devash, Rabbi Yehonathan Eyibishutz, part 2, 9)

THE EYES OF THE ANGEL OF DEATH ARE OUR OWN EYES THAT SINNED THROUGH LOOKING AT FORBIDDEN THINGS

Our Master the Chatam Sofer wrote in the introduction to Parashat Bereshit the following: Our Sages, z'l said (Avodah Zara 20): "The angel of death is full of eyes and when the time for a person to die comes, the angel stands above his head, with his sword ready and a bitter drop hangs from the sword, when the sick person sees him, he shakes and opens his mouth and the drop enters the mouth, from it he dies, he rots and his face turns green" And this is difficult: "Why is he full of eyes? The Gaon Rabbi Natan Adler, zt'l said that when a person transgresses the prohibition of not going astray after one's eyes, G-d forbid, and he savors the taste of looking at forbidden places, through this transgression he gives eyes to the Yetzer haRa, who is none other than the angel of death, and from this he is full of eyes, from those same eyes that looked at places that were forbidden for him to look at, and from this the person shakes when he realizes that he is the one who, by looking at forbidden things, caused the angel of death to have so many eyes. And also Rabbi Yehonathan Eybeshutz zt'l and the Chidda wrote thus.

(Sefer ha Brit, Shemirat Eynaim)

119.


IMAGES BECOME FIXED IN THE MIND AND LATER THEY DISTURB OUR SERVICE TO G-D

Everything that a person looks at, the image penetrates and fixes itself in his mind, and when he comes to pray or to study Torah, those material images appear in his mind, and they damage and invalidate his thoughts, and he will not be able to concentrate as required, because the eyes only see through the power that resides in the soul and the soul receives those images that come through the eyes and if the person looks at nakedness, he causes nakedness to penetrate in a high place. (Reshit Chochma, Shaar ha Kedusha)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When a man starts looking at forbidden things and forbidden women, he causes himself to enter into great impurity [Tumah]. (Kav ha Yashar, ch 2)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All who look at married women diminish and destroy the power of their good inclination, and their good turns into a destroyer. (Bet Yoseph, Even ha Ezer 21)

120.


THE GREAT LEVEL OF THE EYES AND THEIR GREAT POWER

Whoever is wise will realize the gravity of gazing at women or forbidden places, and will make the effort to hold back his eyes from looking at evil, because there is an awesome power in the sense of sight. And the Sages of the Mishnah and the Talmud, being that they always guarded their sight and never damaged their eyes, they had great power through the eyes to the point that when they chanced upon an evildoer they could kill him only by staring at him, as it is written in many places in the Talmud: "And he put his eyes on him and he became a pile of bones".
(Sefer ha Brit, Part a, 14)

The eyes are in the highest level of all the senses in the body of a person.
(Be'er Moshe, Bo)

A blind person is not on the level of a man and is therefore exempt from all the Mitzvot, for the main faculty of man is the power of sight.
(Yesod Tzaddik)

The eyes are very elevated things, and if a man had the merit of having kosher eyes that were never damaged, he would merit to see elevated things.
(Likute Moharan, part a, 254)

121.


The Torah is called a "Covenant," (BRIT) 
The Holy One, blessed be He is called "Covenant," 
The holy sign of circumcision is called the "Covenant"
(The holy Zohar III 73b).

TORAH = 611 = BRIT = 612

THE ONE WHO GUARDS THE COVENANT IS CONSIDERED AS IF HE HAD OBSERVED ALL OF THE TORAH
(ZOHAR HA KADOSH I, 197a)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two quotes from General George S. Patton, who helped win WWII.

"Better to fight for something than live for nothing".

"I don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits bottom".

122.


If There's a Will There's a Way

In Hagaon Harav Elazar Shach's younger years, he was a heavy smoker. He even used to say that he cannot stand being without a cigarette, and that he doesn't understand how a person can create chiddushim in Torah without a cigarette, for the smoking helps one concentrate and focus on the depths of Talmudic discussions. This is how he conducted himself for many years, until he once had to undergo a serious operation, and his doctor instructed him to stop smoking during his recuperation period.

After recuperating, he asked the doctor if he could start smoking again, and the doctor answered, "If you have already stopped smoking, it would be better for you not to begin again." (This was before it was known how injurious smoking was to one's health). Rav Schach's reaction was, "If smoking is dangerous for my health, even slightly, I will stop completely." He took the pack of cigarettes that had been waiting for months on top of his dresser, and threw it away immediately and forcefully.

Long afterwards, he recalled that from the moment he made the decision to stop smoking, he instantly ceased to feel any need to smoke, and he did not miss it at all. He often recounted this incident to members of his family and talmidim as a demonstration of the fact that "nothing can stand in the way of a man's will. Making a decision itself may be difficult, but when one decides with full conviction to change a habit, it is possible to stick to a decision.

 Taken from Matzav.com

123.


True Happiness

The whole world is running after happiness, for what more can a person ask for in life? But what people don't know, or what they choose to ignore, is the simple fact that true happiness only comes from inside us, and not from ANYTHING external. This is hard for people to hear because this truth is much more "subtle" than the happiness that the desires of this world promise us and beckon to us with, saying: "with us you will find happiness". We must learn to close our eyes and ears to these counterfeit overtures and remember that true happiness can never be found in external sources. It must come from within.

Rabbi Mordichai Lechovitcher, one of the great Chassidic masters once said "How bitter and dark is the world when one lies inside it, and how bright and good is the world when one is above it".

124.


May the merit of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai stand for us all today on Lag Ba'omer!


Wherever we may be in the world, we can daven for salvation in the honor of Rav Shimon. As the Ariza"l writes, Lag Ba'omer is the day of Rav Shimon's simcha in Heaven. And as the Beis Ahron of Karlin writes:
"Just as Hakadosh Baruch Hu is for everyone, so is Rav Shimon for everyone, even for the very lowest".

I know someone who accepted upon himself once on Lag Ba'omer to read 10 minutes of Zohar every Shabbos for one year so that he should be saved from the Yetzer Hara, and he truly saw tremendous progress that year in his struggle... (Maybe we should all try that! :-)

The holy fire of the Zohar has a power to instill in us a tremendous AWE for Hashem and for his Torah, and thereby chase away the Yetzer Hara. When we read the Zohar, we start to see - and feel, how infinitely deep the Torah is and how FAR we are from any inkling of understanding of Chazal's true greatness. And this puts us in awe of even the minutiae of every-day Halacha as well. Because after all, this same Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who revealed the secrets of creation in every word of the Torah, and to whom all the Malachim came to hear him speak while he revealed the deepest secrets of kabbalah, he is the same Tanna that also taught us so many basic Halachos in the Mishna, such as Tuma & Tahara, Issur & Heter, Chayev & Patur, etc..

We see from this how Chazal were truly one with the Torah and one with Hashem. They were on a whole different plane of perception. The Zohar says in the hakdama, that the written Torah is like a garment to the secrets of the King that lie hidden within its words. When Chazal learned a Halacha out from pesukim, they were able to tie words of the Torah and to cut and paste pieces of the King's garment together as they perceived. Chazal were the MASTER TAILORS of the King's clothes (the Zohar gives this parable on the words "Beyom Kalos Moshe"). Today, we are so far from understanding Chazal. We are literally like ants trying to understand a human being! And when we read the Zohar, we truly begin to feel this, and through these feelings we attain a whole new appreciation for Torah and for Chazal.

125.


On Lag Ba'omer yesterday, we discussed the koach of the Zohar to help us with Yetzer Hara.

(After yesterday's e-mail, someone contacted me and told me that they send out daily e-mails with translations from the Zohar. Write to zoharialev@aol.com to find out more).

Today I want to talk about how Gemara too, has a tremendous power in this area.

Gemara is 
"sechel hayashar - straight thinking". When a person thinks straight, all the bilbulim and dimyonos (confusion and imaginary fantasies) of the Yetzer Hara vanish!

The Rebbe of Karlin used to say that the best mussar sefer is a blat of Gemara. The power that the Torah has to cleanse us out is incredible. Like Chazal say; 
"Hame'or Sheba Machziro Lemutav  - the light in it will return him to good". 

"Barasi Yetzer Hara, Barasi Torah Tavlin - I created a Yetzer Hara, and I created the Torah as a medicine".

And Chazal also say:
"Im paga becha menuval zeh, mashcheih libeis hamedrash - if the Menuval meets up with you, drag him to the beis Medrash".

So even if you're not a big Talmid Chacham, take an English Artscroll Gemara, go to the nearest Bet Medrash and spend a half an hour uninterruptedly in a blat Gemara. Sink your mind into the questions and answers of Chazal, work out the intricacies of a sugya, and you will walk away feeling freer than ever!

"Ain ben Chorin Ela Mi She'osek Batorah - There is no free man like he who delves in the Torah" .

126.


Everything we are and everything we have, belongs to G-d. So what can we, mere mortals, give back to G-d? 

When we say no to our evil inclination, we are giving G-d something back. As one person wrote; 
"The only thing I feel I truly gave G-d in my whole life was learning to guard my eyes. For this alone, it was worth to come down to this world" . 

There can be no greater sacrifice and gift to G-d than saying "no" to desires that take us away from him. For after all, even if someone gives a large donation to charity, or even if he brings a sacrifice upon the alter, he is still, in essence, giving back to G-d what really belongs to G-d anyway. However, the desires that we have as human beings, do not belong to G-d. For G-d has no needs and desires. He created our "desire to receive" out of nothingness, so that ultimately we will be able to receive from him all the good that he wants to give us. So by giving up our "desire to receive" to G-d, we are giving up a part of our own selves, and this is true sacrifice. And this is truly the only thing that we can give to G-d, that he doesn't already have.

(Based on the teachings of the Ba'al Hasulam)

127.


When it comes to the desire for food, we always have that "gray" area of deciding what we should eat--for our bodily strength, and what we shouldn't eat--either because it's not healthy for us or because it's too much. However, when it comes to "lusting", there is no "gray" area. It is plain and simply "bad" for us. 

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

So let us not be afraid to let go of lusting and just give it up to G-d. And let us say to G-d with feeling:

"Dear G-d, I truly want to give away to you this habit of lusting, - even if it feels like ripping out my heart! PLEASE. Take this "lusting" away from me. I want to give it up to you, G-d, for the rest of my life, as a sacrifice for your honor. Because I know that you, G-d, are the true source of all beauty, all love, all desire and all good".

---------------------------

Someone responded to this e-mail: Thanks for your column, but lust is only a symptom.... We should pray ONLY for the knowledge of Hashem's will for us, and for the power to carry it out.

128.


The Medrash Yalkut Shemoni (click here to see the text) brings Chazal's words:

"Who ever turns himself away from aveira (sin), then even if he is a Israelite, he is worthy of bringing a sacrifice on the alter like the Kohen Gadol"...

"And who ever makes himself lazy from sin and doesn't sin, merits to enjoy the shine of the Shechina like the ministering angels".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On a side note, we see here how even the middah (attribute) of "Laziness" can be used for a holy purpose! As it is brought down in a number of places (especially from the Ba'al Shem Tov), that every middah we have can be used in a holy way.

129.

 

The Torah says "Ki karov elecha hadavar me'od - for it (i.e. the Torah) is very close to you" (meaning that it is not difficult to uphold). The question is though, if this is true, why does it sometimes feel so hard, especially the area of guarding our eyes?

The answer is, that the fight against these desires is really only about 10% "effort". The other 90% of guarding our eyes, is simply making the decision, deep and true, that we don't want to continue to lust. Once we accept deep down that "lusting" is a poison for our souls, we will only need 10% of the effort that we needed before!

So in truth, it's only hard as long as we still think we still want it. "Ki karov elecha hadavar me'od
beficha ubilvavcha la'asoso - in your mouth and in your heart to do it". Let us ask/beg Hashem every day to take the lust away from us, and that He should help us understand his will and give us the strength to fulfill it.

The rest is easy...

130.


On an Arutz Sheva "Talk-Back" article about the importance of internet filters people write ...

"I feel Freed"... from Carmel

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Menachem from LA writes ...

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

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Yisrael from Bet El ...

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

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Click here for the GuardYourEyes Filter section. You'll find there many of the leading internet filter choices in the market today, as well as everything you wanted to know about internet filters.

131.


The Sefer Chassidim (1136) writes:

G-d created man in His image. As long as man does not transgress and does not derive pleasure from gazing at immorality and does not try to make himself attractive to women and keeps his mind clear from immoral thoughts, then his image above in the heavenly spheres radiates. And as long as this image gleams, no demon is allowed to touch him. But when a person transgresses, his image above does not radiate, and angels of destruction  attack him. [Note: This manifests itself in multiple forms of suffering that come upon a person].

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We all know that "lusting" is bad for us, spiritually and physically. It destroys lives and takes people away from their true goals. We all know that there's really nothing there, and that it's all a big bubble of hot air. So why should we let the body rule over us, just because our brains are "wired" in a certain way?

The Tikunei Zohar writes "Happy is the man that controls his evil inclination like a rider on a horse. Woe to the man that the horse rides him!"

132.


Same Old, Same Old

Sometimes a person wonders, "for how long will I have to fight this? I thought I had already made a lot of progress, but suddenly I see that I'm again struggling with the Yetzer Hara in the same old ways".

A person must realize that the Yetzer Hara never gives up. Every day he instigates a new fight, in all types of creative ways.

But keep hope! Nothing we have accomplished in the past is lost, but G-d wants us to keep going to higher and higher levels. This wouldn't be possible if we made progress all at once and simply finished. So each day the Yetzer Hara tries again, in new ways, or in the same old ways that we had thought we were finished with already.

But we must learn from the Yetzer Hara and also never give up. Let us strengthen ourselves each day anew. For that is precisely what it's all about!

133.


Spiritual vs. Physical

This is the way of the evil inclination. The biggest, most tempting sin a person could think of--the moment it's over, there's just no more desire. Nothing. And not only that, but it leaves a "void" in its wake. The evil one laughs at us and when we are fool enough to give in to him. He leaves us with an emptiness and with no fulfillment whatsoever. 

The opposite is true with spirituality. Before we do a Mitzva, learn Torah or say no to a non-Kosher desire, it can look very hard, it can feel dry. "Pharaoh" comes to us and says "Who is G-d that I should listen to him?" But afterwards, after we've given a little of ourselves over to G-d, we are left with an inner fulfillment that shines and shines forever...

134.


IS IT REALLY THAT HARD?

We recite the first pasuk of kriyas shema 3-4 times a day: "And you shall love your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength." Our Sages explain that it means "even if He (G-d) takes your life".

So why are people so often willing to forgo their love of G-d for meaningless pleasures? 

Next time we are being tested, let's try to imagine that we were being tortured to give up our faith. Would we give in? If it came down to the real test, most of us would be willing to give up our lives for G-d.

So let's keep this thought in mind when out on the street. The tests that we go through aren't even 100th as bad as what we would be willing to suffer if faced with the ultimate choice!

(
See here for an article about a non-Jew who wouldn't let all the torture in the world take him away from his "misguided" religion. How much more so in our case!)

135.


MAKE YOUR EMUNAH MORE REAL

Sometimes we excuse our behavior and say that the Yetzer Hara causes us not to think straight and therefore we do the wrong thing. But if the Yetzer Hara tried to get us to stick our hand in fire, would we let ourselves get confused? No! So why do we let him muddle our minds when it comes to gazing at forbidden things?

The answer is, we are lacking in Emunah. If our Emunah would be stronger, we would see these things as fire and we wouldn't let ourselves become confused by the Yetzer Hara.

So how do we indeed strengthen our Emunah? After all, when we are feeling weak and we can't see the truth before our eyes, it is hard to picture these desires as dangerous as a burning fire!

One good piece of advice is to make the danger more real to ourselves. For example, we can try to accept upon ourselves for a certain amount of days or weeks that every time we find ourselves gazing at something we shouldn't we will (either):

  • give ourselves a pinch that hurts,
  • give 25 cents to tzedaka,
  • give our eyes a "time out" by closing them for 6 seconds.
     

In other words, if we start to feel some danger, pain or loss every time we slip, it will help us bring up that which we truly do believe deep down.

This is a very powerful tool for success in these areas.

136.


Attitude Towards Women

In one of the "talk-backs" to the recent Jerusalem Post article about our work in helping people break free of addictions to inappropriate behaviors, someone (obviously non-religious) wrote as follows:

It appears to me that the root of the problem is the basic attitude towards women. If women exist (in a man's mind) only for breeding and not as actual human beings, then everything from pornography to prostitution to spousal and child abuse will follow. Get over the idea that women are meat that has to be kept covered and out of sight so men won't be tempted, and all this might change.

This comment was mentioned on our forum, and a member by the name of "Chl" answered powerfully. He writes:

I would like to ask the question the other way round:

1) Where can you find magazines in the open depicting women as meat; on the subway newspaper stand in New York City or in Meah Shearim?

2) What will excite a man more; a woman with a tichel down to her nose, or someone who walks around in the street as if she forgot to put on her dress?

3) Which society is dehumanizing women more; a consumer-oriented, hollywood / top-model-influenced society, or a society who struggles to live a spiritual way of life?

4) Concerning covering ourselves: when does one generally feel the need to cover and protect something; when it is precious, or when it's of little value?

5) Concerning meat: when one goes to the butcher; is the meat covered or uncovered?

etc...

I talk a lot to "secular" Jews, as well as to non-Jewish people. They mean well. They want to protect and promote the status of women, and that is what truly religious Jews want too. Here are some of the things I tell them:

  • Did you know that one of the main sources for everyday life of 17th/18th century life in Europe is the memoir of Glickel von Hameln, a Jewish woman. Now how many women at that time were able to read and write?
  • Women are praised in our seforim not just for their sense of modesty, but for their learning and their intelligence, for prophecy and for leadership! Which other culture produced that throughout history, not just in the last 100 years?! 
  • Which other culture protects women's rights as Judaism does? This includes sexuality:

a) Mitzvas Onah (not just breeding, and not just for a man's lust). Also: A man can't just jump and be with his wife, but has to draw her close, speak to her in a loving way, etc. as the Halacha states.

b) During relations, a woman should to be mazria first ideally.

c) A man is forbidden to rape, chas veshalom, or otherwise force or demand relations - even from his own wife. (Compare this to some societies where rapists are legally protected and the victim is at fault!)

All the above is just from a legal/halachic perspective. From a more poetic/romantic point of view:

  • Knesses Israel is feminine, and we get "married" on Shavuos.
  • Shir HaShirim.
  • See the beautiful letter of the Ramban about intimacy, and so many beautiful passages in the Zohar haKadosh (all of Kabbalah speaks in terms of the relationship between male and female).
  • Shabbos Hamalka.
     

etc...


So we have proof from our history and from our sefarim that Judaism promotes and protects women, just like this JPost "talkbacker" wants to do.

Then sometimes they will argue: but I like the way men look at me, I have the right to dress how I want, etc...

So I tell them, Ok, but following your logic, you can't have it both ways: on the one hand you want the right for sexual "freedom" when you feel like it, and on the other side you want to prevent it.

Judaism, on the other hand, has both: protection/honor of women and a beautiful and exciting intimacy within the context of marriage.

From all of this we see that it is the secular society who is not able to maintain the balance.

I have yet to meet someone who is able to contradict the above points.

But, no society is perfect, including Judaism: There is abuse, R"L. There is anger towards women. There are tremendous mistakes in chinuch in general, and concerning intimacy in particular. And there is a forum like ours to help with all that. We can't fool ourselves... but we have ideals, and we have tools to work towards these ideals, B"H.

May HaShem guide us on the right path, especially now, zman matan torasenu.

137.


It is written in the book Rechev Eliyahu that the Yetzer haRah tells the person: "Hey, you're not doing anything wrong by looking at women, because your intention is not to enjoy through your eyes, but only to check out if you know this particular woman, and many other things will the Yetzer haRah tell him. Therefore a man should build up fences and barriers and he should think that even the strongest of men, like Samson, the most pious man, namely David and the wisest man, Shlomo Hamelech, stumbled through women. And furthermore our Rabbis said: "Better to go after a Lion and not after a woman". And a person should think: "isn't she full of impurity and her mouth full of blood?". And the man who fixes his eyes on her makes for himself molten g-ds and causes a spirit of Tumah to enter within him.

138.


Imagination

G-d gave us human beings the gift of imagination, something that no other life form has been endowed with. Without imagination we wouldn't be able to function as human beings, to invent, to progress and to search for the truths of the universe and for G-d.

Yet, at the same time, imagination is responsible for most of the Yetzer Hara's power over us. The reason why we "lust" for things that we know we can never have and that are bad for us, is because we imagine that we could have them, and we imagine that they are good for us.

R' Nachman says that the name of the Yetzer Hara in our day and age is "Dimyon" - Imagination.

We need to learn to use this wonderful gift of G-d only for the right things. For example, tomorrow, on Shavu'os, we will listen to the Aseres Hadibros and receive the Torah anew. We can use the power of our imagination to picture that we are standing before Har Sinai and seeing the entire mountain on fire, with heavy smoke rising to the heavens. We can imagine that we are listening to the voice of Hashem, to the sounds of thunder, lightening and Shofar blowing. We can picture the fear and awe that the Yidden felt - and try to feel it ourselves!

But when it comes to lusting and fantasies, we need to turn off our imagination and internalize that all these imaginary desires have no connection to us. For in reality, having all these imaginary desires would be bad for us, bad for the people involved and bad for the world.

So next time we catch ourselves fantasizing about something bad, let's try to train ourselves how to turn off our imaginations and live in REALITY instead. Let us use the gift of our imaginations only for things that will bring us closer to Hashem!

139.


Some Tikkunim for sins of the eyes, collected and translated by
www.jewishsexuality.com

(These aren't just Tikkunim for the past, but will help us also to control our eyes in the future).

A person who was wont to gaze lustfully at women or at forbidden images should accustom himself to cast his gaze downward at all times, and particularly during times of prayer, when the Shechinah is present.
(Reshit Chochmah, Gate of Kedusha, 8:15 and 45; Sefer Haredim, Mitzvah T'shuva, Ch.1; also, Rabanu Yoneh, Gate of T'shuva, Gate One, 35)

To the extent that one looked upon unholy things, he should strive to gaze upon holy things like tzitzit, Torah texts, prayer books, blessings, and the like. It is especially helpful to look at the Torah text when one is called up for the reading of the Torah, and to look closely at the written parchment in order to make out the letters when the Torah scroll is held up [hagbah] in synagogue. Also, seeing things like a synagogue, the study hall of a yeshiva, the Torah scrolls in the ark holding the Torahs, all bring a holy, healing light to the eyes.
(Pele Yoetz on Seeing; see also Writings of Rabbi Pinchus from Pelachek, student of the Gra)


Looking at the two Hebrew letters of "shin" embossed on the Tefillin of the head before one puts them on is good for the eyes and the faculty of "Daat."
(Ben Yehoyeda, Shabbat 118)

Looking at one's Rabbi, at a Torah Sage, and at the pure, holy face of a Tzaddik, is a rectification for the eyes. This is especially true when one sees them on Shabbat and Festivals.
(Reshit Chochmah)

140.


DEALING WITH BAD THOUGHTS

How does one get rid of bad thoughts that distract him from his divine service and his purpose in life?

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

There was once a Jew named Moshkeh who owned an inn where he used to sell wine and spirits to the gentile peasants of the area. After a while, he became disgusted in dealing with the drunken gentiles and decided to go into another line of business and so he closed down the bar. That evening, there was a banging on the door. "Moshkeh, Moshkeh, open up! We want some wine and spirits!". "Sorry", Moshkeh replied, "from now on, the inn is closed". The gentiles had no choice but to leave disappointed. For days and even weeks afterward, Moshkeh would keep getting knocks on the door, but as the word slowly spread that the Bar was closed, the knocking became less and less frequent until the gentiles stopped coming altogether.

The same goes with these thoughts, the Rebbe explained. If you keep telling them that the store is closed, they will stop coming altogether after a while.

141.


Do I Have Emunah?

Some people find it hard to guard their eyes because they convince themselves that they don't have enough Emunah to garner the inner strength to overcome this test. But does it BOTHER them that they don't feel they have Emunah?

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

In other words, the Yetzer Hara wants us to believe that we don't have Emunah. His goal is to make a person depressed and full of doubts, because in such a state a person can reach the lowest levels of impurity and is much more vulnerable to sin. But let's not let him fool us. If it bothers us that we don't have enough Emunah, rest assured that we DO.

The word "kofer" comes from the word "covered over" (as in the word "kapores"). The faith of even the biggest Jewish kofer is only "covered over". Every Jew believes deep down. It is an instinct that we inherited in our very genes, going all the way back to Avraham Avinu. And like birds that can fly thousands of miles back home without ever having learned how, all Jews have Emunah. So let's just follow our hearts!

142.


Tzadik Be'Emunaso Yichyeh


As a post-note to yesterday's e-mail about how every Jew has Emunah, I would like to share with you a great series of little-known shiurim on Emunah by Rabbi Wolfson. Join Rabbi Wolfson's elite "inner-circle" of privileged Bochurim, and hear his amazing series on Emunah. The shiurim can be found on
this page.

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Sometimes we are like a Dovid, standing up alone against a great and powerful Goliath. The holy Jewish soul that wants to serve Hashem, is pitted against the powerful Yetzer Hara who seems so much stronger than us. It can look like there is no way to win this battle, in the same way that that there was no way David could vanquish the mighty Goliath. But he did. He did, because he came with Bitachon - Trust in G-d. He did, because he came in the name of the Lord.

If only we could see how our little actions affect all the upper worlds... If only we could see what pleasure we give Hashem when we try to serve him even though he seems so hidden from us... If only we could know how our daily battles affect our eternity and that of all of Klal Yisrael... We must believe this, even though we don't see it.

All Hashem truly wants from us in this world is "Emunah". All the other Mitzvos are just a means to that end. As Chazal said; "The prophet Chavakuk put all the Mitzvos into one Mitzva -
"Tzaddik Be'emunaso Yichyeh - A Tzadik will live in his Faith".

Fight the Yetzer Hara. Tell him, like David told Goliath, that although he is stronger, we are coming to fight him in the name of the Lord. 

Just sling some stones of Teffilah and Emunah at him and he will fall with a mighty thud!

143.


Life vs. Death

Sometimes a person can feel bad about being restricted by the Torah from living a carefree and "pleasure filled" life. But Hashem smiles and says:

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

144.


What is left for us to do?

What does G-d ask of us today, in this last generation before Moshiach? Think of the incredible Mesiras Nefesh and sacrifice that the Jewish people had to endure for thousands of years in the dark and bitter exile. Reflect on the super-human strengths that the Jews had to have to keep the Torah in the conditions that they were forced to live in even just a hundred years ago; living in abject poverty in an extremely hostile environment, despised and schemed upon by the non-Jews at every turn.

Today, who cannot serve G-d as he desires, in joy and freedom? Who today does not have what to eat or a roof over their heads? Who today lives in fear of tomorrow?

So what is left for us to do, what does G-d ask from us in this last generation? 

G-d has given us such a beautiful world to live in today. He just asks for that little bit of of self-sacrifice, not to go astray after our eyes and hearts in a world full of glitter and false pleasures. This is perhaps the one last difficult bit of sacrifice that is left for us to give G-d today.

And he is not even asking it of us for himself. It is for OUR sake! There is so much G-dly light and joy all around us, but only those whose eyes are not darkened by lust can be worthy to see it. He only asks us to guard our eyes so we can see that He is right here beside us, holding our hand and smiling.

145.


How to Fight your Enemy

Excerpts taken from an article by By Harry Fisher 

How many things we can learn from this article
about fighting the evil inclination!

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

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

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

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

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

Today too, we must defend ourselves and the only way to do it is to be on the offensive.

Remember, if you want to live in peace, you must be willing to fight for it, and fighting means just that.

Just remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

 

 
146.


The "Game" of Life


Someone wrote us:

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

Dear Jew,

Picture a child asking his father to play with him a game of checkers. The father says to the son, "son, I can't play you because I love you so much that I can't bear to win you, nor even to get ahead of you during the course of the game!". Do you think the child would be happy? No! The child enjoys the challenge! The child wants to play his father even if he loses. It's the game he wants, not the winning. And it's the spending of quality time with his father, whom he adores, that he desires. 

It's the same with life. Down here on this world, we wish G-d would just love us unconditionally and give us all we need. But before we came down to this world, our souls wanted to play G-d the game called "Life". We wanted the challenge of doing the Mitzvos and beating the evil inclination in a world where G-d is hiding. And the score-card of this game is "a good life for eternity"...

Yes it's true that G-d loves us so much that he desires to tell us "quit playing this game and let me just give you everything you want!". But we didn't want that. Our souls WANTED G-d to keep that "score-card". And every time we make a smart move in this game of "Life", G-d smiles and tells us how proud He is of us!

And there's nothing - absolutely NOTHING - that our souls crave more than THAT.

147.


All Beauty is ONE

Sometimes when we're out there in the big world surrounded by all the temptations wherever we seem to look, we cry out in our hearts "Dear G-d, where are you? I can't see you, I can't feel you! All I see is a beauty of a different kind, wherever I look!"...

But then the answer comes to our hearts from G-d, "my son, does there exist any beauty besides me? I am in the beauty you see as well!".

For G-d is indeed everywhere, and He - and only He - is the source of all beauty. The beauty that we see and crave here on this world is truly only a mere shadow of a manifestation of G-d's beauty. We need to train our minds to realize that there are no two types of beauty. There is only one source of beauty in the world. What we see in women is also the beauty of G-d. But, G-d has decreed that in order to merit perceiving His true beauty, we must first learn to turn our eyes away from the physical beauty that is only his creation, and instead turn our hearts to Him - to the SOURCE. In His great wisdom, G-d determined that only one who is ready to give up the physical manifestations of G-d's beauty should be worthy of experiencing the true beauty of G-d, in a much more sublime way.

148.


Hashem Does Not Remove His Eyes from the Tzaddik


Someone posted this at Arutz Sheva Talk-Back on one of the Blogs.

"For the past few months I have been going through a difficult time, which I don't care to share w/ you in this talkback. But I will tell you that during this period, I have been EXTRA careful in regard to Shmiras Anayim. I can't begin to tell you how strong my Davening and learning Torah has become since I began a real sincere effort at guarding my eyes. I truly don't look at anything I'm not supposed to....and if something gets in my line of view that shouldn't, I immediately turn away. Sometimes I find just taking off my glasses works wonders, if the setting is not tznius. At first it was difficult, what w/ all the junk on the internet, not to mention the T.V and public places. But now, its not only easy and second nature, but I find it extremely rewarding.
 

The Sefat Emet writes:

It is written MISHLE 23:26: "My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways". Because the one who guards his eyes and his heart, which are the two agents of sin, merits that the Holy One Blessed be He put His eyes and His good heart over him for Good, as it is written: "And My eyes and My heart was always there" and it is also written: "He will not remove his eyes from the Tzaddik", because through guarding the Brit and through guarding these two agents of sin, the person is on the level of Tzaddik, and measure for measure, the Tzaddik merits the constant supervision through the eyes of the Holy One Blessed be He.

149.


The Secret Power of 100 Brachos


A member of
our forum ("EfsharLitaken") posted the following:

I'm back from the most uplifting trip to the Holy Land in a long time. I feel like a new man. I just hope it lasts for a while.

I prayed for all of us on this site, that Hashem should help us win our fight with the Yetzer Hara so that we can get closer to Him - our Father in Heaven.

I had the honor of meeting the Great & Holy Reb Yaakov Meir Schechter Shlita, and he gave me Hadracha to make it easier to stay in control and have an easier time with the Yetzer Hara, Kedusha, Shmiras Einayim, etc.. What he told me, is to say the 100 Brochos every day with Kavana.

He said: "you are saying it anyway, so why not spend a few extra minutes a day saying it with kavana?" Many people have told him that it works miracles, Bi'ruchnius & B'Gashmius. It's not that easy to get used to focusing on them, but its the easiest thing we can do & yet accomplish the most amazingly powerful things.

I got to read the handbooks on the flights. I now have to read them a second time.

I have to thank Hashem for sending me the "Heiliger Guard" with all of the Tzadikim on this forum to the rescue. I could never have gotten this far without you.

I'm clean since Lag Ba'Oimer B"H, and I hope & pray that Hashem will help me stay "on Guard" as long as I live. So please try the 100 Brachos a day with Kavana, and let us know how it went. 

Below are the halachos related to making the 100 Brachos which I got from Dailyhalacha@aol.com. Sign up & you will get a daily Halacha Email, it's great!

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The Halachos of 100 Brachos a Day


One who makes 100 berachos every day will find it easy to reach a proper level of Yiras Shomayim (Fear of Hashem). (Maharsha Menachos 43b, Ben Yehoyada Menachos 43b, Sefer Mitzvas Meah Berachos intro).

The obligation to make 100 berachos daily is based upon the Gemara (Mes. Menachos 43b) which states that during the reign of Dovid Hamelech 100 people were dying in Yerushalayim every day until Dovid Hamelech discerned through Ruach Hakodesh that it was necessary to institute the obligation for every individual to bless Hashem a minimum of 100 times each day, after which the plague ended. (Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Berurah 46:3, Midrash Rabbah Par. Korach 18:21, Tur 46)
 
Dovid Hemelech based the obligation on the possuk in Parshas Eikev (Devarim 10:12) "Ve'attah Yisroel Moh Hashem Elokecha Shoel Mei'imach Ki Im L'Yirah Es Hashem Elokecha...." ("Now Israel what does Hashem your G-d ask of you? Only to fear Hashem your G-d"). The word "Moh" may be read as "Meah", meaning 100. The possuk then reads: "Now Israel 100 (berachos) does Hashem your G-d ask of you." (Mes. Menachos 43b see Rashi).

{The possuk subsequently has a total of 100 letters, and 26 words - equal to the name of Hashem Yud Hey Vov Hey}
 
Since "all that Hashem wants of us" is the 100 berachos, "this Mitzvah is very great and awesome with very deep meaning". (Seder Hayom, Seder Meah Berachos).

The obligation to make 100 berachos daily begins at nightfall (Tzeis Hakochavim) and continues until nightfall the next day.
 
On a typical weekday one can fulfill the count of 100 berachos as follows;
 
1-5. Five berachos of Shema in Maariv
6-24. Nineteen berachos in Shmona Esrei of Maariv
25. Hamapil, when going to sleep
26-28. Netilas Yadayim, Asher Yatzar, Elokai Neshoma in the morning
29-43. Fifteen daily morning Berachos
44-46. Three Birchas Hatorah. (counts Veha'arev Noh as a beracha)
47-49. One beracha on Tzitzis/Tallis, 2 on Tefillin
50. Mikadesh es Shimchah B'rabim (before Korbonos) {not mentioned in MB}
51-52. Boruch She'amar and Yishtabach
53-55. Three berachos of Shema at Shachris
56-74. Nineteen berachos of Shmona Esrei of Shachris
75-93. Nineteen berachos of Shmona Esrei of Mincha
94-95. Al Netilas Yadayim for 2 meals a day
96-97. Hamotzie Twice a day
98-105. Four berachos of Bircas Hamazon twice a day
106-107. Hagafen on the Kos beracha after Bircas Hamazon twice a day
108-109. Al Hagefen after Kos beracha twice a day
Plus - any additional berachos before and after eating food outside of a bread meal, a 3rd bread meal, and berachos of Asher Yatzar after using the bathroom.
 
(Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 46:3, Siddur R' Yaakov Emden, Piskei Tshuvos 46:9)

150.


Maybe we should run away?

Sometimes a person could have a fleeting thought of how quickly life is passing him by and how great it would be if he could just run away from the hustle and bustle of life and serve G-d in solitude, with all his strength and with true devotion, leaving all the pleasures of the world behind him. After all, what is the 80 years here on earth compared to a true, eternal connection with the Almighty?

Know though my friend, that G-d does not desire angles. He has enough of them already up in Heaven with him. Rather, he desires that we little people, surrounded as we are by the hustle and bustle of every day life, exposed to the constant temptations of this world, should give him our hearts, just a little bit each day. Each time we choose to say "no" to ourselves and turn away from seeing bad, we are giving G-d the deepest satisfaction and uplifting ourselves more than we could ever imagine!

So next time the Yetzer Hara tells us that it's too difficult to say "no" to the temptations of the world, perhaps we can say to ourselves: "Remember the times when we wished we could just run away and serve G-d with utter selflessness? But G-d is not asking something so difficult from us, indeed He does not need angels -- He has enough of them in Heaven. Instead, G-d asks of us something so much easier and says: My son, live your life! enjoy your life! ...Just give me a little bit of your heart each day".

So shouldn't we at least give Him that?"