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The Shmiras Ainayim Chizuk List          E-Mails 301-350


Surrendering Our Will

Written by "Boruch" on the forum

The Yetzer Hara is stronger than us. Over time, I came to realize that the urge to fight and confront the Yetzer Hara with an all out emotional battle of wills, is sometimes as damaging as the urge to succumb to him. That is when I understood that the best way to fight the Yetzer Hara was to nullify my will to fight the Yetzer Hara directly. Instead, I realized that I needed to surrender my will to Hashem's will. 

As the Rambam says in Hilchos Issurei Biyah 21:19: 
"yasiya libo midivrei havai vehashchoso, veyifaneh ledivrei torah - Turn the mind from empty and destructive thoughts and channel them to words of Torah". Moving or turning the mind is a smooth process, no struggle at all. 

So if we do it our way and it becomes personal, and we try and beat the Yetzer Hara on our own terms, we are asking for real trouble. Instead when a test comes, we need to resist the urge to struggle and to take on the Yetzer Hara, and instead we just immediately, absolutely and effortlessly switch channels to Torah (whether it is the Torah suggested by the Rebbe R' Elimelech in his Tzetel Koton, the drosho of Chazal on 
"Venishmartem mikol dovor ra, shelo yeharher odom bayom veyovo lidei tuma balaylo- and you shall guard yourself from any bad thing; that one should not fantasies by day and come to pollution at night", whether it is another possuk or mammar Chazal, whether it is a Shiur on a cellphone, or a Rashbo or Ketzos that we remember), we just do what Hashem tells us to do, we focus on His Holy Torah for as long as it takes, and Hashem will do the rest.


Surrendering Our Will
(Part 2)

Written by "Boruch" on the forum
The reason that we have such a hard time struggling with lust, is because we hold on for dear life to all the cravings and desires and we only fight bad behaviors. 

So we crave and are addicted to the thoughts and fantasies, and only fight the "looking". That's one losing battle that Hashem does not want us to fight.

So how to do it right?

Next time you see an alluring sight, don't fight it. Just say these three things:

1) Hashem I will not fight, I will just surrender to You and do what You want me to do.

2) Hashem, as Dovid Hamelech said, "negdecho kol taavosi - to you are all my desires", I offer up and give away all of my desires and craving to You. You can have my desires, I do not want them and they are my korbon (sacrifice) to You. Please take them away from me now.

3) Hashem, You do not want us to fight the Yetzer Hara head on. I am going to surrender to do what You want me to do, and I will change my focus immediately from what is tempting me, to You and Your Torah. I will forget the temptation totally. 

To help with this, I will say from memory, over and over.

"venishmartem mikol dovor ro - and you shall guard yourself from every bad thing". 

And I will think of how Chazal tell us from that possuk not to think about thoughts that could chas vesholom bring to tumah (impurity, such as nocturnal emissions). 

I will head for the most immediate learning opportunity, be it a beis medrash, Torah phone line such as kol Haloshon, a sefer on my phone or PDA, or a pocket sefer I carry with me.



Dealing with Fear
Some people slip up in the struggle with the Yetzer Hara simply because they are "afraid" they won't succeed.

Winston Churchill once said: "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself". And - Lehavdil - Rebbe Nachman always said: "The main thing is not to fear at all". Sometimes, the fear itself can lead a person to fall.

They tell a story of R' Meir of Premishlan. As an old man he used to walk up and down a slippery, icy mountain in middle of the winter, to immerse in the stream. A band of mockers once made light of his daily trip and decided to try and imitate him. But as soon as they tried to climb the mountain, they all came sliding and crashing down. When Reb Meir heard about this he said, "when a person is tied above, he doesn't slip down below".

In this struggle, we need to learn to "hold on above" and live with Hashem in our hearts. This is even more important that learning to FIGHT and be STRONG. One who has Hashem with him, is no longer afraid, and they can achieve an inner serenity. (A highly suggested book to read is "The Garden of Emunah" by Rav Shalom Arush).

Emunah is one of the most important aspects of success in this struggle. When we bring Hashem into our hearts, we learn to "let Go and Let G-d". Trying to "control" the Yetzer Hara can lead to fear when we ask ourselves, "can I really do it?". Instead, we let Hashem take over our lives.

The pasuk says: 
"Gibor Lo Yinatzel Berov Koach... Hinei ein Hashem el Yirei'av, la'miyachalim lechasdo - The strong man will not be saved through strength... Behold the eye of Hashem are to those who fear him and hope to his kindness". One meaning of this could be that Hashem doesn't give success to STRONG people who can overcome the Yetzer Hara even when it is very difficult. Hashem has enough "strong" Malachim in Shamayim. As a matter of fact, if a person thinks he is strong enough to withstand any test, Hashem may purposefully test him and bring him to fall just to show him that he is not as strong as he thinks. Instead, Hashem wants only "fear of heaven" and "hoping to him" for help. When we ask Hashem for help and tell him that we want to fear him, and when we hope to Him and tell him that we know that we can't do it without him - THEN we will see success (and remain fearless in the process :-)
No Instant Results
One of the greatest obstacles stopping a person from changing is the notion that it can be done without a lot of investment. We live in the generation of instant results, and we come to expect that whatever needs to happen should happen quickly. 

Furthermore, we tend to forget that our whole purpose on this world is to change and improve. We tend to look at any weakness that we have as an "inconvenience" that needs to be gotten out of our way (or ignored), while in reality it's Hashem's personal message to us telling us exactly what He sent us to this world for.

So what usually happens is, that it doesn't even occur to a person to really spend time, energy and "focus" on improvement. Hashem tells us,"T'na b'ni libcha li - My son, give me your HEART", it means your whole heart.

The Vilna Goan asks how a person can know what their purpose for coming to this world is. How are we to know what our most intimate and personal challenge is; i.e. the very reason for our creation? The Vilna Goan answers that we can know this by seeing what areas are most difficult for us to control, and what issues challenge us most frequently. It is for those areas that we were sent to the world to fix.
So if this struggle is a major issue in your life, it is likely that this is your own personal Tikkun in this world. And if this is one of the main issues you came down to the world to fix, it stands to reason that you may have to spend a long time in this struggle. So don't despair if process seems slower than you wish, or if it even looks like you are going backwards sometimes.

Even if we slip, we haven't lost previous gains at all. A low point in the struggle doesn't show where we are truly holding. It is simply an opportunity to make NEW gains.

The Spilled Coins

A beautiful parable from the Ba'al Hasulam:


A king once had a good friend whom he hadn't seen in many years. When this friend finally returned, the king was so happy to see him that he told his treasurer to take his friend - who happened to be a pauper - to the royal treasury, and to give him one hour to take as much money as he wanted! So they brought him into the treasury and gave him a bag, which the poor man proceeded to fill with gold coins until the bag could hold no more. Full of gratitude and happiness, the poor man began to leave, but as soon as he stepped out of the door, the guards gave the bag a big kick and all the coins spilled onto the floor. The man was distraught, but he looked at his watch and saw that he had still had plenty of time until his hour was up, so he quickly returned to the treasury and began to refill the bag with coins. But when it was full and he tried to leave, once again the guards gave the bag a big kick and everything went flying. The man was at his wits end, but seeing that he still had more time, he refused to give up and he went back in and tried to fill the bag yet again. 

But the same scenario repeated itself over and over. The guards kept kicking the bag of coins and causing everything to spill, until the poor man was sure that he was simply wasting him time. 

Finally the hour was up, and the guards dragged the poor man out of the room with his bag barely half full.

But suddenly, the poor man looks up and he sees a wagon over loaded with gold coins standing before him. And as he stands there wondering for whom all that money is intended, he sees the king coming to greet him with a big smile. And the king tells him that the entire wagon load of gold coins belongs to him, explaining that he had commanded the guards to make him lose his coins each time, so that he would manage to gather up so much more in the one hour that he had!


And so it is with our life on this world. Often after we have made good progress and our bag is "full", Hashem commands the guards to give us a kick and we lose everything. Hashem does this purposefully so that we can keep filling up the bag again and again, but the foolish man thinks that all his work is in vain and he simply gives up trying. However, the wise man knows that he hasn't lost anything from his previous efforts, and he starts over again and again from scratch - with JOY.

And if we follow the path of the wise man, when our time is up and we come to the next world, we will see a huge pile of spiritual "gold coins" waiting for us from the progress that we had made each and every time we started over again!


"Simcha is the Key"

A post from "Bardichev" on our forum

What is Simcha? Is it being happy? Is it being funny, laughy or giggly? Is it having a blast? 

I'll tell you what Simcha is. Did you ever see an old Jew sitting by his grandson's wedding with a faint smile curling up at the corner of his lips? That is Simcha. 

He's not jumping up and down, not hollering with his buddies, not downing bookers at the bar. HE is BESIMCHA.

SIMCHA is the feeling that one has when they feel that they truly accomplished something and did the right thing. When someone is in a complete state they are in a Matzav of Simcha.

So why is Simcha the key to breaking free of the Yetzer Hara? Well, there really is no such thing as Simcha that one can feel and HOLD ON TO. Hashem is the mekor (source) of Simcha, and what people are really looking for deep down (when they stray after false pleasures) is accomplishment and fulfillment by obtaining a true relationship with Hashem.

But attaining Simcha is WORK, WORK, WORK. Any quick-fix will lead us to sin, and then to addictive behaviors that are so hard to rectify.

So the first step is to realize that the Yetzer Hara is just a "mirage" of what you are really looking for. Not only doesn't it bring "real" Simcha, this road always leads in the end to depression.

So let's start looking for the real thing! Let's find things that can trigger REAL JOY!

If you need inspiration, watch little kids play, watch the birds. Go out of your way to help someone. Compliment your spouse, employee, rebbe, student, neighbor, etc...

And the ultimate misameach is TORAH... Tomorrow we will B"eH post some eitzos on how to find sheer joy in our HOLY TORAH.


Finding Joy in Torah

A post from "Bardichev" on our forum

There is no such concept as "I am not cut out for learning", yet many people FEEL that way. When we where young, we where FORCED to learn, and that in itself often took away from us the CHESHEK. It is a crime that some parents, teachers and rebbe'im robbed the Cheshek from their students.

But to set the record straight, everyone can learn something. Everyone needs to learn something.

Torah IS the source of life. And it is brought down in the Holy books that everyone has a portion in Torah. 

Again: EVERYONE has a portion in torah.

So if you ask, where does this come into battling the Yetzer Hara?

The answer is - my friends, that everything in this world was built on the mechanics of Male/Female attributes, which means provider/receiver (the Kabbalists explain this more in depth). Simply put, Hashem is the ultimate provider, and we - the world, are the receivers.

The glue that bonds the Male (or the Giver) to the Female (the Receiver) is called CHESHEK - Desire.

TORAH NEEDS TO BE LEARNED WITH CHESHEK. That is what satisfies a person. If you have no CHESHEK in Torah, you will automatically feel an urge to place the CHESHEK elsewhere, and usually it is in sin.

But what if you don't have a CHESHEK to learn? 

TRY your hardestto find a subject or a Rebbe, or a shiur, or a chavrusa, or something - anything, that interests you in Torah. After all, every subject in the world, from A-astrology to Z-zoology - and everything in between - is covered by our Holy Torah.

The Chafetz Chaim explains that Torah is "MACHSHIRO LIHIYOS TZADDIK" i.e. it prepares one to become a Tzadik. It is like Kashering the vessels, it cleans one out and makes him Kosher.

So let's open our minds and try to get into TORAH, and we will succeed to break free of the Yetzer Hara's hold with ease!

We once brought an powerful piece from the Ohr Hachayim on Parshas Acharei Mos (in Chizuk e-mails 379, 381 and 385 on this page).

To see the original text of the Ohr Hachayim, please see here
(You can print it out to read at your convenience).

To summarize, the Ohr Hachayim writes that we are unlikely to succeed if we try to fight the Yetzer Hara head-on. The only way to succeed in this struggle is to diligently guard our eyes and our thoughts. However, once we are thinking about these things, and especially if we see the temptations before our eyes, it will often be too late and we won't be able to control ourselves.

And he brings a few examples, that even the greatest Tzadikim who feared Hashem with all their hearts felt powerless when faced head-on with lust. As we see with Masya ben Charash (#46 on this page) and Rav Amram, Rabban Shel Chassidim (#275 on this page). In both these cases, once they were faced head-on with lust, these great Tzadikim had to take extreme measures to ensure they didn't stumble.

What we can learn from this, is that "Fear of Heaven" alone is often not enough to save us from sin once we are face to face with these desires. "Fear of Heaven" can, however, help us take drastic steps to save ourselves, like these great Tzadikim did. When Rav Amram called "Fire!", he was using the immense power of accountability to stop himself. And when Masya Ben Charash burned out his eyes, he was ensuring that he could never again be tested with lust.

In our case, we can at least make sure that we install fool-proof internet filters, and avoid going to places where we know that we will have a hard time guarding our eyes.

For on-line surfing, we particularly recommend for a great accountability system for frum Yidden.

The Internet
Here's an interesting article by Rav Shlomo Aviner, written in Be-Ahava U-Be-Emuna - Parashat Vayeshev 5770 - translated by R. Blumberg.

Everybody knows that the Internet is a great source of woe for mankind. This is the case not only for G-d-fearing Jews and not just for the holy Jewish People but for all people everywhere. True, it has good things in it, information and service sites, and we have our various Torah sites, and it could have been a wonderful tool, but in actual fact it does more harm than good.

It leads to people wasting enormous amounts of time surfing the net for nonsense. It broadcasts cheap, shallow culture. For example, 60% of National Religious youth regularly enter pornographic sites. This being the case, better that it had never been invented, for the fear of G-d is more important to us than information and services, and even more important than Torah learning.

Therefore, if someone asks us whether or not they should bring the Internet into their home, our answer is: No! Don't do it folks! But if one has no choice due to work, or if someone just doesn't ask us, there is a partial solution through the various filtering programs: In Israel there are Rimon, Etrog, Iconito, Moreshet and Nativ. All of them are good, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages regarding efficiency and ability to filter. Everyone should choose according to what suits him personally, but a filter program is an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT according to Halachah. Such indeed is the ruling that has been handed down: If someone has to go somewhere and he has two possible routes, the involving a river where women role up their sleeves to do their washing, and a more modest route, he is obligated to take the more modest route (Bava Batra 57b).

A second solution is to have password without which it is impossible to open the Internet, with two or three people each possessing part of the password, such that the Internet cannot be used without all of them being present. The illustrious Rav Wosner ruled that the laws of "Yichud" [seclusion with a female behind closed doors] apply here. Obviously, the optimal solution is for a person to become so purified, elevated and sanctified as to view all this filth with scorn. Yet that is not enough. The evil impulse can attack a person from within or from without, as Maran Ha-Rav Avraham Yizchak Ha-Cohain Kook explained (regarding the Talmudic debate over whether the evil impulse is more a fly, which comes from without, or like a wheat kernel, resembling a heart split in two (Ein Aya). Rambam likewise writes: "It is a person's nature to imitate his friends and acquaintances and to develop behavior and attributes like theirs. Therefore, a person must befriend righteous people and always frequent the wise, so as to learn from their deeds, and he should distance himself from the wicked who walk in darkness, so as not to learn from their deeds. As King Shlomo said, 'He that walks with wise men shall be wise, but the companion of fools will be broken'" (Rambam, Hilchot Deot 6:1). Thus one should distance himself from the darkness, wickedness and foolishness of the Internet.

There is another fine solution in America which can be used here as well, and it has approbations from the rabbis of America and of Israel. By the way, there is a Kollel director here who accepts kollelniks into his program on condition that they have subscribed to this program. It is called "webchaver", and it transmits a weekly report on all the sites visited by the user, placing at the top, in bold, all the problematic sites entered, that reaches the friend chosen by the user. That friend can be the person's wife who uses the same computer, but with a different email address. It costs four dollars a month.
Acting "Extreme"?
"SilentBattle" posted on the forum:
I usually don't consider myself an extreme person, but a few years ago, as Elul came along, I decided that for one Elul I would do something that (to me) seemed a bit extreme, the kind of thing that "those" guys do. You all know what I mean - the guys that take things just too far, etc. (Of course, my perspective on "too far" was about to change).

Anyway, I decided that whenever I left super-chareidi areas, I would take my glasses off. Just an extreme Elul thing.

To my surprise, it wasn't weird - it was liberating! I suddenly just didn't have to battle my eyes, I didn't have to fight to avoid looking at things I didn't want to... everything became a blur of shapes, to the point where I could barely tell that a particular shape was a woman!

Unfortunately, while I did end up doing it past Elul, it didn't last as long as it should have... but I'm starting to do it again, albeit not on a regular basis. And it just feels great!

I kinda feel like it's a perfect example of "let go and let God," because by taking off my glasses, there is a certain loss of control...

As a side note, the first time I did this recently, I got an almost instant wave and hug from Hashem (in a form that made it clear to me that I'd done the right thing) - in the form of an opportunity to do a mitzvah! A half-block after taking off my glasses and slipping them into my pocket, I noticed a frum-woman shaped blob in my blurry vision, about to start dragging a baby carriage up the stairs to an elevated train station. I seized the opportunity for a mitzvah, and helped her with it, and got the bonus of not even having to know what she looked like!

Thank you Hashem!
Water Takes the Shape of the Vessel it is In.
Someone posted a question on the forum:
I have been in Beis Medrash for about 4 years now and have had absolutely no hatzlocha in learning, I hardly know how to learn a blat Gemora, never mind Tosfos, by myself. Is it possible that some people are just not cut-out for learning and that I should leave Yeshiva and go home to work? Doesn't it say somewhere that Hashem created the Yetzer Hara and the only antidote is Torah?
There's a story in Tana Dibei Eliyahu about a fisherman who told Eliyahu that he is simply not cut-out for learning. Eliyahu asked him to explain how he catches fish, so he launched into a long and detailed explanation on how to make the nets and the art of catching the fish, etc... Said Eliyahu to him, "you see that you are capable of mastering a complex art/job when you WANT TO". 

In other words, every yid is cut out for learning, but he has to WANT TO. That's number one. 

Number two, we can always find things that we enjoy learning more than other things... For example, maybe you enjoy more just plain Be'kiyus, without the pilpul of Tosfos and Rishonim... Or perhaps you enjoy Halacha more, or even Medrash and Agadeta? Every Yid has a chelek in Torah. See this page for many great Torah ideas...

And thirdly, before the Torah can enter us properly, we need to cut back a bit on worldly pursuits and the constant running after pleasure. Torah is like water, i.e. it takes the shape of the vessel it is in. If the vessel is crooked, well... don't expect Torah to save you. The beauty is Torah is far more subtle than the over-powering desires of our physical senses. If we are enslaved to them, there's no chance that the subtle but beautiful melody of Torah will be heard.

Disclaimer: This e-mail does not attempt to address the question of "Working vs. Full Time-Torah-Learning" which is dependent on many factors, none of which are the subject of this e-mail. For some interesting discussion on that question, see this thread on the forum.

The Tightrope

The GYE Logo is of a man on a tightrope. This is based on the famous saying of Rebbe Nachman: "The whole world is a very thin bridge, and the main thing is not to be afraid at all".

It occurred to me how profound the words of Rebbe Nachman are! In this short saying, Rebbe Nachman addresses two types of worry, one that we should have, and one that we should NOT have. As he says: 
"The whole world is a very thin bridge" meaning; we must be very deeply aware of how precarious our situation is, and to make sure that we are taking steps in the right direction. But in the very same breath, Rebbe Nachman goes on to explain, "And the main thing is - the secret to success is - not to fear at all!" Never look down from the tightrope! Just put one foot in front of the other and hold on to G-d with all your heart.


Tightrope of Life 

By Moshe Bryski

In the days of communism's fierce grip on the Soviet Union, there lived a Chasidic Jew named Reb Mendel Futerfas. Reb Mendel repeatedly put his life at risk with his efforts to promote Jewish education behind the Iron Curtain, and for some 14 years was incarcerated in prisons and labor camps for his "crime" of teaching Torah. While in the Siberian gulag, he spent most of his free time studying and praying, but he also interacted and conversed with other prisoners -- some Jewish, some not. Among these prisoners was a circus performer whose claim to fame was his incredible skill as a tightrope walker.

Reb Mendel would often engage this man in conversation. Having never been to a circus, Reb Mendel was totally baffled by the man's profession. How could a person risk his life walking on a rope several stories above ground? (This was in the days before safety nets were standard practice.)

"To just go out there and walk on a rope?" Reb Mendel challenged incredulously.

The performer explained that due to his training and skill, he did not need to be held up by any cables and that, for him, it was no longer all that dangerous. Reb Mendel remained skeptical and intrigued.

After Stalin died, the prison authorities relaxed their rules somewhat and the guards told the prisoners that they would be allowed to stage a makeshift circus on May Day. There was no doubt that the famous tightrope walker's act would be the highlight of the show. The tightrope walker made sure that his friend, Reb Mendel, was in the audience.

Everyone watched with baited breath as the tightrope walker climbed the tall pole to the suspended rope. His first steps were timid and tentative (after all, it had been several years) but within a few seconds, it all came back to him. With his hands twirling about, he virtually glided across the rope to the pole at the other end, and then, in a flash, made a fast turn, reversed his direction and proceeded back to the other side. Along the way, he performed several stunts. The crowd went wild.

When he was done, he slid down off the pole, took a bow and went running straight to Reb Mendel.

"So?" he said. "Did you see that I was not held up by any cables?"

A very impressed Reb Mendel replied, "Yes. You're right. No cables."

"OK. You're a smart man. Tell me, how did I do it? Was it my hands? Was it my feet?" the man asked.

Reb Mendel paused for a moment, closed his eyes and replayed the entire act back on his mind. Finally he said, "It's all in your eyes. During the entire time, your eyes were completely focused and riveted on the opposite pole."

"Exactly!" said the performer. "When you see your destination in front of you and you don't take your eyes off of it, then your feet go where they need to go and you don't fall."

The tightrope walker had one more question for Reb Mendel. "What would you say is the most difficult part of the act?"

Again Reb Mendel thought for a moment. "Most difficult was the turn; when you had to change direction."

"Correct again!" said the acrobat. "During that split second, when you lose sight of that first pole, and the other pole has not yet come into view, there is some real danger there. But... if you don't allow yourself to get confused and distracted during that transition, your eyes will find that pole and your balance will be there.


The Making of Diamonds

On our journeys through life, we are often subjected to tests that we could not withstand, and failures that seemed catastrophic and irreversible at the time. We wondered what G-d wanted from us, and why we had to undergo such trials and tribulations. But one day we will all look back on our lives and understand. 

Although the time-line for success may not be what we imagine, we all have the opportunity - at the end of the day - to make out of our lives a beautiful diamond for Hashem's glory. And one day we will look back and see how the hand of Hashem was guiding us the whole time, through the deepest and darkest places - and out into the beautiful light.

For today's Chizuk e-mail, I want to bring links to two stories that display this truth so beautifully that it brings tears to one's eyes. How wondrous and mysterious are the ways of Hashem. What strange and difficult paths he leads us on sometimes, only to bring out in the end such brilliant jewels for His crown!

Link 1: Just One Jew.

Link 2: From Leading Criminal to Rosh Yeshiva.

In both of these stories, if these precious Jews had not first been steeped in sin and darkness, they could never have become the powerhouses of Kiddush Hashem that they indeed became!

As the Zohar in Parshas Tetzaveh Writes:

There is no light besides that which comes out of darkness... And avodas Hashem can only be through darkness first, and there can be no good, only though bad. And when a person goes into a bad path and then leaves it, the Master of the World's honor is elevated. And therefore, the "Shleimus" (completion) of everything, is good and bad together - and then to leave to the (side of) good. And there can be no good but that which comes through bad, and from such good, Hashem is elevated. And this is called an "avodah shleimah" (a complete service of Hashem).

So no matter how far from Hashem we may feel today, and no matter how hopeless our situation may seem, know my dear brothers, that Hashem has a beautiful path for us yet to take. We have only to LET Him lead us there. 

While working on a diamond, all seems messy, dirty and confusing. But if we let the Master Craftsman work with our hearts, if we just let Him in to do his magic, a brilliant jewel will emerge!

True Faith

Someone posted a letter on the forum from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. It's a beautiful description of  "Emunah", and I want to share it with you all. If we can internalize this message properly, breaking free from the Yetzer Hara will be so much easier!

The core of Jewish vitality and indestructibility is in its pure faith in G-d; not in some kind of an abstract Deity, hidden somewhere in the heavenly spheres, who regards this world from a distance; but absolute faith in a very personal G-d, who is the very life and existence of everybody; who permeates where one is, and what one does. Where there is such faith, there is no room for fear or anxiety, as the Psalmist says, 'I fear no evil, for Thou art with me,' with me, indeed, at all times, not only on Shabbos or Yom Tom, or during prayer or meditation on G-d. And when one puts his trust in G-d, unconditionally and unreservedly, one realizes what it means to be really free and full of vigor, for all one's energy is released in the most constructive way, not only in one's own behalf, but also in behalf of the environment at large.

The road is not free from obstacles and obstructions, for in the Divine order of things we are expected to attain our goal by effort; but if we make a determined effort, success is Divinely assured, and the obstacles and obstructions which at first loom large, dissolve and disappear.

I wish you to tread this road of pure faith in G-d, without over introspection and self-searching, as in the simple illustration of a man walking: he will walk most steadily and assuredly if he will not be conscious of his walk and not seek to consciously coordinate the hundreds of muscles operative in locomotion. If he did so, he would be unable to make his first step.

Appreciating the Wife More


"Yakov Shwartz" writes on the forum to someone struggling to appreciate his wife over others:


1. You must internalize a very fundamental concept in marriage.  People often want to think that their wife is the most beautiful. But in truth, you should view your wife as the only woman in the world. By doing this, you stop comparing your wife to other woman and will come to appreciate her much more.


2. Work on shmiras einayim. If you internalize that she is the only woman for you, no other woman will tempt you anymore. You will have no desire to look at a woman for the sake of pleasure (this really worked for me!).  


3. Look at you wife's good attributes. When you become less physical, you become attracted to deeper things. You become attracted to your wife because of what her body represents, i.e. her neshama.  In other words, you are attracted to her soul, not her body.  


4. Write your wife a love letter. Sit down, think about why you love your wife, and tell her. Give her affection.  


5. Begin asking yourself the purpose of marital relations. Understand how its main purpose is to bring shalom into the home.



Ahron adds:


Think about where you'd be if you weren't married. With far fewer responsibilities, can you imagine how much harder it would be to overcome the Yetzer Hara?


You have the foundation on which to build a magnificent emotional bond with a life partner who is there with you and for you! Give her everything you have - your money, your heart and your time.  It is an investment that will yield tremendous benefits - she will respond and give you more than you can imagine in return.  You'll find new strengths in you that you never knew you had.  You'll find yourself on a path of true, positive growth, not stagnation.


You want to be expressive?  Express! Use your own words, however inadequate they may sound to you. She will encourage and support every small step you take and she will recognize and acknowledge tiny positive steps that no one else would ever see, because they don't know you as well as your partner does. Spend time together and get to know her even better - it will be well worth it!




A great book that can turn your marriage completely around:


The Garden of Peace - By Rav Shalom Arush


Rabbi Avraham Twersky Defines Pleasure vs. Happiness

Rabbi Avraham Twersky, a renowned psychiatrist who has written over 50 books dealing with human psychology, tackles happiness verses depression in his new book, "Happiness and Human Spirit: What Happiness is All About, and Why it is Important for You."
Rabbi Twerski was interviewed by Arutz 7's Tovia Singer about his new book and the secret to true happiness. You can download the entire interview over here (Download the MP3 file by right-clicking on the link and choosing "Save Target/Link As").

I would like to bring some excerpts from the interview:

Tovia Singer:  How can a person find true happiness?
R. Avraham Twersky:  A person cannot truly be happy unless he is complete.  For example, if someone is lacking in iron, he will have iron deficiency and symptoms of illness.  Now, a person is more than a body.  There is something more that makes us human other than the fact that we walk on two legs. 
The things that make us human are a number of unique traits that animals do not have. We are the only living things that have the ability to be humble. We are the only living things that can make ethical and moral choices, even in defiance of our bodily drives. We have the ability to improve ourselves, to be compassionate, to have perspective for the future, to search for truth, and to have a goal in life. All of these make us into human beings.
If we do not use these traits, we are incomplete, and incomplete human beings cannot be happy. When we lack these character traits and have this chronic unhappiness, we desperately look for things that will make us feel better. One may find comfort in alcohol, the other seeks it in drugs, gambling, sex, food, pursuit of money, etc. We look for many things to get rid of chronic unhappiness, but our chronic unhappiness is due to our being deficient in key areas.
Now please note that even though I am a Rabbi, and even though I have taught religion, I am now functioning as a psychiatrist and I am talking about being spiritual. I don't ask a patient about his religion. That is a private thing. However, as a physician, I want to make sure they have all the necessary nutrients for their bodies that makes them human beings, which I refer to as a spirit. The spirit is not a religious concept. That's why I say that happiness depends on developing the qualities of the human spirit.
Tovia Singer:  You speak about self-esteem. That is a very important message in all your work.  What does that really mean?  Let's say there are folks who are listening to the show right now who sometimes feel this sense of depression inside. They feel worthless. Is that the trapping of what brings people into a life without coping and happiness?
R. Avraham Twersky:  I have gone on record as saying that if mental illnesses and emotional problems which are due to chemical imbalances are excluded, all the rest can be traced to the fact that people lack self-esteem. A person should have a true self-awareness.
What is unfortunate is that most people underestimate themselves. They have negative feelings about themselves. I wrote so much about this because for 38 years of my life, I suffered because I was not aware of myself. I lacked self-esteem, and I did not give myself the credit I was due. (Listen to Rabbi Twerski talk about his own struggle with self-esteem in THIS GREAT SPEECH).

I pointed out in my books that having self-esteem does not mean being vain. In fact, I quote Rabbeinu Yonah, one of the great ethicists of 1000 years ago. He says that vanity is simply a desperate defense by a person who feels worthless, to give himself some kind of good feeling.
I believe that we should come to a true self-awareness. As I have said, a person without a purpose can't have too much self-esteem because of the things that we value. We value things either because of their function or because of their aesthetic value. Not many people have an aesthetic value. We're not all that good looking. Our selfish being has to be based on our function. What is our function? If our function is merely to go through a day's work, kick off our shoes, and sit in front of the TV with a couple of bottles of beer, that is not any kind of edifying function. We can't get self-esteem from that.
Self-esteem means developing a purpose in life, living our life to the fullest and not like an animal. Animals are not motivated by anything other than self-gratification.  Animals, other than pet dogs, do not know how to get out of their skin. What makes us human beings - and this is why our forefather Abraham emphasized chesed [kindness] so much - is that to be a true human being, one has to be able to do chesed to get out of himself. He needs to do kind things for other people. A person can be a mentsh - a spiritual being - but not with animal traits.

If people will begin looking for a purpose in life, they may not find it in a day or a week, but they will eventually find a real purpose over and above seeking pleasure. Pleasure is fine, and I don't deny anybody the pleasures of life, but I don't think that we were created simply to have pleasure. We were created to find our purpose.

And by finding and LIVING in our purpose, we are able to achieve TRUE Happiness.

To view a transcript of the entire interview, see this page.

'Happiness and Human Spirit' is available for purchase on


"Surrender" & the Art of Capturing Monkeys

"Hoping" posted on the forum:

"African hunters have a clever way of trapping monkeys.

They slice a coconut in two, hollow it out, and in one half of the shell cut a hole just big enough for a monkey's hand to pass through. Then they place an orange in the other coconut half before fastening together the two halves of the coconut shell. Finally, they secure the coconut to a tree with a rope, retreat into the jungle, and wait.

Sooner or later, an unsuspecting monkey swings by, smells the delicious orange, and discovers its location inside the coconut. The monkey then slips his hand through the small hole, grasps the orange, and tries to pull it through the hole. Of course, the orange won't come out; it's too big for the hole. To no avail the persistent monkey continues to pull and pull, never realizing the danger he is in.

While the monkey struggles with the orange, the hunters simply stroll in and capture the monkey by throwing a net over him. As long as the monkey keeps his fist wrapped around the orange, the monkey is trapped.

It's too bad the poor monkey could save its own life if it would only let go of the orange. It rarely occurs to a monkey, however, that it can't have both the orange and its freedom. That delicious orange becomes a deadly trap".

I realized that the difference between humans and animals does not lie in the fact that animals have such strong instincts; humans have some of the same types of instincts. The difference is our ability to let go of the "orange". Every person has their own "orange", and it our job to recognize it for the trap that it is and just 'let go'.


Rabbi Twerski shared with us the following beautiful inspiration:

Keep it Simple

One of the slogans of the 12-step program is "Keep it simple". It is important to keep things simple. We make things difficult by complicating them.

"Simple" does not mean "easy." A command to lift a 100 pound weight is simple, it's just very hard. If we keep things simple and are willing to do hard work, we can triumph.

Before Rebbe Yohanan ben Zakai died, his talmidim asked him for a bracha. He said, "May you fear Hashem as much as you fear other people". There are things a person would be ashamed to be seen doing by others, but is not ashamed to be seen doing them by Hashem."

People who would be afraid to look at inappropriate material in a store because someone might see them there, have no shame in being seen by Hashem. The first paragraph in the Shulchan Aruch instructs us to constantly be aware that we are in the imminent presence of Hashem and behave accordingly.

That is simple. There is nothing complex about it. It is just very hard to do.

We must work hard to attain yiras shamayim. Mesilas yesharim points out that we must work diligently to get it, "like one who searches for silver and digs for treasure." If you don't find the treasure at first, you don't give up. You continue digging, even exhausting yourself in order to find the treasure. That's how we must work for yiras shamayim. It is not going to just drop down from heaven.

Pray hard and tearfully for yiras shamayim. Our lives depend on it. Read the essays in mussar on developing yiras shamayim. This is a prayer that is always answered, provided that we really want it.


Do you want JOY in your Life??

By Duvid Chaim

Of course you do!! Who doesn't want JOY in their life? What's wrong with being a "thrill seeker?" In fact, we learn from theRamchal that HaKodesh Baroch Hu specifically created man to bask in His light and receive His Joy. How can there be anything wrong with us if we seek Joy in life? After all, we are "wired" that way by the Creator Himself!
The problem that we face with the Yetzer Hara is NOT that we seek Joy. The problem is that we can NOT tell the difference between "True Joy" and "Counterfeit Joy".
In other words, it actually feels the same to our mind and body whether we're in the midst of enjoying illicit desires or when we're in the midst of enjoying a mitzvah, like chesed for example. That doesn't seem fair, you might say. How can Hashem really expect us to fight our Yetzer Hara when He makes it so enjoyable to sin?

That's why I suggest we practice an EXERCISE to FIND TRUE JOY, as follows:

Find a quiet time and space to sit down and write in your notebook. On one page, write down some of the TRUE JOY in your life. For example, you might write on this page:

  • "spending time with my kids at supper time"
  • "taking a leisurely walk with my wife"
  • "the experience of bentching my children on Shabbos" 

And on the "Counterfeit Joy" page, you might write:

  • "the Billboard I drive by everyday on the way to work"
  • "the young girl I see at Starbucks dressed provocatively"
  • "the pop-up that shows up while I'm on my computer with the latest news about some celebrity or another".

How do we distinguish between True Joy and Counterfeit Joy? True Joy is something that when we experience it, we feel close to G-d. And more than that, when the experience is over, we feel good about ourselves. And later, we look back with fond memories about the experience. Counterfeit Joy however, is something that when we experience it, we feel removed from G-d. Afterwards, we feel impure and full of shame. And later, we look back at the experience with regret and remorse.

Since our bodies can not tell the difference between True Joy and Counterfeit Joy, by doing this exercise, we "concretize" the experiences that we often face in our lives. And the next time we encounter something that is written down on our "Counterfeit Joy" page, a light will come on in our mind and we will be able to "point" at that opportunity for joy and say, "hey, you're on my "Counterfeit Joy" page. I don't want to have anything to do with you!"
This Exercise is so simple and yet so effective.



Rabbi Twerski shared with us the following two inspirational tips:


In Truth

There was an incident that taught me something about turning to Hashem for help:

At a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous in Jerusalem, one man who was seven years sober related that he had resisted AA at first because it was God-oriented, and he was an atheist.

"One day", he said, "I was walking along the beach in Tel Aviv, thinking whether I should just walk into the ocean and end it all. I had nowhere to go, my wife had thrown me out of the house. In desperation, I looked toward the sky and shouted, "If You're up there, then help me!"

And He helped me.

Now, with the help of G-d, I am seven years sober."

When I heard this, I thought of the verse in Tehillim: "Hashem is close to all who call upon Him, who call upon Him in truth".

That's the clincher: in truth.


Guarding the Tongue Guards the Bris

There are many people who are desperate and say that they would do anything to be free of the compulsion. Here is something that will indeed take much effort, but if one is really ready to do anything, this can help greatly:

WATCH YOUR SPEECH! Be meticulous in avoiding ALL lashon hara (defamatory talk), any untruth, and any coarse language (see sources below).

In order to know what proper speech is and what is forbidden, avail yourself of the Chafetz Chaim's "Guard Your Tongue."

This may seem simple, but it really takes great effort, because we are in the habit of talking without giving much thought to what we say. To become conscious and watchful of speech is anything but simple, but if one is really interested in being shomer habris properly, this can be of great help.


To receive daily lessons in Shmiras Halashon from the Sefer Chofetz Chaim, send an e-mail to with subject "subscribe".

Sources: Many Chassidic works are replete with the idea that "bris halashon mechuvan negged bris hamaor" and that shemiras halashon leads to shemiras habris (see Sefer Chareidim 66:9). The most common Posuk quoted in this regard is "Al titein es picha l'hachti es bisorchoh".... See also the mafteach in the Yad Ramah edition of the Shaloh hakadosh for something a bit earlier than chassidish, and this concept also comes up quite a few times in the out-of-print Peleh Yoaitz from the Hornisteipeler (Rabbi Twerski's grandfather).


Yesodos A to Z by "Battleworn"
(Part 1)

Excerpts of Battleworns's "Torah Approach" on our Forum Here.


In this struggle, we must internalize the following truths:

a) Those who struggle with this issue should understand that the purpose Hashem sent us to this world was to work on this very issue!

b) The reason we are given a lifetime, is because that's how long it takes until we get it right. And no one said it's supposed to be easy!

c) Hashem doesn't make bad investments, so when He gave you this mission He knew what He was doing!

d) Everything depends on the eyes, the heart and the mouth!

e) Every effort that we make is worth infinitely more than anything in this world, EVEN IF WE FELL IN THE END!

f) The only thing we really have bechira (free choice) on, is ratzon (our WILL). Even hishtadlus (our effort) is part of ratzon. Success is only in the hands of Hashem!

g) Our job is to do everything that we can. What we can't do, is not our problem. And if we can't do anything, all we need to do is have pure Emunah and leave everything up to Hashem! The clear realization that there is "nothing besides Hashem" has the power to bring tremendous Heavenly assistance, and at the same time - it destroys the lust at it's source!

h) The only way to fight the y"h is to learn how to avoid him! 
i) Not only is this nissoyon (test) not a hindrance to your success, but in fact it's the only way possible for you to reach your goal!

j) Hashem is totally and completely on your side, and he's NOT disgusted with you!

k) Every yerida (downfall) is always a preparation for an aliyah (going up)!

l) The greatest nachas ruach for Hashem is when someone who is in the grip of the Yetzer Hara still tries to fight. This is the ultimate Shechinah Betachtonim (the divine presence in the lowest places) which is the purpose of all creation!

m) Hashem does not expect you to do it alone! In fact, isolation breeds the yetzer Hara as it says in Mishlei: "Lataavah Yivakesh nifrad - Desire seeks isolation". That's why Hashem gave us this Holy GuardYourEyes network!

We will bring "n - Z" tomorrow, be"h.


Yesodos A to Z by "Battleworn"
(Part 2)

Excerpts of Battleworns's "Torah Approach" on our Forum Here.


In this struggle, we must internalize the following truths:
n) Every effort and every good ratzon (desire) adds up, and at the end Hashem brings the salvation in the merit of everything together!

o) The effort that we invest in this area has unparalleled significance and power (for example, we see in Chazal that Klal Yisrael merited the splitting of the sea just in the zechus of Yosef Hatzadik having gone against his nature). It is called Midas Hayesod and it's the very foundation upon which all other Avodas Hashem is built!

p) Every time we hold back from sinning is many many times more significant than the times that we chas veshalom stumble. It's on these successes that we can and must build, while being careful not to concentrate on the falls (except lito'eles). There's no place at all for the "All or nothing" attitude!

q) Hashem wants our hearts! We must realize how much lust distances us from Hashem and we must want to give it up completely. If we try to stop sinning but we continue lusting, it won't work. Giving Hashem our hearts is the very core of Torah life!

r) The lust we feel is only a "levush" (a disguise) that the Yetzer Hara puts on our longing for Hashem. At the source, these desires are really holy of Holies - a powerful all-encompassing yearning to be close to Hashem. By fulfilling this true inner desire and developing a closer and closer relationship with Hashem, the lust will disappear. It also follows, that by weakening this disguise, our longing for Hashem will be able to shine through much stronger. We therefore need to work on both aspects at the same time (developing a closer relationship with Hashem at the same time that we cut back on the lust).

s) We need to have "Bitachon" (faith) that Hashem will save us if we do our part. Bitachon means that we need to be calm and rely on Hashem, while at the same time putting in maximum effort. Feeling "stress" in this struggle is detrimental to our battle, besides being a contradiction to Bitachon. Effort is our only duty, but results are completely up to Hashem! It also follows that even if we didn't "succeed", if we tried our hardest, then it was indeed a total success!

t) We are Holy! Even if we sinned thousands of times, inside we are purely good. The obvious proof to this, is that we are looking to be holier (aren't you reading this now? :-). The Yetzer Hara's main objective in getting us to sin is to try and "prove" to us that we are lowlifes. That way, he can weaken our entire avodas Hashem. We need to expose the fallacy and keep reminding ourselves how holy we are!

u) We were chosen by Hashem for this sensitive mission (of revealing the Shechinah in the darkest places). We are Hashem's "special force" soldiers and we should be extremely proud of it! We need to embrace this mission with great Simcha Shel Mitzvah and remember that we are emissaries of Hashem Himself! 

v) When one sins, he is not "annoying" Hashem, rather he is hurting himself and distancing himself from the source of all good. It's not "me and the lust" with Hashem on the outside, rather it's "me and Hashem", and the lust is the outsider who gets between us and disturbs the greatest love imaginable.

w) When faced with a test, we must always think "What does Hashem want from me at this moment?". The past and the future are not relevant. When we realize that every moment is given to us by Hashem for the purpose of doing His will in that moment - without any dependence on the past and future, there's no room at all for "yi'ush" (despair).

x) If we find ourselves in the midst of a slip and we stop right in the middle, the accomplishment is even greater!

y) If we were doing well and we chas veshalom had a fall, the past gains were not lost. All we have to do is learn from the fall, bounce back up and continue going even higher!

z) If you searched hard and long and davened your heart out so many times and still don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, this should not surprise you. Hashem in His infinite wisdom knew that for our own good there needs to be a tremendous all-encompassing darkness before Moshiach comes. By continuing to do what we can and not giving up even in such a situation, we are accomplishing the greatest "tikkun" in history, and THAT is what will bring Moshiach!
Somewhere, Our Neshamos are Shining Perfectly

Posted by "Pintale Yid" on our forum:

There was a Gerrer Chasid who lost all of his family in the Holocaust. Although he had a beard, payos and yarmulka before the war, the Nazis - Yimach Shemem Vizichrom (may their memory be obliterated) - took them away from him and he didn't reclaim them after the war. He moved to Tel Aviv and after some time, he missed his Rebbi, the Imrei Emes. He decided to visit him, and when the Imrei Emmes saw him, he recognized him and invited him into his study and asked him to tell his story. (As a side note, the Imrei Emes lost half his family and 250 thousand (!) chassidim in the Holocaust.)  

After the yid told his story, both he and the Imrei Emes put down their heads and wept for a very long time. At some point, the Imrei Emes picked up his head and stopped weeping and asked the yid a question. Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Yidden in Parshas Ekev (9:17), "Va'ashabreim Li'aynachem - I broken them (the Luschos) in front of your eyes". It seems that "Li'aynaychem" is extra since he was talking to klal yisroel? He answered that it is because the Luchos were only broken in front of Klal Yisroel's eyes. In truth, there is a place where the Luchos were never broken. And he applied it to the Holocaust and all the other massacres that the Jewish people have endured over the years. He said that "although your family and much of my family and much of my Chasidim were killed - they were killed only in a bechina of"Li'aynachem". But there is a place where every heiliga yid still lives unbroken and totally whole."



My beloved brothers. I wish to apply this to our situation. Although we "break" our neshamos from time to time, (sometimes more often than we like), we should remember that this is only L'aynainu. But in the sefira of Kesser, in the bechina of "kol Yisroel", our Neshamos are totally clean and whole.

So next time the Y"H wants to tell you how bad you are, send him to the Nazis. No matter what your stage, remember "Veshuchanty b'soch Tumasum - and I dwell within their impurities". You might not know where that place in you is, but the Pintele Yid in you knows and is living in harmony with Hakodosh Baruch Hu, as it says in the Zohar (and bought in the Tanya) on the posuk in Berashis "Vayepach Bapov Nishmas Chaim, Man D'nofach M'Toicoi Nafach". This means that Hashem breathed from his essence into man. We all have a piece of Hashem inside us!

The Jelly Fish

Posted by "7Up"

My son went to the beach in Bat Yam yesterday on a class trip. He had a wonderful time BH, except for one minor setback. Towards the end of the day, a larger than normal wave came crashing in. As he fought to retain his balance, he noticed a huge, opaque jelly fish wash towards him. Because he was still trying to stay afloat, he was unable to avoid it. It attached itself to his leg and stomach, stinging him. Finally pulling free, he waded back to shore and went for help. The lifeguard poured vinegar over the burns. The 'refuah' was even more painful than the sting, he told me, but after a few minutes, it began soothing the pain and he felt much better. (He showed me the burn when he got home - the body must have been the size of a large dinner plate, besides the tentacles.)

It got me thinking about how similar our battle is. 

We get overwhelmed by the huge waves of stress, anxiety and restlessness that crash over us; throwing us off balance and making it so hard to simply stand securely in one place, never mind actually move forward. 

Then the Yetzer Hara attacks out of the blue, blending in to the surroundings so well that we barely even see it before we are overpowered. 

Once the stinging attack is over, our pain is terrible, causing us to cry out for help, but the damage is already done. The poison has already seeped in to our bodies.

Sure, the refuah of Teshuvah seems more painful than the sting in the beginning, but very quickly, we see healing and comfort.

Yet even once we feel better, the scar remains; a clear reminder of the past, and a warning for the future!

One step further: My son's friend fished the jelly fish out of the water (with a stick, not his hand!) and laid it out on the sand in the light of day. Within minutes, it began evaporating, drying out as if nothing more than air!

Just like that Yetzer Hara! Expose him to the light, and we can see him for what he really is - nothing more that mere slime, destined to fade away if we can just get him out into the sunlight!

He "Skipped" Over Our Houses with Joy!

Posted by "TrYing" on our forum:

I remember hearing a powerful story about  Reb Moshe Leib M'Sosov who's yartzeit was this past week. 

It was on a Parshas Bo (this week's Parsha) that Reb Moishe Leib was in Lizensk for Shabbos as a guest of R' Elimelech. During the meal, he got up to say a vort on the Parsha:

The offering is called korbon 'Pesach' because of the 'skipping over' and leaping that Hashem did during Makas Bechoros.

The Pasuk says: "And the blood will be for you for a sign upon the houses that you are in, and I shall see the blood - u'pasachti aleichem - and I shall jump over you".

Rashi says that "pesicha" is a Lashon of "skipping and jumping".

Says the holy Rebbi M'Sassov, "Asher posach AL BOTEI BNEI YISROEL - that He lept over (on to) the houses of the Jewish People".... Do you want to know what Hakadosh Baruch Hu did when he found a yiddishe house? Do you have any idea what He still does?"Posach.. lashon kefitzah.." - He jumped on the houses! 

Hashem skipped and leaped for joy while calling  out: "this is a Jewish home... this is a Jewish home!"

And while saying this, the Sassover got so enthused with Simcha that he actually got up on the table, skipping and dancing and said, "Ah... this is a yiddishe home... this is a yiddishe home!!!!!". 


The story doesn't need explanation!! We must constantly remember who we are and how much the Ribbono Shel Olam loves us. We must remember the power we have. Every time Hashem looks at one of us, He smiles and dances: "That is a yid. That is a yid!"


Wherein Lies Our Bechirah


Posted on the forum by "Pintale Yid"

from the Sefer"B'gan Hachachma"by Rav Shalom Arush


Rav Arush discusses how people get depressed because even though they try their best to succeed, they fail and continue to fall. He writes that if someone gets depressed, he should realize that he doesn't have enough Emunah, because he thinks that he could accomplish something that Hashem didn't want him to accomplish. The biggest proof that Hashem didn't want him to accomplish it, is that he continues to fail! 

Even though a person tries his best, often Hashem doesn't let him succeed because he hasn't yet built up the "vessels" to be able to correctly react to success (as Hashem's doing). Succeeding under such circumstances would lead a person to haughtiness, and this is worse then any sin since it severs a person's relationship with Hashem.

If a person keeps on doing T'shuva and Davening for divine assistance, eventually he will build strong enough vessels for him to succeed at what he is trying to accomplish, and when he does finally succeed, he won't attribute his success to himself but only to Hashem.

Therefore, the only Bechira (free-choice) we really have is whether to be happy or not, irrespective of our success or failure. 

Success doesn't breed happiness, but happiness breeds success. Even if we keep on losing our long drawn out battles, as long as we recognize that Hashem is the one pulling the strings, we can be happy since Hashem ultimately knows what is best for our Tikkun.

(For another great article on the concept of Bechirah see here)


Link of the Day

Count Your Blessings!

"Let Go and Let G-d"

Emunah Peshuta

Learning to "Let go and let G-d" is perhaps the strongest tool against the Yetzer Hara. By acknowledging that Hashem is in charge and that He'll take perfect care of us, we can use "G-d's strength" not to stray after our eyes and hearts.

"Me" posted on the forum:

I saw in the sefer Shomer Emunim that we can't even begin to fathom the Emunah (faith) that our forefathers had. The revelation that they had of Hashem is way beyond our grasp... BUT, Emunah P'shuta (simple faith) is our yerusha (inheritance) too, and we still have it and we will never lose it!

Emunah P'shuta means - I don't understand anything; everything is hidden before me, BUT... Hashem is in control. Period!!!

I don't need to see how Hashem is in control because.... I "know" it.

I don't need to feel that Hashem is in control because... I "know" it to be true.

Emunah P'shuta means "knowing" that Hashem is running EVERYTHING in spite of my lack of seeing it, feeling it, hearing it!!

No wisdom or philosophy is needed for this type of Emunah. It works even in the deepest depths of every kind of golus and even during the darkest times!


"TrYing" posted:

This Shabbos, when the Y"H was trying to get me, I davened to Hashem and told him that he (the YH) is stronger then me and that I realized many times that I can't win over him, so He should please remove him from me so that I can stay pure. It was wonderful. Hashem listened to my prayers every time! And it wasn't even hard, cuz it wasn't ME struggling. I guess this is what it means to "let go and let g-d". I didn't come out all battered and bruised from battle, since I didn't fight. It was a wonderful feeling.


"Nura" Posted:

I had a moment of "LET GO AND LET G-D" clarity yesterday that I want to share. It's one of those moments when the whole blackness of the night gets lit up for a few seconds - as if by lightning. 

Most times I feel that all the knowledge and understanding that I have regarding bitachon (reliance on G-d) and emunah (faith) is just that; knowledge - but without really "feeling" it in my heart. Can I "talk the talk"? Sure, like the biggest of Tzadikim! But when it comes time to actually "walking the walk".....

Well, yesterday I was feeling the weight of the whole entire world on my shoulders when all of a sudden I felt like lightning flashed before me and I hit my forehead with my hand and said to myself: "Wait a minute here Nurah - you little shnook! Your body, with all its zillions of details is working just fine all these years - may the Almighty continue to watch over all of us  - and that is without too much input from you. So why do you think that the Almighty needs your help now to BALANCE THE CHECKBOOK?!!" 

Yes, He Who gives life - gives Sustenance!



Along the lines of what "Nura" just wrote, I once heard a beautiful vort. The Pasuk says: "Asapra el chok, Hashem amar elai, b'ni ata, ani hayom yeliditicha". We can translate the Pasuk as follows: "Asapra el chok - when I talk about Parnasa" (chok is a lashon of parnasa) and I wonder what will be, "Hashem amar elai - Hashem says to me", "B'ni ata - you are my son", "ani hayom yeliditicha? - did I just give birth to you today??" 

In other words, "how did you manage until today? Well, in the very same way I will care for you now as well!"


What Mode Am I In Now?

In a discussion on our forum about our "Yetzer Hara" vis-à-vis our wives, Dov responded with something so beautiful that I must share it with you all today. (Dov is sober in SA for 11 years, click here to read his story). Please take the time to read it slowly and try to internalize what he is saying because it is truly profound.Dov writes:

The big issue in my case (which at least partially covers your marriage concern as well) is that I try to always ask myself:"what 'mode' am I in now, Giving or Getting?"

Without even getting into the issue of what is "good" or "bad", or even what is "nice" or "better" - just for us to know the real truth about ourselves, it really works wonders to be aware of it.

Rav Dessler brings the following idea in Kuntres Hachesed, but I write it here be"H from a (12-Step) program perspective. Please tell me if the following makes sense to you...

If I am truly and primarily concerned about what I am giving to all the people in the world, to the people on the street (that I'm walking down), to the folks in my workplace, to my family, to my wife... well, then a lot of things are gonna be OK. Like how people look (beautiful or otherwise), what they are giving me, and how they make me feel. 

For example - if I find myself gazing, I quickly ask myself, "Hey! What good am I doing for that person in the street I am staring at? I'd better daven for them instead, Hashem certainly has some kind of purpose and/or plan for them - even if they are a goy, no? I'm sure they need something! (and it's surely not: my ogling at them!)"...

Are my kids making me feel proud and secure as a parent with their behavior or are they 'driving me nuts'? "Hey! What does how they make me feel have to do with what I can give to them? Better I should look at how I can be useful to them, especially given my proclivities to anger or insecurity. 

Now I am getting somewhere...

Is my relationship with my wife fulfilling - or not so much... "Hey now, is that why she married me? And is that the only reason I married her? If she'd give me all the fancy stuff I desired (including the lust), would it satisfy me? And what would really happen then? 

I am not speaking out against satisfaction in every aspect of marriage, but I need to face this truth: Am I really looking for physical satisfaction, or do I really want for something else in her - like being truly deeply, fully and trustingly connected to another person in this short life - with no price tag either way - just because we are one? Yup, for me that is definitely it.

And the only way to "get" that, is by giving it all away for free to her, no?" After all, do we really expect anything less from our wives? 

You may be able to apply this idea in your marriage and think about how whatever you do or choose to communicate etc. with your wife, gives to/affects her.

If this was helpful to you, fantastic!! If not, nu... At least it reminded me of how precious my relationships really are to me, and maybe I'll smile just a bit more when I walk in the door tonight!



Some Great Quotes From Our Forum

"Battleworn" wrote:

When the angels claimed that the Torah should be given to them and not us, Hashem answered "Do you have a Yetzer Hara?" R' Tvi Meir says that we learn from this, that the bigger your y"h is, the more you have a right to Hashems holy Torah!


"Bardichev" brought a great quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."


Rabbi Nachman of Breslav writes (Sefer Ohr Letziyon):


Everyone must say the world was created for me (Sanhedrin 37). This shows that humility isn't that one should feel lowly and worthless, rather humility is knowing that all your attributes and accomplishments are a gift from Hashem. 

There's a contradiction, it says, "and he was haughty in the way of Hashem" and another posuk says, "Hashem despises everyone who is haughty". One answer is, that one has to be humble regarding his past deeds, but regarding the future one has to be arrogant thinking that he can accomplish the world. Unfortunately many people do the opposite, they are arrogant regarding their past and humble about their future!


The 42 Travels

A Beautiful Letter from "Yechidah" to everyone on our network

Dear brothers and sisters,

The Bal Shem Tov says that the 42 locations that Klal Yisroel went through in the desert correspond to 42 stages that a Yid must go through in life.

Every location we have to be in is with Hashgacha Pratis. It has to be that way. To emphasize this, Moishe Rabbeinu wrote all the travels and locations down. Moshe, the Anov, taught us that we too have to be Anavim, realizing that every place is Hashem's Place. And it was Hashem who wanted us to be there at that particular time.

"Why", a Yid asks, "was I at times, not even through my own doing, made to go into places of darkness; Harsh places, places where kind words are rare, where it is very difficult to find Yiraas Shomaim?" And then I leave the 4 walls of the Bais Midrash when I know that's what Hashem wants, but it's hard. It's hard because I end up in a Manhattan bound train, which is Hell on Earth; Cabins filled with men that are spiritually empty and women who look and act like prostitutes. I get encouraged by an old Yid learning in the corner, so I too stick my head in a sefer, fighting and fighting - sometimes a "losing battle" - to stay clean and good, to keep my mind and heart pure. I finally get to work at 9 AM, very often after having been subjected to nastiness and having heard many 4 letter words (that are not G-O-O-D).

Why is my neshomah full of struggles; a virtual roller coaster that is no fun at all; a nightmare while awake - to the point that my eyes fill up with tears because I have to go to work again Tomorrow. I am not lazy. I like the work. But the viciousness, the coldness, the emptiness, the politics, the hatred, the resentment, the complex maze of tests that this Yid has to go through, is very difficult for him to handle.

But the Bal Shem Tov teaches us that everything is with Hashgacha Pratis. The train, the work, or wherever you are and wherever you need to be - are all part of the 42 "Masaos" of life. Not always pleasant, but Hashem gives us pleasant places as well. The GuardYourEyes forum is one of those pleasant places. A place where one Yid gives chizuk to another Yid, who in turn gives chizuk to yet another Yid. A fallen Yid is picked up, and instead of going home to take a shower and rest, he tries to pick up another Yid that needs help. This place, my friends, is a Place of Refuge, of Ahavas Yisroel, of fighting the Yetzer Harah together.

And so when "Bardichev" or "Dov" or "Nurah" or "Battleworn" or anyone here on the forum is on one of their 42 Masaos in life, we are all rooting for them. Strange, it seems, not knowing who anyone is, and yet at the same time knowing them very very well, even more than people who see you and think they know you. 

And we are always davening that all you "unknown" people - with very known and special neshomos - are doing OK and more than OK.

The Heart of Klal Yisroel is One. When we realize this - and feel this way for real, Moshiach will be here. It's as simple as that.


An Anecdote
Sent to us by Rabbi Avraham Twerski

A man told me that he was at the airport, and he had his tallis and tefillin in his carry on. "I had to go to the men's room, so I left my carry on outside the men's room, because I didn't want to take my kedusha items in there. Then it occurred to me, that my neshama is kedusha, and if I don't take my tallis and tefillin into the bathroom, how can I take my holy neshama into an indecent place? Sure, I take my neshama into the bathroom because that's how G-d created me, so He wants me to do it. But he doesn't want me to take the holy neshama into the cesspool of the internet. Because the neshama is part of G-d Himself, it's the worst insult to G-d to take it into immoral places."


Torah Treatment

By "Ben-Moshe"

At first it will seem next to impossible. You will feel antsy and be unable to focus. You will barely be able to stifle your yawns. You won't be able to wrap your mind around a simple piece of shaklah ve'taryah. But rejoice. That is the perfect raw material to work with. The tumah toxins inside you are screaming against the powerful chemo treatment of the"samah de'chaya" - the elixir of life. Focus, focus, focus. Drag yourself through the Gemara, then Rashi, then Tosefos, then Maharsha. One hour. Two hours. Be brutal with yourself. No quick fixes of "acharonishe torahs". Memorize the shakla vetaryah. Think through it backwards, then forwards. Try to find flaws in the breathtakingly beautiful logic. 

Do not learn the way you learnt way back when, in yeshiva or kollel, lackadaisically looking for the quick chidush fix. Learn with total and absolute focus, as if you are trying to decode the secret key to a million dollars. Let the sweat gather under your armpits and let a tingling feeling run down your spine, as you slowly, ponderously, with great effort, unlock the strands of Divine DNA within you and within the Gemara. Do this night after night and early morning after early morning. Write down you questions. Take them to your local Rosh Yeshiva.

Consider the "drip-drip" of this daily regimen to be a vital part of your treatment. Know that it is building up your antibodies in small but steady increments and restoring your health. After a while, compare before and after photos of yourself. Before: dead eyes, forced smile, deep sadness. After: twinkling eyes, warmth, attractiveness. Rejoice.

Your yetzer horah will still attack you, and he is guaranteed to continue to do so till your very last breath, but almost immediately you will begin to notice that extremes that at one time glittered, now seem repulsive. They no longer interest you. You cannot imagine how you once desired sewage.

Hashem has sent us an extraordinary blessing, the mp3 player. Switch off, for good, that radio in your car and in your home. Wash your ears and starving mind with the beautiful sound of shiurim, downloaded to your mp3 player. Many times, especially when you are driving, you will not be able to focus on a shiur, but background noise is also fine because you will still be living in the Beis Hamedrash. You will be steadily rising, not sinking. Find a maggid shiur who speaks to your heart, who resonates emotionally, whose neshama resides in a holy place. Mix upbeat and non-threatening halacha shiurium with uplifting hashkafa and mussar. 

Chazak VeYe'ematz!


The Korbon Me'hudar

A member who was struggling with lust and fantasies caused by stress, called out for help on our forum... He writes:


One piece of advice I read somewhere on this site helped me have a much better Shabbos. And that is, that Hashem has tremendous nachas ruach for whatever we're able to give, just give it. Cry to Hashem whenever you can. Spill your heart out to Him. Hashem desires the heart.

"Battleworn" replies to his call for help:

Dear Yid, it's obvious from your posts that you have a very special Neshamoh and that you're on your way to real Gadlus. The Yetzer Hara will not let you get there without putting up a good fight, but you have to stick it out. Within a short time you'll be a totally new person. Those who give in to lust are happy for a short while, and then left disillusioned and empty inside. On the other hand, those who fulfill their purpose on this world and do Hashem's will, they may have it hard for a short time in the beginning, but they achieve TRUE happiness and fulfillment for all eternity!

One of the main tricks of the Yetzer Hara, is to spotlight things that cause stress. He makes a whole lot of noise, like it says in the Pasuk "and the evil ones, like the sea they churn, for being silent they cannot". He makes us feel all desperate. And that's what the Meraglim did. Thay got all dramatic and made everyone feel extremely desperate ("Guys we're dead meat, etc."). It works really well - they managed to get everyone to cry the whole night on the ninth of Av. And that's the source of the churban that we still mourn over now, as Chazal say (that Hashem said): "you cried for nothing (in the desert), now I shall instigate a crying for generations". 

We have to try to use Kalev's tactic, as the Pasuk says: "and Kalev hushed the nation"... Kalev came and said: "SHHHH, calm down, let's be rational, if Hashem got us until here, He'll also get us in to Eretz Yisrael". But they were so busy crying and screaming that they couldn't even listen to Kalev.

Let's learn the lesson and try not to let this trick work on us. Take a deep breath and then another one and a bunch more. Calm yourself down as much as you can, and firmly tell the Yetzer Hara: "I'll be just fine. Hashem runs my life and takes very good care of me. I most definitely don't HAVE TO give in to him". In fact, it would only make things worse. 

And if I'm feeling stressed now, then ADERABA, this is my opportunity - given to me as a gift from Hashem Himself - to show my true loyalty to Him, to fulfill the purpose of creation in the truest sense and to merit unfathomable pleasure for each and every second I give my heart to Him!"

This is not always easy to do, but it's well worth working on it. With time and effort, it will get easier and easier.

It's so important to realize that we are made up of two parts. Our Neshamah, which is really our essence, is totally good;"Tehorah Hi". Our body (including the "animal soul") is really only a "levush - garment" (something like what a car is to its driver), and it includes in it all the traits of all the nations and all the animals. R' Elchonon Wasserman said that each of us has a whole zoo in him. And R' Tvi Meir adds that we also have the whole U.N too! (I don't know which one is more dangerous). 

If you are fortunate enough to realize that you have these traits, and you are fortunate enough that it bothers you, then you are in very very good shape. 

Every time you fight one of these traits, you are bringing a sacrifice to Hashem that is far more precious in His eyes than any physical sacrifice that was ever offered. This is spelled out very clearly in a quite a few places in Tanach. So when you see in yourself a good fat "Bi'heima", you should rejoice over the opportunity offer such a "korbon mehudar" (top notch sacrifice) to Hashem! 


Return to Walmart
By "Ben-Moshe"

Your phone rings. It's your wife. "Can you stop off at Walmart to pick up some groceries?" "Sure." You take down the details, then draw a deep breath. Your delightfully clueless wife is sending you into the Gaza Strip, into Afghanistan, because Walmart on a hot and humid summer afternoon, will be full with unwanted stimuli and slippery distraction, not ben-Torah friendly, certainly not recovering ben-Torah friendly. However, you don't panic. You remind yourself that you know the drill, you have learned neat tricks, and have even learned to turn the tables to your advantage...

You are fortunately blessed with near-sightedness so, before you leave your car, you deliberately remove your glasses, then leave them in your car. You think back fondly to the first time you tried this. You remember the thrill you felt, as you trod those aisles, ten-feet tall, empowered by an enveloping haze which acted like a spiritual buffer. You had felt insulated and protected. You had felt holy, racking up points like a rapidly clacking Geiger counter. "Good work," you had said to yourself when you had completed your mission. You had given yourself a pat on your back.

This time you are even better prepared. You enter the store with your mp3-player nestled in your shirt pocket, earpieces comfortably in your ears. You head over to the canned vegetable aisle. Rabbi Reisman is giving a blatt shiur. A fascinating Ketzos. Is shavya naphsha a din in ne'emonus, or is it mita'am neder? You peer (shortsightedly) at the canned corn. Sixty-eight cents a can? A metzia. You take a half dozen cans. Kesubos is too heavy to focus on the moment, despite your insulating fog, so you switch to something a little lighter. You switch to Rabbi Yisroel Brog analyzing the Steipler's letters on how to guide people with OCD affecting their performance of Halacha. Geshmak! You drool over the hortatory smorgasbord at your fingertips. You give your player a surreptitious kiss, then return it to your pocket. You are now in the cereal aisle, but notice that Krispies have just been reformulated with an OU-D. Chalav Stam? You can't have that. That's metamtem es halev! Then you laugh at yourself: the foolish hypocrite that you are! Is there any part of your lev that is not metumtem? But you are thoroughly enjoying yourself. By the time you reach the checkout lane you have downed a Reb Simcha Bunim Cohen's Thursday night Chovas Halevovos shiur, and just begun a Kehilas HaGra shiur on copyright laws as applied to ripping CDs...

The magazines at checkout inform and inspire. The cover of one magazine tells you that Britney's ex says that Britney is cheating during rehab. You remove your ear-pieces. You now hear the store's music system. Synthesized Britney is belting out an important message. Britney says that she loves you. Just Britney and you. You feel romance in the air. Then, you think back to your forebears. Volozhin. Slabodka. In those days people had "manly" Yetzer Horas; Haskala. Socialism. Secular Zionism. You remember once reading how the Alter of Slabodka asked Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky to keep an eye on mail arriving for the young Reb Aaaron Kotler (zecher tzaddikim ukedoshim livracha). The Alter wanted to make sure that Reb Aaron's relatives would not prevail upon him with their alien ideas. You giggled as you tried to imagine the Alter keeping tabs on what Reb Aaron was downloading to his cell phone. Oy! What yeridas hadoros!

You arrive home. 

"Successful?" your wife asks. 


She appears to be excited. 

"Guess what," she says, "I have a new chicken recipe."

Bless her. The lovable, delightful, clueless fuzzball. She is blissfully unaware of the battles you have fought and the monsters you have slain. She proceeds to give you blow by blow details of her new idea for chicken and you smile at here warmly. But your mind is far away. There is something bothering you: How can shavya nafsha be a din in ne'emanus if ein odom mesim atzmo rosho?


Find Your Good Points


"Chl" posted on the forum:

I recently read a story about Rav Nosson, the Talmid of Rebbe Nachman. He was walking together with his students after a raging fire ravaged the town of Breslav. They passed by completely burned down houses, and in one of the houses, R' Nosson saw the owner of the house sifting through the ruins, trying to find or rescue some of his belongings. The fact that everything was burnt down didn't stop the owner from looking. R' Nosson turned to his students and said: "This is how we have to pick ourselves up after a fall" (looking for any good points that are still left).

I was walking home, somehow thinking about this story, and I lifted my eyes to the night sky and I said: "G-d, I don't see any good in me, zero. Don't tell me I'm a holy Jew, etc... I'm not gonna buy it right now. I fail everything I try. I want to love you, yet I am so far from Mitzvos, Torah, Midos - you name it, I don't have it.

I looked again into the sky, and then one thing came into my mind: "Maybe I helped someone on this forum". And I said to G-d: "Thank you HaShem, that is true. Maybe I helped somebody. Maybe that is the essence of being a Jew. I actually might have done something good that justifies my existence and that justifies that You created me and keep me alive".


To all my brothers and sisters out there: The Yetzer Hara sometimes makes us feel worthless and far from G-d, especially when we feel weak and vulnerable. But if we join together as a community and give each other strength; NOTHING - not even falls - can take away the precious chizuk that we offer one another. This is indeed something that will survive the raging fires of today's world.


Link of the Day

Listen to this 7 minute talk from the Lubavitcher Rebbe where he describes how a Jew, even in the midst of sin, is still connected with Hashem, and that no matter how low a Jew may fall, it only affects their outward appearance, but inside, every Jew is holy [at 5:10 it sounds as if the Lubavitcher Rebbe is crying, but I may be wrong].




The GuardYourEyes Network is "mentioned" in an article on Dr. Phillip Rosenthal in this week's Mishpacha Magazine, 26 Shvat 5770. Make sure to buy a copy! ;-)




Some Shmiras Ainayim Tips


 "Pintale Yid" once posted how he deals with the struggle of Shmiras Ainayim on the forum


1. I say a short Tefila before I leave the house that Hashem should help me with Shmiras Aynayim.

2. I am lucky to need glasses, so I remove them when I am walking in the street. 

3. I try to keep my eyes down, and when I see a female approaching I close both eyes - or at least the eye that is closest to her - until she passes (provided that I am not in the gutter). I found that I have no problem waking several steps with my eyes closed.

4. I learned in a wonderful sefer called Bakodesh Chazisicha by Rav Shaul Vidger, that says that even if you are trying to guard your eyes, the Satan deliberately pulls your eyes to where they shouldn't be. I therefore laugh it off and tell myself, "he's doing it again!".

5. I give myself chizuk after every time I pass a women without looking at her.

6. While I am walking in the street, I am quietly talking to Hashem (it is not noticeable to others). You can understand how it is much harder to sin against Hashem if you are in the middle of talking to him. If you have problems talking to Hashem, I recommend that you learn the sefer Bi'sdai Hayar by Rav Sholom Arush on Tefila and Hisbodidus. (He also has an awesome sefer called B'Gan Hasholom on Shalom Bayis which I recommend to everyone).

7. The last thing is, that even if I slip, I never get depressed since I know that this is a constant battle against the Yetzer Hara, and it is one of the reasons for my existence on this world. I once learned in the Tanya, that one who gets depressed because he can never eradicate his taivos is a Baal Gaiveh (haughty) because he thinks he is on the level of a Tzaddik. I also remember that my overall batting average is pretty good -- at least much better than it used to be.

Hashem should help you - and all of us, in this battle! Hashem gave us this website as a Rocket Propelled Grenade to help us blow away the Samach Mem :-)


How Can We Conquer Them?


(Parshas Ekev): "If you should say in your heart that the nations (read: Yetzer Hara) are much greater and stronger than us","EICHA UCHAL LEHORISHAM - how can we conquer them?". 

What does Hashem answer?

"Do not fear them, remember what Hashem your G-d did to Pharaoh and all of Mitzrayim.... that Hashem took you out with great wonders, etc... So Hashem will do to all the nations that you fear before them.... Do not fear them, for Hashem your G-d is within you, a great and awesome G-d!"


Yes, the Yetzer Hara is INDEED MUCH stronger than us, but he isn't stronger than HASHEM!! And Hashem is not asking us to conquer the Yetzer Hara. He knows that we can't do that alone. All he's asking is that we put our trust in HIM to conquer the Yetzer Hara for us. "Hashem your G-d is within you, a great and awesome G-d!"


A Paradigm Shift
By "Tomim"


If you're feeling down, vulnerable, weak or depressed, it's easy to begin to feel that the fight with the Yetzer Hara is just "not worth it"... But perhaps a "paradigm shift" in attitude can change everything. 

What's a "paradigm shift"? Stephen Covey (author of the best-selling "7 Habits of highly effective people") describes this with an actual incident on a NY subway where a father, with a number of unruly children, entered the subway and began to make an enormous ruckus. Covey, in his belief that children should be controlled by their parents, turned to the man and admonished him for permitting his children to disturb Covey and the other passengers. The man replied sadly that the children were returning from their mother's funeral and he did not have the heart to discipline their behavior, knowing they were acting out their grief. Covey immediately felt empathic and supportive of this man. Covey calls this a shift in the paradigm of seeing the situation from a different perspective.

In every situation, it is not the mere "happenings" that revoke our reactions, rather it is our perspective of the happening. Our job is to find meaning and perspective in wherever and whatever we find ourselves, and with this we have the ability to always rise above it.

When G-d is revealed, there is no test. Imagine G-d woke us up in the morning to serve him. Would we delay even for a moment? But specifically when he is concealed, that is when we prove to seek after him in this dark world - for the sole purpose of revealing his glory. Our lows, as much as they are tests, are really opportunities! They are opportunities that we received (that many others have not yet), because Hashem knows we can prove strong enough to succeed. While we all appreciate the "highs", when we overcome the test of the "lows", G-d reveals Himself to us in a greater way than before! 

(For a wonderful book on understanding life's tests, I would recommend reading "Life is a Test" by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis).


Rabbi Twerski sent us the following article:



Sixty-five years ago, in high-school, I learned a powerful mussar lesson, but I did not realize it at the time.
Ulysses was a hero and traveler in Greek mythology. He heard of the "music of the sirens." This was music that was heard at a particular harbor, and it was so enchanting, so attractive, that it drew sailors to the shore. However, there were sharp, ragged reefs in the harbor, and the ships would crash into them and were destroyed. Sailors knew this, and passing by the harbor, they would see the wreckages of the ships that had been destroyed, but once they heard the music of the sirens, they were helpless and headed into the harbor to their own destruction.
Ulysses wanted to hear the fabled music of the sirens, but knew that this would be fatal. He, therefore, stuffed his sailors' ears with wax so that they could not hear any sounds, and he told them that they were to sail by the harbor and pay no attention to anything he said. He then had himself tied securely to the ship's mast so that he could not move.
As the sailors approached the harbor, Ulysses began hearing the music of the sirens. He began shouting to the sailors to head for shore, but of course, they could not hear him. He began screaming at them, "I am your captain! You must obey my orders!" As he heard the music of the sirens, he struggled to free himself from the ropes. "Head for the shore!" he shouted. "I will have you hung for mutiny!" But the sailors rowed on.
After they had passed the harbor and the music was no longer heard, Ulysses fainted from exhaustion. The sailors then untied him, and he realized how helpless he had been, and had he not rendered the sailors unable to hear, they would have all been destroyed.
Much later I realized that the "music of the sirens" is the yetzer hara. It can enchant a person and render one almost helpless to resist its temptation. Seeing the wreckage of the ships did not prevent sailors from rowing to their destruction.
One cocaine addict worked in a mortuary, and buried people who were killed by cocaine, but that did not stop his use, and he died from cocaine at age 33. Cocaine, music of the sirens, lust, the yetzer hara - they are all the same. 

There is no way we can "stuff our ears" to the "music of the sirens" that can be heard almost anywhere in our environment. The Talmud cites Hashem as saying, "I created the yetzer hara, and I created Torah as its antidote" (Kedushin 30b). It is our only defense. However, just holding on to Torah is not enough, just as Ulysses' holding on to the mast would not have been enough. We must tie ourselves so tightly to Torah that we can not break loose from it. This is why Moses repeatedly stressed, "But you who cling to Hashem-you are all alive today" (Devarim 4:4), "to Him you shallcleave," (ibid. 10:20) and "To love Hashem, to listen to His voice and to cleave to Him (ibid. 30:20). King David says, "I have clung to your testimonies (Tehilim 119:31). To cling and cleave means to be inseparably attached to Torah.
Learning Torah and doing mitzvos is of greatest importance, but does not yet result in the necessary fusion. The Talmud says that the single verse that the entire Torah depends on is "Know Hashem in all your ways" (Mishle 3:6, Berachos 63a). Cleaving and clinging is not accomplished by relating to Hashem just in Torah study and in performance of mitzvos, but in everything we do - eating, sleeping, transacting, socializing. The works of mussar tell us how we can accomplish this. It is this kind of observance of Torah that can save us from the destructive attractions of the yetzer hara.

When you pick up a fruit, think of what borei pri ha'etz means. Hashem designed a tree that would sprout from a tiny seed and produce succulent fruit, and feel gratitude to Hashem. When you say the beracha "poke'ach ivrim" think of the wondrous ability that Hashem instituted within protoplasm that it can have vision, and feel gratitude to Hashem. If we bring Hashem into all our activities, we are cleaving and clinging to Him, and when we tie ourselves securely to the mast, we can avoid the yetzer hara's "music of the sirens" that would pull us to our own destruction.


Link of the Day

The Countdown to Moshiach


The night is always the darkest before the light. Those who struggle with these issues are Hashem's front-line soldiers in today's generation, fighting against all odds. If Moshiach would come today, would you be ready?


When Our Hearts Are Humbled

The Gemara (Taanis 24a) says that there was a drought and Rav Nachman davened for rain and the rain still didn't come. When Rav Nachman saw that his prayers were not answered he began to bemoan and cry "take Nachman and throw him down off a high wall onto the ground!" (in other words, if Hashem doesn't answer me, I'm obviously not worthy - so remove me from my high status as a Tzadik/Amorah). And the Gemara says that Rav Nachman had "chalishus hada'as" - which means he felt a great disappointment, and right then the rain came!

This Gemara really strikes home a point, because it shows just how much Hashem loves us, yet he waits for our hearts to be truly humbled and broken before Him. Once we know we can't do it; once we acknowledge that we have no credit on our own and we truly feel that we don't deserve anything, THAT IS WHEN Hashem sends the salvation!


Don't Ever Get Over-Confident

Someone posted on the forum an excerpt from an article at

If you think you're generally good at resisting temptation, you're probably wrong, scientists now say. 

"People are not good at anticipating the power of their urges, and those who are the most confident about their self-control are the most likely to give into temptation," said Loran Nordgren, senior lecturer of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, in Illinois. 

The result: Many of us unwittingly expose ourselves to tempting situations, leading to a greater likelihood of indulging in addictive behaviors. 

The bottom line, Nordgren says: Avoid situations where such weaknesses thrive, and remember you're not that invincible.


Link of the Day

For Men Only


Keys to a Happy Home



Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Besimcha!

The greatest tool of the Yetzer Hara is depression. When we feel sad or down, we are the most vulnerable and the least 'on-guard' in controlling our physical impulses and in guarding our eyes.



(Taken from Arutz Sheva Blog here)

*Depression is like a sediment which covers the heart of the Jew and stops it from burning with passion for G-d.  


*Depression is a form of idolatry. How joyous we are depends on our purity and how close we are to the true Tzaddikim, who are the joy of all Israel. If you are joyous, the light of G-d's countenance will radiate upon you.


*The main reason for immorality is because of depression. The way to be pure is through joy. If you are happy, G-d will help you to keep yourself pure.


*Man's imagination is the source of all temptations. It is one of man's animal aspects. If it becomes dominant, it is because of depression which is an evil spirit. Forgetfulness gains a hold, and one forgets one's true purpose of sanctifying oneself in order to merit the World to Come. We have to fight back and aim to be constantly happy in order to shatter the power of the imagination. Then we will be able to set the World to Come always in our minds. 


*When a person is depressed, his intellect and mind go into exile.


*Don't be depressed. The root of depression is in the husks (kelipot) which are at war with all that is holy. Whenever depression takes grip, the Shechinah, which is the joy of Israel, goes into exile. The destruction of the husks of unholiness depends on joy.


*Because the incense which was burned in the Holy Temple had the power to free the holy life force from the husks, you should recite the passages in the prayer book which deal with the daily incense offering with great concentration. This will help bring you to joy.


*You should feel so happy when you do a mitzvah that you don't do it merely to receive a reward in the World to Come. Rather because you want G-d to send you another mitzvah, because your joy is the mitzvah itself. If you pray with intensity and great awe and love, you will be able to experience this joy.


*The way to come to joy is through Torah and prayer. You should always pray to attain the level that He hid from you. And when this is revealed, you should pray to achieve the level that is still hidden. This is how to rise from level to level. It is the way to find joy, which is the source of spiritual strength.


*If you put so much effort into a holy task that you literally sweat, you will be able to experience true joy.


*It is a wonderful thing when people dance for joy for the sake of a mitzvah! There are times when it is a mitzvah to drink some wine - on Shabbat or Yom Tov, or at a wedding, or other religious celebrations. If you drink on such occasions, your intention should be for the sake of Heaven. Drink moderately, and not to excess, with the purpose of experiencing the true joy of Israel, which is to rejoice in G-d who chose us from all other nations. As your joy begins to radiate, it will spread to your legs and you will literally begin to dance for joy. This will banish the evil forces of the Other Side, which grips the legs. The fire with which we dance is "a fire offering, a sweet savor to the L-rd" (BaMidbar, 28:8). But when one dances in the heat of the evil inclination, it is a "strange fire" (Vayikra, 10:1), and the wine which he drinks is the "wine of drunkenness," which gives a hold to the forces of the Other Side.


*The music of one who is truly G-d fearing can help you to be happy. It has the power to break the force of fantasy. You will be able to focus your thoughts on the World to Come and to understand the hints which G-d sends you constantly each day in order to draw you closer to Him.


*If you are joyous it will bring you to new horizons in Torah.


*A person who examines and judges himself over everything he does thereby frees himself from the harsh judgments that were weighing upon him. He will be so happy that he will literally dance for joy.


*Once a person decides to be pure and devote himself to serving G-d, it is a very big sin if he allows himself to be depressed. Because G-d hates depression. 


*There are times when the only way to make yourself happy is by doing something silly or making jokes. There are so many troubles that people have to go through physically and spiritually - trying to make a living, etc. etc. - that the only way they can make themselves happy is by doing something silly and acting a bit crazy. The whole vitality of the body and the soul depend on being happy. And in the worlds above, great unifications are brought about through the joy of the spirit.


*It is a great mitzvah to always be happy. Be determined to keep away from depression, and aim to be happy constantly. Happiness is the remedy for all kinds of diseases, because many illnesses are caused by depression. You must be resourceful in order to make yourself happy. Often you must do something a little bit crazy in order to make yourself happy.


*To find true joy is the hardest thing of all. It is harder than all other spiritual tasks. You must literally force yourself to be happy at all times. Put all of your energy into it. Use every kind of ploy. Often the only way is by doing something foolish or childish.


*Most of all you must be happy while you are praying. Be sure to always pray with joy. The same applies with carrying out the mitzvoth. You should be especially joyous on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Even on weekdays it is a great mitzvah to be happy.


*It is a great thing to bring joy to the heart of your fellow Jews. Most people are full of pain or worry and all kinds of troubles, and they find it impossible to speak out what is in their hearts. Someone who comes with a smiling face can literally give them fresh life. This is a very great thing. When you make another person happy, you are literally giving new life to a Jewish soul.



"Family Security" Talk by Rav Yosef Viener


We had the honor today of discussing our work at GuardYourEyes with Rav Yosef Viener, a well know Rav from the Agudas Yisrael of Flatbush. Rabbi Yosef Viener has inspired and enlightened thousands of listeners worldwide with his shiurim and lectures on Halachah and Hashkafah. (Click here for some of his Shiurim).


In the summer of 2009, Rav Veiner gave a talk called "Family Security" on the dangers of today's technology, and with practical advice on how to protect ourselves and our children. After the talk, a man came over to Rav Veiner and told him that he would give any amount of money that Rav Veiner asked for, to make copies of that talk and distribute it. On the spot, he wrote out a check for $5,000 and Rav Veiner proceeded to make 4,000 copies of the talk on CDs, which he distributed at later events. It's a very powerful talk and well worth listening to!


To listen to the "Family Security" talk (MP3 Audio), click here.

(To download it, right click and press "Save Target/Link As")



Tips of the Day
Dealing with inappropriate thoughts

"Noorah" writes on the forum:

What I do when one something inappropriate pops into my mind uninvited is I say "rachmana nigar bei b'soton - may the Merciful One battle the Yetzer Hara". This very powerful  segula, and it was given by the Yetzer Hara himself to one of the sages of the Gemorah. It always works, guaranteed!

"Will" writes on the forum:

My father once told me that if an inappropriate thought comes to mind during tefillah, a person should press his big toe against the ground... it really works!

For many more great tips on battling inappropriate thoughts,

see this page - top to bottom.