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The Shmiras Ainayim Chizuk List          E-Mails 351-400


Alone in the Hotel

Sent to us by an anonymous writer

I would like to recount a story that happened to me a year ago on Rosh Chodesh Elul. I was in a very low mood with bad thoughts in my head. I was on my way to Israel for the Chaggim. I had to take a stopover. The first plane I was on got delayed for a few hours and I missed my connecting flight. The airline put me up in the Hilton hotel for the night. In the room was a clear lucid wide-screen TV. I started looking through the options on the TV and found what I wanted. I had never seen real movies like that before. I was literally one click away from these pleasures. I thought to myself, "here I've got a opportunity laid on a silver platter, without no one in the world knowing". About to press the button, I felt that I had reached the hardest nisayon in my life. Suddenly I took hold of myself and decided I was not going to give in. I showered, and while doing so, I was mechazek myself. After the shower, I was lying on the amazingly comfortable bed and suddenly the desires came back with tenfold force. A powerful battle was going on, "yes, no, yes, no". Suddenly a voice inside me says, "I am sorry yetzer hara, but this time I won". It was the yetzer hatov speaking. The next morning I got up and had to hurry, as I was put on a early morning flight. I felt like I was in the seventh heaven. Suddenly I felt above all the physical desires surrounding me. I had to daven shacharis by the gate. It was the first day of Elul, and although I did not have a shofar with me, I had had my own wake up call. The euphoria lasted through the whole Elul, and through all the Yomim Tovim that followed!


My Chupah With the Billboard?

A Talmid Chacham who is recovering through our website, wrote me today the following insight:

As I was driving today, I passed a giant immodest poster. I was naturally tempted to take another look. I then thought of how I will find myself engulfed in the world to come with all of my "friends" from the immoral sights that I have seen in this world. And how I will have the "pleasure" of introducing them to the Rabbanim there.


Kabbalistically, every time a Jew looks at a girl a certain Yichud (connection) is formed that remains until rectified. I can just see my chupa in the next world with this giant billboard. By looking at these women, you not only damage yourself but you hurt them as well. They are now on the black "Lifney Iver" list, for having caused a Jew to stumble. If, however, you use the temptation to rise to the challenge and overcome it, then these women also have a part in your renewed vigour. They will still get what they deserve, but they will also be a tinge rectified by allowing a person to renew his connection with Hashem. For example, Penina was nasty to Chana and was punished. All of her children died. However, she had a positive effect on Chana and drove her to pray with tears. She actually has some stock in the birth of Shmuel. In the next world, that has some weight.


When I see that I can help rectify these wretched women, it makes it a lot easier for me not to look, as a kind of altruism. I know that there are simpler reasons and formulas, like not staring because it insults my wife - or because it insults me - or Hashem. But nonetheless, this thought seems to help me more than others.


I know that to clean up my infested chupa I have a lot of work to do, but the Chazon Ish says that great mountains are climbed with small steps.




Do we have free choice or not?

Someone asks on the forum:

Chazal say that "everything is in the hands of heaven besides for the fear of Heaven". How does this fit in with the idea that we should just give over the fight to Hashem? Doesn't "free-choice" mean that Hashem gives the fight over to us?

"Battleworn" replies:

You asked a question that really requires a whole discussion, but for now let me try to answer in short. 

1) Our free choice is only in our "ratzon"- our "desire". We have free-will to get pulled after the desires of our body and make that our ratzon; or we can get pulled after our soul and our wisdom and make that our ratzon. 

"Hishtadlus" (practical efforts) is part of this - because if we truly want something, we will act towards it. We need to put our ratzon into action to make it real. But whether we succeed or not is only in the Hands of Hashem.

2) We often have free-choice to stay out of a situation, but once we get ourselves into the situation already, we may not have free-choice any more.

3) It goes without saying that every person's free-choice is only within certain limits, depending on his level. For example, if someone never learned a word of Torah in his life and has always been wasting his time on nothingness, he obviously doesn't have free-choice to not be mevatel Torah at all. Of course, with time he can get there, but right now there's nothing to talk about. The same applies to the Yetzer Hara. In fact, the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says explicitly that once someone got used to sinning in this area, he can't stop al pi derech hateva (i.e. by using natural means), rather only by using the power of Hashem (see this amazing peice from the Ohr Hachayim over here). When we have the wisdom to realize that the Yetzer Hara wants to destroy us and we run to Hashem to save us, then He makes a miracle for us and saves us.


Using Vows

Making Nedarim (vows) can be a very powerful tool in this struggle, and Chazal indeed encourage Nedarim for these type of tests. However, vows must be made very carefully and only for short periods of time (at first) to assure that they can be kept under all circumstances. See this page and this page of our site for advice on how to make vows safely and effectively to help in this struggle.

"Cleareyes613" wrote on the forum:

Today, I tried out a small neder (first time). I was alone in a house (b"H someone took the laptop so I didn't have internet) but there were plenty of non-Jewish magazines. The length of my neder was just for the afternoon; that I would do 25 push-ups before opening any non-Jewish material. After the fact, I think it helped keep the pestering voices out of my head pretty well!

A Bochur recently wrote:

I realized recently that I need a stronger commitment to stop dwelling on inappropriate thoughts. So right then, I made a neder (which I knew I could keep) not to allow ANY lust for 2 weeks. That means not visiting any website with any lustful intent, or even allowing any lustful thoughts to remain in my mind at any time. (I vowed that if I allow any lustful thoughts to linger, I will do 30 push ups). It really seems to be helping! On only a couple of occasions unwelcome thoughts have come to me, but because I made a neder, they cannot stay, and just like on a fast day I have no problem fasting and my stomach doesn't growl like it would on a regular morning because it "knows" it can't eat, my mind lets go of the thoughts immediately because it "knows" it can't "eat". Soon the two weeks are up and I will renew the vow for another 2 weeks.


Like Queen Esther,
Are the Tikkun For Klal Yisrael


By "Ovadia" on the forum


I would like to quote a beautiful piece, which I saw in the Sefer from Rav Shlomo Brevda Shlit"a on the story of Purim. (Below is a virtual word by word quote from Rav Brevda):

We find a startling statement in The Gemara (Megilo 13). "Esther was of a greenish complexion; however a thread of Chesed was drawn over her". (She was given a touch of grace by HaShem Yisborach which made her find favor in the eyes of all the nations and the king). 

The Vilna Gaon asks, how can the Gemara say such a thing when the Megilah states explicitly that Esther had perfect features?

The Gaon answers that originally Esther was very beautiful, however the extreme materialism surrounding her plus the lavish kindness shown to her by the Resho'im disgusted her and caused her such grief that she developed an ugly greenish complexion. However a thread of Chesed was drawn over her by HaShem Yisborach and she found favor in people's eyes. (The Gaon pushes this point by arguing that a truly beautiful person does not have to find "favor" in people's eyes).

This explains the Posuk that states "when Esther's turn to appear before the king arrived, she requested nothing to accompany her." The Midrash relates that Esther was so non-cooperative all along that Haigi was in great fear that she would be executed by the king..

Also, when Esther was taken originally from Mordechai's home to the women's quarters, the Megila states "Vatilokach Esther" which means that she was taken against her will. The Gaon notes that at the end after having months of beauty treatments, luxurious living and lavish gifts, when the time comes for her to go to the king, the Megilah again uses the same terminology "Vatilokach Esther".  She was completely unmoved by all the materialism which surrounded her, day and night for many months.

Why did HaShem yisborach put Esther in such an unusually materialistic situation, saturated with temptations and un-holiness?

The reason for this is, that this was the Tikkun for the Aveira committed by the Jews of Shushan in going to - and deriving pleasure from - the unholy Seuda of Achashveirosh.

Esther was put through a situation comparable to this unholy Seuda, which had corrupted thousands of Jews within a few hours. Her Seuda lasted not a few hours, days or weeks, but rather many months day and night. It was potentially much more dangerous and corrupting for the Jewish soul, yet never did she waver. She accomplished a giant step in rectifying the sin of those who had derived pleasures and had been corrupted by the unholy Seuda of Achashvairosh.

What remains to be said? We too are being bombarded with materialism and Nisyonos today on the level of Esther HaMalkah. May she serve as an inspiration to us all, and maybe we here on GYE will be the Tikkun for the rest of Klal Yisroel - just like she was.

Click here for some Chizuk from the Megillah by "Bardichiver".
Tips for Guarding our Eyes this Purim
1) Wear dark, non-see through sunglasses, and color the insides with permanent marker, leaving only a small hole to see through.

2) At the Purim Se'udah, make sure to sit down facing AWAY from the women. And have a Sefer to look into in between courses.

3) When out in the street, get back in the house.

4) Where a big hat that covers your eyes (most of the time).

Use the revolutionary "bionic filter" called 'Eyelids'.  After many years of painstaking research, the most gifted minds of our generation have found a way to filter the content viewed by our eyes (the most sensitive organ of our body). Teams of researchers have discovered that by training the human eyelid to close, one can effectively block-out all unwanted content. Coupled with such exercises known as squinting, and peripheral vision, mankind has found a way to bridge the gap between internet content filters, and real life sight.


Ki Be'Simcha Taitzai'u!

For with Simcha you shall go out (of your struggles)!

Print out jokes from close to 50 pages of our "Depressed Person's Chill Spot" to read over at your Purim Se'udah and get everybody ROLLING!

My short-term memory is not as sharp as it used to be. 
Also, my short-term memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

The statement below is true.
The statement above is false.  

Reality is only an illusion
that occurs due to a lack of Alcohol.

In Memoriam:
With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week. Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey", died peacefully at age 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.  They put his left leg in.  And then the trouble started.

I may be schizophrenic,
but at least I have each other.

A Freilichen Purim to one and All!

"Who's the Dirty One Here?"

An anonymous member who calls himself "Nurah B'Amram"
(His nickname and his calling "Fire" is based on a story in the Gemara Kidushin 81a, see Tool #9 of the GYE handbook) calls "FIRE" on the forum! 

Nura writes:

Recently I passed through the city of Sedom and Amorah on the Hudson. I try to minimize my visits to that lovely island, but when I do pass through there I make it a point of taking the FDR drive instead of the West side highway because I believe there is less "view" there and less billboards etc. (all those unfortunate enough to travel there can relate). 

The advertisers on these "un-holy" billboards don't spend millions of dollars for nothing - they know exactly what they are doing. I make it a practice of keeping my eyes strictly on the road and cars ahead.... Nevertheless, there were two huge-multi-story billboards at which I sorta glanced at from my peripheral vision... Perhaps because I've been in a good state with Guarding-My-Eyes for the past few months through the kindness of Hashem, I believe that I may be in heightened state of sensitivity, and I can't get these images to stop replaying in my mind!

So I'm going to YELL: 

I pray the Ribono shel Olam should douse this fire... NOW!


"Dov" responds to the cry on the forum:

Dear R' NBA (Noorah B'Amram), 

Here's a water-bucket for you, Be"H: Yesterday, walking through the very unholy-appearing NYC (from the Megabus dropoff three squirmy blocks to Penn station) and then to my parents' home in Queens, I had the peripheral vision experience you described at least 10 times. It's one thing driving around at home where I'm used to the:

  • very brief eye-closing,
  • diverting my mind to reality,
  • the surrendering of curiosity to Hashem, and
  • the choice of safer routes to avoid "trouble". 

It's an entirely different experience having the sewage poured on me as I go through that town! Now, I do believe Hashem has the "brawn" and the "brains" to save me from that too if push comes to shove, but I wasn't used to that feeling (anymore).

So, here is my share to you, NB'A:

I became aware that I was starting to feel "dirty" at some point, after getting "splashed" by a few "lust-puddles". I started to feel quite the victim. Not good. But what was worse was that I started to feel dirty. Dirt attracts only more dirt, of course. I realized that no matter how "dirty" I was, it'll do me no good at all to live in the problem. 

Then the thought occurred to me, that Chazal talk about 
"Im paga BOCH menuval zeh - if this pervert accosts you....". And with Hashem's loving help (He is wild about me, you know), it dawned on me that Chazal are calling the Yetzer Hara the "menuval"not me. I'm the "boch" who they are referring to, of course. But on a deep level, I realized that while feeling "dirty" I was actually identifying/confusing myself with the menuval!

As soon as I became aware of that, I chuckled again at how goofy we can be sometimes and I asked Hashem for help, being that I am an easily tricked man. Then we (Him and me) went on to my parent's home and had a great time with them, feeling clean as a whistle. 

He really is the best Friend one could ever ask for, no?

And I don't care how low any Yid goes; as soon as he doesn't want to be so, he is not really dirty at all! 

So if I ever feel farschmutzed (dirty) again, I guess Hashem will help me just "close my eyes" to my own silliness and help me have simple faith that I am actually a holy man with a blazing, ancient light inside, and a burning flame in his heart, walking through this "big city filled with people who don't know their right from their left"! 

Sorry about waxing poetic. Hope you get the practical suggestion.


I Don't WANT It

"Will" posted on the Forum

Shabbos was amazing. Baruch Hashem, not many struggles except for a few inappropriately dressed - so called - "tznius" women. When I would spot them in the distance, my head went down and I kept thinking, "Their mode of dress is disgusting. I will not contaminate my holy Neshama, my gift from Hashem".

I've been thinking a lot about what Rav Miller discusses in Day 4 of "Windows Of The Soul"; that we are a holy nation, and keeping our eyes in check should be done to keep ourselves holy - like we are meant to be. This has made Shmiras Einayim a lot easier for me to deal with, because I no longer view it as "combating the Yetzer Hara"... Rather, I see it as keeping myself holy because that is what Hashem created me for. Like many people have said on the forum, its not about wanting lust and running away from it; it's about never wanting lust because it repulses us. A person should not be thinking to himself, "I really want to fantasize about this woman, but I won't because it's against my morals", rather he should be thinking "That is absolutely disgusting to me".

I like this approach a lot, especially since it means that I won't be running away my entire life... I won't be walking with my head down everywhere I go until I'm 90. Hashem will have transformed me into a different person, a person who despises lust because it goes against the very grain of my essence - holiness.

Like someone else so beautifully posted recently: "I need to despise lust, without any price... even for free... even if they'd pay me...." And I beg Hashem to lead me to that holy state.


Excerpts from "Sefer Hachassidim" (173)


To see the full piece in Lashon Kodesh, click here.

Should a sin come to a person, he should think to himself that if they would decree upon him to convert he would willingly let himself be killed for Kiddush Hashem, so if he would let himself be killed - which is such a difficult test to withstand, how much more so should he not let himself sin in this far easier test! 

And if one should have fantasies in middle of prayer, he should press his big toes into the ground strongly, and lean his whole weight upon them without holding on to the wall, and this will remove from him all types of fantasies... 

... And should a sin present itself to a person, he should pray for Hashem to save him from it with all his heart; for on temporary suffering a person prays, so on eternal suffering which has no end and no measurement, how much more so should a person pray a lot!

And if one succeeds to overcome his urge and not sin, let him not give himself credit and say, "what a Tzadik I am, that I withstood this test", rather let him praise Hashem that he didn't sin, for all hearts are in Hashem's hands, as it says in Mishlei (21:1) "rivers of water, the heart of the king is in Hashem's hand, to wherever He desires he turns it", and it says in Bereishis (20:1), "and I have also withheld you from sinning to Me". 

... And the Yetzer Hara is similar to an "itch". If one continuously scratches the itch, it will bring up scars, but if he holds back from scratching the itch will go away.


The Four Parshos


    Parshas Shekalim: "Weigh" Your Actions

    Parshas Zachor: "Remember" (make a cheshbon hanefesh)

    Parshas Parah: "Purify" Yourself

    Parshas HaChodesh: If you do the above, you will be like "NEW"!




Parshas Parah (1)


"MosheW" posted on the forum:


This coming Shabbos is a big one: Parshas Para. The seforim say that not only did the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) spiritually clean you up back in the day, but it continues to do so each year when we read the parsha. So just sit back a feel those winds of kedusha.




Parshas Parah (2)


"Yosef Hatzadik" posted on the forum:


The eastern wall of the Har Habayis was shorter than the other three so that the Kohen who was preparing the Parah Adumah could look at the Pischei Shel Heichel while spraying the blood. As Rashi says, Ro'eh U'mischaven k'neged pischei shel heichel.

This can be alluding to anyone who is being osek in preparing teharah for tumah. He should concentrate on seeing / imagining the Beis Hamikdash. How so? Perhaps as follows:


I heard a p'shat in the words of shmone esrei, V'sechzena eineinu b'shuvchah letziyon berachamim, we ask Hashem that our eyes may see his return to Yerushalayim. But if we don't GUARD OUR EYES, how can we expect to see the Shechinah with those eyes?

So concentrating on preparing our eyes to see Hashem's return to the Beis HaMikdash is part of making a teharah for ourselves.


To Glorify G-d Through Pleasure


We recently sent out an e-mail (#363) describing how the fascination with lust cannot co-exist with the more subtle fascinations, such as the beauty in nature, taking joy in one's family, and the spiritual beauty that can be found in Torah and Avodas Hashem.


Someone replied by e-mail that perhaps when it comes to marital relations, the two types of "fascinations" can co-exist.


To clarify this point, I would like to bring a beautiful comment from the Holy Sefer, Noam Elimelech from Rav Elimelech of Lizensk - who's Yartzeit is today, the 21st of Adar.


He writes that Yaakov Avinu's attribute was that of Tiferes, meaning "Awesome Beauty". This implies that Yaakov Avinu had the ability to be awestruck by G-dly beauty in all he saw. For example, the Noam Elimelech continues, "When a person eats a tasty food, he should say to himself, "if this food is so good in taste, is it not obvious that all the good and pleasantness is to be found in the Creator--may his name be blessed--without any limit or boundary!"..."and this is the secret of the Pasuk "and Yaakov kissed Rachel".

How uplifting it is to try to apply this midah of Yaakov Avinu to ourselves. Whenever we see something that normally turns our hearts away from Hashem, we need to tell ourselves, "If this woman is so beautiful and I desire her so much, how much more beautiful it must be to connect with G-d - who is the infinite source of all beauty, pleasantness and pleasure!


And indeed when it comes to marital relations, one can use this concept to both enjoy the beauty and pleasure in the act, but at the same time, use it as a means to be "mispa'er" (glorify) Hashem, who is the true source of all pleasure, beauty and good in this world!