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CHIZUK-----dealing with bad influences


smilehi41 Posted - 13 August 2000 16:31

Another question pertaining to the same subject matter: What do you do if you have a friend who is a negative influence that you CAN NOT stop being friends with for at least another year - do to simple things like living in the same house....?

You can't stop being friends with her for at least a year but you know that she is negatively influencing in basic Yiddishkeit things like Tznius. What do you do? How can you protect yourself and still be friends with this girl?

MODERATOR Posted - 14 August 2000 14:25

If possible, you should sit down with this girl and explain to her that you want to be a certain way, and ask her to help you stay the way you want. Do not mention that she is the bad influence, just tell her that you're not 100% strong, and you need her help as a friend to do what you want. Assuming this girl is a real friend, and she is not bitter or angry about religion, she will probably help you.

Even girls who are not themselves perfectly Tzniusdig will often help their friends in their own Tznius who come to them asking them for such help. Sometimes they even feel guilty about what they are doing deep down, and by helping someone else be tzniusdik they feel "redeemed", and that they have some "connection" to tznius, even though they are not willing to apply that connection to themselves. This is called using the Yetzer Horah against itself.

A side-benefit of this is that the girls who help others in their struggles even though they themselves are not willing to struggle thereby often make it easier for themselves to become more tzniusdik. They get a sense of satisfaction from helping someone else be good, and they begin to want that sense of satisfaction in helping themselves be good.

So try that, if it is possible.

If not, the next best thing is at least to make a deal with the girl to please not influence you, and if she sees that you are being influenced to let you know.

That's one half of it. The other half is to fortify yourself by balancing this bad influence with other, good influences. Surround yourself with friends who dress properly, and among whom you would feel out of place dressing improperly.

Please don't feel unfortunate that you need others to "control" your tznius habits. your in your growing stages now, and the need for such "safeguards" is altogether proper for you.

And not only for you. We're all human beings, and believe it or not, even adults need such safeguards, especially where it comes to Tznius. Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld ZT"L writes in his responsa "Simlas Chaim" that Tznius is the area where we have, and need, the most siyagim and safeguards, and he is not talking about teenagers.

QueenMalka Posted - 14 August 2000 18:59

I don't understand why people are willing to be so weak that they need tricks and other people to help them resist bad influences. If someone is influencing you badly and the only way you can resist is to have somebody else help you, then you really are no better than if you would be influenced, because it is not really you that is being good, you don't have the power to be good, so you're not really good, right?

If you can't do it yourself, then don't bother doing it at all, because it's fake anyway.

MODERATOR Posted - 14 August 2000 19:32


You’re not correct, but even if you were, it wouldn’t matter anyway.

It doesn’t matter because if someone is going to harm himself or herself and you could stop him or her, would you not do it because they can’t stop themselves? If you were, let’s say, going to shoot yourself and a friend could stop you, would it not be insane for them to say, “If she can’t do it herself, I’m not going to stop her”? It’s the prevention of damage that we are concerned about, not only the self-discipline level of the individual.

But you’re not right. We all need siyagim and gedorim, safeguards. Even the biggest Tzdikim. We are all human, and yes, all have our weaknesses. In fact, our ability to create safeguards is part of our strength.

It’s like the guy who wanted to see if Hashem exists, so he went to the top of the roof and decided to jump. “If Hashem exists,” he said to himself, “He will save me. If not, that proves he doesn’t exist.”

A passer-by sees him there, on the edge, and calls the police. And officer inches as close to the edge as he can safely tread, and stretches out his hand.

“Take my hand,” the policeman says.

“No. I want to see if Hashem exists!”

Next, the fire department tries to get him off the roof, with a cherry picker. A fireman in the “basket” swings over to him. “Get in here”, he yells.

“No! Go away! I need to see if Hashem exists!”

Then, the Coast Guard helicopter arrives, and lets down a rope ladder right in the jumper’s face. “Grab the ladder” he hears from the pilot of the helicopter.

“No! He screams back. “Go away! I need to see if Hashem exists.”

So he jumps, and . . . splat!

In shamayim, he meets Hashem. “Hashem!” he says, “You exist! Why didn’t you save me?”

“I tried,” Hashem answered, “but you wouldn’t let Me”.

“I wouldn’t let You?? I was waiting for you to save me! How did you try?”

“Well, first I sent you a policeman, and you wouldn’t listen. Then I sent you the fire department, and you wouldn’t listen. I even sent a Coast Guard chopper and you refused to listen!”

So, too, when we ask Hashem to give us the ability to avoid bad influences, He can give it to us in many ways. Maybe He will give us the internal strength to resist on our own. But maybe He will send us a good friend, complete with instructions: “Knei lechah chaver”, “Acquire for yourself a good friend.” And when we come to Shamayim, and we meet Him, he is going to ask us why we allowed ourselves to be negatively influenced.

“But I tried my hardest,” we will say. “I tried my best to resist. I’m only human. Why didn’t You save me from the bad influence?”

“I tried, but you wouldn’t let me,” Hashem will say, “I sent you good friends, but you wouldn’t take their hands.”

The Satmar Rebbe ZT”L explains why bad influences are so difficult to resist.

We all know that nothing happens in the world is part of Hashem’s plan.

But there is an exception.

Hashem allows human being, baalei bechirah, the freedom to do what they want, even if by doing so they will be ruining Hashem’s plan. The Zohar and the Ohr HaChaim explain that this is why Yosef’s brothers, when they wanted to “try” him to see if G-d wants him to die, lowered him into a pit as opposed to just plain slaying him themselves. They say that if a human being kills someone, that does not prove that Hashem really prefers that the victim be dead, since Hashem allows human beings, through their free Will, to override His plans.

But the snakes and scorpions in the pit only do what Hashem decrees. And if the snakes and scorpions kill Yosef, that shows that Hashem prefers he be dead.

If so, says the Satmar Rav ZT”L, we know that Hashem does not give a person a “test’ too difficult for him to handle. But that’s only what Hashem wants. If human beings can cause physical damage to a person beyond what Hashem would want, so too they can cause spiritual damage to a person beyond what Hashem would want.

So even if Hashem would not want a person to go through a certain level of temptation because it would be too much for him to resist, a human being, a bad friend, with his free Will, would be able to tempt a person beyond what they can resist.

So the only 100% guarantee against bad influences is to stay away from them. Or to balance them out with good influences.

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