For an enlarged, easier to read index click here . To "google search" this site, scroll to the bottom of this page. (This site is best viewed with "Firefox")

(Tips: F11 key enables full screen viewing & Ctrl-F to search the index)


CHIZUK-----nichshal on the internet 2

Aquilus Posted - 18 April 2007 9:31

Hello guys,

I have been experiencing internet pornography addition for over ten years and have been in denial about it half of that time.

Suffice it to say that over the years I have been feeling the same things as you guys and I have found no solution.

As a somewhat knowledgeable programmer and sysadmin at this point, I must say that there is no filtering solution out there that would work for me. Coveted Eyes does not go through material for many things including some file sharing.

Even if it did, I go through so much information that it would be difficult for anyone looking through it to find offending files unless then knew exactly what to look for and I will always find ways to buy-pass the issues anyhow.

Chapter 121 (I think it is) in Shulchan Aruch has haunted me from childhood. I would go through pornography "download and purge" sprees after which I felt worthless as a Jew. In order to avoid some of the pain, I went into denial for the rest of my waking hours but the knowledge that my "education" of sexual depravity was complete continued to haunt me.

At the end of every Yom Kippur, I felt that my iniquities were not nearly forgiven and I would need to fast and afflict myself for many years for G-d to ever consider forgiving me. I felt that nothing I could ever do would bring penance for what I was doing.

In later years my sorrow turned to anger and irritation. What right do Tannaim and Gedolim that lived in a completely different society have to tell me how sinful I am. There were no 'Victoria Secret' billboards posted on their highways. There was no pornography industry or file-sharing clients that promised to deliver sexual depravity on-demand.

Prostitution certainly existed but one would have to 'get up' and go to some dark corner and find it, a far cry from anonymously clicking several icons.

People would get married at the age of eighteen and women knew the meaning of 'modesty.' In such a society, the sages certainly had the right to heavily criticize masturbation and compare it to murder.

Our society paints a picture that these people could probably not comprehend. I work with computers daily and have three sitting in front of me at this very moment. If I want to download pornography within the next fifty seconds, I have over ten different ways of doing it, I kid you not!

As the future progresses, media permeability will only increase and the methods to transport it will unify. Already, the Internet and POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) are merging through Voice over IP. TV and Internet are merging through digital on-demand programming. In a decade, a telephone, TV, and computer may very well be a single device. What are we to do if Moshiach does not come by then?

Additionally, we are all familiar with the Internet-on-cell-phones problem. The scary part of that is that within the next five years, the cell phone and the PDA will become a completely integrated. Free WiFi networks will go up in most major cities and the internet, in its thousand incarnations and forms will become inescapable in all but the farthest reaches of the earth.

What can be said about Chapter 121 and mental purity in light of this?

The world has accepted sex as a legitimate way to sell products years ago. Models showcase everything from digital cameras to tractors daily. How are we to withhold our desires in such a world?

Again and again I download pornography; again and again I delete it. What is the point? It will be at my fingertips whenever I want it and not all the willpower in the world can stop a few small strands of muscle in the wrist from flexing five or six times when in front of a keypad.

The spread of information is inevitable, in the next generation I fear that zera avoidance may be seen in a similar light as Tikun Chatozos - unattainable.

So please, what are we hopeless addicts to do?

How are we to believe that G-d loves us and take joy in mitzvos and living all the while we are committing the "gravest prohibition the Torah?"

How are we to love G-d when we are subject to see depravities that our great-grandfathers did not dream about (well save for the Frankists but that's another story altogether)?

How does G-d judge us? We did not ask for these trials and miseries! We did not request to be born in the ‘information era!’ How can he forgive us once we have done these things and KNOW that we will do them again?

How can we even relate to G-d in our current state?

How much 'potential life' is equivalent to actual life?

Unless the number is in the trillions...

We need answers! We need clear and simple ones, and we need them NOW!

Aquilus Posted - 19 April 2007 6:32

Thanks for the support JewishBird and everyone else who replied.

I think that the most important issue that has to be addressed is how we addicts can view ourselves in light of modern day trials.

The thing that haunts me and others to no end is the harrowing criticism in chapter 151 of the Sulchan Aruch which only brings me and others to depression (which ironically increases our likelihood of committing this transgression even more often).

I think that I speak for many others when I say that we are already so miserable about this issue that any further Mussar will only worsen things.

I think that what is needed is Chizuk, empathy, and some description of how we can see ourselves in perspective of the modern day situation.

MODERATOR Posted - 19 April 2007 7:48


First, you should know that we do not get judged by Hashem based on what we accomplish but rather based on how hard we try. So if you succeed but don’t try hard, you don’t get as much reward as if you failed but tried harder - l'fum tzaara agra. Your neshama, in this way, is kind of like your body. If you life 100 pounds effortlessly, you don’t gain any muscle, but if you lift 50 pounds but it’s hard, you gain. Your body doesn’t know how much weight you lift - only how hard you try.

So too with your Neshama. It’s the effort that makes you great. When the Rambam says everyone can be as great as Moshe Rabbeinu he doesn’t mean we can all be as great a prophet as him or that we can all potentially split the yam suf - he means we can all be as righteous as him, that is, we can all put in our maximum effort, our total effort, the way he did. The results of that effort are up to Hashem.

Rav Chaim Vital once asked his Rebbe, the Arizal, how in the world will we be able to get Moshiach to come if the great Tannaim and Amoraim couldn’t do it? If their great Mitzvos and Torah did not accomplish the Geulah how can our puny action do it?

The Arizal answered that all actions are valued according to the environment in which they take place, and because nowadays (i.e. his days) the world is so low, a little mitzvah that is done today counts much more than a much greater mitzvah that was done in the days of the Tanaim.

And so, Aquilis, you want to know how we survive in what you call the "information age" (and "information" in this context is loshon nekiyah)? The answer is, one little act of good today is worth far far more than much much greater acts in the days of the Arizal.

This means, Aquilis, that if you try to refrain from giving in to this taavah, and you fail and fail and fail, and then ONE TIME you pass, then that little one time means so much in the eyes of Hashem - much more than the successes of many other of the lesser nisyonos we go through - because of what it took for you to do it.

When you get up to shamayim, maybe you think that they’ll be a maelstrom of hellfire waiting to fry your soul. What you will find, however, is an army of malachei hashareis waiting to greet you at the Shaarei Shamayim, and escort you to see a humongous monument - a monument as big as a universe, the most awesome structure you can imagine - and they will tell you:

"This was made in your honor. Because of that time that you didn’t download."

Your actions create worlds. Like the Arizal said in the Zmiros for Shalosh Seudos: V'ilain milayah y'hon lirkiayah. Those worlds are monuments to our good deeds in the next world. The effort that you put in to resisting this taavah are creating universes. Whether you succeed or not, that is up to Hashem. But that one time - that one time! - that you didn’t download, for that you will be famous in the next world.

People say that Hashem does not give a Nisayon that we cannot pass. That is a myth. It is incorrect. What it does say is that ain hakadosh baruch hu ba betrunya im briyosav - which means nothing more than Hashem is not unreasonable with us. And if we have a Nisayon that we cannot pass, then we are not expected to - we are considered "anusim" (see Rashi Kesuvos 51b) "Yetzer Albesha").

I don’t know if this nisayon is impossible to resist or just incredibly difficult (and culpability also depends on whether you caused the nisayon to become impossible in the first place) - but that should not be your focus. The focus is on the effort to resist, whether you succeed or not.

Also, we are not supposed to think about our aveiros all that much - it gets depressing.

The seforim comment on the posuk "chatasai negdi tamid" - My sins are always before me, that "tamid" in this context does not mean constantly, but rather occasionally, but in a consistent manner, as in "korbon tomid."

There are times when we are supposed to take stock in our sins - on yom kippur, erev rosh chodesh, on occasions such as when suffering happens, etc etc - but because focusing too much on our aveiros gets us down, we are instructed not to do so. In general, we have to focus on the positive, on our efforts, on our accomplishments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Moderator, I think your approach is wrong. R' Chaim Volozhiner says clearly the only way to fight this Ta'avah is with Torah. A person whose head is filled with Torah will not be Nichshal. This is based on the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Issurei Biah.
An interesting observation is that by Chassidim Yosef HaTzadik is held up as the main teacher in this subject. He was someone who was never nichshal. This is untrue. The Gemoro says that Yosef HaTzadik was almost oiver with Eishes Potifar and stopped himself at the last minute and did defile himself for which he was punished. However, the Sechar he got for controlling himself at the same time he defiled himself is Ben Poras Yosef. This is a tremendous chizuk for someone to know to respect himself if he turns off the computer even a minute before he is satisfied with the Aveiro, that even though he has done an Aveiro, his Sechar is also tremendous.