Monday, 21 May 2012

Day 22: Realize That "Private" Flaws Will Be Revealed

Part 1/3 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by Miller, Rabbi Zvi (See all authors)

Wasn't Mike's problem unusual? Do I need to worry about extremes?

Mike and Gail were married and lived in a vibrant observant community. They both came from tra­ditional Orthodox families. Their goals were to build a Jewish home which reflected classic Torah ideals.

But just a few short years after they were married, Gail realized that Mike was viewing improper websites. Instinctively, she felt revolted and upset by this, and their relationship became strained. The couple decided to go for counseling, but Mike was not receptive to the advice of­fered by the counselor. Making matters even worse, Mike eventually stopped going to shul in the mornings. He showed little interest in maintaining the sanctity of their home or in strengthening their children's Torah education. Their family structure became completely unraveled.

It was painfully clear to Gail that she and her husband were no longer compatible. She did not want his influ­ence in the house for her own sake as well as for the sake of their children. Not long after, Mike and Gail ended their marriage.

This true account (names changed) demonstrates how far "the eye" can lead a person from Torah values. The Talmud teaches that a person is led on the path that he truly wishes to go. If a person desires good, he will be inspired to do good. If he desires base things, he will be motivated towards unfavorable behavior. In Mike's case, his desire to look at improper images intensified until it became an obsession that eventually overwhelmed him.

Initially, he rationalized that his interest in the websites was "normal." He had no idea how viewing these sites weakened his soul, how little by little his inborn kedushah gave way, and tumah filled the vacuum. For quite a while, he was able to fake being a committed, observant Jew. Eventually, though, his emunah was affected and he became lax in observance. Subconsciously, he was still trying to rationalize his behavior, and he became inwardly cynical about Judaism. At this point, it became to clear to Gail what was happening, but she felt helpless. Still in denial, Mike rebuffed her efforts to discuss his problem. It wasn't until she insisted on a divorce, that he realized that his life was in shambles.