Day 25: Remember Your Heritage
On the train this morning, I found myself surrounded by immodesty. It felt like the whole world had conspired to weaken my Yirat Shamayim, and I realized that I was losing the battle.
I wasn't strong enough to control my eyes. So I tried to think of everything I could to combat this impulse: I thought about Mike and Gail, and how their marriage fell apart when he lost control of his eyes. I thought about Eddie and Julie and Raymond, and how I must be strong for their sakes as well as mine.
Once I was thinking of my family, my mind conjured images of my grandfather, zichrono l'vrachah. I could see him perfectly in my mind's eye, sitting on the back porch in that regal blue bathrobe of his. What a magnificent person he had been! He treasured his life of Torah and mitzvot so much that he had fled from his anti-Semitic hometown as a boy to preserve it. He used to tell us a lot about those days. Though he never lectured us, there was something about him that demanded respect for the purity of his life and the genuineness of every mitzvah he did. He got that from his father, I suppose. He had the warmest smile.
I realized that I come from a long line of noble Jews. That thought suddenly gave me a sense of dignity and I somehow felt that the temptations around me were not worthy of my attention. So I pulled a book out of my briefcase, one I carry for this very purpose. I had chosen it one day when I realized that there are circumstantial traps like this one. It helped me distract myself from the people around me.
Grandpa would have been proud.
These e-mails are excerpts taken from the book "Windows of the Soul" by Rabbi Zvi Miller of the Salant Foundation.