For You are our Father
Dear brothers and sisters, fellow fighters.
It's painful to be a fighter. I know firsthand. But it's also a part of ourselves which will ultimately give us so much inner strength, sensitivity to others, and hopefully real joy.
Today, after two weeks of abstinence from masturbation; two weeks at the height of triumph, with the feeling of holiness and happiness that comes with self-control, I told myself that I was a holy Neshama, a Yid - that I would not allow this to overtake me and destroy me, that I would not give into this no matter what. In Yiddish there's an expression said in regard to the concept of Mesirus Nefesh: אזוי און ניט אנדערש, roughly translated as "no way." Abstinence from Aveira is Mesirus Nefesh. It should not be taken lightly. Mesirus Nefesh means I put myself aside for Hashem, for truth and holiness. And that is exactly what we do, each and every time we abstain.
These two weeks I felt amazing. I felt like I was in control, that when I thought about my marriage I could breathe again, and think of myself as healthy and normal and on a journey to recovery.
That was until today. I crashed. I'm sure you all the know the actual heartwrenching pain that is involved in the moment - between the decision to give in or not to give in. I've had times where I almost cried not only after, but as, I gave in. In the moment you don't see logic so clearly and everything goes dark. I literally told myself out loud "No! I'm not doing it!" And then somehow a few minutes later, "I'm doing it, Hashem, I'm giving in." And then it was over and no matter how much my therapist prepared me for this moment, I still felt terrible. More than terrible, I felt a deep fear. The fear of being an 18-year-old person who knew that they would soon have to check themselves into a 12-step program.
Sometimes after I would fall, I wouldn't be able to daven. I would feel like such a hypocrite, such an unholy hypocrite. While I am wrong for thinking that, I'm right in the sense that sinning does numb our sensitivity to G-dliness. But this morning was different. I felt a deep closeness to Hashem like never before. I wasn't angry at Hashem and actually felt a sense of gratitude for Him having allowed me to win and to triumph, and to know that I could do it so many times. I had seen such a glimpse of truth and closeness these two weeks, one that could never be lost. But I was scared. Like a child crying out to a father I cried out "Tatty, I'm scared. Help me." And then the tears came.
"Shem Yisroel, Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad!" I imagined Moshe Rabbeinu screaming these words, imploring Bnei Yisroel, "Listen, dear Yidden, this is not what it's about! It's not about the lies and the garbage that the whole world feeds us on a daily basis. It's not about the Shmutz that we run to because the whole world runs to it, calling it 'normal and healthy.'" I thought about how many people are confused. I thought about having been Zoche to spend Purim in Yerushalayim. I cried as I asked Hashem for Moshiach "Why is it that you conceal yourself so? Do you know how much it hurts us? Why is it that there are so many people in your holiest city confused about what Purim is - who think that it's a time for getting drunk and losing their guard. Why is it that even the old city is filled with these people and the only people who recognize your oneness are the few people standing by your wall? Help us. Get us out of here."
I am still a little scared. But I know that I will get out of this. Fully. Completely. That I will heal and be able to hopefully heal others.
We can do it. Hashem is with us. We were the ones "Zoche" to be living in the generation before Moshiach who were entrusted with battling the hardest of challenges, many of them very significant to the time right before Moshiach, signs that we really are in the depths of darkness and need to and will get out. Hashem gets so much Nachas from seeing us win. If Hashem is with us and we try our hardest, we will succeed and bring Moshiach.
On a bit of a random note, I would like to suggest that everyone connect themselves to a Tzadik, any Tzadik. A Tzadik is one way to connect to G-d on a very deep level. I do have is the gift of being connected to a Tzadik who gives me strength and clarity. I very strongly feel that by doing this one gets something that he can't get by going straight to Hashem, and that is real, tangible relatability. Connecting to and relating to a Tzadik who relates to Hashem in a real and personal way will help us truly relate to Hashem in a real and personal way.
Please G-d, may we all merit to stand before you with our full and complete holy selves intact and be able to leap beyond these boundaries and completely defy all limitations. A Yid is not limited to anything. L'chaim, dear brothers and sisters. We have the strength. We have the clarity of being Yidden. We have Hashem Himself.
We can do it.