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I choose honesty in Gehinom over dishonesty in Gan Eden

Dov writes to someone on the forum:

GYE Corp. Wednesday, 01 February 2012

You asked about SA's use of the term "Lust". You are bringing up chazals to understand the term, rather than using examples from your own personal experience - with your own problem. I'm all for chazal, but if we are trying to uncover what is really going on within us, it would seem that being honest with ourselves is far more important than what a sefer says.

If folks say this borders on apikorsus, then my response to them is that I'll gladly choose honesty in Gehinom over dishonesty in Gan eden, any day. Why? Because the only thing that saved me from my personal gehinom in addiction - and it was gehinom (I need no chazal or sefer to tell me that) - was honesty. And in my case, I needed also a chevra (group) and a sponsor to help me do that. I found that in SA.

Besides, chazal tell us that this world is an olam hafuch (upside-down) - those who are high here, are low there. To me, that includes us when our frumkeit that is external - only in our brains, like Eisav's big head. Trust me, when we inject some shameless personal honesty into the mix, Torah becomes incredibly more powerful as a force in our lives. V'anavim yirshu aretz. The one's who seem low on the outside, are really high. Kapeesh?

On the other hand, being frummer did me no good, it was doomed to forever be a half-measure (and as they say in AA, "Half measures availed us nothing") because - after all - I was the one defining and enacting the "frumkeit". (Torah is like water, it takes the shape of the vessel it's in. So if the vessel is crooked, well...)

Do you get what I mean?

What do chazal mean when they tell us: "Derech Eretz Kodmah L'Torah"? To me, this is exactly what they are talking about.

Don't look to the Torah to save you when you are insane. How can you expect to succeed while you'll be the one applying and measuring it? The basis of all frumkeit is personal responsibility. Darf men zeyn a mentch, ershtence (we need to be a mentch first). The yidden at Har Sinai had to be healed before they could accept the Torah, right? Yidden need to have some basic mental health - specifically self-honesty - to use Torah successfully as instructions for living. Otherwise it's known, but not applied. Hey, kind of like in our case, right? The typical GYE-Jew: a frum yid who just can't "get frum" in this area... drives us nuts, doesn't it?

In fact, a true shoteh is totally patur from the mitzvos. We in addiction are not true shotim, only we are full of "ruach shtus". We are not p'turim, but we seem doomed to fail at it. This insanity is clearly discussed in all 12 step literature.

If you want to talk about it more, I'll gladly share my insanity with you (that sounds funny, doesn't it?).

So, I ask you (as chazal put it): how can a prisoner extract himself from prison?Chazal inform us that he can't. And who is more of a chavush (prisoner) than an addict? No one, to me.

Isn't the self-application of Torah exactly what all of us do for years and years until we make enough of a mess of things that we finally reach out for help, as you are?

Well, keep reaching for help. It's here.

Now, maybe we can talk about lust a bit.. ;-)