Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What does being a nut have to do with yiddishkeit?

There was some discussion on the forum about where the idea of "addiction" is possibly mentioned in Chazal and/or various s'farim. Dov responds:

by Dov, GYE, Kanesher (See all authors)

You may be completely different than I, but maybe not, so I'll share:

Facing the facts about myself is basically the only thing that has been of value to me in getting free - one day at a time. And to do that, I need to be explicit and totally open with other (safe) people.

By contrast, understanding how my problem and its solution fits into my understanding of Torah, was of no use use at all in changing my behavior.

If it mattered enough to stop me, then I would not have habitually and frequently done so many things that I knew were wrong in the first place! After all, I knew in my heart that it was wrong from day 1.

For example, I read Yesod Yosef (the one that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch refers to, not the one written by the Rebbe of the Kav Hayashar), and knowing the issur and its damage and gravity helped me know exactly how guilty, confused, and afraid of punishment to be. That was all. Those things got me good and desperate.... to act out some more, in order to feel better.

Actually, maybe it stopped me twice. And some people out there will say that "the whole thing was worth it even just to stop you from doing it those two times!,". To them I say: Very nice, but tell that to the devastated wife and wrecked family that developed over years of sick behavior and a hidden double life. Those scars may never heal, for generations. It's no consolation for them that your Olam Haba is a bit better because "at least Tatty or Mommy were spared from acting out a few times...". They (and we) need recovery, today. Period.


"Kanesher" responds:

I think that Dov is trying to tell us that our focus is wrong. Our "whole question" should be elsewhere; IY"H after a year of recovery, we can discuss the halachic and haskafchik ins and outs. But now, our focus needs to be on the nature of our addiction, not the fire and brimstone. Seriously, FORGET ABOUT the rest. Just recover.

Is that what you mean, Dov?

Dov responds:

You're right on, as far as I am concerned.

A frum yid, a lamdan, starts doing something that is really, really stupid. He does it once. He does it again. He regrets it each time and feels terrible about it. Slowly he makes this stupid mistake fifty times and it starts to get expanded into something even more stupid. When he thinks it over, he realizes that he is, in fact, acting like a total idiot. He therefore hides his behavior and only does it in the utmost secrecy and privacy. He continues acting like a jackass for ten years and finds out that he'd better not let his wife get wind of it, for it'd mess their marriage up a great deal. He is violating trust and undermining his own self-respect by acting in this immature and idiotic way, but he finds that as much as he tries, he cannot succeed at stopping. He figures he must just be a moron. After all, he is doing the same really dumb stuff habitually. And he can't stop!

You'd agree that he's got some kind of major mental problem. Seriously, no?

Would you say that this fellow has a problem that is dealt with in s'forim? Mishlei spends a lot of time telling us not to be jerks. Have you checked it out? It also talks a lot about alcoholism, womanizing, gambling, raging and lusting. It doesn't matter if it's in a sefer. After all, don't you feel that doing all - or any - of these things is, in fact, just plain stupid?

Yet we do them, anyway. Even though these things are stupid, and we are smart.

Or are we?

If you find that you keep doing this stuff even though it's stupid, then what does being a "nut" have to do with yiddishkeit at all? That is what I'd like to know.

There are plenty of s'forim that discuss these issues, and there are even some that outline a program like the 12-Steps. But to me, the more relevant question may be, why is there no group movement of people in Yiddishkeit to deal with these issues?


We respond to Dov:

Good question, Dov. Well, maybe the time has come... Maybe people like you, me, and the rest of the good folks at GYE will help answer this need one day. Perhaps...

Rabbosai, we CAN make a world-wide revolution. But to do that, we need YOU.

If we fix ourselves, we have fixed the world.

With G-d's help, one person at a time, we will change the tide.

Someone told me a nice vort yesterday. Why does it say in Al Hanissim: "You (Hashem) revenged THEIR revenge"? Shouldn't it say "you revenged YOUR revenge"? After all, they were doing it for Hashem's sake! Answers the Chidah, that the Chashmona'yim felt that a life without Torah and Mitzvos was not worth living at all. It was not just for "Hashem". They felt that their OWN lives were at stake!

And that is why all you good folks at GYE, who understand and have experienced the pain and scars of the nisyonos of our generation, are the most qualified to fight this war of Hashem. We are standing off against an entire world full of lust-glorification, but we are fighting for our very own LIVES. And when Hashem sees that it is a matter of life-and-death for us, he will step in and give over the POWERFUL into the hands of the WEAK.

As Dov once said: "I don't care what 'lav' suicide is. I don't want it for other reasons!"

When Hashem sees that we want to stop - and help other Yidden stop as well - because we recognize that continuing these behaviors is suicide, then Hashem will step in and make miracles for us!

GYE Corp.