Monday, 26 December 2011

When Are Our Prayers Really Answered?

by Dov (See all authors)

Someone writes to Dov:

A paradox: After I have acted out, do I say to myself "your intensity in davening is just a cover up, just be normal"? But then I feel that I am being callous about the fall, which is the reason for the intensity; it is a sort of statement to HaShem that I know that I have been bad and I am being serious about it.


Dov Replies:

If you are certain that you really could stop if you tried harder, then more power to you. But if you are like me and come to see that you are simply unable to successfully stop - and that anything less than stopping completely will ruin your life, then you will have to accept that you are not bad, at all .... but ill. Very ill. I believe be'emunah sh'leima that I have a disease that by all appearances is chronic, fatal, and terminal. Its symptoms are an allergy to lust and fantasy, an obsession with it, and a tendency to gravitate toward it even though it will destroy my marriage, job, standing in the community and olam haba. I am in serious trouble.

But am I soooo bad - evil - that I prefer these things? Am I mechaven limrod Bo(intention to rebel against Him)? No. That I know. I am a nice and good-hearted man... that's why my habit has me so upset in the first place! But it has no bearing on making me "strong enough" to stop.... cuz I am not, for some reason. I am an addict.

If this does not describe you, then as I said before, more power to you and Yivorech'cha Hashem! But if it is you too, then I hope you will quit looking at yourself in an untrue way - that you are bad. Cuz if you are seeing sheker, you will not get Emess

The question is, if we say to HaShem that we are deeply sorry even though we Know that it is going to happen again, is that meaningless?

Not to be cruel nor apikorsish, c"v, my feeling is that since Emess is chosamo shel HaKB"H (the seal of G-d), the sincerity of a tefillah may not matter as much as the Truth of it. In other words: Why do so many of us not get help from Hashem when we call out to Him and end up acting out on lust over and over anyway? And by the same token, how is it that so many guys in recovery of some sort tell us that Hashem always answers and helps them? What's up with that?

The answer might be that until one has an accurate and honest perspective of exactly what their prognosis or disease really is, their tefillos are actually something like, "Hashem, please help me stop so that I will never actually have to give it up!" or, "I want to be a kadosh - like the tzadikim, so save me from this masturbation and that porn image I saw and can't get out of my mind now - and I promise I will try to be good next time!"... Gevalt! I have been there a hundred times!!

"Saving" us then would certainly just worsen our problem and our prideful and misguided belief that we do not need to make real changes and that we can keep on living the same... Then it'll be curtains for sure.

Yes, Hashem really loves us that much.