Focusing On Who We Are
Between seeing everything that we shouldn't do and living in a environment that's contrary and antithetical to what Yiddishkeit is all about (and learning that we shouldn't do all of that), what are we left with to keep us strong?
The Pasuk says, "Kedoshim Tih'u, Ki Kadosh Ani" - "you should be holy because I, Hashem, am Holy": the ultimate peak of holiness is the conscious recognition that we are an extension of Hashem and we were created in His image.
You're a prince and son of His Highness, the Royal King of the entire existence.
Modesty and tznius is not about not doing this or not doing that, its about understanding who we are and what our connection is to Hashem. Guarding our eyes and thoughts are an external manifestation of this, because internally we know who we are and what we mean to Hashem.
Only when we realize who we are and where we come from can we understand how we don't belong to such lowly base and animalistic impulses.
Perhaps this is the deeper connection between this week's parsha and this weeks pirkei Avos.
We read chapter 3 in Pirkei Avos, Ethics of Our Fathers, and it starts off by saying:
1. Akavia the son of Mahalalel would say: Reflect upon three things and you will not come to the hands of transgression. Know from where you came, where you are going, and before whom you are destined to give a judgement and accounting. From where you came--from a putrid drop; where you are going--to a place of dust, maggots and worms; and before whom you are destined to give a judgement and accounting--before the supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.
This order comes to teach us an amazing teaching. Its actually two perspectives on life. The Yetzer Tov makes you ask yourself and gives you a statement of conviction at the same time: Know from where you came (ayin in hebrew means nothing, we come from a place that's higher than we can understand, the Holy Jewish soul, our roots also came from the holy forefathers), where you are going (we are going to Olam Haba and Moshiach's times where well once again see all the Tzadikim and Hashems greatness will be revealed), and before whom you are destined to give a judgement and accounting (your Father in Heaven who is infinitely merciful and loving).
But the Yetzer Hora, (evil inclination) attempts to remind you how earthly and animalistic you are and says:
From where you came--from a putrid drop; where you are going--to a place of dust, maggots and worms; and before whom you are destined to give a judgement and accounting--before the supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.
The evil inclination usually gets you to focus on how much of a corporeal entity you are and that you have impulses and instincts and usually gets you to stop after the first two questions and makes you halt at how you're formed of matter and that "hey, you might as well live it up, we are all animals."
The Yetzer Tov makes you think about your Neshama your holy Jewish spark, your Yetzer Hora makes you think about your body.
Cultivating the good and more positive side of ourselves is more powerful than focusing on our shortcomings.
I highly doubt that the staff at the White House need to be constantly reminded that they are in the President's house and how they should behave and dress because of who they represent, but imagine their self esteem because of where they work!
All the more so we, who represent and share a deep connection to Hashem Echad, the One and Only!