Guilt vs. Shame
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1240  
In Today's Issue
Announcements: Upcoming London Trip
Image of the Day: Eizehu Gibor?
Announcements: Planning Israel Workshop
Attitude & Perspective: Principle 18: Guilt vs. Shame
Daily Dose of Dov: Why Dov Sometimes Uses Crass Language
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Upcoming London Trip

To all GYE Members in the UK,

The heads of GYE will be visiting London on a short fundraising trip be”h from June 1-3. We have a few Rabbanim behind us in London B”Hwho would like to help, such as Dayan Shmuel Simons and Rav Shimon Weingarten, but we need your help with connections and contact info of anyone who you think might be warm to our work and understand the importance of what we are doing today for Klal Yisrael.

If you believe you may be able to help with introductions to potential partners - or in any other way, please be in touch with us confidentially at

Tizke Lemitzvos!

Image of the Day
Eizehu Gibor?
Eizehu Gibor?
Planning Israel Workshop

To all GYE Members in Israel,

We hope to have the honor of having Dov - from the Daily Dose of Dov - in Israel this summer. (As you may know, Dov is clean in SA for 18+ years).

We would like to make a GYE 12-Step workshop event in Jerusalem, where Dov and Duvid Chaim would speak, share, and take us through the 12-Step program.

At the same time, Duvid Chaim's wife Miriam would host an workshop for spouses of addicts based on the 12 steps, and Jonathan Hoffman would do a session on SSA.

The event would probably be a full day event, divided into a morning session noon session and afternoon session. It would likely take place at the end of July/begining of August.

If you are interested in joining, please let us know at so we can plan according to the amount of respondents and reserve you a spot.

Attitude & Perspective
Principle 18: Guilt vs. Shame

It is important to understand the difference between charata: healthy guilt & regret, as opposed to yiush: shame & despair.

To quote Rabbi Avraham J. Twerski:

We generally use the words “shame” and guilt” interchangeably. One may say, “I am ashamed of what I did”, meaning “I feel guilty over what I did.” Technically, however, the two terms are different. Guilt is about what a person did, and it can be a constructive feeling in that it can lead one to Teshuvah, to take corrective action. Shame, however, is what one feels he is. In other words, guilt is “I made a mistake”, whereas shame is “I am a mistake”. If one feels that he is inherently flawed, that he is made of “bad stuff”, there is nothing he can do to change that. With guilt there is hope of improvement, but not with shame.

Every person should feel he is a child of Hashem with a holy Neshama. Hashem doesn’t make defective goods. There is never room for despair or shame. However, healthy “guilt” is important. As the Nesivos Shalom writes in Parshas Noach, the guilty feelings we have are a gift from Hashem that come from the inherent good inside every Jew. Indeed, he writes, a Jew who does not have these feelings anymore, no longer has much hope.

A person who gives in to the Yetzer Hara only because the Yetzer hara has tempted him strongly and he can't hold back, is still not "bad' in essence. With sincere Teshuvah, Hashem will forgive him. But if one doesn't feel guilt anymore, that means that the bad has taken him over totally and there is little hope.

The Nesivos Shalom ends by saying that “guilt” is actually a Tikkun for every Jew to be able to break free of the bad. Even when one falls, they should make sure that the fall does not become part of their essence. By continuing to hold on to Hashem and feeling guilty when we are far from Him, then even in the case of the worst sins chas veshalom, we still have hope and will be forgiven.

There’s a simple test we can do to know whether we are being motivated by healthy guilt/regret or by shame/despair. If we see that we want to get right back up and find ways to strengthen ourselves again, then it’s a sign that our “bad” feelings are those of healthy guilt and positive regret. If, however, we feel that we just want to give up, then it’s a sure sign that we are experiencing despair and shame, and we must quickly find a way out of these harmful feelings before they lead us to a vicious cycle of continued falls.

How indeed can we remain happy after a fall? Let’s read on…

Daily Dose of Dov
Why Dov Sometimes Uses Crass Language
Part 2/2
By Dov

The answer to this problem is not more tzniyus. Neither is it more kedushah. For though the kedusha is certainly affected, kedushah is not really the issue, and never has been. And the misunderstood 'tzniyus' is actually part of their problem (for 'tzniyus' just means hiding the problem, to us in that losing struggle with insanity and lust obsession). Who has time to face the truth anyway - building and maintaining the binyan of shekker is really a 24hr a day job. I know this and so do all my fellows in recovery.

Focusing on increasing kedusha is nothing but obfuscating the true problem: frum people who have a porn and sex addiction are living liars. In that state, we are not even 'b'nei Derech Eretz', because we are fakers, through and through. The kil'ayim of our double life is the powerful 'greased shield' that the Mesilas Yeshorim refers to - a subtle leitzanus. A leitzanus of reality, of life, or relationships. The honesty in our relationship with our G-d actually becomes the last thing we need to work on - our honesty to ourselves and to our fellow men (and wives) is always our first order of business. As Rabban Yb"Zakkai blessed his talmidim before he was niftar: "halevai your honesty to Hashem (morah Shomayim) should come to match your concern of what people think of you (morah bosor v'dom)." And he was talking to tanno'im in training! This is why I say that talking of developing morah Shomayim to otherwise frum people with a pornography and masturbation problem, is just encouraging the lie that they really care as much of what the Borei Olam thinks of them. It comes from a lack of awareness on the part of the ba'al eitzoh that these fellows are too busy hiding from people to truly be concerned with what hashem thinks of them! The absolute and consistent honesty with other tangible, live people has got to come kodem kol for any honest hope of recovery from the sex and lust addiction lifestyle.

This problem, once entrenched, is not fixed by kedusha shmuessin and avodah temimoh, because a person who is even faking to himself cannot chap it. The proverbial fox is watching the hen-house. It's time for these men to step back and get Derech Eretz kodmoh l'Torah. And the humility it takes to do that is in itself a tremendous breakaway from the actual subtle gayvoh of considering ourselves "essentially OK, because after all, we are fort 'B'nei Torah!" And typically, when b'nei Torah go on the typical 'teshuvah derech' for what is essentially now more of a mental problem, we only deepen the lie under more layers of mitzvos and ma'asim tovim - much like yir'ovom tried to be a shakul in order to get away with doing so much evil. Gevalt. And their real life is veiter only going on inside their own heads! Yet more fantasy, this time in the romantic struggle that makes real life (their relationships with klal Yisroel, their wives and children) feel even less significant instead of the ikkar that is is. What about the first questions they ask us in Shomayim after 120?

The Derech Eretz is what is missing - the sanity. It is mamesh having the inner keys without having the outer keys, as Chaza"l say. It does not work and eventually implodes. The inner room (Torah) is not really in their possession, either. Because shekker is their best friend. My best friend in those days...

Honesty and openness are the most precious things to be koneh at this point for these people. It's really all they need. Shame will be their death - because their shame even before fellow sufferers And those cannot be achieved by klopping on the bimah at shul and announcing our problem in all it's details! It is inappropriate for the rest of the community - most of whom are normal, it is potentially destructive, and it is silly because normal people would not have a clue what to do for us, next!

Rather, it is only useful to get fully open and honest with other people who are suffering from the same problem - with other frum men who also know habitual masturbation, are dependent on sex with their wives, look at pornography compulsively or worse, and do other such things - but have found a way to live free of it.

But it must be done honestly and openly, without any tamtzis of shame - or else the old way of 'tzniyus' will creep back in. Kedusha and appropriateness is not our problem - it is hiding, lying, and faking. More Emess is the only answer and nothing else. Even if it means saying things that we are ashamed of and should not believe as good Jews - if it is the truth we need to say it, and we need to say it the way we think it. Cleansing the expression of the truth is not really 'keeping bris elyon' - it is sacrificing bris tachton for a chitzoniyus of a bris elyon, for it will not encourage the refuah. There is no sobriety in 'maintaining appropriateness and derech kavod'. And I have yet to meet a single addicted yid who got worse from being brutally and totally honest with other safe addicts like him.

If the Rav has any feedback I will be happy to read it, and I thank you for the opportunity, regardless, and I will be glad to share my phone # if you wish to clarify or discuss anything here with me that way.

All the best,


Do you think you may have a porn addiction?

Do you have a problem with obsessive and compulsive porn use? Have you seriously tried the tools on GYE and feel that you are not getting better? Maybe it’s time to consider joining a 12-Step program.

Porn Anonymous (PA)
If you’re compulsively acting-out with pornography and masturbation we suggest you explore joining Porn Anonymous (PA). If you need help deciding whether to join PA, call Michael at 347-699-2368, or email to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit (Hebrew: / Yiddish:

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
If your compulsive acting-out has progressed beyond the screen (with other people, paid sexual services, etc.) we suggest you explore joining Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). To figure out if SA is for you, call Dov at 917-414-8205, or email Dov at to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit

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