Spiritual Boat and Conscious Contact
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1358  
In Today's Issue
Image of the Day: You can't miss the spiritual boat.
12 Step Attitude: Growing Peppers
Torah: Handing a sword to his urge
Links: Step 11
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Image of the Day

This Shabbos is the first yartzheit of Rav Moshe Twersky zt"l Hy"d, who was one of the (now five) kedoshim killed in the Har Nof Massacre last year.  As a zechus to both his neshama and those that will be inspired by him, we are circulating this e-flier.  

The message that it conveys is particularly appropriate for members of GYE.

You can't miss the spiritual boat.
You can't miss the spiritual boat.
12 Step Attitude
Growing Peppers
Part 1/2
By Boruch

A "Step" is a way to get from place A to place B.

To get successfully from place A to place B you need two things, the theoretical knowledge of what it takes to get from one point to another, and the practical recognition of how to apply and use that knowledge. So, for example, you could study driving in theory by reading the best instruction manuals, but until you take driving lessons and get practice in how to apply that knowledge, all the theory will remain useless.

The Ramban in his hakdomo to Bereishis says that all of wisdom in the world can be learned from Torah, and that Shlomo Hamelech was able to plant peppers most successfully by deriving his knowledge directly from Torah. The level of Shlomo Hamelech's knowledge and understanding of Torah was such, that he was able to master both the theory and practice of planting peppers directly from Torah.

Well, how about if I need to grow peppers? I could do one of two things:

1) Try and learn so well that I reach the level of Shlomo Hamelech in Torah so that I too could derive both the theory and practice of planting peppers directly from Torah.

2) Get a book on agriculture, study it, and then go down to a farm and spend time getting experience until I am ready to grow peppers myself.

Which one will I choose? Obviously the second. Does that mean that a book on agriculture and some months on a farm are somehow equivalent to Torah? After learning the book and spending time on the farm, am I on the same level as Shlomo Hamelech? Obviously not. It's just that for me, becoming like Shlomo Hamelech is impossible.

Let us now move to the question of mussar and of "overcoming the Yetzer Hara". Rav Yisroel Salanter wrote in Or Yisroel (Iggeres 19) that Torah is the theoretical knowledge where practical experience is not required, but mussar is the practical knowledge of how to apply Torah to life, and for that, practical experience is a must.

R' Yisroel also writes about mussar there, that different people need different paths, and what works for one won't necessarily work for another. Furthermore, he writes what works for one middah in one person will not necessarily work for another middah in the same person (Iggeres 20). For this reason, R' Yisroel refused to give written mussar advice to one of his talmidim, and insisted that they need to meet one-on-one at length before they can determine the correct course of mussar (Iggeres 19).

Mussar advice requires great experience on the part of the Rebbe, who then uses his own personal experience to work one-on-one with the talmid to develop the correct plan of action.

So following R' Yisroel Salanter's approach, if I needed guidance in parenting, I would not be well-advised to go for advice to someone with no kids, and if I needed mussar in Shalom Bayis, I would not be well-advised to go for advice to a bochur.

That is the problem with addiction. In general, we do not have Rabbeim that have their own practical experience of overcoming addiction, to be able to prescribe the right mussar. Does this imply that the Torah is lacking Chas veshalom? No doubt Shlomo Hamelech could have used his knowledge of the secrets of Torah to have derived the practical knowledge to help addicts, even without first-hand experience. But when an addict came to one of the most practical mussar teachers of our generation, Rav Avigdor Miller Zt"l, Rabbi Miller told him that he could not help him and told him to seek professional help instead.

To be continued...
Handing a sword to his urge

The Arizal explains that the "oneg"- pleasure that one feels from a sexual transgression, turns into "nega" - plague, by a rearrangement of the Hebrew letters.

Read more

Audio Shiur by Rabbi Pinson.

Step 11: "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with G-d, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

Note, that this is not the continuation of the previous shiur, as part II of that shiur is not publicly available. However, this is a great discussion on 12 Steps and Judaism, and we are sure you will enjoy it!

Step 11

Rabbi Yisrael Pinson is the Director of the Daniel B. Sobel Friendship House in West Bloomfield, MI. Since joining the Friendship House he has helped create a local Jewish Recovery Community where recovering addicts are helped through support, guidance, friendship and community.

More from Yisrael Pinson

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 help@pornanonymous.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit pornanonymous.org (Hebrew: p-a.org.il / Yiddish: pa-yid.org).

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 dov@guardyoureyes.org to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit www.sa.org.

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