If it's natural, why is it wrong?
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1598  
In Today's Issue
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Announcements: Get in your last tax deductions for 2016
Links: Chanukah - The Battle for Beauty
Practical Tips: Beware of Mixed-Gender Chanukah Parties!
Q & A: Why is masturbation a sin? It's natural!
Practical Tips: Finding Alternate Fulfillment
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Get in your last tax deductions for 2016

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Chanukah - The Battle for Beauty

What was the ideological battle between the Greeks and the Jews regarding physical beauty? (Even the Torah tells us how beautiful the Imahos were). 

Watch this inspiring video to understand how Judaism views beauty.

Practical Tips
Beware of Mixed-Gender Chanukah Parties!

Try to get out of going, if possible.

  • If not, make a plan in advance.
  • Schedule how long you have to be there, and stick to it.
  • Set an alarm to remind you when to leave.
  • Prepare an excuse to leave in advance.
  • Give yourself a pep-talk before going.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror and tell your eyes, "today, we won't stray!"
  • Bring a sefer or a book to read instead of "mingling".
  • Avoid socializing with the opposite gender as much as possible
  • Sit facing away from the opposite gender.
  • Q & A
    Why is masturbation a sin? It's natural!
    By the.guard

    "Why does Hashem cause maturation/masturbation to happen to 99% of adolescents and consider it a grave sin? Obviously, we are only human. It is upsetting to me to hear that most people fall through this 'sin' - when really it's only hormones and nature."

    - A mother of 5 boys

    Dear Mother of Boys,

    Great question!

    Here's the thing. Sins are not like parking tickets--where the violation is clear and the fine is established. In the spiritual realm, Hashem judges each person and each sin according to their specific circumstances. What could be considered a grave sin for one person, may be insignificant for someone else. When an adolescent discovers masturbation for the first time, it is clear that Hashem does not consider it a sin. And even if the young man gets pulled into these behaviors addictively without realizing what he is doing or without knowledge of the seriousness of the prohibition, Hashem obviously will not consider this a sin. G-d understands us humans far better than we understand ourselves, and He has never-ending patience and love for us.

    However, the struggle with purity, that every adolescent undergoes, is the fertile soil from which his true self is given a chance to shine. When a young man finally does discover that this is a sin, and particularly when he begins to understand the immense power behind sexuality and how it is able to bring forth life itself when channeled properly, Hashem wants that he should begin to feel a healthy sense of guilt which drives him to try and stop these behaviors. In the process of trying to stop, he begins to learn what he is really made of. This battle is what separates the men from the boys. It is precisely during the adolescent years when a person's maturity and soul begin to mature that these struggles play such a crucial role in one's spiritual progress.

    If Hashem and Chazal had not written in such strong terms about the seriousness of this sin, it is doubtful anyone would bother even trying to stop. It is a powerful pleasure and so very addictive, that without a serious incentive to stop who would even try? I'd also like to point out that Chazal have used even stronger words when discussing the issur of Lashon Hara and of turning one's eyes away from a poor man, comparing these sins to the three cardinal sins of murder, idolatry, and illicit relations! Yet, we rarely hear people ask, "Why does Hashem cause so many people to speak Lashon Hara and/or turn away from poor people and yet consider this a grave sin?" For some reason, when it comes to this particular sin of purity, many people question the seriousness and/or the appropriateness of the strong terminologies used by Chazal. I believe it is because we tend to feel more guilty and "dirty" with these sins. But Hashem is infinitely loving and patient with us. He knew that most of us would stumble in this area, and He is waiting for us to use the struggle as a springboard for growth. It is ok to have dirty laundry--we all do--as long as we make sure to keep doing our washes and never give up. But if the sin wouldn't be spoken about in strong terms, very few would even take on the battle.

    By forcing us to learn self-control and to channel our animalistic desires properly, we are given the opportunity to build up our character and our souls.

    Practical Tips
    Finding Alternate Fulfillment
    By GYE

    Rav Wolbe Ztz"l, one of the foremost baalei mussar of our times, in his Sefer "Psychiatry and Religion" (Pg. 82) suggests cultivating a combination of religious and social fulfillment to help our youth beat this big challenge. He writes:

    The difficult phase of adolescence is fertile soil for feelings of guilt, especially for religious youth. Masturbation is a serious prohibition. Yet almost all youth stumble in this and are unable to find the strength to overcome this in any way. The result is feelings of guilt. This is where wise guidance from Rabbanim and Mechnchim becomes so necessary. As is known, a Rav is not licensed to "forgive sins" and surely not to permit the forbidden. However, he can guide, calm and bring the youth to acceptance of himself. And together with that, to cultivate an intensive social life and help bring the youth into the vast wealth of Torah, which can arouse in him a deep thirst to acquire and grow in Torah. As our sages have said, "Torah is good with Derech Eretz, for the toil in both makes sins be forgotten". In other words, the toil in Torah together with the toil of cultivating a thriving social life, brings to a situation where, over time, one forgets to sin. Instead of waging a constant battle - which is hopeless, through the positive hard work in Torah and a social life, slowly but surely, the youth will recover from masturbation. This is the conventional path of Chinuch that is accepted today. Yes, Torah life needs intensive chinuch. Without chinuch, there is no escape from youth sinking into feelings of guilt and despair.

    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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