E-Mail Subject: Two Major Lessons
 
 
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1786  
 
 
In Today's Issue
   
Image of the Day
Daily Dose of Dov: Holding Hashem's gifts with an open hand
Torah: Lessons from Yosef Hatzaddik to Modern Man
 
 
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Image of the Day
 
Daily Dose of Dov
 
Holding Hashem's gifts with an open hand
 
Part 2/2
 
By Dov

So, to me, "ein lanu reshus" means literally: "I have no ownership." It's not mine. Rather, it's Hashem's gift. Naturally, then, I have no permission to act like it's mine or to pretend that I own it. [Interestingly, similar to Chanukah candles, Shabbos candles also have ohr haganuz within them, as Sfas Emes tells us ("matonah tovah b'veis g'nozai"). Yet in the case of Shabbos candles, we davka use them! This is, perhaps, because life on Shabbos is basically us acting as if we are dead and in Olam Haboh already (the yom sh'kulo Shabbos), where oneg (s'char/ta'anug) is being play-acted by us on many levels, as s'forim tell us. But Chanukah is very much in Olam Hazeh within the darkness itself, as we are right now.]

This is continuous surrender, and I am learning to live as the steward of all these gifts, be'H. It's a lot of work, learning how to work together as a partner with my Best, Eternal Friend...and Steps 4-11 are there to help me a lot with that, b"H. And it starts w learning how to partner with the real live people in my life, of course.

And I think the most beautiful part of it all, is this: Whatever I give up ownership of, comes back to me in the way closest to 'true ownership,' anyway! Like when we make a brocha before consuming food. There is no 'please' or 'Thank You' in a brocha, correct? All that there is in the words of a brocha is an admission that He made it - so He owns it -koneh hakol. It's His, not mine. Surrender. And when we surrender it to Him, Chaza"l tell us, "He 'gives it to us'('nosan liv'nei odom)"! And it's the same with everything: we only really keep what we give up.

"Kol habore'ach min hakavod, hakavod rotz acharov" is a general formula. For example: How many of us have discovered that pressuring our wives for sex is a great way to get satisfied? None of us have, of course! Rather, we discovered (to our confusion and repeated chagrin) that the more we give up our expectations (returning full power over their own bodies to them), the more they become ready and willing to share themselves with us. And it will always remain up to them. Ought it not be? Isn't obvious that marriage will work so much better that way?

So this is not about any high 'madreigos' here, friends. This is just about acceptance of Reality, and one of the great facts for us, in Recovery. I remember this when I klop al cheit: my main problem isn't the sin, but rather the "egrof resha" - the grasped hand that the Novi refers to - that keeps me in it. Sobriety is very little about resisting temptation and mostly about letting go of the fantasies that, 1) I carry the world on my back and that 2) somehow reality is all about me, how I feel, and what I want.

Trusting that G-d is really taking fine care of me changes me. Working the steps allows me to do that. And I learn to hold Hashem's gifts with an open hand. This is totally new stuff for a self-pleasuring-on-demand guy like me, of course. With every sexual acting out I trained myself that 1) if I don't take care of myself, nobody will and 2) what I feel I need takes precedence over practically everything else. Do you relate?

Whenever I surrender trying to control my wife and needing her approval (and sex), I end up gaining the most from her (and she from me!) - because until I do that, I'm doomed to trying to manipulate her. And when I give up on controlling her I also provide the space she needs in order to choose to love me. And loving me is - of course - her choice, and will always be. That's scary for a guy who accustomed himself through years of porn and masturbation to expect bliss-on-demand! And that's one of the great ills of masturbation and porn. What we sow, we reap, of course. But B"H, there's a way out, one day at a time!

Similarly, when I surrender ultimate power and control over my children I gain the most from them (and they gain the most from me, too). Same with my job, my approval from others, my money, my body, and every aspect of my life. "Give up to win," as the alcoholics discovered. And normal people chuckle. It shouldn't be so hard to understand Hashem's ways. And how true and beautiful is what Chaza"l taught us: "ein middas Hkb"h k'midas bosor v'dom"!! Nah, we are the ones that are strange, not He.

And I see it in those candles that celebrate a is'arusa d'l'eilo - gifts from Him. Not ours to take credit for. And it must stay His. We can't hold it tight or we'll pretend we made it. The 'egrof' doesn't work, we can only klop with it!

May we all be zocheh to properly surrender all things given to us, as the great tzaddikim do every time they say the Sh'ma. And "lir'osam bilvad" - to become free enough to possess everything with our hands remaining open. And then in the privacy of our hearts and in our own small and beautiful way, we will participate in "l'hodos ul'hallel" together with everyone else!

Torah
 
Lessons from Yosef Hatzaddik to Modern Man
 
By Kalever Rebbe
 
By GYE

“And Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘after G-d let you know all of these things, there is none so understanding and wise as you’.” (Bereishis 41:39)

Over the past few months people have witnessed how the high and mighty have been taken down to the lowest depths due to foolish, improper behavior. Incredibly, during this same period, the passages we read in the Torah teach us that wisely adhering to G-d’s moral dictates can raise one up from the lowest pit to the pinnacle of society. The timing of this lesson cannot be coincidental and is truly breathtaking!

Many of our fellow Jews consider themselves highly intelligent and say they reject a life of Torah and Mitzvos due to the troubling questions they have about Emunah and faith. But when we engage with them to answer their questions, it becomes painfully clear that no logic or reason will ever make them change their minds.

This reminds me of the story of the apostate who rationalized to a great Rabbi that he ate non-kosher food due to his many questions of faith. The Rabbi sharply retorted, “if you had questions first and began to eat treife later I could have answered all your questions. But since you ate treife first and then found your ‘questions’; they are not questions at all, but excuses and answers; and to an answer it is not possible to give an answer!”

Particularly, in the area of sins of forbidden relations, which people strongly desire, it is common to find denial of G-d as a pretext to their violation. Indeed, our wise Chazal taught that in ancient times the Jewish people knew that idolatry was totally false and meaningless. Nevertheless, they participated in idol worship to make it socially acceptable to commit adultery openly (Sanhedrin 63b).

Sound advice on conquering this desire is to consider that when one feels the fire of the Yetzer Hara burning within him to quickly perform the sin, realize that immediately afterward the pangs of regret will be overwhelming and enduring. Chazal say “Jewish sinners are filled with regrets,” because while the pleasure of the sin is fleeting, the sense of guilt that follows is exceedingly painful and lasting.

In this vein, the Holy Ruzhiner Rebbe zy”a interpreted the verse in Tehillim (37:10) “In a little while, the wicked is no more; reflect upon his place, and he is gone.” This means that “in a little while”, shortly after sinning, “the wicked is no more,” the person no longer wants to be wicked for he regrets his sin. Therefore, it is better that “he meditate about his place,” he should think before he commits the sin, at the place of the sin, and then “he is gone,” for he will not commit the sin at all.

Kalever Rebbe

We must all recognize that the distinguishing characteristic of the human is the ability for his mind to control his heart. Rebbe Tzvi Hirsch of Ziditchov zy”a, explained the passage in the morning prayers, “the preeminence of the human over the animal is nothing,” to mean that the preeminence of the human over the animal is “nothing” or “no.” Only Man has the power to say “no”. When food is placed before an animal, it cannot deny its desire and decide not to eat. Only a human being, endowed with intellect and free will can say “no.”

A prime exemplar of this attribute was Yosef HaTzaddik who excelled in his ability to control his desires and overcome great temptation.

Yosef HaTzaddik was 17 years old, an age of vigor and passion. The beloved ben zekunim, doted upon by his father, he was suddenly ripped away from family and friends, deprived of all of rights, and sold as a slave to Egypt. There, the wife of his master Potiphar tried to seduce him to sin with her. She offered him 1,000 silver talents, the equivalent of a million dollars today, which would have enabled him to go free, get married and live life as a millionaire. He could have even performed many mitzvos with that money.

Nevertheless, Yosef did not deviate from Hashem’s will. He deflected Potiphar’s wife, “how can I perform this great evil, and sin to G-d?” Hashem wants me to do His mitzvos and if He so desires, He will give me the money in a permissible way. On the other hand, if I accept this money through sin, in the end, nothing will remain of it!

Spurning her advances, Yosef ended up in prison. There, everyone mocked him, “where is your G-d now who allowed you to go to prison with nobody to help you to get out?! You will never leave the prison!” Still, Yosef did not allow his spirit to be broken. He strengthened himself in the knowledge that Hashem has many ways to get him out of prison, if He wants.

When the imprisoned royal butler saw Yosef forego millions of dollars and his freedom so as not to sin, he thought Yosef was truly insane. He could not imagine a human being overcoming such temptation. That is why the royal butler referred to Yosef as a “naar” before Pharaoh, meaning a foolish lad.

But, Yosef arrived before Pharaoh’s royal court and spoke in the name of G-d with great faith. He remained unimpressed by the royal court and immediately interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. He even continued giving Godly advice on how to rescue the country from the coming famine. Pharaoh then realized that Yosef was no fool.

He had to admit that Yosef’s overcoming temptation with the wife of Potiphar was not an act of folly, but the exercise of supreme wisdom. As Chazal say, “who is truly wise, he who sees what the future bears.” (Avos 2:9). Thus, Pharaoh exclaimed, “there is none so understanding and wise as you!”

Astoundingly, Yosef became Viceroy of Egypt. In addition to saving his immediate family, it followed that during hundreds of years of bitter enslavement, millions of Bnei Yisrael were able to withstand the allure of assimilation. They had seen concretely that when one keeps Torah and Mitzvot against all odds, Hashem rewards this commitment with wealth and honor in this world and eternal spiritual rewards in the world to come.

May we all learn to follow Yosef’s example, sparing ourselves guilt and grief and reaping a life of blessing and joy.

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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