E-Mail Subject: Learning the Hard Way
 
 
  Breaking Free Chizuk#1903  
 
 
In Today's Issue
   
Torah: The Elul War
Announcements: New type of accountability software
Text: Personal Story
Announcements: New and Improved Yiddish GYE website launched!
Practical Tips: Elya's Secrets to Success
Daily Dose of Dov: A Few Pearls Learned the Hard Way
 
 
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Torah
 
The Elul War
 
By Lipschutz, Rabbi Pinchos

From http://matzav.com/tune-in-tune-up/

As we begin the study of this week’s parsha and encounter the narrative of “aishes yefas toar,” we wonder if there is more here than meets the eye. And there is. While the course of action for a man who went to war, emerged victorious, and then chanced upon a yefas toar is applicable and contains many directions and actions to follow, there is also a message for all of us, especially during the month of Elul.

Kadmonim and mekubolim raise the curtain and provide an understanding of the pesukim that describe the parsha of yefas toar and how she goes about adapting to a new life.

The parsha begins, “Ki seitzei lamilchomah al oyvecha – When you will go out and wage war with your enemy” (21:10). The Ohr Hachaim (ibid.) explains that the posuk refers to the battle for which man was placed in this world. The soul is dispatched to withstand tests.

And she shall remove the garment of captivity from upon herself: This will be through ridding oneself of sin, teshuvah and submission to Hashem. Then be misvadeh and cry for the betrayal from your father and mother and detachment from them.

She will weep for her father. This is Hakadosh Boruch Hu.

She will weep for her mother. This is Knesses Yisroel.

For one month. This is the month of Elul, the period of teshuvah.

The Ohr Hachaim’s source is the Zohar Chodosh (Ki Seitzei 72:1), which is also quoted in Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avodah (Shaar Hamayim).

The Arizal (Likkutei Torah, in this week’s parsha) offers a similar explanation. He says that “Ki seitzei lamilchomah” refers to a person who has decided to do teshuvah. He is setting out to do battle with his enemies, namely his yeitzer hora and the limbs that betrayed him and caused him to sin.

Unesano Hashem Elokecha b’yodecha. Hashem will cause you to beat the yeitzer hora.

Vera’isa bashivyah aishes yefas toar. This refers to the neshomah.

Vegilcha es roshah. He should remove bad beliefs from within himself.

Ve’asisah es tziporneha. He should cut out luxuries.

Vehaisirah simlas shivyah. The covering that is fashioned by sin should be removed.

Uvochsa es aviha. This refers to Hakadosh Boruch Hu.

V’es imah. This is Knesses Yisroel.

Yerach yomim. This is Elul.

Rav Tzadok Hakohein of Lublin (Pri Tzaddik, Ki Seitzei 2) quotes Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, who commented that understanding that this parsha refers to man’s eternal battle with the yeitzer hora is not homiletic drush and remez, but actual p’shat poshut, the simple explanation of thepesukim.

So, as we study Parshas Ki Seitzei and read it aloud this week, it should be clear that these pesukim are meant to help usher us into the sacred portals of avodas yemei Elul. We read about a man doing battle for Am Yisroel and a woman mourning her old home, but, essentially, on a different level, we are reading about teshuvah and Elul.

Elul is everywhere. You just have to know how to find it.

Announcements
 
New type of accountability software
 
"I feel safer on my phone then I do in my street"
 

This is a quote from a Whatsapp message we got from a GYEBoost member today in reference to https://truple.io/

This app sends random screenshots to your partner and will let them know if you uninstall.

Check it out for yourself.

Text
 
Personal Story
 
By Sod

I will never forget it. I was 30 years old and I had just celebrated “one year clean” — the first time in my life that I had a clean slate for such a long period of time. I accomplished it through pure determination and willpower. I made myself a private celebration, just me alone. I stayed out late that night and learned an extra few daf Gemara, as my way of thanking Hashem. I remember so clearly my wife being upset that I came home so late that night. How I wished I could tell her my cause for celebration.

Two weeks later, out of the blue, bang! I was back to exactly where I had left off — and this time it progressed even further. I was not able to tell my Rav about my falls; even though he was the only one person I had ever discussed this with, I was just too embarrassed. I had told him I was fine now and to be honest, I had never told him the whole picture, just that I was struggling with shemiras einayim.

The next few weeks were like living in Gehinnom. Here I was — learning, giving public Torah talks and shiurim, being a great husband and father — while in private I felt disgusting, guilty and bad. My reputation, my family and my job were all at stake, but I couldn’t stop. What was wrong with me?

By the way, I am your “standard guy.” I had a stable upbringing, a loving family, did well in school, went to mainstream yeshivahs in Gateshead and Eretz Yisrael, and stayed in kollel for many years after my chasunah.

Out of sheer and utter desperation, I called up some Rabbanim in town, saying I had an important matter to discuss. When one of them said to come over straight away, I went and just broke down and cried and cried. He looked at me so calmly and said, “Relax, we have Guard Your Eyes.”

That night I discovered the most beautiful website ever. For the first time in 30 years I was able to connect with people who related to me, who were not judgmental, and who gave sound advice from their own experiences. The options on the website are endless and available any time of day and night. The chizuk emails are powerful, the forums are so informative, the 90-day chart, phone conferences ... it goes on and on. From Guard Your Eyes (GYE) I went on to discover what the best route for me was in recovery. I started chatting with people anonymously, in the GYE chat rooms and when I once arranged to speak to someone on the phone, I could not believe my ears: It was my morning chavrusa! He had been struggling, I had been struggling, but we had both carried on our lives putting on a great show. Boy, was that a shock!

I can’t find the right words to thank GYE, who do this avodas hakodesh. GYE gave me hope and a new lease on life.

From the depths of my heart, thank you very much!

Announcements
 
New and Improved Yiddish GYE website launched!
 

Exciting News: New and Improved Yiddish GYE website launched!

We are happy to announce the launch of a new and improved Yiddish GYE website with many improvements and new sections. We are sure this new site will help thousands of our Yiddish speaking brothers with Shmiras Einayim and recovery from addiction. The Yiddish site includes a Handbook, an active Yiddish forum, weekly chizuk newsletters, 90-day challenge, and more.

To visit the site: https://hitdanoigen.com

Practical Tips
 
Elya's Secrets to Success
 
By Eye.nonymous

I have been pretty regular about a morning 11th step-seek conscious contact with my Higher Power through prayer and meditation. This was something that was difficult for me for a very long time, but I recently came across a suggested approach for meditation which I have found very easy to work with.

Read more
Daily Dose of Dov
 
A Few Pearls Learned the Hard Way
 
By Dov

Someone wrote:

Recovery is just like the chazal about Torah - it's as difficult to acquire as precious pearls and as easy to shatter as glass.... I must re-inspire myself and retrain myself to let Hashem in all the time.

Dov Replies:

Here are a few things from a screwball who has learned a few things the hard way. And I mean all that - (1) I am a screwball, (2) I have only learned a few things, and (3) I learned them the hard way. It is not 'humility', nor purposeful 'self-deprecation' - just the facts, as I see them. If these facts about me make it hard for you to accept what I share here as important, so be it.

OK. So, I think you might be sitting in the driver's seat way too much for your own good. I also think you are trying very hard to work the steps and recover... that is, trying very hard to do them your own way: alone. As you wrote: "re-inspire yourself"? "Retrain yourself"? How does one do that? Haven't we always been doing just that? Isn't that all our stories alone out there till now - just out on a limb alone in the cold with our rather weak and hard-of-hearing G-d, and failing?

Most recovering people I have met agree that they could not have worked the steps alone. They needed to be part of a group, and in real life. Maybe the virtual relationships will work for your (non-virtual) problem. But what you wrote just reminds me too much of the way I'd often talk about recovering - basically on my own. I don't know - maybe you already go to meetings regularly, make multiple phone calls daily, and speak to real people about your desires in simple honest detail... If you do, I'd suggest looking at it more closely and seeing if you are still protecting or hiding something important. If you do not, I suggest that you consider giving it a try. Exactly what do you really have to lose at this point?

I also think you are demanding/expecting what is a bit too close to 'perfection' out of yourself. What are we, after all? Strong? Brave? Smart? Hah. Most of the things I have done in addiction where simultaneously weak, fearful, and ridiculous. I see that in the words you wrote: "must"? "all the time"?

How about, "it would be better for me if I..." instead of "I must", and instead of "all the time", you can try saying "I hope to let Hashem into my life twice today. Once in the morning, and once in the evening after I come home. Twice would be miracle enough!... Maybe I'll go for once, first. I will try to do that today with Your assistance. (Then I'll see about the next day when tomorrow is over!)"

These are just suggestions. If I am coming off as a pushy pain, sorry. I don't mean to. I'm a bit tired. Maybe that's it...

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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