7 Expert tips
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1278  
In Today's Issue
Image of the Day: What day is today?
Announcements: Matching Challenge - THANK YOU!
Text: How to Stop Cravings: 7 Tips from an Expert
Prevention: The New Drug
Q & A: Letter from Rabbi Wolff to GYE
Announcements: Help Wanted
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What day is today?
What day is today?
Matching Challenge - THANK YOU!

We'd like to thank all the GYE members who helped us raise $5,000 in time to complete the matching challenge of last week.

Thank you and Tizke Lemitzvos!

May the zechus of your donation be a merit to help you in your quest for purity, Midah Kineged Midah.

How to Stop Cravings: 7 Tips from an Expert
Reprinted with permission from recovery.org
By recovery.org

You make yourself (and your friends and family) all kinds of promises to break that old addicted habit. You focus; you do the work to stay on track, making the right choices and taking the best actions to live a healthy life. Then, something happens. It could be an unexpected phone call, an altercation at work; the enviable success of your partner. The next thing you know your body and mind are singing the siren song of craving.

Read more
The New Drug
Part 1/3
By Obormottel

A rabbi and a priest sat next to each other on a train from Kiev to Warsaw. At lunch, the priest pulled out a bacon sandwich and offered a half to the rabbi.

“No, thank you,” said the rabbi, “It’s against my religion to eat bacon.”

“Tell me the truth, rabbi,” asked the priest. “Have you really never had any bacon?”

Considering that he will never see the priest again, the rabbi decided to divulge his secret.

“Yes,” he said. “When I was young, I was alone in a strange town, and I was tempted to try it, and so I had bacon for the first and last time in my life.”

As the train came to a stop at Warsaw Rail Station, and the companions bid their good-byes, the rabbi politely said, “Best regards to your wife.”

“But I am not married,” explained the priest. “It’s against my religion.”

“Have you never had relations with a woman?”

“Well, truth be told, when I was young, I met a girl and we fell in love, and on one occasion I succumbed to the temptation and we were intimate,” confessed the priest.

The rabbi looked at him inquisitively. “Tell me, father. Sex sure beats bacon, doesn't it?”

We all have our temptations, and many of us had had an episode of giving in to them. It is especially true for the temptations of the sexual nature. In fact, those who have “experimented” with unsanctioned sexual behavior likely outnumber those who, being otherwise frum, have fallen for bacon. Combine this with raging hormones and natural curiosity of adolescents, and it is almost a given that a lot of young, frum men do not enter marriage nowadays with knowledge gained solely in chosson schmoozes. Sex is out of the box, and except for the most isolated of us, sexual or sexualized information comes at us from everywhere. I once took my then-five-year old son to a barber. Being that he had just started to read, he read everything that had letters on it. “Ta, what does ‘sexiest’ mean?” he shocked me by asking. Times Magazine’s “sexiest man of the year” was staring at us in the most innocuous of places – a barber shop!

We can't pretend that our children don’t see the magazine covers, don't pass by bench advertisements, or don’t drive past billboards that put sex words and sex acts in their proper context. We can't shut this stream down even as we try our hardest to prevent them from watching TV, going to the movies, or checking out “that book” at the library. As our children mature sexually, even the most “removed” of them will seek out information on sexual topics. And if we are too squeamish to provide them with this information, they will get it from peers or from the environment. This is a natural developmental stage and most of us have been there, done that. This, by itself, is not bad news.

The bad news is, that unlike when we were growing up and furtively looking up words like “puberty” or “intercourse” in the encyclopedia, there is a new player in the field of sexual education. Its name is Internet (I know, you knew THAT). It’s ubiquitous and it’s omniscient. And the worst news is, it offers a very graphic, very detailed, and very distorted crash course in human sexuality in the form of pornography. I know you knew this, too. But I wonder if you knew that according to a recent documentary, 90% of 8 to 16-year olds have watched pornography on the internet? And Stephanie Carnes, the president of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, reports that 75% of 14 to 17 year-olds view pornography regularly.

Do you think religious youth have been spared? You may be right. I don’t know of any statistics that tell us how many frum teenagers have seen “schmutz”, as we call it, on their electronic devices. All I know that over 1,300 members, or about 20% of total membership, on the GuardYourEyes.org website are 14 to 17 year olds. These 1,300 are courageous young men from religious families who are searching for help with breaking the porn habit. And it is a known fact that teens are much less likely than adults to seek out help with their porn problem, so the percentage is obviously much higher. So can we afford to dismiss this problem as secular or “goyish”?

To be continued...
Q & A
Letter from Rabbi Wolff to GYE
By Rabbi Wolff, Binyamin

Listen to the recording of the most-attended phone conference on "Kosher Sex." Rabbi Wolff's letter was written as a follow up to the feedback he recieved after the call.

Dear Chevra HeKedoshim VeHaM'Taharim,

I appreciate all of the positive feedback from our call on Thursday night and I am inspired by the yearning for kedusha that is out there. I feel that perhaps a few concluding comments would be helpful in summarizing our call and addressing some of the issues that arose from it.

We are all working very hard, with tremendous kochos hanefesh, to build and improve our shalom bayis- building trust, showing appreciation, and conveying the message of "you're #1". While it is certainly a formidable challenge, it is of the greatest priority and we all have the ability to succeed. ANYTHING we do that will compromise this goal, no matter how "muttar" it is, is not good for us and not good at all- you can even call it "assur". It may not always be easy to stick to these guidelines, but that is where we have to "be man enough" to be strong and keep on course.

The subject of our call on Thursday night revolved around a powerful "tool" and gift that Hashem made part of our existence.

When we are appropriately using it to reach our goal- by focusing on the other, connecting emotionally, expressing and demonstrating appreciation and respect- it is giving, godly, and kadosh. If not, it is lustful and degrading. Think of the Para Adumah and how the very same procedure could be matamei or be metaher. Rav Wolbe zt"l (Alei Shur Vol.1 page 39- please read the maamar if you haven't yet) quotes the Tomer Devorah in the name of the Zohar that "the yetzer haTov was given to us for our benefit, and our Yetzer HaRa was given to us for the benefit of our wives". We all know our Yetzer Hara- and while a sizeable part of him should be expelled, part of him isn't going anywhere, and we would be foolish to think otherwise. If only we could get him on our team to reach our goal!

It should be obvious that Thursday night's call was intended solely for the amazing chevra who want nothing more than to get the yetzer hara on our side, but struggle with the parameters of how to manage the "old yetzer" in developing a healthy new one. Clearly, the approach taken was not the one we may have heard from our chosson and kallah teachers. And anyone who feels that their guidelines work for them is highly encouraged to stick to them- far be it from me to go against what was taught and what might be the minhagim of your community. However, for some ( many? most?), that approach is going to leave their "good yetzer hara" pulling at them and tormenting them. What a shame, when he could have been included and not left out. It was for that group that we spoke. There were details that we spoke about which we could say are allowed- and even recommended.

Then there were other issues that are more questionable, even highly discouraged, both from a halachic and from an SA 12 Step point of view. At this point I admit that I did not respond correctly to the question regarding pornography. It is completely assur to use it under any circumstances. But returning to those inyanim which are highly questionable, I believe I made it clear that every case is different and we must be honest with ourselves. If only we had a Rav with whom we could honestly lay out the circumstances and honestly assess the situation- just as easily as we could ask about other "sha'as hadchak" questions that come up. Our call was assuming that that option may not be available and we must face our challenges with simcha and not with doubts and depression. Let us not forget that in the vidui before kol nidrei we admit that we were at fault when we were meikil when we should have been stringent AS WELL AS that we were machmir when we should have been lenient.

I may be wrong, but I really believe that if we are "machmir" in our bein adam l'chaveiro- in being giving to our family and friends, forgiving of those who did the unforgivable, helping those that need help- as well as being machmir in limud haTorah and using our time wisely- and of course being machmir in our davening and crying out to Hashem- Those will be the "chumros" that will bring a yeshua to our lives, our marriages, our children, and our communities. And the "old Yetzer Hara" will surrender, leaving us with the real, eternal, good pleasure of being "domeh l'shchinah" - the shchinah that will be resting "bein hakruvim" in the kodesh hakodoshim that we call our bayis and that will continue to accompany us in Olam Haba.

Rabbi Binyamin Wolff
Executive Director
Netzach Yisrael Kollel and Community Beis Medrash
22 Ibn Ezra St.
Jerusalem, ISRAEL

Help Wanted

Dear GYE friends:

We are constantly trying to improve our operation to better serve the Jewish people and need some additional helping hands...

Please be in touch with us (help@gye.org.il) if you can help in a professional capacity with any of the following positions/tasks:

- Advertising campaigns manager

- Fundraiser

- Marketing

- Web-development / programming project manager

- Video productions

- Translations

- Graphic design

- Writers

- Website testers

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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