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Mazal Tov to "Me" who reached the 90 day milestone!

GYE Corp. Saturday, 24 March 2012

Here is "Me's" very inspiring e-mail to us (edited for clarity). There is much to be learned from it:


B"H, tonight is my 2nd arrival at 90 days.

The first time, I was running fearfully from the Yetzer Hara until I ended up falling.

The second time around though, I used a different approach and "practically" had no nisayonos. The approach I used, was focusing on building and forging a relationship with the Ribbono Shel Olam. I spent my time trying to build myself and see where my emotional flaws were, so that I could repair them. I came to believe that by fixing myself, I would no longer need my "fix" of neuron manipulation to cover up my emotional pain. (Webmaster insert: See this article by Rabbi Twerski for a similar message).

I will admit though, that I am starting to feel some trials coming my way. In fact, just 3 days ago I was in someone's house and I was helping them set up their internet in their home with their new router. (My computers at home have been practically "hermetically sealed") and so I had basically forgotten about surfing freely. All of a sudden I was by myself in a room with their computer and internet (and even though they may have had some filtration - I don't know for sure), Mr.Y"H came for a quick uninvited visit. He told me, "wow, what an opportunity... finally you are alone and you can just do a quick search and see how 'safe' this computer really is." Now, all of us here know that the addiction doesn't care too much that we are in someone else's home and that they can walk in at any moment. There is only the addiction. In a matter of about 60 seconds, he continued to talk to me about this great opportunity to be taken advantage of, and I could feel that if I didn't do something quickly... who knows? So I put the computer down, closed my eyes and immediately made a neder that "I will NOT do anything with this computer", and that was the end of that.

And although for most of the 90 days it was easier, lately I am also feeling more vulnerable when I walk down the street and I find that I once again have to be mitchazek in order to control my eyes.

But I believe that it is NOT just due to the Y"h attacking me but rather because of much "loftier" ideas, such as the fact that we are now in the sefira days which are an amazing time to cleanse and to be mitaken, so it stands to reason that we are SUPPOSED to be feeling this way. After all, if we didn't feel weak sometimes and have to be mitchazek on our own, we wouldn't have the ability to fix what needs to be fixed each day ...

Also, I once wrote on the forum what I saw in L'kutei Hamoron (25) that when a person is metaher themselves, they go up to a new level and must subjugate the klippos on that new level. So it is natural to feel some difficulty... It is not the difficulty of still being on the bottom rung, but rather the difficulty continuously "going up".

And this is what Tzadikim go through their entire lives; going up... fighting the new klipos, and then going up again, and once again conquering the new ground.

Well, B"H, after finally "coming out of mitzrayim" and living the way I wish to live, and after finally feeling what true freedom really is, I can say that I am finally beginning to feel like "ME"!


What "Me" writes above is one of the corner-stone Yesodos of this struggle. We can be doing well for a while and then suddenly it gets hard again out of the blue. And we ask ourselves: "Have I not made any progress? Why do I feel like I'm back at square one?" But this is really a sign of Hashem's love for us!

Precisely because Hashem had so much Nachas Ruach from our previous successes, he wants to give us the opportunity to jump to a completely new level. So he removes our "excitement" about being "pure", and he sends the Yetzer Hara to us again for a whole new round of battle. Suddenly we are struggling again to guard our eyes on the street, suddenly we get attacks of lust and aren't sure that we will be able to hold out, suddenly it doesn't feel so "special" anymore to be fighting this battle...

But that is where the true test lies. And those are the situations that truly make a man great; his his ability to continue the battle even when he feels no thrill, even when it seems he isn't making as much progress as he had hoped, and even when it seems he's going backwards instead of forwards!

So let us all learn from "Me" - this valiant soldier of Hashem - and follow in his footsteps!

In the above section, we discussed how often, after making good progress, Hashem takes away from us the initial excitement and makes the struggle hard again. We talked about how Hashem does this so that we can take the struggle to a new level.


In response to that, Ari wrote us as follows:


This email really spoke to me, as this question was bothering me for the last couple of weeks. I was doing so good and I couldn't understand why I feel so low again even though I didn't do anything terrible. I just don't feel as great as I did the first couple of months. I was so in touch with myself then, but now it just feels "Blah".

But I'm trying to understand better what you wrote above. If I'm fighting on a higher level, why am I still fighting the same struggles to guard my eyes on the street and not to browse inappropriate sites on the internet? In other words, how can I be on a higher level if the issues seem to be the exact same? Maybe I really am right were I left off, just starting all over!

This has been discouraging me lately and I would love a little clarity.

Thanks so much


GYE Responds:

Hi Ari.

I don't know if you noticed, but you basically answered the question already yourself. You wrote at the end: "Maybe I really am right were I left off, just starting all over!".

You may indeed feel like you're starting all over, but you really are right where you left off. Let me explain:

The Vilna Goan asks how a person can know what their purpose for coming to this world is. How are we to know what our most intimate and personal challenge is; i.e. the very reason for our creation? The Vilna Goan answers that we can know this by seeing what areas are most difficult for us to control, and what issues challenge us most frequently. It is for those areas that we were sent to the world to fix.

So Ari, if this struggle is a major issue in your life, it is likely that this is your own personal Tikkun in this world. And if this is one of the main issues you came down to the world to fix, it stands to reason that you may have to spend a long time in this struggle. But how? Once you've made good progress, what is there left for you to do?

So what Hashem often does, is that precisely when we have made serious strides, our successes are taken away from us and saved in our spiritual "bank" so that we can start over again from scratch and earn yet another powerful "spiritual" coin in the struggle. And that is why the old excitement disappears, the same struggles come back and it seems that we are starting all over again.

But Ari, when we have enough coins, we will finally have fixed what we came down to the world to do! And when this happens, Hashem will save us from this struggle forever.

So don't be discouraged, this can take sometimes years. You are not back to square one as it seems. But rather, as you said, you are "right where you left off". You may be only one step away from the finish line, but for that one step to be a decisive step, Hashem makes it appear again as if you are just starting out.

It is brought down in the sefer menucha v'kedusha, written by a talmid of R' Chaim Volozhin, that even a person who sins his whole life can still be considered a Tzaddik, as long as he never gives up and always continues to fight. We like to think of success in terms of results. But Hashem looks at our efforts, not the results!

And that's the ultimate test:

Hashem wants to see if we only take steps when we feel are getting somewhere. But a real warrior understands that Hashem doesn't care that much for the "results". Rather, it is little steps we take each day - the new Hischazkus that we have to keep summoning anew - that truly give Hashem pleasure and make us into Tzadikim.

In response to our response to Ari, someone wrote us:

"Great email! This is a very fundamental yesod for all of us. I contemplate this a lot".

Since this Yesod is indeed so fundamental to maintaining proper perspective on this struggle, I would like to address it again with a beautiful parable from the Ba'al Hasulam:

A king once had a good friend whom he hadn't seen in many years. When this friend finally returned, the king was so happy to see him that he told his treasurer to take his friend - who happened to be a pauper - to the royal treasury, and to give him one hour to take as much money as he wanted! So they brought him into the treasury and gave him a bag, which the poor man proceeded to fill with gold coins until the bag could hold no more. Full of gratitude and happiness, the poor man began to leave, but as soon as he stepped out of the door, the guards gave the bag a big kick and all the coins spilled onto the floor. The man was distraught, but he looked at his watch and saw that he had still had plenty of time until his hour was up, so he quickly returned to the treasury and began to refill the bag with coins. But when it was full and he tried to leave, once again the guards gave the bag a big kick and everything went flying. The man was at his wits end, but seeing that he still had more time, he refused to give up and he went back in and tried to fill the bag yet again.

But the same scenario repeated itself over and over. The guards kept kicking the bag of coins and causing everything to spill, until the poor man was sure that he was simply wasting him time.

Finally the hour was up, and the guards dragged the poor man out of the room with his bag barely half full.

But suddenly, the poor man looks up and he sees a wagon over loaded with gold coins standing before him. And as he stands there wondering for whom all that money is intended, he sees the king coming to greet him with a big smile. And the king tells him that the entire wagon load of gold coins belongs to him, explaining that he had commanded the guards to make him lose his coins each time, so that he would manage to gather up so much more in the one hour that he had!

And so it is with our life on this world. Often after we have made good progress and our bag is "full", Hashem commands the guards to give us a kick and we lose everything. Hashem does this purposefully so that we can keep filling up the bag again and again, but the foolish man thinks that all his work is in vain and he simply gives up trying. However, the wise man knows that he hasn't lost anything from his previous efforts, and he starts over again and again from scratch - with JOY.

And if we follow the path of the wise man, when our time is up and we come to the next world, we will see a huge pile of spiritual "gold coins" waiting for us from the progress that we had made each and every time we started over again!


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