By Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger
I basically keep the rules.
I wake up early, daven with a minyan, squeeze in a breakfast (sometimes) and a daf, and I'm off to work. After a long day at the office, I come home and try to be a good husband and father.
I try to do what's right ... but shmiras einayim is a really tough one.
Because I do not live in a ghetto. I am out there in the "real" world. I work, shop, travel, and interact with all types of people. I am exposed to all sorts of sights and sounds, some real and some virtual, and much of it is not all that kosher. Yet I have been told, and I myself recognize, that I still must maintain standards of kedushah and shmiras einayim ... but I wonder how this is even possible.
The whole topic of shmiras einayim leaves me frustrated because the world I live in is enticing and I know I will slip. This leaves me with a choice. Should I face the nisayon and my failures and feel guilty, or ignore the entire topic and feel numb. Either way, my relationship with Hashem suffers.
I want to feel deserving of having a connection with Hashem. When I stand to daven Shemoneh Esrei I want to be proud of who I am, and comfortable with the person I am presenting to Him.
The average shmuz on this topic just leaves me feeling bad, so what's the point? Not that I am unwilling to try to improve. I really would like to, but I will need a program that clarifies the struggle, not a shmuz. I want to know what happens to me when I see something improper. What exactly is kedushah, and why should I struggle to attain it? Will shemiras einayim make me a better and even happier person? I will need effective, down-to-earth strategies to help me along the way and help restart my engine after inevitable failures.
I want to grow.
I really do, but I am looking for someone to talk with, rationally and logically.
I am a yeshivah bachur, and I consider myself, like they say, "with the program."
I learn during seder and sometimes bein hasedarim, if I'm on a roll.
I go to Shacharis bein hazemanim - okay, a little late - and I have a seder afterward.
My rebbi speaks about kedushah every once in a while, but it has little effect ... not just on me but on most of the "normal" guys. Not because we don't believe him. We really do. It's just because it's hard, really hard. We're normal.
I have been a kollel yungerman for many years now.
I am excited to get up and go to yeshivah each morning, and I learn with geshmak.
Baruch Hashem, I have a fantastic wife and a good marriage and our kids give us much nachas - most of the time.
I learn mussar and strive to continually grow in my avodas Hashem. But shmiras einayim is one area that I still find hard to "break through." I guess it's part of being human, but I can really use a practical approach to tackling this issue.
The fact is that we all are in this together. We all struggle with a society and a culture run amok. No one can escape it and no one has the strength to go it alone. We need each other's chizuk and encouragement.
So let's walk together and work together.