Hashem's greatest gift
Question: I've given up the bad stuff already for a few months, but I still feel far from learning to control my eyes. When we see a beautiful girl, and we really KNOW that it's really nothing, but it affects our senses, how in the world can we deal with that? I mean, it feels like we have to forgo the most beautiful things in this world! I know it's possible, but it's so painful sometimes.
Answer: R' Nachman once said that the entire strength of the Yetzer Hara is through "dimyon" - imagination, and he said that we should change the Yetzer Hara's name to "Ha'Medameh" (Likutei Maharan; Torah 25)
This whole desire is a blown up bubble of hot-air, built around what we see and imagine in the mind. Experience has shown us all, that as soon as we get what we thought we wanted -- what we thought was going to be absolutely incredible (according to what we saw and fantasized), the bubble pops and all that's left is "hot air". And we are left shaking our head and not believing that for this we were willing to sell our very souls.
So in essence, the fact that we struggle so much with shmiras ainayim and all these powerful fantasies, and the fact that it feels like it takes such effort give our hearts over to Hashem - this all is really Hashem's greatest gift to us. Let me explain what I mean:
If we would just be like those who don't care and give in and get all that they desire, we would have NOTHING at the end. Do you think they have joy from this? Did you ever see a non-Jew walking around happy because he gets whatever he wants? The minute it's over, they are left disillusioned and seeking other pleasures to fill the void they feel. So think about it. Hashem has chosen us and uplifted us from the filth of the world, and given us the opportunity to make all these "valiant" struggles every time we turn away from looking at something the Yetzer Hara wants us to look at - just so that Hashem can embrace us and reward us with eternal divine light. But what is the alternative, i.e. if we would give in? Nothing! Emptiness and disillusionment! The Yetzer Hara promises so much, but he delivers nothing! So this whole blown up desire that we have and all these difficult struggles not to look, etc... it's really all a "game" that Hashem is playing with us. He makes us feel as if we are "ripping out our hearts" for him - and he indeed rewards us AS IF we have sacrificed our hearts on the alter, and he allows us to come closer to him than any non-Jew could dream of coming, and yet, it's all a game. Because if one would be able to see in advance the way he would feel after he would give in, he wouldn't even have a struggle!!
That is perhaps what Chaza"l meant when they said that one day the Tzadikim will weep with joy that they were able to overcome the mountain of the Yetzer Hara, and Resha'im will weep that they couldn't overcome this little string of the Yetzer Hara. One may ask, how could the Yetzer Hara be both things, which is the real truth? Well, based on the above, it could be that the Tzadikim are talking about the "mountain" that the Yetzer Hara "FELT LIKE" - when they didn't give in. But the Resha'im are seeing the little "nothing" that the Yetzer Hara really was when they actually gave in.
So it's really all a game of Hashem's kindness and love for us. Hashem is only asking of us to over come a "small string", but he makes it LOOK like a mountain so that we can be worthy of coming close to him and receive the tremendous reward he wants to give us!
If you remember this important idea, you will stay be able to stay strong even in what "feels like" the most difficult moments!