Conduct in Public Places
Since I have subscribed, I tried to fight against my Yetzer HaRa, and it had been a brutal war. Baruch HaShem, my cellphone is "calm." But the problem is the women in the streets. I cannot think of anything good, and sometimes, I don't feel G-d around me. If there was any way to help me...
Thank you for helping me in this struggle. Blessings of HaShem upon you.
here are some suggestions from GYE members about conduct on the streets:
"The answer lies in what I learned from GYE: If you go out into the street expecting to somehow avoid gazing at forbidden things, you have lost the battle before you start. You have to train yourself in your own home to keep your focus within 4 amos of where you are walking so that you do not bump into anyone/thing.
"But this is not enough especially in the summer and in NY. You have to constantly be learning mussar. Each morning before davening for 10 minutes. Try choosing mussar that speaks to you. Use what you learn that day and focus on it while you walk in the street.
"Another idea is to study the 6 Constant Mitzvos:
"This was Rav Noach Weinberg's biggest tool - to learn the 6 mitzvos and to think about them when you are not learning/working. This is a double advantage:
1. Because these are constant mitzvos, you are stacking huge piles of mitzvos that are often ignored at a time that you would be just walking to work/shul/etc..
2. When you are thinking about the 6 mitzvos your mind is preoccupied with spirituality and the yezter hora has much less of a chance of getting your attention and even if he manages for a second you will be able to look away much quicker.
"Listening to a dynamic speaker on an mp3 while walking in the street can have the same effect.
"Another important point that I learned from GYE is that there is a difference between seeing and gazing. We, unfortunately, do not live in a vacuum and we will usually see some sights that are inappropriate. The test is what you do when you have seen something. The yetzer tell you "you have failed and you might as well continue looking as you will burn in hell for this anyway". This is one of the biggest tools of the yetzer and it is total "SHEKER"!!. You have not done anything wrong by just seeing something. Of course, we must avoid as best as we can the busy pritzus areas but if we work on Broadway ... we are likely to come across some "sights". It is the next step that is crucial!!! After seeing that "sight" you need to look away and then you have done nothing wrong. Seeing versus gazing! This is the key to begin a clean path of shemirs einayim.
Once you get used to looking away and keeping your mind occupied with Torah thoughts you will automatically move up to the next level which is avoiding the "sights" as best as you can because as we all know even glimpsing something for a split second can arouse a passion and this image is embedded in your mind and will resurface at the worst moments like when you close your eyes to say Shema or Shemonei Esre.
"Thanks a million to GYE and let's not forget that each victory in shemiras einayim reaps huge rewards in Shomayim especially in today's free society.
"My strategy has actually proved very helpful for me - I hope this can be helpful for him, too:
"I don't like thinking of the "restrictions" and "punishments." That just gets me down. Instead, I've turned it into a game. The pasuk says "Yeshuas Hashem Ke'heref ayin." (God's salvation comes in the blink of an eye). Homiletically, it means that God creates salvation when you're careful with your eyes.
"So every time I see an immodest sight heading towards me, I reflexively think of that pasuk and the things I need, shut my eyes or look away for a few seconds (that's all you need!), and whisper a prayer.
"I've found it makes it a much more positive experience (you feel like a million bucks - after all you just made at least that right then and there ;-)
"It also makes your emunah stronger. So you win on the shemiras einayim issue, as well as on the emunah issue in one swoop!
Hope this helps!"
"In terms of walking outside and having to deal with all of the billboards, women dressed so improperly, flashing pictures and all, there’s a beautiful vort that one must prepare for the challenges of the street and workplace in the same way that Yaakov Avinu prepared for the challenge of meeting Eisav.
"Yaakov Avinu took 3 steps: 1) Strategy – splitting his camps so that at least one camp could flee if the other was attacked; 2) Prepare for battle; 3) Tefillah.
"In the same way, before we embark on an encounter with the challenging world, we too must prepare with these 3 steps:
1) Strategy – figuring out if there’s another, less challenging way, to travel or get to our destination (“Darka Achrina”) or perhaps to read a book on a train, or make a phone call if applicable, or whatever strategy may help alleviate and avoid the challenges.
2) Prepare for battle – to charge oneself up beforehand, knowing what you may see, and getting ready to not take “a second look.” As mentioned in the GYE materials – “the first look is on G-d, and the second look is on YOU” (meaning He prepared this challenge, and that first glance is not your fault – YOUR job is not taking that second glance.)
3) Tefilla – offering an (even quick) Tefillah before venturing outside or anywhere challenging that Hashem help us overcome this huge challenge of our generation.
In this way, we’re prepared like Yaakov Avinu!"
"Count the Diamonds!
"One trick that I have found helpful with the challenges of seeing improper and immodest sights in the street is making it into a game in my head. That is, I count the times that I need to look away in my head. In other words, when I notice something improper/problematic and look away, I say to myself “that’s one.” A moment later there’s another need to look down, or away – “that’s two.” Then someone is walking by and the Yetzer Hora says “maybe take a good look to see if it’s someone improperly dressed that you should look away from!!….”(don’t fall for that trick) and hopefully I don’t even look to begin with – “that’s three.” A bus passes by with a horrific ad – “that’s four.”
"Then at the end – I’ve reached 12 or 25 or 100 or whatever and mark it down and reward myself when I get to a certain goal.
"Here’s why I think it helps: The power of NOT LOOKING is something special and holy (even though it often doesn’t feel holy at all – you’re left with that image in your head and lusting emotion – but we know it IS something VERY special. It’s been shared on the GYE emails that it’s brought that after looking away it’s an “Eis Ratzon” an opportune time to daven for something, based on the power of that moment of NOT LOOKING. We’re told that “There’s no greater Mitzva than avoiding a sin!”(Gemara in Kiddushin), which means by NOT LOOKING you just did one of the greatest Mitzvos! Literally!
"If so, how can I not count how many SUPER Mitzvos I did on the way home? That’s 5…That’s 6…..That’s 25…. Imagine giving Tzedaka or doing a super special Chesed 25 times in one day, and maybe in just one trip! What an accomplishment! And this is in a way even greater….so, make a goal and then celebrate those Mitzvos!!
"I believe that the reason this is so helpful is that it reframes the challenge from ‘no’ and ‘no’ and ‘don’t look’ and ‘don’t do an aveira,’ which is hard and negative and feels like ‘missing out’ to something positive and energetic. Each ‘no’ is really a ‘yes’ – “that’s another one”, “and that’s another one! Now I’m up to 54!” Each time one looks away is a ticket to greater Divine assistance, greater Kedusha, greater growth. Yes, it’s so hard because naturally it doesn’t feel that way – but by counting up and programming ourselves to view each ‘looking away’ as a powerful step UP of Kedusha & growth, suddenly the day or the trip etc. is suddenly filled with opportunities for such powerful Mitzvos and Zechusim and growth!"
By Anthony Nonymous:
- My yetzer hora for looking at inappropriate things strengthens and weakens in waves. I have drawn a definite association between when I actively make decisions to be strong, e.g. fully reading the GYE newsletter, or other mussar/halacha about shmiras aynayim, and when my yeter hora is weakened. Conversely, it just takes a little slip, e.g. an involuntary sighting of some linked image on a news website to bring it back full force. Even though I instinctively cover the image with my hand within a split second, or close the web page, the damage is done. Lesson learned - when an "accident" like this happens, immediately apply the antidote of some extra mussar.
- My mind loves to wander onto thoughts of inappropriate things particularly when I am in a lessened state of alertness, like when I've just closed my eyes to go to sleep. It helps to have something else to dwell on that doesn't use too much brain power, to distract myself as I am dozing off, but it has to be visual, like counting up to 1000, and visualizing the digits being decorated in peaceful, dreamy ways.
- When my yetzer come at me with rationalizations like, "just looking/thinking doesn't hurt", I find it helpful to think about my teenage daughter, and how she would feel if she knew what I was staring at or visualizing. It would be a complete insult to her, and just the thought of doing something so shameful is often enough to set me straight.
- Following on from the previous point, I sometimes think to myself, what kind of insult is it to every female human being that I know, that I could think of women in such a gross, demeaning way, distracted by their physical bodies and giving no consideration to their holy souls. Is that the kind of person I am? I'm better than that.