Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Day 6: Mussar+Halachah=A Powerful Antidote

Part 2/3 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by Miller, Rabbi Zvi (See all authors)

How can studying Torah law help me control strong impulses?

Rabbi Salanter uses the analogy of a physical disease. A person needs to relate to a spiritual malady in the same way he deals with a physical illness. The strength and dosage of the remedy is proportionate to the severity of the illness. The development of Yirat Shamayim (an acute awareness of Hashem's presence) and the study of the relevant laws is a primary remedy. As long as the yetzer hara is activated , Yirat Shamayim and the study of the appropriate laws must be increased. If a person does not use this primary remedy, then the general study of Torah will not have much influence over his yetzer hara. (Ohr Yisrael, Igeret HaMussar)

You may not have been aware that there are specific laws of Shmirat Einayim. It pays to find out about them, study them, and work on Yirat Shamayim, as outlined by Rabbi Salanter. The combination of Mussar study with the study of halachah yields a powerful tool for combat­ing our physical desires. Learning what is forbidden and what is permitted will effectively guard you from seeing improper sights. If you sincerely and carefully study these laws, you are well on your way to a character transforma­tion.

Even though it can be hard in the beginning, don't give up! The mores of modern society make this a very difficult test. But the combination of learning Mussar and studying the halachot, is so powerful that you will soon develop new habits that will stay with you forever.

Today: Be encouraged by knowing that through Mussar and halachah study you have the means to control your eyes and change old habits.