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Finding Alternate Fulfillment

GYE Corp. Monday, 16 January 2012

Rav Wolbe Ztz"l, one of the foremost baalei mussar of our times, in his Sefer "Psychiatry and Religion" (Pg. 82) suggests cultivating a combination of religious and social fulfillment to help our youth beat this big challenge. He writes:

The difficult phase of adolescence is fertile soil for feelings of guilt, especially for religious youth. Masturbation is a serious prohibition. Yet almost all youth stumble in this and are unable to find the strength to overcome this in any way. The result is feelings of guilt. This is where wise guidance from Rabbanim and Mechnchim becomes so necessary. As is known, a Rav is not licensed to "forgive sins" and surely not to permit the forbidden. However, he can guide, calm and bring the youth to acceptance of himself. And together with that, to cultivate an intensive social life and help bring the youth into the vast wealth of Torah, which can arouse in him a deep thirst to acquire and grow in Torah. As our sages have said, "Torah is good with Derech Eretz, for the toil in both makes sins be forgotten". In other words, the toil in Torah together with the toil of cultivating a thriving social life, brings to a situation where, over time, one forgets to sin. Instead of waging a constant battle - which is hopeless, through the positive hard work in Torah and a social life, slowly but surely, the youth will recover from masturbation. This is the conventional path of Chinuch that is accepted today. Yes, Torah life needs intensive chinuch. Without chinuch, there is no escape from youth sinking into feelings of guilt and despair.