Saturday, 28 August 2021

Elul on Guard Your Eyes

by Hashem Help Me (See all authors)

Elul on Guard Your Eyes

The typical fellow on GYE is a nice guy. He learns, davens, puts on tzitzis and tefillin, is careful with Shabbos, kashrus, and inyonim bain adam l'chaveiro. His "chart" in shomayim is looking good. Comes Elul, and he asks himself - Can i learn and daven better/more? Can i be mekayem mitzvos better? Can i improve my hanhaga with other people? Shmiras HaLashon? Polite and clean speech? Can I learn hilchos Shabbos/kashrus more in depth and make sure I am up to par? Can i make brachos better? etc.....

This same fellow has a side challenge. He picked up as an innocent youngster some bad habits. Shmutz, hotzo'as zera, and all that comes along with it. He was basically an onais. Nobody really prepared him for this challenge, so his curiosity got him hooked before he realized how assur and habit forming this stuff is. Once he did realize, he had nobody to turn to. No lines of communication about this embarrassing stuff were ever offered to him, and he was too ashamed to reach out. Onais material.

He listened to the yetzer hara and started measuring himself totally based on these actions. It didn't matter that he did so many wonderful things and stayed away from other aveiros. All his good actions were tainted by his being impure and hated by Hashem. On a day that he didn't fall, he still had terribly negative feelings due to his (mistaken) knowledge that he has to fall soon anyway...Every good action was discounted to the barest minimum.

Now he comes to GYE. Courageous. As a mature adult he is willing to put that shame on the side and post, call, and maybe even meet. There is no doubt that this causes great simcha in shomayim. Our friend is making changes. His Elul for this stuff, is to do something, anything, to show himself and Hashem that he is in truth loyal - ne'eman, albeit struggling with this bad habit.

The two issues may not merge. He should not dare look negatively or even discount his Torah/davening even if he fell that day. He should daven an Elul davening and learn on an Elul standard. His "regular" issues have nothing to do with his "onais" issue. He dare not have a depressed Shabbos seuda even if he fell a few hours before. He should sing zemiros with geshmak, knowing that Hashem loves him and is proud of his attempts.

In actuality, our chaver has two separate avodos this Elul. All the "regular" stuff, where he should do the best he can to clean up his act. And then these issues. He should turn towards the right direction. Post, call, meet, get a filter, avoid triggers... (yes, iyh a few years down the road when he is in a healthy place, and has learned to truly accept himself, with proper guidance he will do teshuva for his past. But now as a still - even partially - broken depressed fellow, it is not the time).

Iyh when one really picks up this mindset, he attains the menuchas hanefesh necessary to get better. He begins to rewire his brain about sexuality, starts to internalize that there is never a need to give in, and learns how to self soothe in healthy kosher ways. His pride in himself grows and helps create a loving home, where the bedroom is an extension of a thriving 24/7 marriage - in a dwelling where the Shechina feels invited in. And if chas v'shalom there are occasional slips and falls until he develops this confidence, he has the wherewithal to contact a chaver to help him get refocused and back on track.

Truth to be told, our chaver does have one more important thing to do teshuva for this Elul. He listened to his yetzer hara when he told him "Nothing you do is really good because you fell today". Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, "everything you do is good because you are a mesiras nefesh yid! someone who is doing what it takes to walk against this tsunami of filth, even if today you unfortunately fell."

How do you do teshuva for that? Go to the mirror each remaining day of Elul, and look deeply into the eyes of the fellow looking back at you, and tell him "You are a great fellow. Hashem loves you!" After a few days, change the word "you" to "I". "I am a great guy and Hashem loves me!" May Hashem guide us all to utilize Elul and the yemei HaRachamim V'HaRatzon properly.