Friday, 25 September 2015

What do we really want?

by Shabsi (See all authors)

First the problem:

We are sincere people who want to stand before Hashem and tell Him that we really do not want this lust in our lives. That "I want to do Your will, not mine."

We want to stand on these days of the Yomim Noraim, free of sin, free of this lust.

We want to come to Him and tell Him we want to be involved with Him more, and not be involved with the obsession at all.

But we are overcome with mixed feelings. Are we for real? How can I say that? A very big part of me WANTS the lust. CRAVES the lust. Yes, let's be honest!

Especially when we're at a "low". Don't we feel like we are still running after the sights, the fantasies? How do I surrender the lust to Hashem and tell Him - and myself! - that I don't want this, when really I DO?! We feel so guilty, so insincere. Like the words we are saying and davening can't really apply to us.

That's the problem.

Now here's the idea:

We have to understand that we have a disease. This disease is in OUR minds. It IS our minds. It's a voice, telling us that lust is something that we want. That lust is a solution to our problems, that it'll make us feel good. But that voice IS NOT ME!! It's the disease talking.

The voice could be really loud sometimes. And it makes me think that I WANT this. But really it's a theft, a deception. Because I am a good person who really doesn't want this. Look how much I've STRUGGLED with the obsession. Look how many calls I've made, and (possibly) how much time and money I've invested to cutting out this behavior. That's because I - the real I - really doesn't want this.

I compare the sickness to a cancer. Cancer uses the body's OWN cells to reproduce and harm the body. Also here, this disease uses the body's own mind and desires, and claims that we don't have a chance; that we need this lust!

Actually it is amazing how many of the excuses we have made are really the disease talking. He convinces us that it's impossible to remain sober, especially for a long time, that it will harm our bodies, that it's really healthy for us, that it's something good, etc. etc. At least that's what it tells me. But it's all the disease talking. Not me. And definitely not reality. We know that.

For some people, the voice is really loud. Especially when we're in a bad groove. When we're in fall, it's so hard to separate the strong feelings and identify them as sick ones.

But every time we desist, with Hashem's help, the sick voices shrink back a little bit. Some of us can even go for a long time having the voice be really quiet, not bothering us much.


But even the most veteran of us gets a pang every now and then. An urge, an out-of-control sinking and pulling thought that threatens us. And then we go into the same identity crisis: Is this me? Am I recovering or am I just fooling myself? Do I want this or don't I? Am I really doing well? If I am, how can I be getting this lust attack!!

And the answer is that it's the sickness, not us. No, we don't want this. So yes, we can stand on Rosh Hashana - or any other time of the year - and say to Hashem: I want to be close to you!!

Chances are, if we are unprepared, the disease will right then and there rally and clamor for attention. "Who do you think you are, trying to be close to Hashem?! Don't you see you really want me?! You LOVE me, you NEED me, you're hopelessly entangled with me."

But this is what we need to do. We tell those voices: "I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! I've seen you before. I know what you're trying to do! Quiet down please; I'm trying to live! You've made me so miserable!"

And when we're driving down the street and we're hit by something out of the blue, and the old "tenant" starts using our mind and whisper feelings of lust and obsession, we need to immediately identify that foe of ours. Let's catch him red-handed, before he gets a chance to steal too much. "I know who you are." And calmly, firmly, happily, we send him packing.

This is only possible with the program, of course. Because self - awareness just isn't good enough. We still need to grow. To keep Hashem in our conscience minds and behavior.

But this approach allows the GUILT to go away.

We didn't ask for this disease. Fault is not the issue here - it's a sickness!!

I have heard in the name of R' Aharon Leib Shteinman Shlit"a that the place to daven for lust addiction is in "refa'enu", not 'Hashivaynu", or "slach lanu". This is very important to remember.

So what ARE we responsible for? Well, we know we have this disease. And we know Hashem hates immorality. Are we doing what we can to heal ourselves? Are we doing what we can to come closer to Him, to live our lives for Him and with Him? Perhaps this is our responsibility, the one for which we will be held accountable. Maybe these, then, are the questions Hashem will ask US after 120.

So let's keep growing closer and closer to Him. Let us surrender this disease and all our negative traits. And let us - the REAL us - connect with Hashem this year on Rosh Hashana, l'maancha - for Your sake.

It's a tremendous pity if we feel too guilty to even allow ourselves to get closer to Him, which is what we really want! Let us love Hashem. Let us feel loved by Him. It is true. All of us.


Retzoneinu Laasos Retzonecha.