Principle 7: Giving the fight over to Hashem

by GYE (See all authors)

Ultimately, only Hashem can overcome the addiction for us. As Chazal say: “If Hashem doesn’t help him, he cannot overcome him” (the Yetzer Hara). But, in order for Hashem to fight for us, we need to know that we can’t do it alone, and we need to reconnect with Hashem in a very fundamental way and learn a complete dependency on Him; much as a one day old baby depends on its mother.

Sometimes “Fear of Failure” can actually lead us to falls. Winston Churchill once said: “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” And - lehavdil - Rabbi Nachman said, “The main thing is not to fear at all.” Trying to control our own addiction leads us to fear, because we start to ask ourselves: "Can I really do it?" And when we are attacked by the Yetzer Hara, we often fall simply because we fear the addiction and think it is too strong for us.

Instead, the secret to success is to let Hashem do it for us, as the Pasuk says: “Hashem yilachem lachem, ve’atem tacharishun – Hashem will fight for you, and you shall be silent.” To accomplish this, however, we need to learn to completely trust in Hashem. And those who learn this and give over the struggle to Hashem are amazed to find that Hashem actually removes the lust from them and keeps them "sober". This technique is nothing short of miraculous, but it has been documented thousands of times by the most hopeless cases of addiction in 12-Step groups around the world, since the 1930s.

The Ohr Hachayim also describes this miraculous phenomenon. He asks, if someone has already fallen into these things and can't help thinking about them, how can they possibly hold themselves back from sinning? He quotes the Pasuk in Acharei Mos: "Speak to the Children of Israel and tell them, I am Hashem your G-d. Like the ways of the land of Egypt that you have dwelled in their midst, you shall not do." Explains the Ohr Hachayim, the Torah is hinting to us that for someone who "dwelled in the land of Egypt" and has already accustomed himself to seeing and thinking about these things, the Pasuk starts off with the words: "Tell them that I am Hashem your G-d." This is to teach us that: "While it is impossible with human strength... with G-dly strength, you shall be able to be victorious over the natural physical drives."

When we learn to “Let Go and Let G-d,” Hashem does all the fighting for us and we don’t have to “overcome” anything on our own. Our job is just to maintain a healthy spiritual condition and learn to live with Hashem’s help. Of course, we also need to take the steps we can, to ensure that we do not continue feeding our addiction. When we let Hashem do it for us, we have Hashem’s strength and not our own, as the Pasuk says “Kovei Hashem yachalifu koachthose who hope to Hashem exchange strengths”. We literally exchange our strength with that of Hashem’s.

Learning how to truly give over the fight to Hashem may require joining a 12-Step Group since we often need to learn this first through humans, before it can feel real enough to do with Hashem - who is abstract. For starters though, we can try to internalize this in our daily struggles through short “foxhole” type prayers every time we are tested, such as: “Father, HELP ME!!” or “Hashem, only YOU can do it for me,” or “I depend completely on You Father!”, etc… The Steipler writes regarding these tests, that some people need to daven 50 times a day to be protected.

The Gemara says that Chavakuk Hanavi summed up all of the Torah in one statement, "Tzadik Be'emunoso Yich'yeThe Tzadik will live in his faith." Rashi explains that in earlier generations, people had the strength to concentrate on all 613 mitzvos; however, in the later generations we simply cannot. So Chavakuk Hanavi gave us the key: Concentrate on Emunah (Faith) and Hashem will take care of everything else.

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