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Chronicles in Crises In Our Communities – 7/10/09

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Dear Rachel,

One of the details that struck me about the sad article (Wife in Silent Suffering / Chronicles 6-12-09) was the following sentence: “We have a TV in our home, yet I must tell you that the Internet is ruining our lives.”

I am not writing this anonymously because I want to stress the sincerity and truth in what I am saying.

I am not proud of myself. Actually, I am quite ashamed of myself yet am disclosing embarrassing information with the hope that you can use my input to help others. Out of respect for my wife, please do not print my real name!

I have a great marriage, but I succumbed to the yetzer ha’ra of the Internet. (The fact that so many people are having this problem does not make it any less of a sin.) While I never went so far as to meet anyone online or in person, I am sad to say that I looked at plenty of filth.

Thank G-d, I have come a long way and have been “clean” for a while already. I, nevertheless, am aware that I can never let my guard down, for as the Mishnah says, “Don’t believe in yourself until the day you die.”

What I wanted to discuss was my personal experience and what I believe had a strong effect on my wanting to view such filth. I realize that everyone is different, but I believe that the world we live in – especially the television and movies, once a big part of my life – is a major contributor to the lure of Internet filth.

When a man watches TV and the females are dressed in a seductive fashion, where every other show or film features affairs as normal events and nightclub settings as routine, how can a man not be affected?

Every loving wife should wake up to the dangers of the “side effects” of modern- day television and the many movies that plant dangerous seeds of filth, which can be detrimental. One of my ways of staying clean is by not watching any movie, period. We do not have a TV in the house anymore.

I believe that it is essential for every man to find inside of himself the desire to cling to and to love his Creator. There are plenty of resources online (Aish.com is one of my personal favorites) where one learns about the fact that Hashem wants us to have pleasure and of how to be aware of the counterfeit pleasures – which are not only “not real,” but also extremely destructive.

While I am not proud of my past, I do want to help anyone that I can, even if it means embarrassing myself by discussing my past. I would speak to anybody – roshei yeshiva, teachers, etc.

One of my future goals is to start a website for people searching to fill an emptiness. The site would focus on the real and ultimate pleasure of connecting to the Almighty, in laymen’s terms and on a level that would speak to people suffering from this addiction.

Please feel free to contact me for any other information that may be helpful to you or your readers.

There are ways to overcome…

Dear There,

Certainly not by happenstance, it is in this week’s Torah portion (Parshas Pinchas) that we find the “daughters of Moav” seducing the Jews into idol worship. Furthermore, so gripped with hatred were the Midianites for the Jews that they offered their own king’s daughter for harlotry just to incite the Jews to sin.

Today we are exposed to the “daughters of Moav” all around us, not only as inanimate objects in sultry poses on lifelike billboards, but as living, breathing – barely, one would imagine, in their body-hugging flimsy attire – entities whom we cannot help but cross paths with on the streets, in the subways, etc., the kind who would have been considered even by secular standards not that long ago as “loose women.”

So, my dear man, much as the television and Internet, as you articulate, contribute and maximize the potential for immorality, the yetzer ha’ra in our time is having a field day.

And, sad to say, the concept of modesty seems to be lost on many of our own, thus creating a double jeopardy in our midst: Not only does this place a stumbling block in front of our men (in the workplace, at social events, etc.), but this laxity in the area of tznius is also delaying the coming of Moshiach and our ultimate redemption – for the Torah makes it clear that the Divine Presence can dwell only amongst a holy nation, a people who behave in a modest fashion.

Perhaps now, as never before, we must harness the creativity and intellectual prowess of our children early on by steadfastly steering them in the one direction that offers immunity to the evil inclination: the illuminating path of Torah spirituality.

Thank you for proving that old habits can be conquered – with a genuine will to overcome and a commitment to persevere. The sincere penitent can be assured of guidance from Above and is thereby never alone in his struggle.

Having an understanding and supportive wife at your side is a blessing in itself. May you find hatzlachah in all your lofty undertakings and continue to grow in midos tovos and yiras shamayim.

Please send your personal stories, thoughts and opinions to rachel@jewishpress.com

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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