Jewish Sexuality dot Com
|What Makes Me Watch Pornography?|
|Written by Tzvi Fishman|
|Tuesday, 14 October 2014|
Time and again, I have tried to stop watching pornography on the Internet, but a day later, and sometimes after just a few hours, I'm back at the keyboard, unable to withstand the urge, as if compelled by some kind of magnet whose strength is far greater than mine. Can you tell me what's at the root of this, and what I can do to stop?
The very strong pull to gaze at forbidden images on the Internet is rooted in the "yetzer hara," the evil inclination inside every person. This powerful and unholy force has been around since the beginning of time. The Sages of the Talmud teach that "the eyes see, the heart desires, and the body carries out the sin."
Represented by the snake in the Garden of Eden, the yetzer hara strives with all its might and cunning to draw man away from G-d, as in the story of Adam and Eve, who "saw" that the fruit was pleasing to the eyes and tasted it against the will of G-d.
This force gains added strength when a person feels depressed or lacking, leading him or her to fill their emptiness with the deceiving temptations of evil. But the seeming satisfactions of evil are passing, leaving a person to seek more and more illicit pleasure to fill up his or her void.
What happens on a spiritual level is that when a person sins by watching forbidden images and filling his mind with unholy thoughts, the "Shechinah," or protective Divine Presence, flees from him, and he draws a "ruach ra'ah," an evil spirit upon himself in its place. At first this unholy spirit is like a visitor, but with every new session at the computer, watching pornography and the like, this evil spirit becomes a permanent guest, until it takes over the person completely.
With each transgression, another impure layer of this evil spirit surrounds him, until he is encased by an unholy spirit that takes over his life completely, ruling over him, instead of him ruling over it. This is what causes a person to feel "possessed" or driven by an urge he feels that he cannot control.
On the spiritual battlefield, breaking the addiction to Internet pornography means overcoming this yetzer hara and shattering the ruach ra'ah, which accompanies the person like an invisible straitjacket wherever he goes.
As long as the ruach ra'ah has the addict imprisoned in its deathlike grip, he doesn't have the wherewithal to overcome the yetzer hara. First, the ruach ra'ah must be weakened and forced to retreat. This can be achieved through the Twelve Torah Steps, outlined in the "Pornoholics Anonymous" section of his website. Here, we will mention a few of the basic weapons needed in the battle.
When a person immerses himself in a mikvah, he drowns a layer of the ruach ra'ah that has enveloped him. He is spiritually cleansed, but only for a short period of time. Since a person draws layers and layers of impurity upon himself with each transgression, it isn't enough to immerse in a mikvah only one time. Multiple immersions are needed, on a daily basis if possible, to weaken the grip of the ruach ra'ah.
To the extent that a person has polluted his brain and soul with unholy images and thoughts, he must replace the damage he has caused his spiritual world through an increased immersion in Torah study which is a powerful, healing medicine.
Concurrently, it is good to recite, also on a daily basis, special prayers called "Tikunim," which have been formulated by masters of the Kabbalah to obliterate the forces of impurity that a person has drawn upon himself by looking at erotic images, or having engaged in sexual fantasies and sexual sins.
There are many other important strategies in the battle against the yetzer hara, which can be found in the online version of the book, "Secret of the Brit," in the section on "Rectifying the Brit." In addition to an anti-porn filter, which you can download and then throw away the code, so you won't be tempted to override it, these weapons include added good deeds, reciting the Bedtime Shema with great concentration, Tikun Hatzot, and the outpouring of heartfelt prayer before G-d, all explained elsewhere on this site. Without G-d's assistance, we would not be able to win the battle against this tenacious enemy.
To illustrate, here is a prayer based on an excerpt from the writings of Rabbi Natan, the foremost student of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, from the book, "Likutei Tefillot:"
May Hashem grant you strength and steadfast persistence in the ever-raging battle.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 October 2014 )|
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