Dear Rabbi Lazer,
I need urgent help. Over the last few months, I have been very lethargic and foggy headed. I recently lost 20 pounds of weight and I thought that I would intrinsically have more energy. I also go through spurts of being connected to Hashem followed by periods when the spirituality leaves me. In short, since I became a Baal Teshuva two years ago - thanks to Lazer Beams and Breslev.co.il - I have been spending a lot of time in hitbodedut and self-evaluation. But recently, I spoke to a rabbi who I think is a Kabbalist, and he told me his take on Shmirat HaBrit (personal holiness).
After he explained the severity of the sin of spilling seed in vain, I "freaked out." He told me that this is the worst of all sins that I have been very guilty of particularly before I was married. However, everything in terms of my lethargy and losing my desire for spirituality started to fit together. My wife and I started keeping Taharat mishpacha (family holiness) about a year ago. During the 7 white days where before we kept Taharat mishpacha we would have relations, now we don't - this has been murder on me. In short, I would "harmlessly" release myself once or twice during the period. It started to make sense ...the lethargy and loss of desire to connect to HASHEM after each release. I immediately jumped in the mikvah.
I was so freaked out that I even asked a religious friend of mine last night how he gets through the period. He said that it is very hard and whenever he falls, he noticed that the punishment is instantaneous. For example he said he did it the night before his CPA exam and failed the test. Or a child becomes sick the next day. He said that he never spoke about it with anyone but the correlation was so sharp that it was clear to him. In fact he said that whenever he falls, he simply awaits the punishment.
With that said, I started reciting Tikkun Klali and jumped daily in the mikvah. The change in my energy level was sharp and amazing. I took out my samurai sword and said to my yetzer hara, I've got you now! Last night, I went to bed at 1 am and jumped out if bed at 5 am ready to pray. However I twisted and turn in a fit of libido where it felt as if my prostate filled up to the burst point. In pain I went to pray shacharit and then to a very cold mikva. By the time the afternoon rolled around, the prostate pain was so intense that I lost it and now I am foggy headed waiting for my punishment.
So here are my questions:
1. What are the recommended techniques to suppress sexual urge during my wife's unclean time so as not to trip up?
2. What is the proper tikkun for correcting all of the accumulated masturbation damage to my soul from the time I was a kid until now, in spite of the fact that I may fall again as described above now such that it doesn't bite me in the next world?
3. Why aren't the rabbis screaming about this all over the world? It seems that Rav Arush and you are one of the very few.
In that I have a few more days before the pressure builds again, I want to be ready for the next onslaught. I know you're tremendously busy, but my soul and I need help right away. You know how urgent this is.
Your friend, Avri
The Kabbalist rabbi you spoke to gave you accurate information. The Zohar and Reishit Chochma paint a scary picture about what happens to someone who spills seed in vain. But that's only half the picture. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev adds that there's no despair in the world, and that anything that can be ruined can also be fixed. So stop wringing your hands right now; with this in mind and with Hashem's help, I'll now answer your questions:
1. There are only three reliable ways to suppress the urge, which as you know is a powerful force and and almost impossible to overcome on your own. Therefore the first thing you must do is to enlist Hashem's help. Beg Hashem to have mercy on you and to come to your aid, devoting at least 20 minutes a day to praying for personal holiness. Second, you must do everything possible to guard your eyes, for what the eye sees, the heart desires. Third, you must immerse yourself in Torah learning, literally every available moment. Do all three and Hashem will have compassion on you and will be happy to help you.
2. Sincere teshuva corrects everything. The best tikkun (soul correction) for past transgressions, in addition to teshuva, is by spreading an awareness about personal holiness. According to the Torah, our entire national security depends on personal holiness. Do sincere teshuva, Avri, listen to our CDs on the subject (such as Eyes of Holiness and The King's Daughter) and spread them to others. As far as future foul-ups, the only way to combat them is to beg Hashem to help you, daily, with no let-up! Hashem knows you're human; so even if you do slip up, don't be sad. The Yetzer Hara (the evil inclintion) wants you to be sad and depressed! That's even worse than spilling your seed. Move forward, go the mikva, say Tikkun Klali, and be happy! Didn't give in and keep on fighting!
3. Rav Shalom Arush says that many rabbis don't scream about this because they themselves don't guard their eyes and have problems in this area. Nobody is exempt from making every effort to enhance personal holiness.
Avri, you are a tzaddik. If you could confide all these painful and embarrassing details, then you are a hero in the service of Hashem. Keep smiling, because you're doing great. With Hashem's help, you'll not only succeed but you'll help others to succeed as well. Have a great week and stay optimistic.
With blessings always, LB
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How does this problem relate with Gentiles? Does they need to stop spilling the seed? Are they in sin for doing that?
Editor's reply: This point has been heavily debated by rabbinical authorities, but leading opinions hold that non-Jews must also refrain from sexual misconduct including spilling seed in vain