21 Av 5780 / Tuesday, August 11, 2020 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
 
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As long as there is a fire burning inside us for the hedonistic of this world – it will be harder to resist every sin. What if we were to douse the fire?

 



After a half a decade of gradually reducing our TV and movie time, my wife and I finally did it. We finally reduced it to zero. It has been more than a month since we liberated ourselves of this toxin. Even in this short span, we have made five amazing discoveries.
 
One: Everything is beautiful. The world is all spiritual. It may appear to be physical, but that’s an illusion. The more natural something is, the closer it is to its Creator. A tree is made by G-d. A television set is made by man. The more space we create from the point where we detach ourselves from something impure, the more the G-dly beauty of His world amplifies. Landscapes of the Beit Shemesh forest, the Judean Hills, and the coast of Ashkelon return to their majestic grandeur. We rediscover the Garden of Eden all around us.
 
Two: The mind becomes clear. We have a soul inside us. Our primary mission in life is to return that soul to its Source – Hashem, which is the Infinite Soul. What gets in the way between our spark and its Home? A barrier. When we sin, we create what are called klipot, or shells of impurity. The term is precise. With every spiritual opportunity we fail to seize, the shell gets larger. The barrier between our soul and Hashem widens. When we see impurity, that shell surrounds our head. Our ability to perceive holiness is obstructed. All of the impulses we are receiving have become scrambled. As a result, it becomes hard to understand good and bad. When we remove the impurities, we destroy the klipot, or the shells. Everything becomes clear. We can act with conviction.
 
Three: Our urges are less enticing. It’s the summer. There is plenty to look at. It’s not simply the eye candy all around us. It is the desire that rouses our lusts. As long as there is a fire burning inside us for the hedonistic of this world – it will be harder to resist every sin. What if we were to douse the fire? What if we could simply lower the flames a little? It would be a lot easier to resist every temptation. We could reach a point where it simply doesn’t motivate us anymore. The Gemara states that resisting a sin carries the merit of fulfilling a mitzvah. Imagine how many mitzvoth we can acquire every second of the day!
 
Four: Bad things are really a gift. They are also temporary. The catalyst for our improvement has been a time of financial struggle. If our finances were stable, we might not have felt the urgency to get closer to G-d. Even hard times are a blessing. They are also temporary. Yet, the steps we take to get closer to Hashem can go on forever. The good is permanent.
 
Five: Television is repulsive. I could only understand this once I got rid of it completely. It’s like a recovering alcoholic. While he is drinking, all he understands is how great it feels to be drunk. Once he goes through the arduous process of cleansing himself of his habit does he attain the clarity to relate bars with vomiting, humiliation, and losing out on so many nights he could have been happier and more satisfied with himself.
 
By breaking our barriers we can rise above them to see the truth – and it’s beautiful.
 
 
* * *
Dovber Halevi is the author of Sex, Religion, and the Middle East. He also runs The Web Lion, a company which designs websites and their marketing strategies. He lives in Efrat with his wife and three children.





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