- Computers and Internet
Hi Im extremely nervous and anxious lately that Im putting myself in a situation that I can do an aveirah and Im worried sick is Hashem mad at me?Am I gonna be punished? Is every second a new aveirah?I want to grow but I thought growth is supposed to be comfortable not extremely stressful! I once heard that when u regret it its already a whole lower level is that enogh for now that I regret it badly? I am really worried please help my email is email@example.com I mean I even used to look at bad things but I was always saying ok Im gonna do better Im gonna do better waht Im saying is Im not like on. A high level with this
Shalom, Thank you for writing to us. I can hear your worry and feel badly for you. You are correct that normal healthy spiritual growth is not meant to be filled with anxiety and worry. So, it sounds like you need some serious work to get onto a track of religious practice and growth that is much calmer and filled with joy. It’s not so clear to me from your question exactly what sins you are struggling with. You mention “looking at bad things” – and if your struggle is referring to forbidden use of the internet, and purity in relation to mastering one’s sexual urges – then may I refer you to a wonderful resource called Guard Your Eyes (https://guardyoureyes.com/) . There you will find a lot of support and guidance. In general, you should know that Hashem created us not as angels, but as people who need to struggle and grow. This means that part of the program is to sometimes fail and sin. But the real test is not in sin, but in the ability to get back up and try again. There is a wonderful letter from Rav Hutner zt”l that talks about this. Let me send you a copy, – This letter was written by R’ Yitzchak Hutner z”l (1904-1980; Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn) in response to a former student. The correspondent apparently had bemoaned the fact that he faced spiritual struggles; as quoted by R’ Hutner, he had written: “I will never forget the desire that I once had to succeed and to climb ‘from strength to strength,’ but now, my hope is lost.” The letter is found in Pachad Yitzchak: Igrot U’ketavim No. 128. Your letter reached my hand, and your words touched my heart. Know, my friend, that your very letter belies the descriptions that it contains. Now, let me explain this statement. It is a terrible problem that when we discuss the greatness of our gedolim, we actually deal only with the end of their stories. We tell about their perfection, but we omit any mention of the inner battles which raged in their souls. The impression one gets is that they were created with their full stature. For example, everyone is impressed by the purity of the Chafetz Chaim’s speech. [Ed. Note: The Chafetz Chaim led the battle against lashon hara and is held up as the model of how a Jew should speak.] However, who knows about all the wars, the battles, the impediments, the downfalls, and the retreats that the Chafetz Chaim experienced in his fight with the evil inclination?! As a result [of this gap in our knowledge of gedolim], when a young man who is imbued with a [holy] spirit and with ambition experiences impediments and downfalls, he believes that he is not planted in the house of Hashem. This is because this young man thinks that being planted in Hashem’s house means experiencing tranquility of the soul “in lush meadows beside tranquil waters” [Tehilim 23:2]. However, know my friend, that the key for your soul is not the tranquility of the yetzer hatov, but the war against the yetzer hara. Your letter testifies that you are a faithful warrior in the army of the yetzer hatov. There is a saying in English, “Lose the battle and win the war.” You surely have stumbled and will stumble again, and you will be vanquished in many battles. However, I promise you that after you have lost those battles, you will emerge from the war with a victor’s wreath on your head. The wisest of all men [King Shlomo] said [Mishlei 24:16], “The tzaddik will fall seven times and will rise.” The unlearned think that this means, “Even though a tzaddik falls seven times, he will rise.” The wise know well that the meaning is: “Because a tzaddik falls seven times, he will rise.” On the verse [Bereishit 1:31], “And Elokim saw all that He had made and it was very good,” the midrash comments, “‘Good’ refers to the yetzer hatov; ‘Very good’ refers to the yetzer hara.” [In line with this midrash, R’ Hutner continues:] If you had written to me of your mitzvot and good deeds, I would have said that it was a good letter. Now that you tell me of your falls and stumbles, I say that I have received a very good letter. Please, don’t picture to yourself that a gadol and his yetzer hatov are one and the same; rather, imagine the gedolim at war with all types of base tendencies . . . I have seen fit to write these words to you so that you can refer to them from time to time. Regarding specific details, it is preferable to speak face-to-face. You are one who is planted in Hashem’s house! Sharing in your suffering, Confident that you will prevail, Praying for your success, [Signed] Yitzchak Hutner. P.S. Now you understand the opening sentence. Blessings.