Attachment to Hashem by Guarding Our Eyes

Our main mission in this world is to cling to Hashem. In order to accomplish this, we must have proper emuna. To attain emuna, belief in Hashem, we must guard our eyes. Therefore, in order to accomplish our mission in life of attaching to Hashem, we must guard our eyes.

We guard our eyes by closing them to this world. When we open our eyes, we connect with our surroundings in this world, which is filled with worry, fear, anxiety, depression, envy, hate, and every imaginable type of debauchery and bodily lust. By means of closing our eyes, we disengage from the sources of spiritual impurity in this world. By guarding our eyes, no matter where we are, we can remain attached to Hashem.

While thoughts devoid of emuna can torment a person and lead to emotional instability, thoughts of emuna make life a paradise on earth. If we do a little soul-searching, we will realize that whenever we lack emuna that everything is from Hashem and that everything is for our best, we suffer.

Hence, we have only two choices: we can choose a life without emuna (leading to arrogance, frustration, depression, worry, anxiety, nervousness, constant conflicts with others, and negative thoughts) or we can choose a life with emuna (leading to positive thoughts, joy, and optimism). The choice is ours. In order to attain proper emuna, we must guard our eyes.

King David says, “My eyes look always to Hashem” (T’hillim 25:15). We can only cling to Hashem when we guard our eyes. When we only look to Hashem, we become humble. In Psalm 138 King David tells us that Hashem especially watches over the humble, but distances Himself from the proud. The key to getting close to Hashem and to humility is by guarding our eyes.

Based on The Garden of Purity, by Rabbi Shalom Arush

Personal Purity And Holiness In A Generation of Debauchery

Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai states in the Zohar that preserving personal holiness is life’s greatest challenge. The lust of fornication began with the primeval serpent when the world was first created. We see that the evil in the world and the root cause of death, sufferings, and life’s difficulties all stem from the “filth of the serpent,” the lust of fornication and all other desires.

Our generation’s obsession with debauchery in every form, plastered publicly and all too easily accessible, appears to be the height of history’s obsession with lust. We must realize that without uprooting the lust of fornication and promiscuity, one’s yetzer hara, evil inclination, remains intact. The purpose of Torah study and mitzvot is to empower us to fulfill Hashem’s will that we become holy, because we are His children and He is Holy (Leviticus 19:2).

It is impossible to be truly attached to Hashem as long as we are even slightly blemished in the area of personal holiness, and not working on correcting ourselves. Our prayers, Torah study, performance of mitzvot, and avodat Hashem, service of Hashem, will all be severely affected.

Most people seem unaware that sexual lust is the prime manifestation of the evil inclination. Rebbe Nachman teaches (Likutei Moharan I: 36) that we can overcome lust and bad habits only after we overcome all sexual lust, because sexual lust in the general “all-inclusive” evil. Personal holiness is the “general remedy” — the tikkun haklali — and the key to character rectification.

We can learn Torah all day and night, never miss a minyan for davening, attend every possible shiur, Torah lesson, in person or on-line, but as long as we harbor lust for debauchery, we cannot truly love Hashem! As long as we have not begun truly working on the main problem of sexual lust, we will remain completely severed for holiness. May we each begin our fight for personal holiness!

Based on The Garden of Purity, by Rabbi Shalom Aruch, The Main Challenge.

We Each Need a True Spiritual Guide

It teaches in the Mishna (Avot 1:6) that every person must find a “rabbi,” one’s teacher and spiritual guide. We must be very cautious choosing a rav, a spiritual guide. Many people falter by looking at external appearances and popularity, rather than for internal true wisdom and righteousness in the person.

Since Rebbe Nachman teaches that prayer is our primary connection with Hashem, a true rav will teach us and encourage us to pray. A true rav should be a man of prayer, a true ba’al t’filla, master of prayer.

A true rav should follow Aharon Kohen haGadol and be a man of peace, who never speaks badly of others or looks for the “not so good” in others. When a person knows that what one has to offer is “top quality,” the person doesn’t have to say anything bad about another’s “merchandise.” Peace and truth should always go together, as in, “Love truth and peace” (Zachariah 8:19).

A rav should have peace and truth as part of his internal characteristics, and should be able to strengthen us in our emuna in Hashem. A person who has internalized truth and peace respects everyone, including those who don’t like him or belong to his particular group. A rav loves everyone, and he lives what he teaches.

Many of us make the mistake of saying, “At my low spiritual level, anyone on a higher level will do.” People who are severely sick, G-d forbid, do not go to just anyone. No, they usually try to find the best physician possible. How much more so when we seek a true spiritual guide, a rav? Rebbe Nachman teaches that the further away a person is from Hashem, the greater spiritual guide we need (Likutei Moharan I:30).

In our low generation, with so many bad habits, bodily lusts, and obstacles standing in the way of Torah, prayer, and mitzvot, we need a true tzaddik and spiritual guide to help us overcome all of our challenges which stand in the way of serving Hashem and drawing closer to Him.

Many people claim to have a monopoly on “the truth.” There are many so-called “truths” in our society. However, the genuine truth that never changes is the truth of Torah, which has been faithfully passed down from generation to generation by the great tzaddikim.

The Torah is called “light,” as King Shlomo says, “For a mitzva is a lantern and Torah is light” (Proverbs 6:23). The tzaddikim are also called light, “The light of the tzaddikim shall rejoice (ibid, 13:9). Those who submit to the true tzaddikim bask in spiritual light, which will eventually penetrate and illuminate our souls, bringing us closer to Hashem. May we each merit Hashem’s help in finding such a true spiritual guide…

Based on The Garden of Knowledge, by Shalom Arush.

Be Holy as Hashem is Holy

The lust of fornication and promiscuity leads to all the filth and evil that is so dominant in our society. The Zohar tells us that the main challenge in the world is to maintain and guard personal holiness. Rebbe Nachman (Rebbe Nachman Discourses, 115) teaches us that as much as people love and chase after money, their lust for fornication is even stronger. R” Natan adds (Likutei Halakhot, Shluchin 3) that a person’s difficulties in life all stem from one’s failure to properly guard one’s personal purity.

Although the lust of fornication has been with us since the very beginning, this generation’s obsession with every possible form of debauchery, plastered freely over every public forum imaginable, and easily available by internet on just about every electronic device, appears to be history’s climax in lust and debauchery.

In spite of the spiritual awakening spreading throughout our people and the world, many have yet to realize that without completely uprooting the lust for fornication and promiscuity, one’s yetzer hara (evil inclination) remains virtually intact. We must understand and internalize that the primary purpose of Torah and mitzvot (commandments, righteous deeds) is to enable us to fulfill Hashem’s will that we become a holy people, as Hashem Himself is Holy (Leviticus 19:2).

Based on The Garden of Purity, by Shalom Arush.

Hashem Forms Light and Creates Darkness (Isaiah 45:7)

During this time before the world has completed it’s tikkun, spiritual correction, the grey areas prevail and the majority of people are easily misled. While society looks up to those who pursue their bodily desires, spiritual leaders are mocked and scorned. Most people see darkness and call it light, then see light and call it darkness.

Only Hashem can make the perfect separation between light and darkness. King Solomon said, “The righteous and the wicked God will judge” (Ecclesiastes 3:17). Only Hashem can define good and evil. Only in Olam Haba, the World to Come, will we find a clear differentiation between truth and lies, good and evil. Our bodies, if driven by lust, appetites, and the Yetzer Hara, Evil Inclination, can easily mislead us. Our Sages warn us not to trust ourselves until our last day on earth (Avot 2:4). Hashem delineates between light and darkness, but we can still succumb to the chaos in the grey areas…

Based on The Garden of Knowledge, by Shalom Arush

 

Those Pesky Grey Zones (Part 1)

“And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness” (Breishit 1:4). Just as Hashem separated light from darkness, He wants us to identify and differentiate between good and evil, between mitzvah (commandment) and transgression.

The Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination, is constantly trying to erase the distinction in our minds. He attempts to trick us into thinking that a certain transgression is actually a mitzva, a righteous act.

Once a person, through Torah study, knows how to recognize evil, one can more easily refrain from doing a Torah prohibition. However, the danger zone is in a place where good and bad are mixed — the grey areas. Here a person can easily being tricked, and much of life can fall within those pesky grey zones… (To be continued, bsd)

Based on The Garden of Knowledge, by Rabbi Shalom Arush

Is Your “Menorah” Pure?

According to the Zohar, the purity of the brain depends on the purity of the “Menorah,” the body’s seven entrances to the brain — mouth, two nostrils, two eyes, and two ears. Everything a person sees, hears, smells, and tastes are stored in the brain and influence the person. The purity of the brain is enhanced when the person hears, sees, and speaks words of Torah and holiness. The opposite is also true…

(Gates of Purity)