Beams Bulletin: Rocket Attacks on Ashdod
Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin, of saintly and martyred memory

Tough Opposition on the Field

Spiritual Growth
Dear Rabbi Lazer,

I'm writing this to you for two reasons: first, you don't know me and I feel really embarassed talking about this to a rabbi that knows me; and second, since you too are a Baal Teshuva, I'm hoping you can understand a fellow BT that was born in the spiritual gutters far away from Torah. I became observant about five years ago, when I finished my masters degree. As a university student and a popular dude at that, I guess you can say that I did about everything and enjoyed it too. I won't go into the reasons that I made teshuva, but I became very disgusted with my lusty lifestyle. I began to learn Torah and was drawn especially to the teachings of the Zohar. I did an about face and made serious efforts in developing my personal holiness. With daily mikva, daily teshuva, and total immersion Torah, I became a new person. Two years ago, I was introduced to a young lady who after three dates became my fiance. We are blissfully married, in no small thanks to The Garden of Peace, which I live by.

So what's my problem? I thought I had deleted my naughty x-rated past from my brain. On Yom Kippur, the Yetzer gave me a triple whammy. During Kol Nidre, a really raunchy image flashed before my eyes which I won't describe, but it was something from the lowest part of my past. The same thing happened during Mussaf, and the same thing happened again in Neila. During the three highest points in the Yom Kippur prayers, I was watching myself in x-rated movies from my own past, the exact opposite of holiness. Why did Hashem shtup me with these terrible thoughts? What could I possibly have done wrong to be pushed away like this? I had such aspirations of clinging to Hashem with real devotion in this year's prayers, and I blew it. I feel devistated and dejected, as if I've been totally defeated. What can I do? Please help me. Thanks so very much, David from California

Dear David,

The Yetzer - the Evil Inclination - wants you to think that you're a loser. The exact opposite is true - this Yom Kippur, you have attained a lofty and admirable soul correction. You're the winner, my man; here's how:

Back in your university days, you thoroughly enjoyed doing the lewd things that so embarassingly popped into your head during this past Yom Kippur. Yet now, the forbidden acts that you once enjoyed are now a source of shame. Your shame during Yom Kippur is not only a sign of humility and holiness, but a soul correction for the past. Having done teshuva out of love (hear our CD on the subject), your past transgressions now become valuable merits to your credit. What's more, when you did those wrong things, you didn't know they were wrong. You can be proud of yourself, for Hashem is proud of the unbelievable growth that you've made in five short years. Don't ever forget that spiritual growth and serving Hashem are like football - you can't gain an inch without facing tough opposition; that's why the rewards are so great. Keep plugging away, slowly but surely, for you'll be a big winner. Remember also that as a BT, you're now playing in a championship league. Be happy, David - you're doing great. With blessings for joyous Chol Hamoed and a wonderful year, LB


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@things Israel could use a spiritual commando squad against the other side with guys like this ! 2 nice explanation hes not a looser hes a winner . Thank God he has a keli in his beshert .


I recently heard something nice on this topic, that when you are distracted during davening it is because the yetser hara is terrified of the power of your tefila. When you are distracted, even by the worst thoughts, it's a sign that your davening is incredibly effective and powerful.

Considering my generally high level of distraction, my davening, if I get my act together, must have awesome potential! Is it OK to pray for better concentration?

Wow and to think I thought I was the only one who the worst things came to mind davka during these high times.

Thanks for the Chizuk R Lazer. This is how I comforted myself more or less during the time. I'm glad I got a validation!

Zchus Avos

It says in Avos Chap. 5 that one of the 10 miracles that happened in the Bais Hamikdash was that the Kohen Gadol didn't have a seminal emmission on Yom Kippur. Reb Nachman (in Likutei Mohoran II, 117) asks what was such a miracle? Mishnayos Yoma details how he prepared spiritually and now on this holiest day of course he won't have any problems. Reb Nachman answers that at this holiest time is when the satan will try the hardest to make him impure. So too, he says is one has such a problem that means he is rising to an even higher level

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