14 posts categorized "Personal Holiness"

Freedom: Life After the Web

Let my people go
Dear Rabbi Brody,

I'm 19, and torn between two worlds. On one hand, I want to be a Baal Tshuva - I love Lazer Beams, but I get inspired and then end up surfing over to one of my favorite porno sites, and then (...severely edited - LB) ... I end my day going to sleep super depressed and disappointed in myself. Why can't I just be courageous enough to start putting on tefillin and keeping Shabbos? Rabbi Brody, can you help me out? Can you explain to me what's happening to me? I'd be forever grateful. Thank you, Steven from California

Dear Steven,

Every soul requires a heavy dose of love. Jewish souls especially require a refined, ultra-high spiritual octane form of love that Kabbala terms Chessed d'Kedusha, or lovingkindness from the realm of holiness. This love is achieved by dedication in performing a mitzva, by prayer with Kavanna (focused intent), by Torah learning, and by doing charitable deeds for one's fellow human. Also, this love is attained through a gratifying marital union.

The laws of the spiritual realm are similar to those of the material realm. Just as there is no void in matter, there is no void in spirituality. When a person fails to provide his or her soul with Chessed d'Kedusha, then the sphere of Chessed d'Sitra Achra, or Impure (unholy) lovingkindness, fills the void. Promiscuity and pornography are prime sources of Chessed d'Sitra Achra, all dangerous and addicitive, the type of chocolate-covered poison that destroys one's soul, Heaven forbid.

Simply speaking, Steve, we need to help you replace the detrimental elements that have pervaded your soul with the beneficial. Here's a gameplan that I'd recommend for you:

1) Torah - in LA, there are plenty of Torah lessons. Start attending them. In fact, you can catch me here this weekend. Also, begin learning as much of Rebbe Nachman's books as possible - they're an amazing balm for an aching soul.

2) Immerse yourself in a mikva as much as possible.

3) Say psalms 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, and 150 every day - this is called the "Tikkun HaKlali", a general all-purpose spiritual medication for a soul that's been infected by Chessed d'Sitra Achra.

4) Talk to Hashem every day in your own words, and ask Him to help you.

5) Steve, build a life without the web - there is life after the web!

Steve, most of all, don't be down on yourself. Don't listen to the hellfire and brimstone preachers that send people to purgatory and give you a guilty conscience. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that if you believe you can make a mess of things, then believe that you can correct. Consider coming to Israel for a year or two for Yeshiva, and if that's not possible, think about a local Yeshiva for Baalei Tshuva. I'd like to see you make some solid spiritual gain, and then meet a wonderful young lady and start a family within the next two years or so.

If you would realize the satisfaction that Hashem has from your fight for Kedusha (holiness), you'd be jumping for joy all day long. This is your true freedom, Steve. With Hashem's help, you're going to go a long way. Hoping to see you, Lazer Brody

2 Forward, 1 Back

Those who climb
Dear Rav Lazer,

I have a master's in engineering from the Technion in Haifa. I spent three years in active duty as an IDF paratrooper. I've had Hizbulla missiles land in my back yard. I've managed to compete for the last 18 years in the dog-eat-dog world of Israeli hi-tech. After having become a Baal Teshuva (newly observant Jew - LB) 2 years ago, I started being a shomer brit (guardian of the covenant, maintainer of personal holiness - LB) six months ago and it's the toughest battle I ever had. After 28 crystal-clear days and feeling great about myself, I blew it. What's wrong with me? Am I back to zero? Menachem from Northern Israel

Dear Menachem,

I guarantee you that Hashem has phenomenal gratification from what you're doing. The biggest tzaddikim have setbacks. True spiritual growth is two steps forward and one step back; don't be disappointed when you fall, because today's fall is higher than yesterday's success. In your corner with a big hug, LB 

Love, Not Lust

Love and Lust
Dear Rabbi Brody,

I was one of the participants in the conference-call shiur you gave our group who are working on trying to break free from sex addictions. I can't thank you enough. For a long time, I was really down on myself and the more depressed I'd get, the worse I'd mess up. You were so positive, encouraging and non-judgmental. I feel like you threw me a rope to help pull me out of the muck. You should know that you helped a lot of us, because the head of our group said that this was a record-breaking shiur with hundreds of people listening in. Thanks so much and may you blessed with continued strength to keep doing what you do. From the heart, Srool the Tool

Dear Srool,

I deeply appreciate your email, but the credit goes to my teacher Rav Shalom Arush, Breslev Israel an Emunah Outreach, for everything I do is under their auspices. You guys are heroes - keep up your good work, and you'll bring Moshiach, for sure. With blessings always, LB

Listen to the above 52-minute shiur, "Love, not Lust"

You can be a full partner in helping us spread emuna and help people all around the globe by donating to Emunah Outreach - you'll get big dividends in this world and in the next.

Heroes of This Generation

If you pay close attention, you'll see that we live in a world of stark contrasts. From one standpoint, the evil inclination has never been stronger. From the other standpoint, our generation has been graced with an unprecedented illumination of emuna and teshuva. The sages of the Talmud feared the era that we now live in, the period that precedes the coming of Moshiach. The great Amora Ula said, "May he [Moshiach] come, and may I not see him!" (Tractate Sanhedrin, 98b). In other words, may Moshiach come, but I don't want to be in the generation that heralds his arrival: Ula, Raba and others like them were afraid that they couldn't withstand the challenges of our generation, especially in the areas of emuna and personal holiness. 

If you're a woman who, despite the social pressure, dresses modestly, you can't imagine the reward that awaits you in the World to Come. And, if you're a man who does his best to guard his eyes and maintain personal holiness, you're in for some very pleasant surprises. The two of you are the heroes of this generation.

Hero of Holiness

The Worst Jail

No jail like lust
People work their entire lives to reach the pinnacle of their career. We all know presidents, diplomats and other seemigly dignified people who throw their entire careers away for a few moments of lust satisfaction. 

The same can be said about the heads of families. They too have thrown marriages, spouses and the future of their children away while fanning the flame of their lust.

What a shame!

One can't be free if he or she is a slave to lust. It's worse than being locked in the worst jail. That's why we put so much emphasis on modesty and personal holiness, for nothing severs a person from Hashem like lust, and nothing enables a person to get so close to Hashem as personal holiness.

Shovevim, Purity and Abundance

This week begins the period of "Shovevim", the 6-week period from the week of Shmot to and including the week of Mishpatim, where we place an emphasis on enhancing personal holiness.

Did you know that personal holiness greatly affects income? 

Making an adequate living is something everyone wants to succeed at. Our sages teach that a man's livelihood comes by virtue of his wife, rather than by talent or hard work. The more spiritually pure the couple is, the more the woman invokes Divine blessing, and subsequently enhances the family’s income. Therefore, for a couple to reach their optimal income potential, it is advisable that they take advantage of the wealth of family purity, which includes the magical Jewish soul-purification tool - the mikva (ritual bath).

The union between husband and wife is far beyond the physical realm, as it contains the Divine attribute of a life-creating power. The husband and wife literally become partners with Hashem in creating life, and as such they must strive for unity and purity.

In the course of my work in emuna outreach I speak with people that suffer from various types of tribulations in life. Today the most common issue that people complain about – and enemy number one to peace in the home – is financial problems. The first thing I tell couples is that the key lays in observing the laws of family purity. This includes the wife's periodic immersion in a mikva, among other mitzvot (laws). Some people balk at this suggestion, mostly out of ignorance and distorted preconceptions. However if a couple has financial problems and they are not yet observing family purity, even winning the Irish Lottery will not solve their problems.

The more we purify ourselves, the more we become worthy vessels for Divine abundance.

Some protest and say, "I know many wealthy people who are the furthest thing away from holy!"

True, but that's dark-side wealth. Unworthy people are rewarded with a bit of money in this world, but lose everything in the next world. Also, money that stems from other than a holiness/wholesome source won't be money with a blessing. Those same rich people are not happy.

Personal holiness will make all of us happy and healthy, and wealthy too! You're no exception.