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The Role of Torah in the Struggle to Avoid Arayos
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Mishlei 5:19-20 The drive for forbidden conjugal relationships is rooted in fantasy and delusion. Clarity of perception is critical to reducing the pull of ta’avah. A person who observes the laws of yichud and who takes careful precautions to avoid ordeals in arayos appears to the outsider as very much pre-occupied in this area, but […]
Just a Minor Sin?
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You cannot experiment with sinning. Being tainted with “some sin” is actually an undermining of the whole relationship’s purity. A person’s tremendous potential is often only seen at moments of great distress and trial. Why aren’t these characteristics present and felt every day? Because our sins have resulted in our greatness being shackled. In moments […]
Hurry Up and Slow Down
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You cannot properly absorb the lessons of a Torah shiur without hisbonenus. The yetzer hara has dual and opposite functions: It dampens and slows us from performing mitzvos, lacing the experience with pain, and it speeds us up when we consider violating the Torah.   Sins corrupt us both in olam haba and olam hazeh. Pursuit […]
Nivul Peh and Self-Definition
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A Jew who doesn’t have a peh kadosh is missing something in his definition. The contaminated environment in which we live dampens the disgust we ought to feel when being exposed to this speech. Modest speech and conduct are intertwined with humility and wisdom. Discussion of the value of learning Torah even when apparently unsuccessful. […]
Self Confidence and Confronting the Yetzer Hara
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Life is for renewing one’s will to fight the yetzer hara once again, despite previous failures. The importance of maintaining morale in the battle against the yetzer hara, and of celebrating victories. Brief discussion of the positive reward for abstaining from sin.  The importance of mechitzahs at simchas. Discussion of nivul peh and modern music. […]
Life-Long Ascent
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The purpose of life is to improve one’s middos. The belief in the possibility of improvement, coupled with laboring to its attainment, are a source of simchas ha-chaim. Even a non-believer may want to rise above the animal, to satisfy their physical needs in a way that is distinct from the way animals do. The […]
Staying Torah-True in a Wide-Open World
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Content Description: The gemara teaches us how to live in an open, free world, by using the form of the letter hey. Elaboration of the statement that “one who comes to sin is facilitated, whereas one who comes to elevate himself is assisted.” Two types of sin, and the change a person undergoes when immersed […]
Outmaneuvering the yetzer hara for effective Teshuvah
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Mishlei 4:12 Only declaring “I am not going to do to that again” with steeling oneself against temptation will not achieve lasting teshuvah. You need a novel approach in order to stay away. Also, you need siyata dishmaya. Discussion of Darkei Hateshuvah and sidestepping the yetzer hara. Importance of knowing one’s level of service of […]
Core identity and behavior choices
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Content Description: Just as a person’s biology determines many of his needs, so too does the neshomah define the fundamental needs of a Jew. When our behavior confounds our neshomah, we feel guilty and lost to our very core.  Application of this idea to learning Torah and the transmission of the Masorah. Discussion of the […]