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Tired of Kabbalah?

By Tzvi Fishman
1/13/2009, 12:00 AM

Let’s see what a Jewish classic has to say about @@@. YouTube addicts may not find it to their liking, but this is what Judaism has to say about you know what.

Is it worth it?

The book, “Mesillat Yesharim,” written by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, and known as “The Path of the Just” in English, is universally accepted as a classic of treatise on Judaism. The book is studied in every yeshiva and found in every serious home library. Here is a condensed version of what is says about @@@:

“We shall now consider the subject of sexual transgression, which is also included among the most severe sins. One who desires to be completely clean of this sin also requires no little effort, for the prohibition includes not only the act itself but anything approaching it, as the Torah states: ‘Do not come near to uncover nakedness’ (Vayikra, 18:6). And our Sages of blessed memory have taught, ‘The Holy One Blessed Be He said, Do not say, since I may not have sexual relations with a woman, I will hold her and be free of sin, I will embrace her and be free of sin, or I will kiss her and be free of sin. The Holy One Blessed Be He said, Just as when a Nazerite takes a vow not to drink wine, he is forbidden to eat grapes or raisins or drink grape juice, or partake of anything that comes from the grapevine – so it is forbidden to touch any woman but one’s own wife, and anyone who does touch a woman other than his wife brings death upon himself’ (Shemot Rabbah, 16:2).

“By applying this principle to the area of illicit relations, the Sages prohibited anything partaking of the nature of fornication or approaching it, regardless of the avenue of approach, whether that of deed, sight, speech, hearing, or thought.

“Deed: namely touching or embracing, and the like.

“Sight: our Sages of blessed memory have said that a man who counts coins from his hand to hers in order to gaze at her will not be cleansed from the judgment of hell (Berachot 61A). Also they ask, ‘Why did the Jews of that generation require atonement?’ Because they fed their eyes on impurity (Shabbat 64A). Also, it is stated in the Torah, ‘Keep yourself away from every evil matter,’ meaning that a man should not gaze on a beautiful woman, even if she is unmarried, nor a married woman, even if she is ugly. (Avodah Zara 20A).

“Speech: it is explicitly stated ‘One who converses at length with a woman draws evil upon himself’ (Avot 1:5).

“Hearing: ‘Everyone knows why a bride goes to the wedding canopy, but anyone who speaks obscenely concerning it, even a decree of seventy good years is converted to evil’ (Shabbat 33A). And ‘Even the casual conversation between a husband and his wife is held up to him at the time of Judgment (Chagigah 5B).

“Thought: our Sages have said that the Torah verse, ‘And keep yourself away from every evil matter,’ also means that a man should not think obscene thoughts during the day and come to impurity at night (Avodah Zara 20B) and that ‘Thoughts of sexual transgression are worse than the sin itself’” (Yoma 29A).

So the next time you have an urge to click on one of those little tempting, rotating, pop up images on YouTube, ask yourself if it is worth getting the skin of your fingertips singed off down to the bone.