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The Tree of Knowledge

By Tzvi Fishman
10/18/2009, 12:00 AM

Without doubt, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in our time is the Internet. The Internet is filled with knowledge. Much of it is good, and much of it is evil. Unfortunately, just as Adam and Eve succumbed to the wiles of evil, statistics show that a majority of Internet users fall to the evils of the Internet, including Jews.

"John, where are you?" "Just checking out tomorrow's weather."

Almost six-thousand-years later, the sin is the same, as the Torah states, “And when the woman saw… that it was a delight to the eyes” (Bereshit, 2:6).

Just as Eve strayed after her eyes, Internet users all over the world – you, your spouse, your children, are straying after their eyes too by looking at things that G-d does not want us to see.

Once again, evil is winning the game. Pornography is big business. It’s the biggest business on the net. But more than that, the evil spiritual forces that are behind porn on the net are the same evil spiritual forces that were at work in the days of Adam and Eve.  No matter what disguise the Snake adopts, his goal is the same - to distance mankind from G-d.

Just as the first sin severed Adam and Eve from their Creator, every time a person looks at forbidden material on the Internet, he or she severs himself or herself from G-d. One click leads to another, and another, and another, until the person is cut off from G-d completely. In effect, like Adam and Eve, the Peeping Tom of the Internet exiles himself from the Garden. The Shechinah flees from such a person, for holiness and impurity cannot exist together. His prayers don’t ascend and his Torah learning is cast into the garbage. Furthermore, one sin leads to another, as our Sages have warned: “The eyes see, the heart desires, and the body completes the transgression.”

With each peek at a forbidden image, not only does a person violate the Torah commandment, “You shall not stray after your heart and yours eyes,” he or she pollutes his or her soul. In the time and the effort that it takes to arrange for some forbidden intercourse, G-d forbid, a person can have hundreds and thousands of Internet fantasies – each and every one of them a replay of the first primordial sin – a sin that our Sages have compared to setting up an idol in the Holy of Holies of the Temple.

Our brain is our Holy of Holies, housing our soul. When we look at a forbidden image, the photograph is ingrained on the film of our brain – exactly like setting up in idol in the Holy of Holies. And since we are attached to the highest spiritual worlds, when we pollute our personal Holy of Holies, we pollute the Holy of Holies in the highest spiritual world – the Jerusalem Temple on High.

Each time we pollute ourselves by looking at a forbidden image, we pollute all of the Jewish Nation, since our souls are connected to all of the souls of the “Clal.” Like the little pebble that sends ripples out across all the pond, the filth that we bring upon our souls spreads to the all-encompassing soul of the Nation. Thus our seemingly little Internet no-no’s weaken the spiritual strength of the Nation, and because the spiritual world is integrally connected to the physical, our no-no’s weaken the Nation’s physical strength as well.

Do not be mistaken! It is no small thing that the Torah tells us the story of Adam and Eve. Their straying after their eyes brought destruction to the world. When we sit down at the computer and hook up to the Internet, each and every one of us can either help rectify their monumental sin by not straying after our eyes  – or add to the shame of mankind by repeated the very same transgression.

So if you don’t care about the consequences to yourself and your family, then think about the consequences to Am Yisrael. And if you don’t care about the consequences to Am Yisrael, then think about the consequences to the world.

The next time you are tempted, say no to the Snake! Crush him on his head!

And if you don’t have the strength for that, then download a filter. Give the code to somebody else. Stop destroying yourselves, your families, the Jewish People, and the world.

Save yourselves! Save your loved ones! Save the planet now!