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Torah Tidbits Audio
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
A reader asks how is it possible that I can spend time searching through Google pictures and not take the opportunity to look at immodest photos of women as well. The truth is that dealing with this temptation is not an easy matter. No one is immune from the yetzer hara. I wish I could say that the thought alone revolts me, but I am not on that exalted level. Our Sages tell us that a Jew should not say “I don’t eat pork because I don’t like the taste.” Rather he should say, “Though pork is tasty, I don’t eat it because of the command of my Creator.”
Thus, to please G-d, and to keep my soul, and my house, as unblemished as I can, I try to keep away from girlie pictures. For safety, our computer has two anti-porn filters, and we keep it in a central place in the living room so everyone can see what’s on the screen.
This week’s Torah portion of “Ke-Teze” states:
“When thou goest out to encamp against thy enemies, thou shall keep away from every evil thing. If there be among you any man who is not pure by reason of a spilling of semen at night, then he shall go abroad out of the camp…. For the L-rd thy G-d walks in the midst of thy camp to deliver thee, and to give up thy enemies before thee; therefore thy camp shall be holy, that He sees no unclean thing in thee and turn away from thee” (Devarim, 10-15).
This warning does not only apply to the Jewish army, but also to any Jewish encampment, dormitory, office, or home. As our Sages have told us, nothing drives the Divine Presence away from the Jewish People as much as immodesty and sexual transgression.
Referring to the warning in the verse we have quoted above, “Thou shall keep away from every evil thing,” the Talmud teaches: “This means a man should not gaze upon an attractive woman, even an unmarried one; nor upon a married woman, even if she is ugly (Avodah Zara 20A). This is because, “A man shouldn’t have sexual thoughts in the day and come to seminal impurity at night” (Ibid, 20B).
This injunction applies to looking at photos of women on the Internet as well. This type of sordid behavior pollutes one’s soul and one’s house with a terrible pollution that drives Divine blessing away.
For those who maintain, “I can look at girlie pictures and nothing results from it,” this is not true. Firstly, it clearly violates the Torah commandment, “You shall not stray after hearts and after your eyes which lead you astray.”
Secondly, gazing at immodest images triggers an automatic, even if unconscious, sexual thought which pollutes the brain, the heart, and the soul.
Because of this automatic response, the spiritual component of the seminal seed is automatically released from the brain and travels along the spinal cord to the lower glands where it will be jettisoned in one way or another, whether through a willful spilling of semen, a “wet dream,” or when a person urinates. As our Sages have taught: “Whoever gazes at women will eventually come to transgression” (Nedarim20A). They also have warned: “The eye sees, the heart desires, and the body finishes the sin.”
If a husband has relations with his wife after having looked at pictures of women on the Internet, G-d forbid, this is clearly forbidden, and any child resulting from such a union will be spiritually, and possibly physically blemished, as well.
Furthermore, since a man’s brain and thought process is connected to the highest spiritual worlds, googling at Google ladies pollutes the Holy of Holies in the uppermost world, just like setting up an idol in the Holy Temple, adding to the destruction of Jerusalem and prolonging the exile.
Each immodest image a person looks at causes him to violate, “You shall keep away from everything evil,” so that at one Internet sitting a person can transgress hundreds of Torah prohibitions.
The evil results of looking at pictures of women on the Internet are too numerous to list here. In summary, our Sages have said that gazing lustfully at women is worse than the forbidden act itself, since when a man commits a sexual transgression with another person, if his soul is not totally darkened within him, he afterwards suffers a feeling of revulsion and remorse which leads him to thoughts of repentance. However, the person who obsessively gazes at women convinces himself that he is engaged in permissible behavior, and because his heart isn’t saddened over this, he doesn’t think to repent, and continues to commit hundreds of transgressions each day (See “Taharat HaKodesh,” 3:3).
As King Shlomo taught: “There is a generation that is pure in their own eyes, and is not washed from their filth” (Mishle, 30:13). Because they fancy themselves pure, and don’t understand how their eyes drag them into a terrible pollution and cut them off from everything holy, they don’t think to cleanse themselves from their filth. Thus, King Shlomo writes after this: “There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes and how their eyelids are raised,” to go about in arrogance and contempt for the Torah, to allow their eyes to gaze upon whatever their hearts desire.
Studies suggest that up to seven out of ten Internet viewers (excluding INN surfers of course) spend a portion of each viewing session watching some porn. So for the health of you souls, and for the spiritual, moral, and physical health of your family, if you don’t yet have a trustworthy filter, download one now, let your wife be the only one who knows the code, and keep the monster in a central place in the house.