A few blog readers have complained that shipping rates make my online books too expensive to order. So I have asked my online distributor to slash prices and run a special summer sale for your reading pleasure. At the conclusion of this blog, you will find a rundown of the books. G-d willing, my novel, “Tevye in the Promised Land,” will be available in another week.
This Shabbat, we read the Torah portion of “Pinchus.” Last week, we read how 24,000 Israelites of the tribe of Shimon took Moav sluts into their tents and were all killed in a plague of G-d’s anger. Please note that this is eight times those who were killed over the sin of the Golden Calf. This shows us that the Almighty despises sexual transgression more than any other sin, as it says in the holy Zohar:
“For we have learned that the Holy One Blessed Be He has no greater zealousness than His zealousness over the holy Brit, for this Brit is the secret of the Sacred Name and the secret of faith. As is written, ‘And the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moav,’ (Bamidbar, 25:1) then, immediately afterward, ‘And the anger of the L-rd was kindled against Israel.’”
This all came about upon the advice of the wicked Bilaam. After his curses failed, he told Balak to send the Moav and Midianite sluts into the camps of Israel, in order to entice them into transgression, precisely because he knew that nothing arouses G-d’s wrath more than sexual immorality.
Today, Bilaam’s strategy is being carried out by the purveyors of Internet smut. As we have said in the past, when a Jew enters immodest websites, he short-circuits his connection to G-d. As the Arizal teaches, the ענג pleasure he experiences turns into געע a plague. He pollutes, not only his own soul, but brings myriads of damaging spiritual agents into his home with each new click on the mouse. This is the reason I wrote the book, “The Mouse Made Me Do It!” My dear, brothers and sisters, I am not crying wolf. This warning is based on the 100% foolproof teachings of our holiest Sages. Each time you grab the mouse and guide it toward a forbidden site, you are playing Russian roulette. The damage you cause yourself and your household holds true whether you watch X-rated material or the candy-coated sleaze you can find all over youtube.
What can you do? First, get a reliable filter. In Israel, Rimon has an excellent product. For Diasporians, the K9 Web Protection.com filter has a high rating. But let someone else hold the code. Even if you fancy yourself a tzaddik, our Sages have warned that no one is immune to these temptations, and that there is not a righteous man who does good, but doesn’t have some sin, precisely in these matters.
And don’t fool yourselves into thinking that it isn’t such a big deal, that you aren’t affected by it, that it’s not really hard porn, or that it’s just to get you into the mood so you can do the mitzvah with your wife.
Zimri, the head of the tribe of Shimon, also had noble intentions. He believed that by having relations with the Midianite slut, he could raise her up spiritually and convert her to the one and only true faith. But all of the best intentions won’t shield a person who violates a prohibition of the Torah, as Zimri shortly discovered when Pinchus’s javelin pierced through his loins in the midst of his fornication.
A Jew is to conduct his marital relations in holiness as the Zohar teaches:
“When is a man called ‘one?’ When the man and his wife are together, and he sanctifies himself with an exalted holiness, and his intention is directed toward sanctification. Behold, when a man is engaged in marital relations, and he strives to sanctify the act in the proper fashion, then he is whole and is called ‘one’ without blemish. For this reason, a man should make his wife happy at this time, in order that they should share the same desire and the same intention. And when they are united in this manner, then they are completely one; one soul and one body. Their soul is one through their shared desire to cleave one to the other. And their body is one, for as we have learned, a man who is not married is in a state of separation, and only when male and female are united do they form one body. Thus, they are one soul and one body, and are called one person. Then the Holy One Blessed Be He rests upon that oneness, and infuses it (the offspring of that holy union) with a spirit of holiness. These (offspring) are the ones referred to as, ‘sons of the Holy One Blessed Be He,’ as has been said, and thus it is written, ‘Be holy, for I, the L-rd, am holy.’” (Zohar, Vayikra 81b).
In contrast, the Zohar teaches, when a man gazes at forbidden things, he brings impurity upon himself, comparable to worshipping idols:
‘We have learned, it is forbidden for a man to gaze upon the beauty of a woman, so that he should not come to have evil thoughts and thus be incited to something worse. For this reason, when Rabbi Shimon had to walk through the town, followed by his disciples, whenever he came to a place that beautiful women were apt to be found, he would to lower his eyes and say to his companions, ‘Do not turn aside after foreign gods.’ For whoever gazes at the beauty of a woman by day, will have sinful thoughts at night. And if these evil thoughts overcome him, he transgresses the commandment, ‘Thou shall not make for yourselves molten gods.’ Furthermore, if he has marital relations with his wife while thinking about these evil images, the children born from such union are called ‘molten gods.’ For this reason, it is written, ‘Do not turn astray after their gods,’ and, ‘Thou shall not make for yourselves molten gods’” (Zohar, Vayikra 84a).
Readers can find more passages from the Zohar on this theme on our website www.jewishsexuality.com. An in-depth study of the subject, including a guide how to escape from the clutches of pornography addiction, is contained in the book, “The Mouse Made Me Do It!”
As for the summer book sale, here’s a selection of reduced titles:
One Man's Spiritual Quest for Health, Love, and the Golden Path
by Tzvi Fishman
New England high school teacher, Craig Peters, has hit a mid-life crisis. He's got problems with his wife, with his daughter, and with his health. Reading about a 120 year old miracle worker in Israel, he decides that this mysterious sage is the only person in the world who can save him from his troubles and from the unholy life he has been leading. Embarking on a "nothing to lose" quest to the Holy Land, he enters a spiritual world he never knew existed. His conversations with Saba Yosef, who uncannily knows everything about his life without being told, brings him to a desperately needed overhaul and inner cleansing. But it takes a near fatal "accident," and the intercession of Saba Yosef in the World To Come, to bring him back from the afterworld for a second chance at life, and the hope for a new, more loving beginning.
A Modern Day Fable
by Tzvi Fishman
Harry Walsh is a brilliant, cynical, whoring conman, the bestseller author of phony "spiritual" self-help books. In past reincarnations, he appeared again and again as some of world history's most infamous and murderous characters, including Cain, Nimrod, Bilaam the Sorceror, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus, Titus, Muhammad, and King Richard the Lionhearted, to mention just a few. Now, the Almighty has decided to give Harry one last chance to change his errant ways. But when an angel arrives in New York with the mission of convincing Harry to set his present licentious life in order and break free from his sordid past, the angel himself falls to the temptations of the fast life in America as he tours around the country with the ribald celebrity. This modern day fable if filled with humor and hilarious escapades as it traces the unlikely friendship that springs up between the angel and the soul-stained writer. Along the way, the reader is taken on a roller-coaster ride through world history, encountering, along with Harry, startling insights and deep, poignant truths which have the power to illuminate the spiritual darkness of our times and add the Divine light and connection that is missing from our lives.
Dad A Novel
by Tzvi Fishman
The novel, "Dad," tells the touching, poignant, and humorous story of a loving husband with five hyperactive sons and another child on the way, who suddenly has to take care of his aging parents as well, while carefully placating his harried, stressed-out wife. It's a wild, hectic balancing act that would drive anyone insane, and Joseph Friedman is no exception as he struggles to help his anxiety-ridden Dad deal with the Alzheimer's Disease that has turned Mom into a totally different woman. "Dad" tells the story all people face as their parents reach the not so "Golden Years." An unforgettable family novel by the author of "Tevye in the Promised Land."
Days of Mashiach Short Stories
by Tzvi Fishman
"Days of Mashiach" is a collection of original and off-beat stories about Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora. Written with a keen and humorous eye on the Jewish experience in our time, the stories center around the redemption of the Jewish People, the ingathering of the exiles, repentance, settlement of the Land of Israel, and Mashiach.
The Discman and the Guru
by Tzvi Fishman
Seventeen year old, Sam Singer, son of one of the wealthiest men in America, frustrated by his childhood of money and fame, leaves his home in Beverly Hills in search of God and the "TRUTH." His poignant and humerous-packed odyssey takes him to London, Paris, Rome, India, Mecca, and finally Jerusalem, where his insistence on praying on the Temple Mount nearly sets off an international war. "The Discman and the Guru" is fun reading for the entire family.
Eretz Yisrael The Teachings of HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook
by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman
In his classic treatise, "Orot," Rabbi Kook teaches that a proper understanding of Judaism can only be achieved after one first recognizes the significance of the Land of Israel to the Jewish People. To understand who we are as a nation, and to actualize our role as a light to the world, we first have to comprehend the special relationship between the Divinely-chosen People and the Divinely-chosen Land.
Rabbi Kook writes: "It is impossible for a Jew to be devoted and faithful to his intellectual faculties and his imaginative powers when he is outside the Land of Israel, compared to the quality of their faithfulness in Land of Israel. Revelations of holiness, on whatever level, are clean in Land of Israel, while outside the Land of Israel, they are mixed with dross and impure husks."
Owing to the deep, esoteric insights and difficult Hebrew of "Orot," the book has remained the cherished possession of Rabbi Kook's students and the generation of Torah scholars who learned at the Rabbi Kook Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Now, in this illuminating commentary, Rabbi Kook's writings on the Land of Israel are explained in a clear and concise manner that is sure to add a treasure of knowledge to your understanding of Judaism and the role of Am Yisrael in the world.
The Art of T'shuva - The Teachings of HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman
While psychologists and self-help books offer many theories about man's existential dilemma and pain, Rabbi Kook reveals that the real cause of humanity's suffering stems from man's alienation from God. The solution, he teaches, is t'shuva. While t'shuva is normally translated as penitence or repentance, the root of the Hebrew word t'shuva means "return." T'shuva is a return to the source, to one's roots, to one's deepest inner self. Rabbi Kook writes:
"When one forgets the essence of one's soul; when one distracts his mind from seeing the true nature of his inner life, everything becomes doubtful and confused. The principal t'shuva, which immediately lights up the darkness, is for a person to return to himself, to the root of his soul. Then he will immediately return to God, to the Soul of all souls. This is true for an individual, a nation, for all of mankind, and for the perfection of all existence... All depression stems from transgression, from being distant from God, and t'shuva comes to light up the soul and transform the depression into incredible joy."
THE ART OF T'SHUVA explains Rabbi Kook's writings on t'shuva in a clear, concise, and illuminating step-by-step fashion. This encounter with Rabbi's Kook's vision is certain to lead readers to greater personal happiness, understanding, and spiritual growth.
“The Mouse Made Me Do It!”
by Tzvi Fishman
“The Mouse Made Me Do It!” is a clear, illuminating, and in-depth Torah guide, designed to help people who suffer from an addiction to pornography on the Internet. It is also designed to give people the understanding needed to break free from masturbation and other sexual transgressions, according to the teachings of the Torah and the Kabbalah. The famous “Twelve Step Program” in battling addiction is converted to a dynamic Torah approach to overcoming the powerful temptation of the web. The knowledge presented will allow people to regain control of their lives, break free of negative habits, and direct their energies in healthier, more positive paths by forging an active, joy-filled connection to God.
Books can also be ordered through Amazon Books.