Hilul for the Baba Sali
Hilul for the Baba SaliYaakov Cohen

This evening marks the yahrtzeit of the holy mystic, the Baba Sali. He said that he could see things that other people couldn’t see because he didn’t look at things that most people gazed at.

How is it possible to spend time searching the web and not take an occasional peek at immodest photos of women? Dealing with this temptation is not an easy matter. No one is immune from the evil inclination, but once the temptation was not available in our homes. 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 my Creator has commanded me not to.”

For safety sake, it is a good idea to install a reliable Internet filter, to entrust the code to one’s wife (you yourself shouldn’t know the code), and to keep the computer in a central place in the living room so everyone can see what’s on the screen.

The Torah states:

For the L-rd thy G-d walks in the midst of thy camp to deliver thee, and to deliver thy enemies before thee; therefore thy camp shall be holy, that He see no unclean thing in thee and turn away from thee,” (Devarim, 13-15).

This injunction applies to looking at photos of women on the Internet as well. This type of behavior pollutes one’s soul and one’s house with a terrible pollution that drives the Shechinah and Divine blessing away.

For those who maintain, “I can look at those 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, impure thought which pollutes the brain, the heart, and the soul. If a husband has relations with his wife after having looked at immodest pictures of women, holy Sages like the Baba Sali and his grandfather, the renown Kabbalist, the “Abir Yaacov,” inform us that any child resulting from such a union will be spiritually blemished, as well.

Furthermore, since a man’s brain and thought process is connected to the highest spiritual worlds, this pollutes the Holy of Holies in the uppermost worlds, similar to setting up an idol in the Holy Temple. These words are not mine, but the words of the Torah Giant, Reb Chaim of Volozhin, in his classic book, “Nefesh HaChaim.”

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 nefarious results of looking at immodest pictues on the Internet are too numerous to list here. Our Sages have said that gazing at women is worse than a forbidden act, 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 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 uncleanliness,” (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 state of impurity. 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 spend a portion of each viewing session watching immodest material. So for the health of your 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.