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How to Fix Your Internet Addiction

Sunday, 28 November, 2021 - 7:32 pm

 

Question of the Week

I need some help. I fell into some very bad habits on the internet. I knew it was wrong, but it became addictive. I am in therapy and doing much better now, but I wanted some spiritual guidance. I feel like I will always be contaminated by the inappropriate images that I subjected myself to. Can I ever get rid of the stain it has left on my soul?

Answer

I commend you for facing your problem, one more pervasive than most of us would care to admit. It sounds like you have made good progress with your therapy, and I hope you also avail yourself of the wonderful resources at www.GuardYourEyes.com

Alongside the work you are doing, there is an additional practice you can try.

You can kasher your mind.

Just like a non-kosher kitchen needs to go through a cleansing process to make it kosher, your mind needs kashering from the contamination it has experienced.

We kasher a kitchen by applying a blow torch to the surfaces that came into contact with non-kosher products. You can do the same for your mind.

But before you reach for a blow torch, please read on.

Everything we see is stored in our memory. Our eyes take in the images, scenes and sights that flash before us, sending them to our brain, where they become a part of our consciousness. Sight is the gateway to our soul.

This is why the Torah tells us to guard our eyes, as we say in the Shema prayer: "Do not stray after your hearts and after your eyes." Because once you let an inappropriate image in, you can't unsee it. Those less-than-holy sights (and sites) remain imprinted on our soul.

But we don't have to be haunted by these negative visions forever. We can cleanse our eyesight, by using our vision for holy purposes.

There is a mitzvah for every sense in the body. We hear the Shofar. We taste the Matzah. We smell the Havdalah spices. We touch the Lulav. And on Chanukah, we look at the candles.  

Immediately after lighting the Chanukah candles, we sing a song called "Haneros Halalu." It includes the following line:

These candles are holy. We are not allowed to utilise them, only to look at them. 

This is saying that the Chanukah candles are not to be used to toast marshmallows or even read by their light. They are just there to look at.  And when we do, something awesome happens.

The mystics explain that the Chanukah candles have the power to cleanse our sense of sight. The candles we light today have the holiness of the Menorah in the Temple in Jerusalem. Just by looking at them, the holy flames illuminate our vision and sanctify our eyes.

This Chanukah, when you light your candles, have in mind that you are bringing the light of the Holy Temple into your home. Sit by the candles and stare deeply into their light. Allow their sacred glow to pierce your eyes and penetrate your mind. As you do this, some of the contaminated visions of your past are burnt away. Your memory is being kashered. 

While you clear away the bad, you have to replace it with good. Fill your mind with the Divine wisdom of Torah. Crowd your memory with the profound words and empowering teachings of our great sages.

You are on a good path. Like the Chanukah candles, keep adding a little more light every day. The fire of Chanukah will clean your eyes, and the fire of Torah will cleanse your mind. No blow torch needed.

Good Shabbos and Happy Chanukah,
Rabbi Moss

Sources:
Imrei Noam, R' Meir Horowitz of Dzikov
Ramban Bamidbar 8:2
Sfas Emes Chanukah 5640

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