Shomer HaBrit, Part 1
This is the first of a practical two-part series in how to become a “Shomer HaBrit”, a guardian of the covenant who commits to the observance of the Jewish laws of personal holiness that forbid sexual activity or spilling of the seed outside the context of the mitzvot of procreation and marital bliss.
The fact that you have the interest shows that you have already started the battle.
There are a number of things that you need to know in order to succeed.
The first is to fully acknowledge the situation. Acknowledge that being Shomer HaBrit in thought, speech, and action is the largest test that a man is placed through in this world. Also acknowledge that although it is a very hard test it is still very possible to win. There are many people that have been Shomer HaBrit in the past and that are Shomer HaBrit today. I personally can give witness to many people today that are Shomer HaBrit. Amongst them people that are single, people that are married, people living in Tzfat, and people going into Manhattan every day, traveling on the subway system and working in mixed offices.
Acknowledge that it is very possible to be Shomer HaBrit especially at the basic level of refraining from doing physical sins. However to a person that is in a situation of impurity it might seem like it is totally impossible to stop.
It will seem like it is beyond Human ability to be Shomer HaBrit. This person must do two things: first, he must begin weakening his Yetzer Hara and second, he must start building merit and protection.
Weakening the Yetzer Hara
First of all a person should temporarily ignore the severity and the punishment of the sin. He must remember that Hashem has infinite mercy and is always ready to accept those who wish to return to him
. As far as rectifying the past, forget about that for now and just focus on the current situation. At a later situation when you will have more energy, then you should consider doing Tikkunim for the past. The whole trick of Avodat Hashem is, when you have energy you do, when you are low on energy you contract yourself and remain still using all remaining energy to refrain from falling, waiting for more energy so you can hit again. Remember the mighty warrior is not the person who can strike a one-time hit but rather a person who knows the techniques of battle and can fight consistently little by little until he reaches the day that he has completely destroyed his enemy. This person will rise up and continue no matter what falls and obstacles are placed in his path. (Photo at left courtesy of abirwarriorarts.com).
The way the Yetzer Harah works is very simple. At a general point in time when a person is in control of his mind he has almost no control over him. He then draws him in little by little, it could start by having him look at an impure picture, bring an impure thought into his head or any number of ways. He then draws him more and more into his trap. In the beginning a person can still pull back however as a person transcends into the impurity he starts losing his will to pull back little by little until he reaches a point where he thinks that it is impossible to stop.
The Solution to this is very simple although very hard to carry out. It is to stop it before it starts, to demolish it before it begins. The second a person feels this Yetzer Hara gaining even the smallest entrance over him he must run and do everything in his power to get away. Even if he feels that he is miles away from committing the actual sin.
The only way a person can do this is to start making boundaries. Every person must analyze where he falls and avoid being trapped at those places; not at the place or situation of sin itself, but ten steps in front of the sin.
There is also another issue: even when a person tries with all his might to avoid a sin, there are going to be times when he will be tested and he will be placed in a situation against his will. In this place he must make use of extremely drastic methods to escape at all costs. It is here that he proves that he is truly Shomer HaBrit. It is here that he receives his biggest Tikkun when he is forcibly passed through those same situations in the same constricted mind frame and he emerges victorious.
However all this is very hard as a person will be placed through thousands of tests which he must pass. He must vanquish impure thoughts from his mind hundreds of thousands of times until he is victorious. When a person looks at all this it seems humanly impossible to do. This is because he is not aware of the important fact that the more times he wins the stronger he becomes. Every time he passes a test the easier it becomes to pass it again. There will be a point when he will look back and the tests that loomed in front of him like huge dark mountains will suddenly appear to be nothing more than little pebbles. He will reach a time that he will laugh at the past weaknesses that controlled his life.
However even if a person accepts this fact as being true since he cannot actively experience it, it is extremely difficult for him to act upon it and use it as a motivation to fight such a huge battle.
A person who wishes to become Shomer HaBrit must do the following: tune out everything else and say, “I am going to try being Shomer HaBrit for the next week!” After that, whatever happens happens. After that week a person must start again. If a person falls on the way it is not a big deal; he should forget about it immediately and refocus his energies and start again. Every time a person wins it becomes easier and easier until he has totally left his previous actions and has gained full control over himself.
To be continued.