The Battle of the Eyes
As soon as a he walks out the front door in the morning, the battle begins. A young lady assaults him from the front; he looks aside, but is ambushed by the neighbor's wife...
by David Perlow
FOR MEN ONLY
The battle for personal holiness as a man is the hardest test. Every day you set out your front door the war begins. You turn left there is a woman flaunting her body, you turn right there is a billboard ad with a woman. You fight to squint your eyes, “keep your head focused on that piece of gum on the street!” you tell yourself as your body stiffens. This is the moment of truth for anyone in the beginning stages of strengthening their personal holiness.
It’s terribly challenging to maintain modesty today. Everywhere we look there are messages of debauchery attacking the imagination of man. It’s so difficult to even begin considering guarding the eyes since it is almost impossible from a natural point of view. At the same time truly living as a Jew requires Heavenly assistance to go beyond nature.
Today’s favorite past time in public for a young teenage guy is going to the mall to check out all the girls and we all know unfortunately what his private past time is. The world today is sick with the lust of women. I know it myself, being a victim from an early age. The world is feeding our generation with “chocolate poisoned eye candy.” The movies, advertisements and fashions have gotten so bad that a person cannot walk into the Walgreen’s or Superfarm here in Israel without seeing at least a hundred images that tempt him to think about another woman other than his wife.
Thankfully I listened to one of Rav Shalom Arush's best CD’s titled Clean Brain, translated and narrated in English by Rav Lazer Brody. The lecture opened me to the realization that all men need help in this area but so few are aware that it is a constant Torah obligation. Since then I’ve sought advice on how to guard my eyes better. I was lucky enough to hear tips from Rav Lazer in his weekly lesson here in Jerusalem. Also the heavily recommended CD Eyes of Holiness was a tremendous boost to inspire me to take the time to invest thirty minutes a day to pray on this issue. The results are amazing when you actually take the time to commit in praying for ‘guarding the eyes’ and you feel Hashem helping you so much every time you are in a “cross fire” at the mall or buying mouthwash.
To our great advantage the latest and greatest book from Rav Arush available to English speakers is called The Garden of Purity which is about this war. I will share something I read in the book that can help you greatly in the war on not looking at other women. Within the book, the Rav discusses the importance and benefits of ‘guarding the eyes’ and also adds certain advice on how to pray for it. These are all amazing points that you must read to familiarize yourself on how to fight this war. But what struck me the most was a chapter that the Rav himself said was the most important: the reality of happiness, and staying in a happy mind frame.
What?! Happiness?!? Weren’t we talking about staying away from pornography, lewd sites, and places where unclad women go?!? What does happiness have to do with it? I was amazed at the answer.
Rav Arush in his genius shares with us that to truly grow in life spiritually, you need to be happy emotionally and satisfied with what you already have. Think about it, why are we all checking out these women? It’s because we aren’t cherishing enough what we have. It’s that western go-getting mindset of, “I need more, more, more, new, new, new” “look at that blond, look at the red head, wow look at her bro!..”
We are stuck in the muck of needing stimulation from the outside because internally we are not at peace with the gifts that we already have. Our eyes need help, they need our prayers. To cherish what we have. To cherish our wives, their own unique beauty, not only externally but how much they do for us. The minute we take them for granted, it’s as if we are saying “I need more, this is boring, what else is there” and BOOM you’ve just imagined about the five girls you just saw while shopping for tomatoes.
Dear brothers, you have homework: 30 minutes a day praying not to look at or covet any woman.
The next thing: Focus and count on the blessings you have through an Emuna approach to see how we have everything our souls need. We must strive for the attribute of “being happy with our lot.” When we are happy with our lot, the other external challenges become much less threatening. Commit yourself for one week to pray for 30 minutes to see for yourself!