Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Lewd Thoughts

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths


A young man wrote us:

      “I've been having a major issue with lewd thoughts. I don't think I would ever actually act on these thoughts, but it's gotten so bad that my brain actually hurts from them. Whenever I learn [Torah], I feel like I'm doomed to fail because of these thoughts. Do you have any advice as to how to get rid of them? Whenever I space out, they rush in. If it matters at all what they are, these thoughts are about girls I was friendly with before I became religious.”

Gutman’s response:

      Hashem is sending you those thoughts because He wants you to want a girl. He wants you to want a girl because He wants you to get married and make a family. This was the first thing that G-d told Adam to do in the Garden of Eden.[i]

     Every young man shares this problem to some degree. When you space out (as all people do) you leave your mind open for your deepest concerns to surface, and understandably, this is your deepest concern. If you would be only concerned with your spiritual life, you would have more spiritual daydreams.  Yet we live in this physical world and Judaism does not teach separating ourselves from it.

     There are some practical things that you can do to help. For instance, stay away from things that arouse the animal inclination, and stay close to things that arouse the spiritual inclination. This means that you should avoid immodest places. You will not calm the animal by feeding it spicy foods! Try to spend most of your time in proper spiritual company. We become like the things that we spend our time with.

      Whenever one of these thoughts comes, try to imagine a chupah (marriage canopy) placed over it. The acts that you are daydreaming about are probably natural acts, and if they were to happen within the framework of a kosher marriage they would probably be perfectly alright. So it is not the acts themselves that are so repulsive, but the circumstances that you are imagining them in.

     (Reb Akiva adds… There are three chassidic recommendations as well.  The first is daily use of a men’s mikvah, which combines a physical cleansing with a spiritual cleansing and strengthening.  The second comes from Rebbe Nachman of Breslev and is the prayer set known as Tikun Klali.  While the title of this is “the General Repair”, Breslev chassidus specifically teaches this is targeted at inappropriate male desires.  The third comes from the Alter Rebbe of Chabad [the first Chabad Rebbe] in Tanya, which says when such thoughts enter one’s mind one should repeat Shema Yisroel and consider oneself standing before the Heavenly Beis Din [court] after the end of one’s life.  Further the Tanya teaches that one should not become depressed or feel bad that such thoughts happened, for if it came on it’s own – meaning it came by direction from above - the challenge of defeating it or using it to direct one towards proper life circumstances is exactly what Hashem wants.)

     When you find a Jewish girl who you want to marry, make sure that your parents are supportive of your choice. A lusting young man could very well choose a girl only because of her physical appearance, instead of ensuring that she has the characteristics of a proper wife.

     If you will pray for your friends to find proper wives, your wife will come quicker. Also, most importantly, try to become the best possible person you can become, so you will merit the best possible wife.

     Again, when those thoughts come, just place a chupah over them. You have the choice to let your natural, animal instinct run loose, or to direct it toward the holy purposes for which it was created.

[i] Genesis 1:28


  1. I really like the think of chupah idea.

    I think that Breslev teaches that when you are getting impure thoughts, it is because you are about to break through to higher spiritual level and the yetzer hara (a tool of Hashem) is struggling to prevent this.

  2. Excellent advice presented here to a very important question - and nearly universal male problem.

    Right, the Tanya explains in Chapter 27 that pushing away these thoughts is actually a reason to rejoice in now being able to fulfill "vlo sasuru", a Divine commandment!

    Rebbe Nachman teaches in Likkutei Moharan I:233 that Hashem takes great delight and pleasure in watching the person's battle and victory in pushing away these thoughts , in the way of a king at the arena watching a set of animals devour another. Rebbe Nachman says that holy thoughts are pure animals and lewd thoughts are impure animals, and that when the holy thoughts prevail in the battle, the King has tremendous pleasure!

    He says further that it's simply impossible for two thoughts to co-exist, so one should passively divert his thinking elsewhere, to a thought of Torah or even business. One musn't dwell on the lewd thought or forcefully shake his head back and forth to remove it from his mind. To the contrary, Rebbe Nachman writes, that'll only make things worse!

    Imagine- the very battle to remove these thoughts gives Hashem so much pleasure! How much more so when we are victorious! May Hashem help.

  3. Sorry this is off topic: Akiva did you get your email address back? How do we email you?
    In the meantime, thought you'd be interested in this:
    Zumba for Emunah (sigh)


  4. Yes, email and google accounts are back. mail to akiva a-t- mpaths d-o-t- com. (I'm writing the email address in human readable instead of computer form to avoid spam-bots. Adjust appropriately.)


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