Monday, August 29, 2016

What Happens When People Stray Sexually? - The Sins Of The Yeshivos

Yeshayahu continues describing the punishments of the Jews for their sins. He says ותחת פתיגיל מחגורת שק - Instead of the sash, a belt of sackloth. The gemara [Shabbos 62b] expounds these words and says פתחים המביאים לידי גילה יהיו למחגורת שק - the openings that lead to joy [Rashi explains that this is  a reference to אותו מקום] will be for a girding of sackcloth. [פתיגיל is an acronym for פתחים המביאים לידי גילה].

As we saw earlier in the gemara based on the psukim, the sins of the Jews were in the realm of sexuality. Therefore, the punishment must reflect the sin and be found in the realm of sexuality. The notion of מדה כנגד מידה exists both because it shows the Divine hand in the punishment that it is not just by chance and also through the punishment we learn about the nature of the sin, thus enabling us to correct it.

Sexuality is a very basic and important part of life. It is not just about creating the future but also has a very positive life affirming and life building effect on the present. Two people who unite in a holy union contribute to the completion and perfection of the personality of their partner. A man has particular masculine traits while a woman has her feminine qualities. In addition, every human being has their unique emotional and spiritual makeup that is a reflection of their special task on earth. By uniting in the deepest and most intimate way, the couple essentially shares of themselves with each other and creates something whole. The pasuk says 

וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בָּרָא אֹתָם.

We see from this pasuk that a human being only has the צלם אלהים - the image of G-d, when there is both a male and female. Only when we unite the male and female together does the צלם אלהים appear. 

But sexuality is a double edged sword. It is especially potent so when it is misused and abused tremendous damage is caused. 

At the time before the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, the level of modesty and purity had fallen precipitously. The punishment was therefore in the same realm. What was once a place of גילה - joy and pleasure, was now transformed into a place that is contained by the crude material of sackcloth. What was once a place of life, turned into a place of death and mourning. 

We learn from here a great lesson about the ramifications of sexual perversion. People until our very day believe that by living lives of hedonism and unbridled pleasure seeking they will be happy. But the reality is that just about nothing rivals sexual depravity and impurity in causing deep emotional [and often physical] problems.

We also see an example of the openess Chazal had to relating to private matters. As always they used very clean language but didn't shy away from addressing the issue. If we avoid it then the misbehavior will perpetuate. It must be addressed and dealt with in the most effective way. 

In our days there are so many people, even in the Orthodox community who have strayed in this area. What is our response? I am not sure we are responding. 

I will say this. Within the next few weeks thousands of kids will be coming to Israel for the next eight months or so to learn [they call it a year but it is really not]. Many of these young men and women will have iphones, smartphones, ipods and countless other types of contraptions that enable them to watch all of the מרעין בישין - the depths of depravity, that exist. In some of the more modern yeshivas - the students are using these "weapons of spiritual destruction" IN THE BEIS MEDRASH. 

I asked the Rosh Yeshiva of one place how he allows such a thing. Boys are watching pritzus IN A MAKOM KADOSH and nobody says anything to them. He gave a very "halachic" answer: "We are in competition with other yeshivas. If we have a name that we forbid these devices we will lose out to the competition".


Maybe this yeshiva attracts boys and gets their tuition money but many of their students spends HUNDREDS of hours in the dorm watching filth. It is not just one yeshiva and it is not just two.

But alas, the world continues going round and nothing is done. If they have the approval of the Rosh Yeshiva - who can say that anything is amiss. 

Let us see the words of the Rav ztz"l: 

"""ותחת פתגיל מחגורת שק" - פתחים המביאים לידי גילה יהיו למחגורת שק"".

היחס המיני ההגון הבנוי בקדושה וביושר, לבד מה שהוא בונה ומשכלל את העתיד של העולם, הוא מאשר בזה עצמו את ההוה. ההשתלמות שהמינים מקבלים זה מזה בתכונותיהם הנפשיות, אינה פחות מלאת ערך מהתכנית של התולדה החומרית. עדון נפשי הגון המביא אחרית טובה, הוא עומד הכן לישרי לב המנהיגים את חייהם ביושר ובכושר בסיוג התורה ובאמונת הלב. אבל הרשעים משחיתי דרכם מאבדים את ההון היקר שברכת ד' בקרבו, לאבדון. ואותה התכונה שהוד החיים ועוזם מתגלים בה בטובה ותמותה, כשיורדת היא לעמקי רע ישוב הכל אחורנית. האדם יאבד את ערכו, לא לבד את ערכו האנושי, כ"א גם את ערך החיים שלו. הלב יתרוקן מכל ששון וכל תקוה. הכוחות יתדלדלו ויהפכו לפלצות וזועה. לבישת השק של עת-צרה מכוונת היא עם ההשפלה הזאת של הכרת ערך ההשפלה היורדת עד לגבול הדומם החומרי; כלומר לא ענין חי התופס ערך לעצמו, הראוי להיות קובע מדורו לפי ערכו ולפי תביעותיו הטבעיות שהינן על כן זכויותיו היותר צודקות, כי אם כמו חומר ודבר של קנין שאין בו חיים וחפץ, הראוי רק להטען ולהנתן בשק. כה תגדל הנפילה ממרום עיזוז חריפות החיים המלאים בטובם עד למחגורת שק.