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A Late Night Conversation

The phone rings at my house at 12:45 am. I answer.

"Hello, Pete's Pizza Palace, may I help you?".

"R-R-R-R-av Ehrman?"

"No, this is his grandmother. Ally is outside playing with snails."

"Rebbe, I can't believe it."

"You gotta believe! Have you studied Sefer HaKuzari? It will really strengthen your emunah."

"I believe in Judaism! But, I can't believe I messed up."

[Here I get serious.] "What happened my sweet friend?"

"The internet. I saw pornography on the internet. I hate myself. I can't believe it. I was SURE that I wouldn't but my urge overcame me and I looked. How can I learn and daven. I am filthy!!! All I want to do is cry!"

"Mazel Tov!!!"

"What??"

"Mazel Tov for two reasons. Firstly, you are the member of a large club of Yeshiva students, Torah scholars and other fine Jews who have stumbled. It happens to some of the best of us. Of course many never even look at the internet and many who do still manage to avoid all of the pritzus. But not everyone is so lucky. We are all human and quite fallible - especially in this area of "shmiras habris". Frankly, according to halacha much of what is shown on television is also pornography so anyone with a TV is also watching. I am told that many upstanding Torah observant people still own one. I don't and encourage others not to but the scope of my influence is quite limited. Movies - same story. Some watch TV and movies openly while others do so privately but people watch. I was once told by a good friend who is planning to be a Rabbi that "I like pop-culture and there is nothing wrong with it." Really?? That is Kedoshim tihiyu? I haven't been to the movies in many years, have things changed?? Yes, I am told. For the worse!! It is unequivocally wrong to watch the impurities that modern entertainment has to offer.

Secondly, if you feel rotten that is an atonement for you!! Teshuva, my beloved friend!! You sin is erased. If your teshuva is out of love then your aveirah is a mitzva. Imagine!! Viewing porn as a mitzva. Of we try to avoid it initially but if we mess up the our LOVING G-d is kiviyachol anxiously awaiting for us to do teshuva and then HAPPILY forgives us. The Prophets emphasize this point. Remember, we are only human and our Creator understands this.

Move on and create a strategy so that it doesn't happen again. But don't get down on yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you. Your mother loves you. Your father loves you. Your friends love you. It's OK!!

Rav Hutner famously explains the pasuk "Sheva yipol tzaddik vi'kam" - A tzaddik falls seven times and rises. A person does not become a tzaddik DESPITE the fact that he fell but BECAUSE he fell. The road to greatness is paved with failure.

Keep in touch!!!!!!!!"

Thank You Rav Ehrman for that Posting. It's such a common thing nowadays as the footprints of Mashiach are being made. Most Yiddin do fall and when one falls after reaching such unbelievable heights it can be very discouraging. You feel like all that you have grown and accomplished is flushed down the drain. But the Truth is as you put it-Just Rise Again! Personally I am going to print this out and keep it handy so that if chas v'shalom i fall, I'll have this to inspire me to get back up. Yasher Koach!

Very Good Post! Rebbe, I don't think the problem is with the people who view pornagraphy and say "filth" (of course its an aveirah). The problem is with people who don't say "filth." By the way, I didn't understand the reference to Pete's Pizza.

thank you Yaakov and Hillel.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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