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what does Torah want us to do with inappropriate feelings b4 marriage?

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#1 sandythedog



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Posted 19 November 2011 - 09:22 PM


So we know we're not allowed to be with someone b4 marriage (in the physical sense and if the woman hasn't gone to the mikvah after she had become impure from her monthly cycle etc..). We also dont touch b4 marriage in a boyfriend-girlfriend manor to prevent the possibility of leading to that. Got that.

So...Rabbi Moderator (or whomever would like to respond)
1. what are we supposed to do with those feelings b4 marriage?? I know that if one is to indulge in those things out of a committed relationship(like marriage) it only detracks from the relationship and reinforces selfishness...since the reason why ur acting that way is bc you want the enjoyment.

2. If b4 marriage we're told with those things to 'stay away, dnt watch inappropriate things, don't indulge in any way, shape or form (physical or otherwise)' then when it comes to marriage, how do we dare see this as a healthy thing to do?

thanks to all who answer

#2 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:27 AM

The answer to your question is that we are obligated to be very very careful not to anything that would evoke those feelings to begin with.

In other words, your first statement, about what you understand the Torah requirements in this regard is incorrect. It is not that "we're not allowed to be with someone b4 marriage (in the physical sense and if the woman hasn't gone to the mikvah after she had become impure from her monthly cycle etc..). We also dont touch b4 marriage in a boyfriend-girlfriend manor to prevent the possibility of leading to that."

It is not that "we do not touch" in order to ensure that we do not violate a prohibition down the road. Touching is prohibited in and of itself.

And not only touching, but doing anything that will evoke those feelings is prohibited as well. A teenage boy and girl wrote a letter to Rav Moshe saying that they are "just friends" and do not violate Negiyah. They know that it is inappropriate and can lead to much worse. But, they asked him, is it Halachicly prohibited?

His answer was, simply, "Yes." It is prohibited, Min HaTorah. The prohibition of Lo sikravu legalos ervah forbids any friendships between males and females. The Ran that he cites in support of this would basically prohibit anything that evokes the feelings you are describing.

My heart goes out to you. It sounds like you are growing up in one of those communities where they teach being friends is OK; touching is not done to prevent "being with," which is prohibited. The Halachic issues with such teachings are one thing. But far more obvious is how ridiculously unrealistic it is. You tell people that it is OK to have social relationships with boys, but not to do anything more. Please. You are right - what do you do with those feelings that have grown within you, that are designed by Hashem to maintain marriage-relationships as well as ensure the propagation of humankind. It's like asking people to cross a busy intersection blindfolded but not get hit.

Or, more accurately, it is like asking people to take drugs socially but not become an addict. Chazal tell us about this urge that you are fiddling with - the more you feed it, the more hungers. I would not even know how many teenagers have come to me asking the question you are asking. "What does the Torah want me to do with my self-induced famishment if I am not allowed to eat?

The answer is, you are not supposed to make yourself famished. Such Taavos are, even without any additional trumping up on our part, difficult enough to resist. But once we enter into social relationships and throw tanks of gasoline onto the fire, what can one do?

My answer to you - and I wish I had an easy solution here but alas I do not - is to try as much as possible to resist, and to understand that these feelings feel like they will last forever, but they never do. The feelings try to get you to commit - that's what they are supposed to do - but eventually, sooner or later, they weaken. You will not have to maintain this forever. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Please try to internalize that.

Also, please pray to Hashem for SIyata D'Shmaya. You are not in this alone. Hashem looks down and sees a struggling sandythedog and He is in this with you. Of course, you have to fight the battle, not Him - it is your fight - but He can help in many ways. Have this in mind during your Tefilos.

And also - this is very important - get a friend to hold your hand while you fight. I once asked a well known psychologist, a specialist in addicitons, how therapy can help someone with an addiction. After all, therapy is just words exchanged between therapist and patient. How in the world can that impact on someone's urges?

His answer to me was that therapy does not impact on the addiction. The client himself has to fight his urges. The therapy serves only as a way to hold the client's hand as he goes through his battle. And that helps a lot.

So get a friend to talk to and hold your hand as you go through this. It will give you more strength to fight, and encouragement when you will need it.

And one more thing. Understand that each and every small battle that you win in this war, even if it is temporary and seemingly inconsequential in the big picture, merits for you in Shamayim the rich reward reserved for those Tzadikim in Hashem's army who fight the hard fights on the front lines. The Malachim, the Avos, and Hashem Himself takes indescribable pride in you when you will win even a small battle here. Remember that, and think about it a lot.

And the fact that you asked this question means you won the first part of the battle already.

If you need chizuk, we are always here.

#3 shifpifer1



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Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:30 PM

I don't understand, and I'm actually glad because if I did I would have the same struggle as you. What feelings are you talking about? Like you want to have relations just because you are hormonal? Marriage isn't even the place for that anyways, its about building a Mishkan and working on yourself, its so much more than intimacy. Like, if you've never had physical intimacy, then why would you have an "urge"? Like whats an urge? If your frum, don't people forget these type of things over time because you think of ruchniyous? sorry if i sound extremely naive, im only 17.

#4 ilavHashem



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Posted 23 December 2011 - 12:35 AM

when something is not particularly the hardest thing for you, then a simplistic answer is always enogh, but for someone who trully struggles with any nisayon in life, then, in that area, it isn't as easy to find answers they like. they need an answer better than the question! thinking of ruchnius doesnt really remove hormones n a thirst for some fun! reaching a level where it would help is another level on its own! frum jews have hormones too!!!

#5 sandythedog



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Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:01 AM


First and foremost, thank you Rabbi Moderator, as the chizuk helps. There are times where I'm a little 'off the deep end' in this area, and there are times where it barely has it's affects b"H/c"H-and I have to be seriously thankful for those moments. We say in our davening 'don't give me a test,' and we hope for no tests :)

I was not the type to have guy friends but I grew up with tv, movies, romance books (sorry to say-sorry to write it now... :( I stopped reading those books in my teens and I stopped mainstream tv a few years ago (excluding cooking shows or kids shows type of thing, when out of town..but essencially). It was a process and one that can't be rushed-been there, done that-backfires...Everything is a step by step process and with Hashem's help ONLY, I've come a long way (He says the messangers/guides to help). When there was a point where I felt I couldn't keep going, that the struggle was too much, Hashem gave me a sign telling me to NOT TO GIVE UP. I've had experiences in my life that have shown me WHY I cant be involved in these things outside of a committed relationship-it pulls people away from the relationship they are in. When you're dating, you are (hopefully) connecting to the person spiritually and that really is a major part of the connection-two souls connecting on some level or another. Agreed, there is chemistry/attraction (needed) and there is an emotional aspect as well (neccesary after marriage and something to be careful with before marriage, as too much attachment to the wrong person can be problematic!...to say the least), but if that spiritual part isnt there, it can be draining. If someone gets involved physically with someone, even 'minimally,' it takes away from the spiritual connection, since the two are on opposing sides of a scale. So when the physical is enhanced, the spiritual is decreased (again, not discussing a marriage where there is supposed to be a physical component for connection, children etc).

In regard to shifpifer1, it's a good thing you aren't involved in these things, considering you're 17. I wouldn't say that the h.s. years are the hardest but it's the one where the physical feelings are there and we're still pretty imature (think of a 13 year old girl who notices a nice looking boy near by and tells her friend about it....I've seen it and I've probably been there myself, almost certainly).

Secondly, yes a marriage is about building a bayit neeman b'yisroel, and it's true that it's NOT about physicalilty, but there is a physical component and as one Reb Kigel (she's NY based, she's a speaker) puts it, it's considered an avodah, a service. Why? I guess the Rabbi Moderator could answer that better than I can but maybe, bc it connects the individuals, it brings about children etc, and there is an obligation for a husband to be with his wife (it's in the ketuvah, the Jewish marriage contract). There is a book, choosing to love, by Gila Manolson. Great for the crowd who didn't grow up with a concept of shomer negiyah and such, so it's pretty straight forward and you're not going to see hebrew words very much etc, but it also explains certain things that aren't neccesarly said to us as frum woman who went to yeshivah (there's only so much that can be taught in h.s. and that's why seminary is crucial-though not everyone goes and you still might not hear what you need to hear).

Third: To answer your question of 'if one was never with someone, how can they have the pull towards it?: Besides the fact that yes, there are hormones that make us feel a certain way,as I have stated somewhere above, I had been involved with outside influences-and I'm not the same person I was at bat mitzvah bc of it. BUT, bc of my mistakes (and my not knowing that certain books were WRONG to be reading and WRONG to be involved with) I have become a different person-in a good sense. Had i not been involved in it, would I have grown the way I did? Had I not messed up with these things, would I have even known that it was a problem, something to stay away from? I know people who read them, I know people who watch tv...my friend and I on a h.s. trip looked away from the cartoon kids movie that was playing on screen bc their was a physical interaction between charectors. Would I have ever done if I hadn't realized there was something to stay away from?? There is a question asked: 'If I regret my mistakes but I've learned from them, then how can I really regret them?' Answer: 'You wish that you could have learned those same lessons another way, WITHOUT having to make mistakes.'

Life's a process, and we each have our struggles. By learning from out mistakes, we become amazing....Yosef Hatzadik could not have kingship come from him, why? Bc he didn't seen with the wife of Potifar-he didn't mess up. Who did with a similar item? Yehudah and he was to have kings from him (when he was with Tamar..though he was allowed as he was really the one she should marry, though he didnt know it was her and later he was going to sentence her to death.....as she was the daughter of Shaim, who was considered a cohen...other opinions as well, such as the morality got so bad that they made a severe punishment for people). Yehudah could understand that people make mistakes, as he himself had erred, in a sense. He could understand the people and he could guide them (as was part of the obligation of a king). One may not wish to make errors, but one should always wish for growth :)

#6 living2learn



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Posted 18 July 2012 - 04:17 PM

I don't understand, and I'm actually glad because if I did I would have the same struggle as you. What feelings are you talking about? Like you want to have relations just because you are hormonal? Marriage isn't even the place for that anyways, its about building a Mishkan and working on yourself, its so much more than intimacy. Like, if you've never had physical intimacy, then why would you have an "urge"? Like whats an urge? If your frum, don't people forget these type of things over time because you think of ruchniyous? sorry if i sound extremely naive, im only 17.

Shifpifer -
Just to point out one thing.
Marriage is most definitely the place for it. It is also about building a Mishkan, and also about working on yourself, and there in a lot more to marriage than just the physical aspect. But intimacy is an integral, important, AND very kadosh part of every Jewish marriage, and should not in any way, shape or form be written of to the side as insignificant or low on the list of what holds a marriage together. You will learn when the time comes. But Yiddishkeit, unlike every other religion (and non-religion for that matter) on this Earth, recognizes the place, sanctity, and potential of this wonderful gift that Hashem gave us, and gives it a very special place - at the proper time and in the proper context. It is not a bad or dirty thing, just one that must be used in the right way, and unfortunately our society has given us a warped view of it.

And also, to your question about whether frum people forget because they think of ruchniyus. Everyone has their struggles in life. You have a yetzer hara also - think of something which is a nisayon for you, and ask yourself why is it that you haven't forgotten because you think of ruchniyus. Not because you are a bad or weak person; simply because you are human and this is the pekel that Hashem gave to you. It's like saying you forget to eat because you think of loftier things. We have all heard stories of gedolim who have withdrawn somewhat, someway from various physical aspects of Olam haZeh, but that is a very great madreiga, and not one that any of us should be aspiring to in the very near future. We have to work to get there, wherever "there" may be for each person; it takes time.

#7 dotherightthing



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Posted 18 July 2012 - 09:38 PM

sandythedog- wow from ur examples it seems like u have come a REALLY long way!!!! i wish i were on the level of looking away during physical interaction of cartoons!!!! yasher koach! also i liked ur quote about learning lessons from mistakes without having to make the mistakes. it really resonated with me.
back to ur original questions- i definitely have been wondering the same sort of thing. i guess I'm such a sad sad product of todays society (BH I'm trying to stop watching movies, tv, and reading romance books altogether) but i can't see how intimacy can b kadosh. its really sad but i can't picture connecting Hashem Who is so holy to that act. i can't even like think it in the same sentence!!!! i mean i guess its possible for people who have always been pure and holy to see it as solely a means to build connection and children and a dwelling place for Hashem. but once you have already been exposed (like REALLY exposed) to the worlds view of it... how can u ever get the disgusting pictures and feelings associated with it out of your head???

#8 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 09:41 AM


Add me to the list of people who are impressed with your efforts and accomplishments in this area.

I'd like to add a few things, if i may.

First, to answer your question "how can u ever get the disgusting pictures and feelings associated with it out of your head???" the answer is you can't do anything to get them out of your head. Trying is an exercise in futility (and worse, which I will shortly explain). Instead, you need to bury them under mountains of Torah and Mitzvos - positive acts, proper Hashkafos and good Midos. If some milk falls into your chicken soup you can't really scoop it back out, but it can be Botul B'Shishim. The question is not how to get the milk out but how much soup is there to nullify it. So too you cannot remove those thoughts from your head, but you can bury them. Focus not on how to find those drops of bad but on increasing the amount of good in your mind and personality and body so that the effects of the bad will be as obscured as possible.

Second: Besides that, proactively trying to get rid of these thoughts just makes them stronger. You can't get rid of thoughts by thinking about them. Try this:

For the next 30 seconds, try very hard not to think of a pink elephant.


See what I mean?


The same thing applies to these kind of thoughts. The more you try not to think of them, the more they entrench themselves in your mind.

But the good news is: Don't worry so much about this. Yes, we need to stay away from things that trigger bad thoughts and images, and people profoundly underestimate the damage such exposure does (listen to this shiur about it), but the Torah was given to human beings, not angels, and nobody is perfect. Unless we were brought up in an enclave like Monroe or New Square or perhaps in certain extremely rare families, we’ve been exposed to tons of stuff that has a negative effect on us. When I was in 11th grade, which was before any of you – and perhaps even some of your parents - were born, my rebbi related to us the following fact of life that he heard back then from his son’s Rosh Yeshiva:

Your children will be exposed to more Tumah going to the corner grocery to buy a drink than your grandparents were all their lives in Europe. It is not possible anymore to rely only on sheltering our children. We must also teach them to resist the Tumah.

And this was back then. There is a certain Adam Gadol who told someone I know that when he was a boy he was a fan of the Yankees, and even when he grew up and became a big Rosh yeshiva, he found it very hard to eradicate the feeling of happiness he had when he heard that the Yankees won the world series. (But eventually he succeeded.)

So listen: Yes, you should stay away from Pritzus and, as far away as we are supposed to stay away from Pritzus, we need to stay even further than that away from bad Hashkafos. But we also need to realize that because of the world we live in, never mind because we are flesh and blood human beings, we will not always succeed. We need to accept that, and when we do absorb something detrimental to our spiritual well-being, we need to get back up on our feet and keep going. It is not spiritually healthy to dwell on our Aveiros, especially Aveiros that involve Pritzus or exposure thereto. Every now and then we have appointed times for Teshuva when we should think about our regrets, but we should not obsess about it, and we should not always keep it in the forefront of our minds.

Next, about the Ruchniyus part of a Zivug. Don't even think about it. Yes, the purpose of a marriage is to build a Mishkan, and yes, a marriage is designed to work on yourself, and yes and yes and yes, that is all true.

But if you think that you are anything close to being close to maybe being somewhere in the same universe as the Madreigah you are describing when you say "If your frum, don't people forget these type of things over time because you think of ruchniyous? sorry if i sound extremely naive, im only 17," then you are sorely mistaken. Don't even think of having a marriage like that. You won't be able to, you're not supposed to, and if you try, you'll just wreak havoc in your home. That's not the way Hashem made human beings. The Noam Elimelech writes (Vayishlach) that the reason there is no Bracha on marital relations is because אי אפשר להיות בלא תערובות היצר הרע בתוכו לכך אין מברכין עליה. It's supposed to be that way. You should not even think of anything different.

That having been said, you have time to worry about all this. None of it is relevant to you yet so you don't have to be bothered with it. But there's no reason to postpone correcting this misimpression.

#9 invisible



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Posted 13 June 2013 - 03:07 PM

Where can i find that teshuvah from R' Moshe? about platonic relationships being forbidden min hatorah

#10 taon



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Posted 16 June 2013 - 06:22 PM

Igros Moshe Even Haezer chelek daled siman 60 (the 7th volume)