Thursday, November 27, 2008
Mormons - Lenient on Masturbation!
Those Mormons, so meikel regarding the scourge of masturbation! Let's look at a few of the points found in their guide to self-control taken from this 1970 missive and see if we can help them out by the judicious application of halachic principles.
Never touch the intimate parts of your body except during normal toilet processes.
Authentic Orthodox Jewish Comment (AOJC): Better advice is found in the Talmud, Niddah 13a (which is also the best place to start to put the fear of God into you regarding the sin of wasting seed): R. Eliezer said, Whoever holds his membrum when he makes water is as though he had brought a flood on the world.
Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this good company.
AOJC: They forgot about being along during the night, which is when the real danger starts. The Talmud (Shabbat 151a) says that one should not sleep alone at night lest one be seized by that succubus, Lilith. (She's the one responsible for wet dreams and all of those little demon babies that are created as a result...)
If you are associated with other persons having this same problem, you must break off their friendship. Never associate with other people having the same weakness.
AOJC: All around good advice, as it says in Pirke Avot 1:7: Nittai the Arbelite said: Distance yourself from a bad neighbor; do not associate with a wicked person; and do not despair of retribution.
When you bathe, do not admire yourself in a mirror. Never stay in the bath more than five or six minutes -- just long enough to bathe and dry and dress AND THEN GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM into a room where you will have some member of your family present.
AOJC: The Shulchan Aruch (YD 156:2) rules that a man may not look in a mirror due to "lo yilbash gever" (prohibition to wear a woman's garments). The Vilna Gaon agrees. It is permitted to look into a mirror only for medical reasons or if one cuts his own hair, or if a non-Jew cuts his hair in private.
When in bed, if that is where you have your problem for the most part, dress yourself for the night so securely that you cannot easily touch your vital parts, and so that it would be difficult and time consuming for you to remove those clothes. By the time you started to remove protective clothing you would have sufficiently controlled your thinking that the temptation would leave you.
AOJC: And also don't forget that it is a severe transgression to lie on one's back or on one's stomach, rather than on one's side. The fear is wasteful emission of seed. (Mishnah Berurah 239:6, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 71:5, T. Bavli Berachot 13b).
Never read pornographic material. Never read about your problem. Keep it out of mind. Remember -- "First a thought, then an act."
AOJC: Forget porn, the Gemara (Avodah Zarah 20b) even prohibits watching animals mate lest it arouse one to inappropriate thoughts.
A number of additional suggestions are quoted in the document, including vigorous daily exercise, wearing pajamas that are difficult to open, holding the Book of Mormon in bed, tying a hand to the bed frame, etc. But we have only to turn to that great - though severely flawed - Gaon of Mussar, the Seinfelder Rav, for the best advice of all: be the master of your own domain!