SINFUL SIGHTS: DT for Parshas NITZAVIM {By: Eliezer Guterman}

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{By: Eliezer} Can One Still See and Be Unaffected?
Based on the Teachings of: R’ Shalom Rosner
 
Perek 29, Pasukim 16-17
וַתִּרְאוּ֙ אֶת־שִׁקּ֣וּצֵיהֶ֔ם וְאֵ֖ת גִּלֻּֽלֵיהֶ֑ם עֵ֣ץ וָאֶ֔בֶן כֶּ֥סֶף וְזָהָ֖ב אֲשֶׁ֥ר עִמָּהֶֽם. פֶּן־יֵ֣שׁ בָּ֠כֶ֠ם אִ֣ישׁ אֽוֹ־אִשָּׁ֞ה א֧וֹ מִשְׁפָּחָ֣ה אוֹ־שֵׁ֗בֶט אֲשֶׁר֩ לְבָב֨וֹ פֹנֶ֤ה הַיּוֹם֙ מֵעִם֙ ה’ אֱלֹקינוּ לָלֶ֣כֶת לַֽעֲבֹ֔ד אֶת־אֱלֹהי הַגּוֹיִ֣ם הָהֵ֑ם 
“And you saw their abominations and their repugnant idols [of] wood and stone, silver and gold which were with them. Perhaps there is among you a man, woman, family, or tribe, whose heart strays this day from the L-rd, our G-d, to go and worship the deities of those nations.
 
If these are the same group of Jews that were living off of G-d’s constant miracles in the desert (who also heard the stories of leaving Egypt), why would Moshe ever suspect that they would be prone to idol worship?!
 
R’  Schlesinger quoting the “Maggid of Yerushalayim” R’ Shalom Schwadron
This worry is from the power of SIGHT which will soon come into play. Even though people may hear about something, the most powerful impact is from vision. This is why people always say, “Seeing is Believing.” 
Moshe is warning them and putting them on notice for what they are about to witness. They might have thought that if they see some idols or inappropriateness, it would be no big deal. But Moshe comes to warn his people. Even a generation who was so enveloped in spirituality (being surrounded by the clouds of glory, eating the manna, and drinking from Miriam’s well), they have to be very nervous and cautious about what they will see.
 
Moshe not only describes various items, but he is specifically delineating a degenerative process within the exact words of the Pasuk. Originally, when people notice something appalling they will be shocked and sickened by how disgusting they are and view them as “abominations and repugnant” to stay away and steer clear from. But as the bombardment continues, slowly but surely the items become more neutralized as mere “wood and stone.” At last, when over-exposure has hit its climax, these originally sinful-looking items now become as appealing and attractive as “silver and gold.” 
 
If we are not overly careful about what we see and look at, this is the process that develops. All shock wears off over time and people get desensitized to dangers. People are always affected by their surroundings and should never put themselves into compromising situations where they see demoralizations constantly and a blasphemazation of G-d’s Book. The Yetzer Hara works extremely cunningly by probing and prodding little by little until it is almost unrecognizable as evil anymore.
 
This idea is mirrored in how cancerous of an infection the danger becomes in the second Pasuk 17: First it starts small in one individual “man” or “woman,” then it grows into a “family” and finally it has impacted an entire “tribe.” Slowly but surely, everything crumbles that is not taken care of with the highest defenses.
 
It is our duty to guard our gates and continually sharpen our senses. This is accomplished by learning Torah to make our minds aware of what we should be engaging in as well as carefully and cautiously not looking at or in the directions of probable dangers. Hashem not only gives us beautiful spiritual sights to bless, but also disgustingly immoral images to stay away from and get credit for choosing to avoid them.
 
Now, entering into the High Holy Days, we should all make extra efforts to commit to higher levels of observance as well as promising to better safeguard ourselves. We are Holy souls that have bodies and must never get physicalized by improper sensations. We must only open our eyes in safe surroundings and turn away quickly from that which is carcinogenic. 
 
May we all keep our eyes clear, and maintain Holy Vision, to SEE the coming of Moshiach and the Third Beis Hamikdash, speedily in our days. Amen.

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