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Da Et Atzmcha (4) Dispelling Sadness, Finding Love

With Hashem's help, we will briefly recap what was said up to this point and continue from there.

First, we explained that the true essence of a person is his soul, and that the body is nothing more than the clothing of the soul. To perfect the self, one must go through the steps of hachna'ah (subjugation), havdalah (separation), and hamtakah (sweetening). Initially, one must engage in hachan'ah and havdalah, and hachna'ah itself is achieved through havdalah.

We discussed that a person has three modes of expression: thoughts, feelings, and actions. At first, we primarily focused on actions. Some events occur in one's environment, but are not actually because of the person, and one must not mistakenly feel guilty because of these events. Other events are indeed a result of one's deeds, but yet, one need not associate all elements of such events with his input. And even when a negative result does clearly come from one's actions, and he did perform an act that can be considered evil, one must understand that the evil act did not stem from the true "I," but merely from the garment that covered it. One must think, "I am pure, clean, and holy, but my garment' is the source of these evil effects." The evil effect came to be through the external component, the "garment" of the person. (One is of course responsible for these actions, and one must correct the harm as well as prevent a reoccurrence, but the point here is that nothing should damage the individual's assessment of his own inherent good.)

After that, we spoke of the world of human emotions. We distinguished between the feelings one holds toward others and those which one holds toward himself. In order to deal with the negative feelings that exist toward others, one must build an inner world known as "the alone." When in that state of "alone," one becomes detached from the emotional connection to others and has a place to which to escape in any situation when contact with the outside environment threatens to be negative. There are many examples of this: envy, anger, and all the various forms of negative feelings toward others. In all such cases, one must detach from the contact, and return to the perspective of "alone," and in this way, quiet the soul. This is a brief summary of what has been said until this point.

We will continue to focus on the world of human emotions, but primarily with regard to a person's relationship to himself. This relationship, too, can be divided into two categories: how does one assess himself, and how does he believe that others assess him? These both relate only to the individual, but one category concerns his own valuation, and the other concerns the way one imagines that others see him. Understandably, if one feels that others are not treating him with due respect, he must disconnect from this attachment, live in the state of "alone," and ignore what he feels people are thinking about him. But now, we will focus on how a person assesses himself. (Regarding one's thoughts about the opinions of others, it is true that people often want others to like and honor them, and they cannot completely ignore these desires because they are basic needs. We will discuss this later.)

We will return to the way one perceives himself. Some people view themselves as successful and capable. Others see themselves as failures, and many people are upset with themselves; nowadays, this is a called "a low self-esteem." Obviously, there are many different causes for this condition, depending on each person's life experiences. Without getting into all the details of how the person attained this low self-esteem, once that became the situation and that became his self-concept, we need to discuss how he can cope with it.

There are "outside" theories that come to us from the schools of psychology. Some practitioners try to explain to the individual suffering from a low self-esteem what the reality is. They show him how many good things he has done and how good his character is, and in this way, stress the positive side. Alternatively, some will show the person that the low self-esteem is based on an illusion. But although this is sometimes correct, it is not always an illusion. There are people who, to say the least, are not very successful, and in fact, are far from being so.

We are coming here to present a perspective based on the awareness of the soul. The psychological theory we referred to above is based on the assessment that a person is a body, albeit with intelligence and emotions. This is what they work with. Hence, this is a theory appropriate for goyim (Gentiles), not for Jews. Unlike a goy, the Jew has a Divine soul that can be accessed. The goy has a spiritual energy that sustains him, but he cannot access the depth of the holiness of his soul. This is the distinction between Yisrael and all the other nations. A member of Klal Yisrael can access his Divine soul, and we must work with it. But if one reads a book of psychology written by a goy - or by a Jew who thinks like a goy - and acts based on its advice, he cannot honestly say in the morning the blessing thanking Hashem because "He did not make me a goy." After all, he lives as a goy. When he has a problem, he turns to a Gentile psychologist, and thus, he lives with a non-Jewish perspective. People don't understand why there is a problem with going to psychologists. The problem is that secular psychology does not draw its knowledge from the Torah, which deals with the soul.

Torah psychology is based on the knowledge of the holy neshamah (soul) that is hewn from under Hashem's "Throne of Glory." With the Divine power of the soul, a person can cope with all of his personal problems. Therefore, we will deal with this issue based on the approach we have been presenting from the beginning of this series - man has a body and soul, and the body is only a garment over the soul, and through the light of the soul, one can fix the problems of the garment. This does not happen through external persuasion from the intellect, or from attitudes picked up from one's friends, but from one's own inner light. When the neshamah truly gives off its light, it rectifies the garment and all of its faults.

First of all, then, let us understand the basic principle. When a person has a low self-esteem, the solution cannot come from within that whole way of thinking which comes from the bodily forces. The solution is to expose the light of the soul, and then, one will definitely enjoy a positive self-concept, because the truth is as we say, "My G-d, the soul You have placed in me is pure." It is holy, it is positive, it is only good, and when a person identifies with this Divine soul within, he will attain a positive self-esteem.

As long as one identifies with the forces of the body and yet tries to guide himself away from a negative self-esteem to a positive self-esteem, he is only treading in the mud. He is still stuck in an improper perspective, and with the little and partial good present in the bodily forces, he is trying to cope with the very powerful force of evil. As the gemara in Kiddushin says, "Each day, a person's yetzer hara (evil inclination) comes to attack him, and if not that Hashem helps, he would not be victorious against it." The depth of this is that evil has more strength than good. But where does this apply? Only when one is still working within the forces of the body. Hence, if a person sees himself as a body, and tries to wage a war of good against evil, the force of evil, not the force of good, is the one that will definitely be victorious.

Even if good seems to win, the positive self-esteem generated must have come from inner conceit, not from the pure and holy force of true goodness. That is to say, even if one succeeds against evil, banishes his low self-esteem, and attains a positive self-esteem (and the psychologists can present testimonials attesting to their success), this is not an exchange of evil for good, but of evil for evil. There was initially a negative self-concept, and one exchanged it for ga'avah (conceit), which is a kelipah (negative force). It is a fault and is one of the four primary elements of evil. A person's avodah, when carried out with inwardness and truth, is to exchange evil for good by removing the low self-esteem and discovering the goodness contained in the soul.

The goodness of the soul has nothing to do with conceit. We say, "You have chosen us from among the nations." Hashem has given us a holy soul, and it is only good. There is no room for conceit about this. It is purely a gift. "Hashem does not desire you because you are greater than the nations, for you are the smallest." Chazal explain this phrase to mean that we are unique because we humble ourselves (knowing that all we have is a gift). The good in a person is a gift from Above; there is no place for conceit. It is just a matter of recognizing the truth: that I am good, because that is how Hashem created me.

We must understand, then, that the avodah to rectify all the elements of evil can only come from an appreciation of the inner holy soul placed in us by Hashem. Without this, even if one imagines that he is exchanging evil for good, such "good" is an illusion. It may seem good, but the depth of the matter is that he is exchanging evil for evil. We will, with Hashem's help, expand upon these ideas.

In the account of creation, on each day except for the second, Hashem testified "that it was good." After He completed creating the world, He testified that all of His creation was "very good." If so, Hashem created a world to which He Himself testified. Nothing is more reliable than His own testimony, and He testified that it was a good creation. Where is the source of evil? If the world, from its inception, was good, where was the root of evil?

Certainly, there are deep concepts here. We will just try to express a part of all there is to say about evil. It says in Nefesh HaChaim (by R' Chaim of Volozhin, the Gr"a's student) that before Adam's sin, evil existed in the world, but only outside man; after the sin, the force of evil entered inside him. To explain this in simple and practical terms, evil initially was not considered part of the self. An external element cannot be part of one's self. The chair, for example, which is outside a person, is not his self. When Adam sinned, evil entered him, and this was not only a change of location, through which the yetzer hara moved from being at a certain distance away from the person to becoming closer (like when one comes closer to the fire and is in more in danger than before). Rather, the depth of the matter is that initially, evil was foreign, like something which is outside a person. After the sin, one identifies himself as being partially evil. The depth of the sin was that man identified evil as part of himself. (Before the sin, the yetzer hara was not truly considered evil, because as an external force, it served a positive function. Man corrupted Hashem's perfect world by internalizing this force, and then, that force became truly evil.)

Every sin can be corrected by repentance, as it says, "And you shall return to Hashem, your G-d." What kind of repentance is needed for this root of all sins? One must return to the original perspective that preceded the sin. That original perspective was that evil is not part of the self. If so, who is the "I"? The "I" is only good. Now, it seems that our sins and faults nowadays have no connection with the sin of Adam. He committed one sin; we, regrettably, commit many other sins. But you must know that in a deeper sense, there is one root for all sins. If a person would have pure and definite faith that his essence is only good, he would never sin. One who knows he is good cannot lower himself to evil. Would any of us go to a garbage can in the street and rummage around while everyone is watching? We would be ashamed, because it is beneath our dignity. If a person would have a true recognition of who he really is - that he is really only good - he wouldn't even think of approaching evil, because that association with evil would contradict his self-concept of being good. Why, then, do people approach evil and commit sins? Because they don't see themselves as good.

From where does this negative self-concept come? One might call it an "inferiority complex," or use some other technical term. But that is not the point. A person who has never sinned has no feelings of inferiority or low self-esteem. Why does one attain a low self-esteem? Because the moment he sins, he identifies the evil as part of his "I." And if the "I" contains evil, that evil can spread to the point of generating a low self-esteem. If one would be clean and pure, and believe that he is good and without sin, he would never have this negative feeling toward himself. When one does have this negative self-concept and low self-esteem, the solution is to go the root, and build there a positive self-esteem.

When we understand that low self-esteem comes from the perspective that evil is part of a person, and then the evil spreads to the point that the person sees himself as mostly or nearly totally negative, the solution is to rediscover who the "I" is. Who is the "I"? The "Baker" who created us testifies about his "dough." "What am I? I am only very good.'" When it is clear to a person that his essence is a soul, and the body is only a garment, does he see the "I," the soul, as good or bad? It is only very good. How do we dispel from the person a negative self-concept? The understanding that the body is only a garment, and the "I" is the soul, of which Hashem testifies that it is very good, even if he fails regularly, his inner foundation, the real "I," remains good.

Thus, the way to improve another person's feelings about himself is not by explaining to his friends that they should give him encouragement through many daily compliments, or if he is a child still at home, to teach the parents how to compliment their child by focusing on some little success of his and exploiting it to show him how capable he is. Rather, we must train him with the truth.

But before we train him, let us train ourselves. What is really our nature? It is good! The proper method is not to brainwash a person to believe that other people believe that he is good, so that he will then see himself according to the way he thinks people see him and then feel good. This is an approach of goyim, which builds the person from the outside, not from within. That approach is like the following scenario: A person has in his possession a diamond worth 200,000 dollars. But diamonds need polishing. He goes to an expert, who tells him it is really special, and just needs a little polishing. Then, buyers will be eager to purchase it. He says, "Why should I bother polishing it? I'll just cover it, and sell it with its covering."

What is happening here? He is taking the whole diamond and hiding it. If it's covered, people won't see the diamond at all. They'll only see the covering. A person's nature is really very good, but he has a garment that has evil. He just needs the evil to be purified and removed, through hachna'ah (subjugation) and havdalah (separation). Yet to build a positive perspective, we instead provide him with encouragement from friends, or a positive self-esteem from his parents. We've taken a person with some negative elements and put a wrapper over him, and now we have a box of chocolates. We could have told him who he really is, without resorting to any false methods of persuasion. It would be a truth he could really accept. It is the best testimony and the best proof, because it is none other than the truth coming to light.

If a person has a simple basis of emunah in the Creator, and believes that the Torah is true, he must believe that he (and all of mankind) is very good. A person must train himself to think in this way. For example, one may be upset with himself and possess a certain negative self-concept of any kind: he failed in a certain area, or he has social and financial problems. It doesn't matter how this happened, but these things formed in him a negative self-concept, whether it is partial, or major, or, chas veshalom, total. What is the solution? He must consider the truth as it is. "Was I essentially created good, or bad? I am good. What is the bad? It is a garment on me. Can that uproot the very good' from the I'? Certainly not! The very essence of the I' is positive." He has some faults, and does not deny them. If he would ignore or be unaware of his faults (due to some delusion), that itself would be yet another fault, not a virtue. He knows exactly what his virtues and faults are, but he sees himself as very good. No fault in the world can uproot the truth of "My G-d, the soul You placed in me is pure."

It is not enough to know this; one must contemplate it. If he has a negative self-concept or inner anger, he must set aside time each day, each person according to his ability, and begin to contemplate: "Who am I really. What is the nature of the evil within me, and does it uproot the basic perspective that I am very good?" First of all, one must believe the truth, and then, he must contemplate it again and again, with quiet and calm, and fix in his mind that this is the truth, and that no evil in the world can steal from him his inner goodness. The power of good within him will then become exposed. Even the worst person in the world can engrave in his mind, contemplate, and repeat to himself that even though he discovers in his character terrible evil, he is inwardly good. Then, the power of good within will emerge and subjugate the power of evil.

Why is this? As we said, good comes from the soul. Evil comes from the body. Which power is greater? The soul, or the body? Certainly, the soul, which is from the higher realms, is stronger than the body. But one may ask, "Don't we see daily and hourly that the body vanquishes the soul?" The truth is that the body never vanquishes the soul! The soul is simply not in the person. A person pushes his soul away. If a person does not identify himself as a soul with a garment (the body), his identity includes the body, and the light of the soul is extinguished.

This is like a war between two nations. At night, one side goes to sleep. The enemy comes, attacks the camp, and conquers everything. How could it be any other way? Had they been awake and tried to fight, since they have power, they could have been victorious. But if one side is sleeping and the other side is alert and courageous, that side will win. If a person assures that his soul is alert, although he has a body and there is a war between them, the soul will certainly win, because it is a spiritual power, which is much stronger than the forces of the body. Why does the body win? Because one is in a state of "I am asleep." His true "I" is sleeping - his neshamah is dozing - and the body doesn't even need to fight. When one side is sleeping, it can be immediately conquered.

Our avodah to build the power of good in us and to remove the power of evil - particularly the low self-esteem - requires that a person wake himself up. "Awaken, sleepers, from your sleep; rise, you in a deep sleep, from your slumber." Why? In order for a person to remove his negative qualities, he must use his Divine power, the soul present inside. To use it, he must awaken it. How can he awaken it? The basic answer, certainly, is that he must observe Torah and mitzvos. But specifically, one must believe in the soul's existence, contemplating that "I am a neshamah!" One must contemplate that the "I" is very good. If a person doesn't awaken his soul, he will be in a world that is primarily evil, and the war is lost from the start. We must understand, then, that a person's avodah to wage war against his low self-concept, and the anger against himself, and other problems such as depression, can only succeed through identification with the real "I," the soul.

Here is a simple example: Everyone is familiar with sadness, from their own personal life. What does a person do when sad? One might go a restaurant. Another will look for something to rejuvenate himself a little. He might listen to cheerful songs and go to places that can weaken his degree of sadness. Where does this mentality come from? "I am sad; I need to deal with it. It's unpleasant to remain with this sadness." How does one weaken sadness? There is no particular formula for escaping sadness, so one must try on his own to get out of it. Sometimes, one will reflect: "Why am I sad? Because today I lost money, or I was fired, or I heard news that was not especially gladdening." Understandably, he attributes the sadness to that. Seemingly, he's correct. Before he lost his job, he was happy. He opened the mail and saw a letter that he has been fired, and he became sad. It seems to be a clear demonstration of the reason for his sadness. Yet this is a very partial perspective.

What is this like? A person arrives at a busy street, and suddenly, there is a traffic jam. He honks and honks. "Why aren't they moving?" Someone gently approaches him and says, "You think that all these hundreds of cars in front of you have fools who suddenly decided to stop? It seems that there is a logical reason, which you can't see from your vantage point. There must be an obstacle further on that explains why they aren't moving. There is no reason to honk. If hundreds are standing, there must be a reason. It is not seen from here, but when the traffic lightens, you'll come to see it. Perhaps there is an accident, a suspicious object. I don't know, but there is a reason." A person tends to look at his life with the scope of a millimeter. He doesn't see past the immediate millimeter. He received a letter that he has been fired from his job. He's certainly sad because of the letter. But let us try to look more deeply. True, it seems he's sad because of the letter. But from where is the power of sadness in the first place? He knows that other things saddened him before this day, and that there are many other sad people. Where does it all come from?

Is the soul also sad? It says in the pasuk, "Strength and joy are in His place." When a person is in the proper state, there is no reason to be sad. The sadness comes from an ignorance of the truth of who the man is. If one really lives with the neshamah, he will never be sad. When is there true sadness? When a person dies, and the soul leaves, there is only a body, and the sadness is absolute. There's no law requiring sadness, there are laws of mourning, but the person is sad nonetheless. It is the saddest day when one's relative has just passed away. Sadness applies when there is no soul. What is death? There was a body and soul; the soul departed, and only the body remains. So when is the most intense period of sadness? When there is a body without a soul.

When we think of this, we should understand that if there is more soul and less body, there is less sadness. But if there is less soul and more body, there is more sadness. If so, when a person is sad, though he seems justified, he shouldn't just think of the current event, but of the source of the sadness. As known, sadness comes from the element of earth, the element of physicality. If one sees himself as soul, not body, he cannot be sad. But since we see ourselves also as body, sadness fills the world too much. We can elaborate and consider how all the negative traits in the personality come from the body and how their rectification comes from the soul that lights up the body. We cannot discuss all the details, because they are too numerous, but we must remember the principle that all the negative feelings of a person about himself are only from an identification of the self with the material, the body.

If one sees the true "I," he will expose only the good, and expand its light, and remove and humble the power of evil within. The power of good is the one true power with which one can cope with all the powers of evil. The evil cannot be conquered except with the power of the soul. If someone comes, or there is a "way," or a theory, suggesting treatment using the parts of evil without using the inner true good in the soul, it is completely erroneous. There is no way to deal with evil except by revealing the good within man.

We have spoken about one's personal low self-esteem and the negative feelings toward the self. There is another aspect in the soul called love (ahavah). The sefarim hakedoshim say that love is one's very existence. That is to say, one could say superficially that there is a world, and there is energy, and part of its energy is the power of love. When one feels loved, he gains vitality from it. But the Torah teaches us that the world is built on kindness, and that kindness is expressed through giving, which is an act of love. If so, the very essence of the world is love.

The world depends on connection. Even a person's body is a connection of arms, legs, and inner and outer organs. If there would be no power of love in the person himself, he could not be one unit. Seemingly, what love is there in the fact that the body is held together? If a person, G-d forbid, breaks a leg, he has surgery, and it is held in place by screws. What love is there in the screws? But you must know that ahavah has the numerical value of echad (one). It is the power of unity. The garment is called "love," but its inner force is oneness. How is unity expressed? Through love.

When a person is in the world and does not feel loved, he lacks his very life. If a person would be in an emotional state where he is absolutely certain that no one loves him at all, he would immediately die. But there is no such person. Every person feels that at least in some way, there is someone who loves him. Even if he is truly pathetic, the natural way is that other people have pity on him and show some love for him. But if a person would live with a feeling that no one in the world likes him, he could not last a second. One's very vitality comes from the love he receives. Thus, when one does not receive love, either from a spouse or from close friends, he is very hurt. He lacks his very vitality.

We will try, then, to understand how one should act if he does not receive enough love (seemingly, if he receives it, all is well). If one feels that he is hardly getting any love, or he is not getting enough, we cannot advise that he should just live with the feeling of "alone." If he lives with the "alone," he cannot find love there. When it is a matter of negative feelings from others, we can suggest that he should disconnect, think of himself - at least for the time being - as alone, and disconnect. "No one is angry at you, you cannot be angry at anyone, no one is jealous of you, and vise versa, because you are separate." But when a person lacks love, if he disconnects and lives alone, he only irritates the problem.

What is the advice for coping when love is lacking? We are in a world where, in fact, there is not much love. The love existing nowadays, in truth, is like when one says that he loves fish. If he loves fish, why does he eat them? He should let them live! Rather, he loves himself. This is simple and well-known. When one marries, if his real interest were to give to another, he would seek someone crippled and blind and marry her, in order to help her. Why does one marry someone who appeals to him? He wants to receive, but he is willing to give in order to receive. There is a "theory" which says, "Give a lot, receive a lot." He gives to receive, so he doesn't really give to anyone. This is called "a successful store." In a marriage, if each is giving to receive, no one is giving; each is living in the house for himself/herself. This is a sure prescription for failure.

There is hardly any true love in the world. True love exists only among people who have removed the power of evil, the power of the body, and live with the holy neshamah. The neshamah has no stinginess and no envy, and it is truly prepared to give to others. But since we are in a world where hardly anyone consciously identifies with the neshamah, hardly anyone gives to others with true love. This lack is felt daily in people's souls. When a person feels truly loved, he is happy. The sadness in the world exists because people don't feel much love. Sometimes, people have illusions of being loved, but it generally dissipates quickly.

What is the solution to this negative feeling? To suggest that we should find true people and befriend them is one possibility, but we must also be true. If we care only about ourselves, the people of truth will not have a very easy time being in our company. In order to live with people who bestow true love, one must himself be a true and calm person, so they can relate to him. The problem is very clear. It exists and is well-known.

What is the solution? The answer lies deep in a person's soul. The soul is called the "daughter of the Heavens." It is from Above; it is not from the earth. The body comes from matter, from the element of earth. The soul from above is called the "daughter of the Heavens." The pasuk says of Hashem, "He Who sits in the Heavens." Here, we live in a world with a limited revelation of the Creator. In the higher worlds, there is a clearer revelation of the Creator and it is more palpable. If one wants to live in a world of love, if he is satisfied with a partial love (and even that is illusory), let him continue. But if a person wants real love, both in quality and in the quantity of its time, he cannot get it from people. A person cannot be eternally attached to another person. We are creations that take leave of each other. Even a married couple generally does not die at the same time, and if they do, it is because of some tragedy. People part from each other, and even if in this world, they were together until death, who says that they will be together over there? And even here, are they always together? There is no such thing. So if a person wants inner love, he must receive it not through the garment, the body, but from his true self, the soul.

If one seeks love through the body, which is the terrible mistake of our generation, he will not find it. The body is mostly ra (evil), and this is like the word ra'ua, which implies a separation. There is no real connection among bodies. It is temporary, illusory, and nothing more. Where can there really be contact? The real contact is only in the soul of a person. It is the real "I," and it is clean and pure. It can both bestow and receive pure love. As long as one lives with the identity of the body, the material, his emotional world is seriously lacking. He lacks the inner feelings of love. If he will disconnect from others so as not to be pained by negative feelings, he only has saved himself from troubles, but he has no life.

One needs a source of vitality, inner love, which begins in the soul. This is a spiritual contact. It can only happen if one meets another person who also sees himself as a soul with a garment, and makes a deep spiritual connection with that person. This is a love "not dependent on anything," because it needs no physical support. But a deeper way to love is to join with the Creator, where there is eternal love. This love has no pause. One who lives with the existence of Hashem in his heart feels this love toward Him, and as a reflection mirrors what it receives, so does Hashem reciprocate with His love. Such a person is never alone, because he is always loved.

As long as one lives in the material world, he is lacking in his emotional world. Even if he disconnects from negativity, he lacks the basic positive feelings. Only when he sees himself as a soul, and connects with another soul, or to Hashem, can he can start noticing true and inner love. As long as one does not have this love, his emotional world is a void. What is this like? It is like a house that is empty for two years, and gets spider webs and all kinds of uninvited "guests" that come to visit. If the heart is not full with true love, what will visit there?

One cannot just remove the negative feelings without a positive substitute - the world of love, the basis of positive feelings. All we said about how to remove the evil of negative feelings is only advised when a person correspondingly builds a world of positive feelings, the world of love. But when one only tries to remove the negative, and does not bring forth positive love, he is like a person trying to remove darkness by beating it with sticks instead of making light.

We must understand that to rectify the world of feelings that we are now dealing with - removing the evil and revealing the good - we must identify ourselves as Divine souls that can remove the evil elements of our emotions and bring forth the positive feelings: the true world of love.

Basic points that emerged from the question and answer period:

  • 1) Even if one feels he is succeeding in his spiritual growth, it is important to keep returning to the fundamental principles. Without returning to fundamental truths, one is liable to veer away from the proper path without even realizing. This is like a line that has slightly shifted from its proper location. After a while, it can become quite far from where it was meant to be.
  • 2) Anytime there is advice for spiritual growth, it is important to pray to Hashem for success. One cannot succeed in any endeavor without Hashem's help.

3) One who feels real love feels no lack, and has a desire to give to others.

  • 4) One cannot immediately feel this intense level of love. He must work first of the levels discussed earlier and progress gradually.
  • 5) Without really instilling the knowledge that one is a soul, it will be very difficult to succeed at separating the improper thoughts and feelings.

(Translator's note: Certain clarifications in this translation are based on a recent communication with the rav.)

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