Question:

dear rabbi,

mixed are my Feelings to the word phantasy (nowadays more ~negative).
I’ve had lucid dreams and am quite a rational person.

Can you explain, what is (~the chareidi)T view of phantasy [regarding the mind]?

Shabbat shalom,
[see below]

Answer:

My assumption is that you are referring to fantasies regarding intimacy. Yes, you are a rational person, but you are also a person with hormones, and male hormones do this to a person.  Nevertheless we are commanded not to engage in improper, immoral thoughts. Even worse is that these thoughts can cause a man to lose seed, which is considered a big sin, and to do immoral things. The question though is how do we handle this yetzer hora? The Rambam gives us advice, and he says that when a person engages his mind in torah study, it helps that his mind should not get occupied with immoral thoughts and fantasies.  This is not a fool proof remedy because we are not thinking in torah 24/7, however it surely helps while the person’s mind is actually engaged in the torah study, and it also has an effect when the person is not studying.

Another point, it is important that when one sees that his mind is starting to have fantasies, not to fight it and actively push the thoughts out of his mind. It doesn’t work. I once heard a nice example of this from a rebbi of mine, if I would tell you ten times, not to think about a purple elephant, again don’t think about a purple elephant. What will you be thinking about at the time… of course a purple elephant! Therefore don’t fight it frontally, rather steer your mind and think about other things, and before you know it, you will notice that the thoughts have disappeared. This is because the human mind cannot think about two things at the same time, therefore if you will think about something else, your mind will automatically separate itself from thinking about what you don’t want it to think about.

A third idea is to pray that H-shem should help us be able to control our mind, and when we pray to Him especially for help  doing mitzvos, He will surely help us.

Best Wishes

Tags: immodesty

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