What could I do to avoid seeing all the pritzus, all the immorality, that is so prevalent on the streets in the summer months?
First of all, most important, since you have to pass through the streets, you have to train yourself to keep your eyes on the sidewalk. It’s not too difficult and it’s very important. Because it’s only when a man’s eyes wander, then he becomes vulnerable to the environment. Get into the habit of just looking at the sidewalk. Of course, when you have to cross the street, look both ways carefully, go across the street, and then look back at the sidewalk again. You can train your eyes. It takes some effort, though.
Hashem declared ולא תתורו אחרי עיניכם – Don’t go spying after your eyes. If your eyes are wandering, then naturally they will find things. And on the streets, it will not always be good things.
In addition to this, the Rambam says that into a mind full of Torah, a mind that is filled with Torah thoughts and Torah ideals, foolishness won’t be able to enter. Of course, it’s not so easy to do, but every person must develop a habit of thinking in ruchniyus, thinking in avodas Hashem. When you’re walking in the street why shouldn’t you be thinking about avodas Hashem? And these thoughts will drive foolish ideas out of your head. It’s only when the mind is a vacuum, that’s when narishkeit, foolish things, come into the head.
When you walk in the street, why can’t you think about niflaos ha’Borei, the wonders of Hashem’s creations?! Why can’t you sing to Hashem in the streets?! Walk and sing to Hashem, “Boruch Hashem, I’m well. I’m not on two crutches. I’m not in a wheelchair. I don’t even need a cane! Boruch Hashem, המכין מצעדי גבר. I can walk. Boruch Hashem, I have my own two kidneys and I am producing urine every day properly. I don’t need any artificial kidneys.”
Anybody who has a healthy heart, should thank Hakodosh Boruch Hu that he didn’t need any bypass surgery, that his heart is beating every day normally, functioning perfectly. There’s so much to sing to Hakodosh Boruch Hu about. If you have Torah, think about Torah.
Get into the habit, train yourself, that your mind should be full of singing to Hakodosh Boruch Hu and thinking about the niflaos ha’Borei and thinking in divrei Torah too. Repeat your Gemara lesson while you’re walking in the street.
In general, you must know, there are so many things for people to think about – good things. It’s only because the mind is empty and the eyes are wandering, that you have a problem. Naturally if your head is empty so your wandering eyes will bring all kinds of garbage into your head.
TAPE # 604 (July 1986)