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Shmiras Habris
This article was sent to us by: Michoel Noach Gutmacher


Spiritual yearning and sexual purity always go hand in hand.*

So many of us try to understand why we don’t feel Hashem , after all, we are learning so much more than other generations and we also do so many Mitzvos and we never had so many Yeshivot in the world’s history ?!

Our Chachamim teach us that working on Middos is what enables us to remove the Barriers or Klippos that disconnect us from Hashem. It is as if someone had a few sun glasses in front of his eyes, the more sun glasses he removes , the more he is able to see the light of the sun , and the more he can feel the heat of the light. By removing our evil Middos we become more sensitive to the spiritual world and the Love and Awe that our Soul feels for Hashem. Therefore we have to make sure that when we study Torah , that it should become integrated to the point that our character traits changes.

Chazal teaches us also that someone who is able to control his sexual temptations is able to control almost all other temptations. This shows us how this sin is one of the most important and difficult to overcome. By working on Shmiras Habris one becomes a Master in Middos and he will be able to control all other evil inclinations.

Of all what was said on the issue of Shmiras Habris, the most important concept that needs to be deeply understood is the fact that: Sexual purity is what enables us to actually become truly sensitive to Hashem , to His Torah and Mitzvos.

It appears to me, with the help of Hashem, that so many of us are looking for answers on how to deal with this issue. Parents feel they should not speak about it or don’t think that their child is in danger, Rabbis don’t want to make Shiurim on it to save the pure one’s from evil thoughts, and kids are ashamed to go speak about it, especially if they have already failed in this area.

Since the kids were taught that if you were Motze Zera Levatala there is no possible Teshuva, an unconscious sadness start to fill them until they feel horrible and abandoned, to the point where this sin becomes a routine.

Therefore my goal in writing this is to give answers on how to deal with it , and break the Taboo that exist. We have to be aware that today , even the greatest Talmidim from the greatest Yeshivot fall into the Trap of the Yetzer Hara, especially because of the internet. Today we need to prepare the kids before it’s too late , it’s a real war, he needs weapons.

Adults as much as children need to work on this issue with tremendous strength. I have therefore gathered here mostly sources from Chazal and a few tools that Rabbis or myself have found helpful. They will not all help you, it is up to you to find which tool is for your level. And you can also find some of your own.

As Rabbi J. Rietti mentioned to me , if you don’t start teaching a kid about how to deal with this issue before 9 years old , it is usually too late. I will also include some explanations of why that sin is so destructive; one of the best way to deal with Zera Levatala is to actually understand more about the subject. A list of books can be find at the end of this booklet.

We will have in this booklet three categories for the three actions required of us:

1) To Know: To know what’s the real problem going on when someone sins.
2) To Prevent: Tools to be able to come to control oneself.
3) To Fix: How those one purify himself from this sin and rectify the damage done.




1) It’s main consequence is that one loses his longing for His maker and has no desire to stop. Thus spilling seed is evil in God’s eyes because it damages the yearning for Divine closeness that the Holy One lovingly built into your soul, as a rope to get you out of the pit. (P13 from the book the light of Ephraim) . The only pillar of light to illuminate and warm our hearts is that of the Torah, in particular that of the inner dimension of the Torah (kabbalah). The inner teachings of the Torah reveal the Love and closeness binding the Creator and the community of Israel, His soul companion, and when you delve in this study, a fire of love for the Most High is ignited in your heart, to the point that nothing can deter you. (Adapted from Rabbi Luria’ into to his Bet Genazai Al HaTorah, from the book the Light of Ephraim p17).

2) “ I thought you said that there was no Teshuvah for this sin !?”
“You must never take the Zohar’s statement literally”. There are many explanations for this harsh statement ...the fact is that a man who has no way to experience the awe of divine greatness, nor an overwhelming thirst for His closeness (both diminished as a consequence of that sin), has very little motivation to repent. (from the book the Light of Ephraim p.62).

3) ...two consequences for desecrating the covenant. : The first is that man is prevented from experiencing the Awe of God’s greatness, as well as the longing for intimate communion. The second is that he draws down Holy souls from Heaven and becomes responsible for their miserable fate (p.65) ...

4) When Zera Levatalah is done, one brings down souls that don’t have any “body” to attach themselves to, and are therefore captive in the hands of evil forces. Those souls are like his own children. It is the duty of the father to rip apart their prison and take them out of the state of demonic being. The souls are then able to go back to Heaven and incarnate into human beings, as per the natural process of Creation. The perpetrators can achieve this either by their own effort while in this world, or through tremendous suffering in Gehinom after death ( p.72).

5) One should not feel depressed having images of temptations at Holy moments such as prayer, even if it happens on Yom Kippur, on the contrary, the fact that this is happening at such a holy time or place is a sign that the Yetzer Hara is being bothered and that he is trying to prevent you from succeeding, It’s a sign that you are growing, it is a very good sign. The Yetzer H. knows that if you stay in holiness at that moment you are going to destroy the evil that was previously created. Therefore when this happens , you should realize that this an opportunity of growth : remove that image even if it comes many times, this way you will elevate all the images that you had created in the past. And do it with joy, sadness is tool of the evil inclination. (Rav Ron Chaya)

6) And G-d said: It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper opposite him. (Gen. 2:18)

If man did not have this desire and did not have to control his physical urges, he could have been created like the angels or celestial beings, who live under the yoke of the Heavenly Kingdom. But the main delight is from those "who live in houses of clay." They were created with desires and with the Evil Urge, but they still fight against them and purify and sanctify their souls. It is thus written, "I will make him a helper opposite him." Man's helper will be that which is "opposite him" namely the power of desire for the opposite sex, which will tempt him but not overcome him. (by Rabbi Yisrael of Koznitz Adapted by Aryeh Kaplan from Avodat Yisrael, Bereishit (1b)).


1) One has to be constantly aware that the only way one can overcome anything in life is because Hashem granted him the power to do so. Therefore a man should constantly pray to the Most High to save him from those bitter sins.
(Yesod veShoresh haAvodah).

2) One usually come to such thought if he is bored or doesn't do any activity. Therefore if you are always busy in learning or working you will be protected. (Pirke Avos 2:2).

3) One should not feel bad if a immoral thought comes in his mind , if he start to feel guilty then there is room for sin , on the contrary he should strengthen himself and remove it from his mind , then you can be very happy because it is a great Tikkun to do so as explained by the Baal Shem Tov.

4) I have received from the mouth of the Tzaddikim that when G-d forbid a man feels he needs to look into forbidden place, or a sinful thought and the evil inclination burns within him (to make him transgress) , he should vow a sum for tzeddaka and he will be saved, and thereby will diminish the strength of the Yetzer Hara (Igra dePirka, Siman 104).

5) You can not release yourself from your baser urges unless you loath them as well.

Develop abhorrence toward your urges - they can destroy both your earthly and eternal worlds by clouding your thinking and your emotions.

By developing this hatred for your baser urges, it will be easier for you to subdue them. There will be times that the only way you will be able to control your urges will be with the ability to find them disgusting, like the urge for immoral acts that are so sensually tempting. (book :To heal the soul , essay 41, Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira (the Aish Kodesh).

6) When seeing things, conduct yourself as follows: If you see a beautiful women, think to yourself : "whence is her beauty? If she were dead she would no longer look this way; thus where does her beauty come from? Per force it must be said to come from the divine force diffused within her. It gives her the quality of beauty and redness. The root of beauty, is in the Divine force. Why then should I be drawn after a mere part! I am better off in attaching myself to the root and core of all worlds where all forms of beauty are to be found.
(Baal Shem Tov : Tzava'at Harivash .90)

7) Why did they call R' Yehudah Hanassi , Rabbeynu hakadosh ? because in all his days he never looked at the place of his Milah (Talmud Yerushalmi, Avodah Zarah 3:1). (Never put his hand below his belt. T.Babli)

8) There is no greater barrier to sexual arousal than closing one's eyes (Sefer Chasidim 9), King David sang : " Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity; and give me life in your way" (119:37).

9) He who wants to be saved from the sin of discharging his semen in vain should not contaminate the Covenant of his mouth and in particular will guard it from vain conversation and Lashon haRa, because the tongue and the membrum go in tandem and he who damages with the tongue will surely stumble with the membrum (the Chida, Tzipporen Shamir siman 7,101).

10) If a lascivious thought comes to one spontaneously, he should divert his attention to a subject of the Torah, which is "A lovely deer and a graceful doe". Lewd thoughts prevail only in a mind devoid of wisdom (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch).

11) One should not watch any creature copulate (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch).

12) At night one should sleep on one's side... At supper , one should neither eat nor drink excessively , nor eat any food that tends to heat the body such as fat meats, cheese, eggs, or garlic. Neither should one drink a beverage that tends to heat the body, for all these things cause the commission of this sin. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch).

13) One who desires to avoid this sin should guard his mouth against obscene talk, lies, tale bearing, slander, and mockery. He should likewise guard his ears against listening to such talks. One should also be careful to fulfill his vows, not worry too much, and guard himself against lewd thoughts. Before retiring, he should engage in the study of the Torah, or he should recite the first four chapters of Tehillim , and he should not sleep alone in a room.
(Kitzur Shulchan Aruch).

14) If a person has erotic thoughts and cannot banish them from his mind, he should go for a walk until the thoughts dissipate, or he should talk to people about other things , or he should press his toes onto the ground and place he full weight of his body on them without leaning against a wall (Talmud Shavuos 18a).
This will drive away all carnal fantasies. If he is sitting with company and cannot get up because this would cause embarrassment, he should simply press his toe onto the floor. (Rabbi Yehudah HaChasid, 400(175)).

15) Gemara Brachos 5a gives us three tools:

R' Levi Bar Chames said in the name of R'Shimon Ben Lakish :

... If he vanquish it ( the Yetzer Hara), fine.
         1) But if not , he should engage in Torah study ...
If he vanquish it fine.
         2) But if not , he should recite the Shema...
If he vanquish it fine.
         3) But if not , remind himself of the day of death ...

16) One way not to come to be Zera Levatalah is to tell yourself : I'll do it tomorrow, but not today. The next day you tell yourself the same thing , until your urge goes away...

17) Another way is to give yourself an occupation: as soon as you start to feel aroused, just do something you like, for example, if you love chocolate ice cream, then go buy one and eat it , then your urge will go away during that time.

18) Some people after sinning feel depressed and for a few days or weeks they know their davening and feelings won’t be as good, they will feel far from Hashem. For those people it is good to think about it , and realise that it is not worth for a few seconds of pleasure, to be pushed away from Hashem's light and feel depressed for so long.

19) Think that you are a Neshama not a Guf, don't let your Guf tell you what he wants, say: I'm a Holy Neshama and want to be close to Hashem. Speaking to your Yetzer Hara out loud is very important, it will help you externalize him and your desire.

20) Obviously Yiras Shomayim and Ahavas Hashem are the best tools, and one should work hard on achieving it. He should think that he is being watched by people, angels and Hashem.

21) One should push oneself to put himself in a situation where he won't be alone when his desire arises.

22) One of the greatest tool against any sin is happiness, as Chazal says: Atzvous (sadness) is the root of all sins. From sadness the Ruach Shtus is able to enter. (Divrey Binah 96, Biale Rebbe).

Depression and anxiety are the main cause of sexual immorality.The foundation of the covenant lies in joy, (Likutay Maharan169).

23) The Mitzvah of Tzitzit is a protection against the wandering of the eyes which arouses the sexual desire. Be very careful to fulfill this Mitzwah properly... when you wrap yourself in the Tzitzit and recite the blessing, concentrate on the thought that you desire a life of purity governed by the holy covenant ...
(Likutey Moharan,7:3,4)

24) Rabbi Nathan writes : Before speaking of the Psalms, the Rebbe said ,
"the first remedy is the Mikvah".
(Rebbe Nasson about Rebbe Nachmans Tikkun Klali)

When someone comes to purify himself, he is aided from above with a holy soul (Zohar haKadosh 58b).

25) when you are subjected to this test it puts you in a type of ''exile''. you should cry out to g-d: scream and cry out to him over and over again, like a woman in labor who cries out from the pain of her contractions. 70 times she cries out (zohar iii 249b). You must do likewise and cry out to strengthen yourself and break your desire... (likutey moharan 36:1,2.)

26) The key to subduing and breaking your desires, and especially sexual desires, is to strive to gain mastery of the holy tongue. This means that you should sanctify your tongue with words of Torah and prayer (formal prayers and your own spontaneous private prayer).

(your own native language is still considered as the Holy Tongue when it is used to converse with G-d). Likutey Moharan 19:3

27) Crying out loud is a remedy for sexual impurity (L.M 20:10)

28) When one merely has a stray thought or fantasy it is sufficient to say these two verses (Shema... and Baruch Shem...) But certain people are plagued with sexual fantasies all the time. They find they cannot rid themselves of it. In this case , they must bring themselves to tears when they take on the yoke of heaven. They must literally weep as they say the words Shema Ysrael...and Baruch Shem....(L.M. 36:6)

29) Rebbe Nachman's Tikkun: Bear witness to my words. When my days are over and I leave this world, I will still intercede for anyone who comes to my grave, says these ten Psalms ( 16,32,41,42,59,77,90,105,137,150 ) and gives a penny to charity . No matter how great his sins , I will do everything in my power , spanning the length and breadth of the creation to cleanse and protect him.
( Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom 141;see also Likutey Etzos 11,92).

Even if you can't go to his grave , the remedy can still protect you.

IF the Yetzer Hara confronts you, drag him to the House of Sacred study, for there he is harmless...(Tamud Babli Kidushin 30b)

30) How should man train himself to acquire the quality of Foundation? A man must be on his guard against the kind of speech which brings to thoughts of sin, so that he should not be visited by a seminal emission. Needless to say, he should not speak obscenities but he should take care not to utter even clean words if they give rise to sexual thoughts. And this is contained in a careful examination of the verse: 'Suffer not thy mouth to bring thy flesh unto guilt,' this is, take care not to suffer the mouth to give speech which can bring sin to the holy flesh, the sign of the covenant, with seminal emission. And it is written: 'Wherefore should God be angry . . . ' Now if obscenity is meant what is the meaning of: 'bring to guilt' seeing that this itself is 'guilt'? But the meaning is that even if there is no sin in the actual word itself, for it is clean, he should take care if it is able to bring about sexual thoughts... Exceedingly great care must be taken and the main precaution is to guard oneself from sexual imaginings. (Tomer Devorah Chapter 8).

To another young man the Steipler Rav wrote: The only hope of a young unmarried man is to study Torah for the sake of Heaven and to pray that the Holy One will have compassion on him and save him from sinning. You should not expect the rescue to happen in one or two days, however. Yet , with time, if you persist in the deep analysis of Torah texts, as much as your ability will allow, together with a good study-partner, without wasting any time in conversation, you will see how your urge for evil becomes dimmer. You will thereby succed in your Torah study, as well as in your observance of the Torah... When you finish praying the Amidah, before taking the three steps backward, pray that the Holy One will rescue you, as well as all your brothers among the people of Israel, from this most bitter of sins... (Vehayim Keddoshim... op.cit., p52, p153, The light of Ephraim p.109 -110).

31) To prevent yourself having evil images look in your mind’s eye or on a paper
at the two word Holy Name : = Destroy Satan .


32) or at the Holy name :
from the Sefer Taharat Hakodesh (Rav Aharon Rat).

33)The Mishnah Berurah says that one should say the three times the word PI :

which are the heading letters of Palty (Ben Laish) and Yosef (Hatzadik), who were the two Jews in history who were known for being able to control their Yetzer Hara for women; as you say those three words you should rub your forehead three times.

34) It is also obvious that placing the Holy Name YKVK in front of you (or in your mind’s eye) will also help.

35) Segulos from “Tzipurim Shamir” from the Chida:
1) Always let a little light in the dark when you sleep.
2) Don’t put an under-the-belt-garment close to your head when you sleep.
3) Don’t sleep with Barzel (iron) on you.
4) Fall asleep by learning Torah.
5) Say the complete Krias Shema before Chatzos (jewish midnight)
6) Look at the name YKVK black on white before sleeping.
7) Think of your father’s face in your mind .
8) Sleep with your Talith Katan (in the name of the Arizal).

One should be careful not to say :
9) Brachos Levatalah (Blessings in vain) .
10) Nedarim (vows, commitment) even by thought and not to fulfill them .
11) Lashon Hara and Sicha Betela (Evil and Unnecessary speech).

36) Just like on Yom Kippur night it is a Segulah to read the first 4 first Psalms of the book of Tehillim (Chazal).

37) Reviewing Mishna has the power to overcome forbidden thoughts and bring purity of mind, in particular the Seder Taharos causes a person to be worthy of having purity descend from heaven to assist him in his learning , praying and Mitzvos so that they are done with greater purity of the heart.

38) Ultimately, the only thing that helps a man give up the stumbling block of sexual offenses is yearning for Taanug-delight right from the Source (The light of Ephraim p.123). The more one pushes himself to serve Hashem out of Love and to give Him pleasure, the more he will feel that Love and pleasure to the point that no other pleasure, even the sexual pleasure, will become insignificant.

39) In chapter 36 of Shaar Hagilgulim (p.308 in english edition) we see that even Yosef sinned at some level that we can’t even start to understand, he also wasted seed. The point I want to give is that if Yosef himself, One of the Hero for controlling temptation failed at some level, it is normal that we too should have struggle with this sin, and one should not be depressed but fight as Yosef did. Not only that but as Rabbi H. Ben Yosef explains : no one is better equipped to attain the delight of G-d’s closeness than those who have tasted the fiery lust of the outside forces connected to Yesod (Bris) , and have turned it into a flame of holiness.


1) One of the ways to rectify the damage is by helping others deal with this sin. (Rabbi Mordechai Aderet) .

2) One of the ways to repair this spiritual damage is to study the Inner Wisdom of the Torah (kabbalah) ( p.82).

3) To one boy who had essentially given up trying the Steipler Rav wrote : An essential requirement is not to despair, G-d forbid. We must always hope that the Holy One will help us, for as it is written: Is G-d’s power limited? Furthermore, one who comes to purify himself is sent help from Heaven. Another important principle is not to fall into sadness. One who is unmarried should not think of his past till after he gets married. He will then have time to repair (The light of Ephraim p.109).

4) In the Amidah in the blessing Mekabetz Nidchei Amo Yisrael = “Who gathers in the dispersed of His people, Israel”, focus on Nidchei Amo Yisrael which alludes to the sparks and the souls stemming from the drops of keri-wasted semen that came out of man, whether accidentally or willingly, and became absorbed and assimilated in the klipah-evil husk. As you say this blessing, focus on gleaning them and sorting them out by means of he holy Name . You yourself don’t do it. You just have in mind a silent prayer that this divine name will sort them out and elevate them... Also , by intertwining the letters of the Name with the four letters of the holy Tetagrammaton , we coerce the evil husk to spit out and return the sparks of holiness that they have swallowed, so that these sparks can be restored to their place in holiness. (p.112)

5) As you say the words: (in Uva Letzion , after the Amidah ) And a redeemer shall come to Tzion , and to those who repent from rebellion... focus your consciousness on the initial letters = body . Then when you say the words that follow, " Those of Yaakov , the words of Hashem, and as for me... focus on the initial letters = chidren ; Think of the souls and drops of wasted semen (which are your children) that emerged from you. Have in mind to rescue them from the forces of evil by means of your repentance, and to return them to the treasury of souls where they belong (The light of Ephraim p.116-117).

6) The Chida zt’l taught (Moreh Betzbaa 2.1) that when learning Sedr Taharos, have in mind that it should be an atonement for any violations related to Niddah, Keri and Netilas Yadayim.

7) Sefer Yesod Yosef (Tikkun #12) Still greater would be the accomplishment if one completes 18 chapters of Mishnayos each day, starting from the begining of each month, this you would complete the entire six section of the Mishna every month! This is a still greater Tikkun for wasting seed ( advice from the Arizal).

8) Sefer Yesod Yosef (Tikkun #8) explains how one chapter of Mishnayos before retiring at night is a tikkun for the known violation of Zera levatalah.

9) For a married man, one of the best way to rectify this sin is by having relations with Holiness.

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