Special GUEST SHARE: “Do you know to where you are going?!”

Where Are You Going?


I have been a lust addict for over thirty years. I was settled deep in a rut where I would act out from Sunday to Thursday and control myself before Shabbos. I finally got busted and found the GYE website. I have been in Recovery and I have stayed clean for a few months. I have found Recovery to be a Discovery process. I look at things differently in my post-Recovery consciousness. Now that my mind is not clouded over by lust, I find new insights in many every day and not-so every day events.

Recently, a close relative of mine passed away and I attended the funeral. This is a part of life and it was not the first funeral I attended. However, it was the first funeral that I attended in Recovery.

I grew up in Canada and had occasion to attend a number of funerals. I have been living in Israel for over twenty years and each time I attend a funeral I am struck by one huge difference. In Israel, there is no coffin. The body is wrapped in a shroud. You can clearly see where the head is and where the feet are. Some of the chevra kadisha hand the body to one man who is standing in the grave. They lower the body into the grave and cover it with cinder blocks. Then they fill the grave with dirt. The fact that you see the body being put directly into the ground gives you a clear sense of the finality of death.

This time, it hit me in a new way in relation to Recovery.

The Mishna in Pirkei Avos [3:1] states:

עקביא בן מהללאל אומר הסתכל בשלשה דברים ואי אתה בא לידי עבירה דע מאין באת ולאן אתה הולך ולפני מי אתה עתיד ליתן דין וחשבון מאין באת מטפה סרוחה ולאן אתה הולך למקום עפר רמה ותולעה ולפני מי אתה עתיד ליתן דין וחשבון לפני מלך מלכי המלכים הקדוש ברוך הוא:

“Akaviah ben Mehalalel says: Consider three things and you will not come to sin. Know from where you came, and to where you are going, and before Whom you will have to give an account and reckoning. Where you come from? From a putrid drop [which should serve as a safeguard against undue pride]. Where are you going? To a place of dust, maggots, and worms [which should serve as a safeguard against unworthy worldy pleasures]. Before whom you will have to give an account and reckoning? Before the King of kings the Holy One blessed is He [which should serve as a safeguard against sin].”

Where are you going?

We can read this Mishna many times, but when you see the body in the shroud and when you actually see where are you going, this makes it much more real. If you knew for a fact that you are going to die tomorrow, you wouldn’t act out. If you knew for a fact that are going to die in a week, you probably wouldn’t act out. What if you knew that you are going to die in exactly one year? Would this knowledge be enough to stop you from acting out for an entire year? As an addict, I’m not so sure that the knowledge of one year left to live would be enough to stop me from acting out. I can see that the addiction would be strong enough for me to ignore the certainty that I will have to stand before Hashem’s Judgement in one year. The addictive reasoning would kick in and say that there’s plenty of time to do teshuva.

We know that we will die, but it is not real to us. Our addiction is stronger than the reality that we may die tomorrow. We are going to a place of dust, maggots, and worms. If you don’t believe it, go to a funeral in Israel. We need the Twelve Steps to get out of our addiction, but we need to remember where we going to maintain our Recovery.

2 thoughts on “Special GUEST SHARE: “Do you know to where you are going?!”

  • Even better join your local community chevra chadisha and prepare people for burial. Big mitzvah.

    • Great idea Yitzchok. Have you done this? How do you overcome the intense emotions of seeing a deceased person?

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