This Shabbat:

Friday Candle Lighting: 7:16 PM

Shabbat Ends: 8:12 PM

Torah Message:

Beating the Beast

“When you go out to war against your enemies…” (21:10)

The BBC ran an article on July 21st about Lee Butler.

“Butler was a cocaine addict and he hated himself. But now Lee hasn’t had a drink or taken drugs for four years — and insists he never will again.

“Lee tried Alcoholics Anonymous, which has helped millions of people around the world, but didn’t like their 12-step approach. He wanted to feel powerful, not — as the first step states — powerless. He wanted to beat his addiction, not battle it every day.

“‘I just couldn’t buy into this ‘addiction is a disease, you’re powerless, and you have to surrender.’ They say you have to take one day at a time, for the rest of your life, and every day you wake up you’re an addict. I just thought — I don’t want that future.’”

“It was while visiting one recovery service that Lee met Chris Farrell, a counselor who introduced him to Addictive Voice Recognition Technique. AVRT was coined by an American ex-alcoholic, Jack Trimpey, who calls it a ’very simple thinking skill that permits anyone to recover immediately and completely from alcohol or drugs.’

“The technique is not that well known in rehabilitation circles. Some experts contacted by the BBC had not heard of it; one charity — while not dismissing it — said it was not ‘evidence-based.’ ‘As I understand it, there is not any evidence base to support it — but that may be because no one has researched it,’ said one professor from a different organization.

But for Lee, AVRT “just clicked immediately.”

“In effect, says Lee, AVRT recognizes that ‘two parts of you are at war’ — the rational voice and the addictive voice; the real you and, as Trimpey dubs it, ‘the beast.’”

“When you go out to war against your enemies…”

When we go out against our greatest enemy, our Negative Drive; when we try to do Teshuva, to return to Hashem, our first step is recognizing that our ‘addictive voice’ is not us.

In the service of Yom Kippur, two identical goats are selected. One is brought as a korban and the other is hurled from the summit or a peak in the Judean desert known as Azazel. The goat that is brought on the mizbeach — the Holy Altar — represents the Yetzer HaTov — the ‘rational voice.’ The goat that is sent to the desert is the ‘beast.’ They are almost identical. The message is that the only way a person can rescue himself from the many addictions of this world is to sort out the ‘rational voice’ from ‘the beast.’