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Background:

We are all human and sometimes tend towards the evil inclination. At times we successfully fight against the inappropriate feelings, thoughts, actions, etc. At other times we don't do so well. For example, I, a Jewish man, am extremely attracted to a married Jewish women whom I work with (but not in the same office.)

The reasons for my attraction are numerous and believe it or not, it isn't only about sex appeal. I do not deny that I find her REALLY good looking, but there is a holistic element to my attraction. We communicate so well, we share many common interests, we share personal information (NOT of a sexual nature), she is intelligent and well educated, she loves children, she is a kind-hearted person who expresses empathy towards others, we understand each other's off-center sense of humor. I can go on and on. She is, however, married to a non-Jewish man by whom she has a young daughter, but she still has some connection with Judaism. Obviously (?) she is not my bersheit but in many ways I feel as if she is.

Now I assure you that I would NEVER act on my yatzer harah, but the desire is so strong at times that it causes me distress and guilt. If she were to get divorced, I'd be hitting on her in an instant. If she felt the same towards me, well Mazel Tov to both of us. That would solve part of the problem although that would not absolve me of my current sinful urges.

My question:

So I am wondering, are there any Jewish sources that offer specific actions or prayers to repent for having inappropriate desire for a married woman? In addition, are there any Jewish sources that recommend ways to avoid/suppress the feelings?

Keep in mind I am not concerned with generalized attraction towards women I come in contact with on a daily basis. That's a different story altogether (addressed in this question and this question). My concern is about having strong feelings for one particular woman.

  • @JJLL I made some minor adjustments to the question that should make it clearer that you are asking a general question pertinent to your personal situation rather than specifically requesting personal advice. I don't know if it conflicts with site policy to include the personal background information for context (e.g. that you are not only asking about purely physical attraction), but perhaps others can weigh in regarding whether it would be better to remove the background section altogether or incorporate any essential aspects into the question itself. – Fred Dec 11 '15 at 7:10
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    Folks, there have been many comments on this post. Almost all of them (a) were not what comments are for, (b) suggested (or discussed) potential improvements to the question (and those improvements were incorporated into the post so the comments became obsolete), or (c) suggested answers (which could not be posted but now can because the question is no longer closed, so the comments became obsolete even if they were ever appropriate). Thus, I've deleted them. One comment remains, as it concerns a not-quite-obsolete suggestion for improvement of the question. – msh210 Dec 11 '15 at 16:56
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    I'd like to emphasize that your suggestions (yes, you!) are not valid as answers to this question, which seeks "any Jewish sources that offer specific actions or prayers to repent for having inappropriate desire for a married woman? In addition, are there any Jewish sources that recommend ways to avoid/suppress the feelings?" – Double AA Dec 11 '15 at 17:04
  • Note that if she is married to a non-Jewish man then she is not actually a "married woman". (According to Jewish Law marriage with a non-Jew cannot take effect.) – Alex Jul 31 '18 at 3:19
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I recommend reading the book Garden of Purity by Rabbi Shalom Arush, which explains in detail not only the importance of guarding one's eyes and avoiding lustful thoughts, but also how to achieve these goals. In short, given your situation he would probably recommend not looking at her (and avoiding interacting with her if possible), and engaging in daily sessions of personal prayer in your own words to do teshuvah and ask for Hashem's help in eliminating forbidden desires. Of course, you can also pray to find your bashert, whether or not it is her. In any case, hatzlacha in dealing with this issue and finding your bashert!

  • You're welcome! Keep in mind that his position is not necessarily representative of Judaism in general, so you don't necessarily have to accept everything he says to still benefit from his advice. While some may find some parts of the book a bit extreme, anything written by this author is definitely worth reading and trying to implement -- some of his other books, such as Garden of Peace, Garden of Emuna and Garden of Gratitude have had powerful positive effects on many people's lives. – Kordovero Dec 15 '15 at 14:54
  • The book is a must-have for every Jewish home – ezra Oct 7 '16 at 3:30

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