I really had no choice now, something was starting to break. so much of what I was doing was held together by so many illogical thoughts and aspirations that something would have to give eventually. It was only my certainty that learning Torah was the only solution to all my difficulties that had me hold on so tightly.
Looking back, the true source of my torment and downfall was the fact that my life was infused with a deadly combination of true aspiration and false aspiration. some aspirations that were innate to who I was as a person and some that were impossible for me to ever satisfy.
I had this obsession with "gedolim" I liked them, I followed them, I wanted to be around them. Looking back, the healthy reason for this was because, I am great, I am smart and I truly aspire for greatness, and in most of these men, I saw a refinement of spirit, a devotion to Torah, and to becoming something extraordinary. The unhealthy part of this addiction was the fact that I needed them. I had come from a baal teshuva family. I had always been conscious of this. My father was an English teacher (we shouldn't hear of such things)in a yeshiva, where most of my friends parents learned in the Kollel and were grandchildren of gedolim and things of that sort and I felt insignificant compared to them, so I was determined to get myself some gedolim points. Since I was 14, I was writing to people like Rav Pam and Rav Gifter. Boy did I get a high when I would get a letter in the mail from one of them. (Usually it would say something like "please don't write to me, I'm really busy")I was able to then go back to my fellow friends and tell them that I got this letter. Of course I mentioned it in the most humble of ways, as if I didn't really want them to know but I rejoiced when they knew because now they would associate my name with the gedolim. I was now someone important, worthy to know.
When I moved to Israel, the obsession grew. It wasn't only about knowing them or writing letters to them, it was about developing a "kesher" with them.For me, that was another word for addiction. There was another layer of sickness in all this that I have alluded to before. I had this fear that because of my passport issue, I'd never make it back to America to see my family. The state of my mind and fears were such that I didn't have what it took to actually look into them and see the situation. It would take another 10 to 13 years until I could do that. I was also afraid of my lack of emunah. I was actually terrified. I knew that I just couldn't lie.Lies, to me, were even more scary than saying the truth, because I actually had to live with it. I was in a predicament where, I simply had no choice but to live with a lie and I had to force myself to find a way to believe it. I told myself and pretty much believed that my questions and doubts were my defect and I had to do anything I could to eradicate them. I didn't know any better, so I started doing some things which made my situation worse.
My gedolim addiction, now took on new proportions. I needed them to give me the confidence that the Torah is true. I liked being around them. I tried to immitate their facial gestures, and their actions, with the hope that I would become the same as them. I had heart that this one Mashgiach who I had hung around, also had "passport issues" and was able through the saying of "ain od mil vado" to get pas the border. I had the idea, that if I hung around him enough, I could force my mind to experience this great level of faith and thus solve my passport issue. I had also heard that this Mashgiach had reached the highest level of betachon that the Chovos hale vavos speaks about. I needed that. You see? I needes sex. I needed to know that when I got back to America, I'd be able to get married right away. I had been thinking about sex since I was 14 and I knew that the greatest obstacle right now, between me and sex was my lack of emunah. How would I ever find a shidduch? "He's a real masmid....well, he has some problems in emunah, but other than that he's fine". "He's a real baal midos...mamesh so eidel....but he doesn't beleive in god". Looking back, this man (me) had many more problems than just not having emunah. It would take at least ten years until I would begin to be fit to live in normal society.
So for the time being, I got as close as I could to these "gedolim" so that I may learn from their lofty ways. All I knew is that I needed to reach their lofty state of faith ASAP. I know that it had taken them 20 or 50 years to achieve. I needed it now. I couldn't afford to be a man without faith. That being said, I was terrified inside. Something told me that, that was simply not the way things worked. I could not force myself to think a certain way, but with the mind I had, it just knew no other way.
I started doing some really crazy things to reach my goal. I started living in a state where I would not talk any words but Torah. I had this idea that God was one, and that the Torah was God, so if all my thoughts were Torah, then I would be one with God. How could I not have faith if Torah was such an integral part of my neshama. I imagined that if I reach that goal, where there is nothing in my mind but Torah, yes nothing, I would have reached my goal, I will have the emunah that I so desperately yearned for. This goal was so dangerous that it came close to costing me my mind. I knew now exactly what I needed to do. I needed to make sure that every sound, every word, every thought in my mind was just Torah. I had justification for this from the Torah. Had we not been taught "chuch be roishoi yaasok bi toirah" one who is sick in the head (and boy was I) should learn Torah. Torah is the great healer for all ailments and not that I had finally figured out how to learn gemara, I was sur the the keys to all forms of greatness and peace and emunah (and of course sex) were in my hands. All I needed to do was keep on learning and not let anything else get in my way.