Fighting on the Borders
The Gemora had stated: And from what moment is it considered that a propriety act has been performed? It is as soon as he walks upon the borders of the field.
The Kidinover Rebbe used to say: The primary focus of a person’s life – one that he is obligated to exert himself over – is to ensure that all of his deeds, actions and thoughts are for the sake of Heaven, and that he does not want to benefit from physical matters. And although this is a quite difficult task, nevertheless, if one at least makes an attempt at this, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, recognizes his intent, it is something very dear and precious to Him.
The Rebbe continues: Merely knowing chassidus is not sufficient, for when it comes to a test, it remains in his knowledge and in his brain, but it does not lead to any positive action.
This is what Chazal are hinting at when they said: And from what moment is it considered that a propriety act has been performed? It is as soon as he walks upon the borders of the field. The borders of the field is referring to the permitted desires of this world. When is it regarded as a person has conquered his desires? It is when he has firmly established that even those pleasures that are permitted to him, he will not indulge in, and if he accomplishes that, he has conquered and acquired the entire field.
This is what is said in the lamentations on Tisha b’Av: All those chasing after us have reached between the borders, for the Evil Inclination is battling on the fringes, and once man is ensnared in his grasp in the permitted pleasures of the world, it is a small step away from those that are forbidden.
May we merit the light of recognizing this and taking action to lead the life that God wants from us.