Shlomo Ezagui

Bad Habits Can Be Reversed

Unlike all other creatures that are only body, human beings have a Godly soul independent from the body. The soul, our true and real identity, operates in this materialistic physical world through the body, which has its own life force that we call, animalistic. It is animalistic because, like animals, it is emotionally driven and thinks only of itself and self-gratification.

This is the perpetual struggle all human beings face and which truly spiritual, Godly people have successfully overcome. The genuinely spiritual, Godly person is in control of his body and the animal within. 

For most of us, however, we are pulled in different directions and degrees by the body and its enticements, never thinking about whether this is good for us in the long run. When that happens, the mind has succumbed to the body, which is in control. When the animal within draws us into its world of selfishness and hedonism and into itself, it ultimately leads to depression and loneliness.

With depression, a person has become a victim of his own emotions and narcissism. Although many people complain of and are unhappy with this victimhood, there is a certain comfort to this syndrome. For some, depression provides a scapegoat to blame for their failures. It is a way to get attention, an excuse not to be productive, and a way to manipulate others.

Remaining a victim is never good; it means allowing yourself to be controlled when you are out of control. People who are depressed have surrendered control over their bodies to the animal soul. In truth, our Godly soul, our true identity as human beings, operates through the mind, and the mind inherently has more power over the animal.

God gave us animals not so that they should rule the roost. God gave humans the tremendous physical strength of the animal so humans could leverage that strength for their Godly goals. God put a mind over the rest of the body so that we should think and use our Godly gift, the ability to independently think about our lives before we make any decisions related to our bodies. The “person” is in charge, liberated, healthy, and happy when the mind is in control.

When the body steers a person toward superficial, skin-deep endeavors and ignores soulful endeavors, we are left with a very dissatisfied disappointed, empty life.

Depression is a bad habit, and after a while, it may even be signaled by a chemical imbalance in a person’s body; but habits and patterns, as difficult as they are to break, can be reversed. It requires a sincere desire to change one’s direction in life. You cannot eat whatever you want and lose weight. I know that is what people would like to believe, but it is not possible. To develop a change in present circumstances, the conditions need to change completely; not necessarily cold turkey, but a new roadmap must be drawn, directed by a new sense of purpose.

The first step is always the hardest, but it is the only way to change direction and learn a better, newer habit. To regain control, we must constantly remind ourselves, “I am in control.”

“My choices, which I am constantly making, cause the results I have in my life.”

Chapter 24

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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