From Most Beautiful Nation by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Hashem’s second sorrow is that we are being dragged through the exile of the nations. The nations are all in the gutter; they always have been. Only today, they are in a lower gutter than ever before. Even frum Jews live in an atmosphere polluted with the filth that’s coming out of the gentile world, like parasites. An old man totters out Shabbas morning to buy his Forward. His grandchildren have hair down to their buttocks and they’re dressed in rags, lying in street corners bumming around. It’s a pity on the Jewish people. We are living in the midst of this.
The Jewish nation used to be filled with idealists to the core; you could see it on their faces. As it says in the Gemara, “There will come a time when Jewish youth who never tasted sin will give off a scent like the finest of Lebanon.”
An innocent, pure yeshiva man is lovable. But today, the misled youth echo gentile ideas and follow in their footsteps. In the olden days, the Jewish youth were so pure. Say you’re very hungry and haven’t eaten for a long time, and then you see a delicious chocolate éclair topped with icing. That’s what the Jewish youth used to look like. They were so innocent. Even a working boy was pure through and through.
People should keep away from movies like they keep away from skunks. Anybody who goes inside should know that he’s going to smell bad for years. It’s like the old-time toilets: after leaving, people would walk around for an hour before their clothing was aired. Our neshamos (souls) don’t air so quickly. If you walk into a movie, the filth that permeates your soul is going to stay there for a long time.
Even if you don’t walk in, it spills out in the street. The atmosphere is saturated with wickedness, with stupidity. Yerushalayim is in exile. The Shechinah is in exile. Therefore, we pray to Hashem, “Tell me, You whom our soul loves. How can we get close to You?” Because that’s what we seek more than anything else.