Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Struggle with the Yetzer HaRa is The Jewish Struggle Throughout Time

We are constantly in a war -that war being agianst our Yetzer HaRa - evil-inclination. There are many battles that each person faces are part of this great war, until the ultimate demise of the Yetzer HaRa when the Mashiach (Messianic age) will arrive. In contrast to many other wars, the great war against our evil-inclination is a war that we decide who wins. Not only that, but every single battle can be won by us, as long as we decide to win and fight appropriately against our Yetzer HaRa. HaShem told Kayin not to be angry and downtrodden, for though Kayin didn't bring the appropriate sacrifice to HaShem, Kayin can improve in the future. HaShem tells Kayin that it is within his power to improve his actions and not to allow himself to be overtaken by his evil-inclination, for though the evil-inclination desires get the person to sin, it is the person who "rules over him (i.e. over the Yetzer HaRa)". (see (B'reishis: 4; 6 - 7)

The Jewish War Thoughout Time is Against our Yetzer HaRa

In next week's parsha, "VaYishlach", we read of the account of our forefather Ya'akov's struggle with the angel by the Yabok crossing of the Jordan River. (see (B'reishis: 32; 22 - 30) for the account of Ya'akov's struggle with the angel) RaSh"I, quoting "B'reishis Rabbah" (77; 3), points out that the "mysterious" man - ish - who Ya'akov struggles with is none other than the ministering angel who represents his brother, Eisav. This angel is also known as the "Satan". Ya'akov's struggle with the Satan is a sign of one of the central missions of his descendants - The Jewish People. We are to also struggle - with our evil-inclinations. By overcoming our battles with our evil-inclination, we are winning the battle with the Satan - this being the same battle. There is something very important with the incident involving this struggle between Ya'akov and the Angel of Eisav (Satan), that being that the angel "saw that he couldn't overcome him (i.e. couldn't overcome Ya'akov) (32; 26), for, as HaShem told Kayin, we are the master over our evil-inclination - we decide whether we'll be victorious. The angel told Ya'akov that due to his having overcome him (as well as Lavan and Eisav), HaShem would call Ya'akov "Yisrael", signifying Ya'akov superiority over perhaps seemingly powerful forces. (32; 29) This is one of our central missions as member of The Jewish People - overcome our evil-inclination. By working to overcome our evil-inclinations, HaShem will assist us. Remember, victory over our evil-inclination is very powerful - not "only" are we achieving victory in the battle over our evil-inclination, but we are bringing great victory both in this world and in Heaven, over the evil-forces who behave as if they rule and they can't be overcome. It is truly we who cannot be overcome - all we have to do is believe that and act on that, watching the "powerful" evil forces fall before us. We must not become too confident though, for though we may win a battle - or many battles - we must constantly be vigilant and prepared to fight the future battles, until the ultimate demise of the Yetzer HaRa with the coming of the Mashiach, G-d Willing speedily and in our days. Amein!


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