Monday, August 19, 2013

The Yetzer Hara Wants You To Succeed!

I heard a fascinating idea tonight, presented in the name of Rabbi Berkowitz (I think from Ner Yisrael).

Why is it that we spend so much time during the month of Elul and in shul during Rosh Hashana focusing on the concept of HaShem being The King?

Part of this is because we tend to give some degree of authority to the Yetzer Hara in tempting us to do things that are against the will of HaShem. We recognize his power, and by doing so, we negate our own full personal acceptance of HaShem's Kingship.

What we don't realize is that the Yetzer Hara, being an agent of HaShem, truly wants us to succeed in serving HaShem - and not listening to wayward persuasions.

Any time we are presented with situation that challenges us, we often hear two distinct voices in our heads. For example, a man has decided to wake up early to go to shul and learn before minyan starts. When his alarm goes off, one voice encourages him to jump up and successfully carry out his plan, thus increasing his time for Torah study. However, another voice (the Yetzer Hara) says that he should hit the snooze button, especially since if he sleeps a bit more, he'll be more rested and can even have more concentration when he davens.

The challenge here is to overcome the seemingly beneficial advice the Yetzer Hara is giving us - and that's his true goal.

Just as a coach for a particular sport will challenge his players to overcome new difficulties and reach new heights in performance at every practice, so too the Yetzer Hara sets new and ever more difficult challenges before us as we grow.

On a surface level, the coach may look like he's just making life miserable for his players, but in reality we can understand that he is encouraging them to surpass the hurdles he has created, and by doing so, they will become better athletes.

So too with the Yetzer Hara. By confronting us, ESPECIALLY in our areas of weakness where we need the most reinforcement, the Yetzer Hara is doing his job to get us to recognize where we need improvement and to surmount the difficulties we encounter.

By focusing on this idea, we can put the Yetzer Hara in his place and no longer have our misplaced belief in him detract from our faith in HaShem's Kingship. Then we will truly be able to crown HaShem as our King without any reservations and with a fully heart.


  1. Very nice!
    My husband compares the battle with the yetzer hara to a soccer game.
    No athlete wants to play soccer alone every day. then he'd just be kicking a ball into an unguarded goal. That's not exciting or meaningful.
    The yetzer hara is that opposing player who we need to guard the goal against. Otherwise, playing soccer would be uneventful.


Comments are welcome, and greatly encouraged! I certainly want to foster open discussion, so if you have something to say about anything I've written, don't hesitate! I also greatly enjoy comments/critiques of my stories. But please, no spam.