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Thought for the Day: Learning From Your Yeitzer Rah

The nachash opened up his conversation with Chava by asking her if HaShem had forbidden all of the trees to them.  Strange question, no?  Obviously they could eat!  Rashi tells us that the nachash just want to get a conversation started.  Moreover, Chava told the nachash that they were allowed to eat from all the trees except the one in the middle of the garden; they fruit from that one they were not allowed to eat of even touch, lest they die.  Lest?!?  HaShem had told them straight out that they would surely die (i.e., become mortal) on they day that they ate.

So let's take a step back.  Since the nachash asked if all the fruit was forbidden, obviously Chava was not eating at the time.  That's very interesting because HaShem had preceded the warning not to eat from one tree with an imperative to eat from all the other trees.  Also, HaShem hadn't told Chava not to touch the fruit either; so I think we need to read her reply as follows: "HaShem told us not to eat.  [We decided] not to even touch it, lest [we come to eat it] and incur death."  She wasn't changing what HaShem said at all.  The Torah, however, goes down to the depth of her thoughts to reveal to us the mistake.  Deep down she was harboring philosophical doubts and was looking to use them as a way to allow herself to fulfill her desire to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  That thought was so deep and buried that she herself could not articulate it; but it was there and festering.  You can't fix something unless you know about it.  Therefore, HaShem, b'chasdo, sent the nachash to give voice to those feelings and thereby give Chava the ablity to fix the issue.

The Chafeitz Chaim was once attacked by his Yeitzer Hara early in the morning, "You are an old man, you are tired and deserve to rest.  Besides, its cold."  The Chafeitz Chaim replied, "You are older than me and I see you are up and busy already!"  The lesson is to use the yeitzer hara to learn how to improve our avodas HaShem.  By his attacks we can see where we have areas that need chizuk.  Besides that, he provides a great role model in being a true eved HaShem and always working to improve!


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