Skip to main content

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!


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…