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Michael Laitman, PhD

The Evil Inclination and the Good Inclination

At first, the Evil Inclination Is like a Guest

VaEtchanan [And I Pleaded]

150) What is the evil inclination similar to? When it comes to bond with a person, it is as iron before it is placed in fire. After it is heated, it is brought back entirely like fire.

151) When the evil inclination comes to bind with a person, it is like a person who sees the opening and sees that there is no one to stop him. He enters the house and becomes a guest there, and he sees that there is no one to stop him from leaving there to go on his way. Since he entered the house and there was no one to stop him, he became appointed over the house and became the landlord of the house, until he finds that the whole of the house is in his possession.

How the Evil Inclination Seduces a Person

VaYera [The Lord Appeared]

339) It is written that the leech has two daughters, Hav, Hav [give, give]. Those are the two daughters of the evil inclination, who evoke the evil inclination to rule over the body. One is a soul that always grows in the body, and one is a soul that craves evil lusts and all the ill desires in this world. This is the senior one, and the first one is the younger one.

340) The evil inclination bonds only to those two souls, to seduce people so they believe in him and he will lead them to a place where they throw arrows of death at them that pierce them, as it is written, “Until an arrow pierces through his liver.”

341) It is similar to robbers who rob in the mountains and hide themselves in a terrible place in the mountains, and know that people avoid going to those places. What did they do? They fled from them. He who is wittier than all, who knows how to seduce people, who departed them and sat on the right path, where all the people in the world go—once he comes to the people of the world he begins to connect with them there until he lures them into his net. He brings them to a terrible place where there are robbers who kill them. Such is the way of the evil inclination: it lures the people in the world until they believe it and then brings them to a place of death-arrows.

Coping with the Evil Inclination

Miketz [At the End]

195) One should always anger the good inclination over the evil inclination and exert after it. If it parts with him, good. If not, let him engage in Torah, since nothing breaks the evil inclination except the Torah. If it leaves, good. If not, let him remind it of the day of death, to break it.

196) We should observe here. After all, this is the evil inclination, the angel of death. Will the angel of death break before the day of death? He kills people, which means that his joy is to put people to death which is why he always fools them, to lure them toward death.

197) Indeed, one should remind him of the day of death to break the heart of man, for the evil inclination is present only in a place where there is joy of wine and pride. And when man’s spirit is broken, it parts with him and is not over him. This is why one should remind it of the day of death, so his body will break and it will depart.

198) The good inclination needs the joy of Torah, and the evil inclination needs the joy of wine, adultery, and pride. This is why man needs to always anger it from that great day, judgment day, the day of account, when all that protects a person are the good deeds that he does in this world so they will protect him at that time.

Two Angels

Ve’Eleh Toldot Itzhak [These Are the Generations of Isaac]

170) “When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies be at peace with him.” There are two angels for a person, emissaries from above to unite with him, one to the right and one to the left. And they testify to a person, and they are present in everything he does. Their names are “the good inclination” and “the evil inclination.”

171) When a man comes to be purified and to exert in the Mitzvot of the Torah, that good inclination that has become connected to him has already prevailed over the evil inclination and reconciled with it, and the evil inclination has become a servant to the good inclination. And when a person comes to be defiled, that evil inclination intensifies and overcomes the good inclination.

When that person comes to be purified, he needs to overcome several intensifications. And when the good inclination prevails, his enemies, too, make peace with him, since the evil inclination, which is his enemy, surrenders before the good inclination. When a person goes by the Mitzvot of the Torah, his enemies make peace with him, meaning the evil inclination and all who come from his side make peace with him.

With All Your Heart

Teruma [Donation]

668) The love of the Creator, when a person loves Him, he awakens only from the heart, since the heart is the place of the awakening, to evoke love toward Him...

669) “With all your heart [with a double Bet in “heart” in Hebrew],” that is, with two hearts, which are two inclinations, the good inclination and the evil inclination. Each is called “a heart”—one is called “a good heart” and the other is called “a bad heart.” This is why it was said “With all your heart,” and does not say “With all your heart [with a single Bet],” for it implies two, which are the good inclination and the evil inclination.

671) The evil inclination, how can one love the Creator with it? After all, the evil inclination slanders so one will not approach the work of the Creator, so how can one love the Creator with it? However, the work of the Creator is more important when this evil inclination surrenders to Him and the person breaks it. This is the love of the Creator, for one knows how to bring the evil inclination into the work of the Creator.

672) This is the secret for those who know the Din [judgment]: Anything that the Creator does above and below is only to show His glory, and everything is to serve Him. And anyone who has seen a slave slandering his master becomes a slanderer so as to not do his master’s will in anything that is his master’s will. The Creator’s will is for people to always serve Him and to walk by the path of truth, to reward them with great good. And since this is the Creator’s will, how can a bad servant come and slander his master’s will, deflecting people toward the bad path and deviating them from the good path, making them not do their master’s will and deflecting people to the bad path?

673) Indeed, he certainly does his master’s will. It is like a king who had an only son, whom he loved dearly. For his love, he commanded him to stay away from an evil woman because anyone who comes near her is unworthy of entering the king’s palace. That son promised to do his father’s will with love.

675) And at the king’s house, on the outside, there was a harlot—beautiful to look at and beautiful in form. One day, the king said, “I wish to see my son’s desire toward me.” He summoned that harlot and told her, “Go seduce my son, to see his desire toward me.” The harlot followed the king’s son and began to embrace him and kiss him and seduce him with all sorts of seductions. If that son is decent and keeps his father’s commandment, he rebukes her, does not listen to her, and repels her from him. Then his father is happy with his son and brings him into his palace, giving gifts and presents and great honor. And who caused all that good to that son? It is that harlot.

675) Does that harlot get any praise for all that or not? Of course she is praised in every way: 1) For having done as the king commanded; 2) for having caused all that good to that son, all that love of the king toward him. This is why it is written, “And behold, it was very good.” “It was good” is the angel of life. “Very” is the angel of death, who is the evil inclination, who is certainly very good for one who keeps his master’s commandment. Were it not for that slanderer, the righteous would not have inherited those high treasures that they are destined to inherit in the next world.

A Tall Mountain or a Hair’s Breadth

VaYeshev [And Jacob Sat]

240) In the future, the righteous will see the evil inclination as a tall mountain. They will wonder and say, “How could we have conquered such a tall mountain?” Also in the future, the wicked will see the evil inclination as thin as a hair’s breadth. And they will wonder and say, “How could we not conquer this hair’s breadth thread?” These cry and those cry, and the Creator will uproot them from the world and He will slaughter them before their eyes, and it will no longer govern the world. Then the righteous will see and rejoice, as it is written, “Only the righteous will give thanks to Your name.”

Riding the Donkey


485) The Yod of Shadai is the letter of the covenant, a ring from a chain on the demon’s neck, meaning the evil inclination. This is so because Shadai has the letters of Shad and Yod [Shed means demon in Hebrew]. who will not harm a person. David said about him, “Deliver my soul from the sword, my only one from the dog,” since the evil inclination is a serpent, a dog, a lion. David said about it, “He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair,” and the prophet called it “a bear,” as it is written, “He is to me like a bear lying in wait, a lion in secret places.” It is compared to beasts, compared to all the prey animals, and it is compared to every person, to the extent of his iniquities, for according to the iniquity is one named “Lion” or “Bear,” etc..

486) The evil inclination is a God, a serpent, and a braying donkey on which the soul is placed. As soon as it is known that that rider upon it is wicked, it is written about it, “And his rider falls backward,” for one who falls off it shall fall. This is why Job said, “I am not inferior to you [in Hebrew, Noffel means both “inferior” and “fallen.”],” and the righteous who rides it ties it with a knot of the strap of the Tefillin, the token of the Tefillin, the Yod of Shadai, the ring on its neck. The Shin of the Tefillin is the chain on its neck.

487) Elijah rose with it to the heaven, as it is written, “And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.” In it, “The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind,” and this is why they said about it, “Who is a hero? He who conquers his inclination.” Some become a donkey to it, not afflicting its rider, and they are the ones who exert in all the more so. This is why it was said regarding Abraham, “And saddled his donkey,” and this is why it was said about the Messiah, “A poor one, riding a donkey.”

This is so because the evil inclination receives its strength to harm and to deflect people from the left line. Through his times, the wicked increases the power of the left over the right, by which he falls into the authority of the evil inclination, which is called by many names, according to the substance of man’s sin. And one is called by the kind of iniquity that makes a person sin. The Yod of Shadai, the token of the covenant, is the middle line, in which there is the Masach de Hirik that diminishes the GAR of the left, which are the whole power of the evil inclination. And a righteous who guards the covenant ties it so it cannot make one sin. This is similar to one who drops a ring off a chain on one’s neck and governs it. Also, the Shin [ש] of Tefillin indicates three lines.

The evil inclination is given to every person to conquer it and to ride it. If one conquers it, all the perfection comes through the evil inclination, as it is written, “With all your heart,” meaning with both your inclinations, the good inclination and the evil inclination. It follows that if one is rewarded and rides over the evil inclination, he is rewarded. The whirlwind is the evil inclination, which he conquered and rode and was rewarded with rising up to heaven.

It is also written, “And the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind,” since he was rewarded with conquering the whirlwind. It is also written, “Who is a hero? He who conquers his inclination,” for if he conquers it, he is rewarded with the entire perfection. To one who is rewarded with conquering it partially, the evil inclination becomes a donkey on which to ride, and the evil inclination never afflicts him again, for he keeps the light Mitzvot [commandments] as well as the serious ones, and then the evil inclination becomes a donkey to them, for Homer [matter/substance] has the letters of Hamor [donkey]. It is as written about Abraham, “And he saddled his donkey,” a poor man riding a donkey, for they have been rewarded with conquering the evil inclination until it became a donkey for them to ride, to bring them to the perfection.

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