Today’s learning is dedicated to the refuah sheleima of Simcha Nosson ben Zissel and leilui nishmas Yaakov ben Yehuda Leib zt’l.
This is an important principle in serving Hashem. The more you want to serve Hashem, the more the Evil Inclination strives against you. If you realize this, you can fight it with strategy and continually defeat it. With Hashem’s help, you will be worthy of emerging victorious. — Sichot HaRan # 10
The Evil Inclination is relentless. The moment we are inspired to draw closer to Hashem, the Evil inclination tries to deter us from our plans.
In this lesson, Rebbe Nachman offers an analogy of two men fighting. “As soon as one begins to win, the other fights all the harder. As soon as evil detects that good is beginning to stir in a person, it fights extra hard.”
Anxiety, confusion, depression, hopelessness, etc. are all weapons in the Evil Inclination’s arsenal. It takes great strength to combat these attacks. As our Sages teach us, “Who is mighty? He who subdues his [evil] inclination.” (Avot 4:1)
The Evil Inclination may be strong, but we are stronger. We are referred to as “the Children of Yisrael.” Yaakov received the name Yisrael after wrestling and defeating the Satan, the Evil inclination himself. Each of us have inherited this strength; we are well equipped for the battle.
Too often we fail to grow spiritually because we give up on ourselves; we feel unworthy. We are acutely aware of our faults and shortcomings, and assume that we cannot achieve greatness. But Rebbe Nachman tells us that we must always remember that, as children of Yisrael, we never surrender.
Rebbe Nachman wrote the following song: “You, Jew, wake up, remind yourself. Remind yourself about a strength that you possess. You are so powerful and so strong, and you think you are so weak. You’re just like an elephant who is afraid of a mouse. Why does an elephant fear a mouse? Because he does not know his own strength. If he knew his strength, he would crush that mouse in a moment. You are afraid of the Angel of Death, the Satan, the Evil Inclination, because you don’t know your own strength. If you knew that you are a Jew, with the strength and power of Yaakov our father, you’d fight against this Evil Inclination and be able to defeat him, no matter what stage of battle it is. Rise up, know your strength, and win this battle.”
The Evil Inclination understands how powerful we are, which is why he tries to intimidate us by making us feel inferior. But we cannot let him deceive us; we must remind ourselves of our inherent strength.
We may stumble at times, but when we “fight it with strategy,” we can learn from our mistakes and come back swinging. With persistence, we will win the war.
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