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Passion is the Antidote for the Yetzer Hara - Rabbi Elimelech Biderman shlit"a

Passion is the Antidote for the Yetzer Hara

When a person serves Hashem with joy and desire, the yetzer hara stands on the side. The yetzer hara is afraid to start up with a person who is so wholly engaged, with heart and soul, in Hashem's service. The yetzer hara is called 'chutzpadig dogs.' Reb Yaakov Meir Shechter shlita explained the analogy: When you are among a pack of dogs you shouldn't show you are afraid of them. If you’re scared and run away, they’ll run after you. But if you show that you aren't afraid, you can stand right next to them, and they will leave you alone. The same is with the yetzer hara. If one is meek and afraid of the yetzer hara, the yetzer hara can overpower him. But if he serves Hashem with fiery excitement and confidence, the yetzer hara will respect him, and he won't try to entice him to sin.

Reb Mendel Futterfass zt'l told a tale of how Czar Nikolai's army won a war without a single gunshot. His soldiers would battle by day, and drink at night. One soldier drank too much, and when his troop moved on, he was still sleeping. Upon awakening, he knew that he had to catch up with his battalion quickly, but first he was hungry and wanted something to eat. It was Friday night. He came to a Jewish home and helped himself to the pot of steaming, hot cholent. Then he mounted his horse, placed the pot of hot cholent on the horse's mane, and set off to find his division. The hot cholent burned the horse's back, which spurred the horse to run quickly. It didn’t take long before he reached the rest of the soldiers, but his horse kept speeding onward. He reached the front. The enemy soldiers saw him coming towards them, and they were afraid. They assumed he surely has a very strong weapon, since he isn't afraid to face them alone. They fled in panic. In this manner Czar Nicolai's army won the war, without firing a single gunshot. Reb Futterfass said that we can learn from this how to battle the yetzer hara. If one shows courage and hislahavus (passion), the yetzer hara will be afraid of him, and leave him alone.

It is known that at mattan (the giving of the) Torah, the Jewish nation was freed from their yetzer hara but the yetzer hara returned when they worshiped the golden calf (see Zohar, Bereishis 52). The yetzer hara once again had control over them, and the nation feared he may lead them astray. Hashem advised them to give a coin of fire. This means that they should serve Hashem with passion. That is how they are protected from the yetzer hara.

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