Rav Avigdor Miller on Outsmarting the Yetzer Ha’rah

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Q:
Should we ignore the yetzer ha’rah or should we look to outsmart him?

A:
The yetzer ha’rah, you have to know, is able to wage war on all fronts. You can’t ignore the yetzer harah; it’s impossible! But what you can do is to put your mind on what’s important. That’s not called ignoring. Like the Rambam says, a man who has Torah in his mind, he’s not as vulnerable to the foolishness of the yetzer ha’rah as a man with an empty head is. A man with an empty head, he’s the one who is easy pickings for the yetzer ha’rah.

When your mind is full of Torah and idealism it’s a different thing altogether. You’re walking down the avenue thinking about the chesed Hashem in the briyah, you’re thinking about the Avos and the Imahos, about yetzias Mitzrayim– there’s so much to fill your mind with. And once your mind is filled, there’s no room for the foolishness of the yetzer ha’rah.

But just ignoring it? No, there’s no such thing. But by going ahead and filling your head with what’s right, that kind of ignoring, absolutely you should do. That’s the real way to fight the milchama against the yetzer ha’rah! You fill your mind with ideals, with mussar, with yiras shamayim. You fill your mind with what it means to be an ish shaleim, even in lomdus. A man who’s anxious for lomdus, he’s not thinking about the foolishness of the ליידיגייער, the empty fellow, who has nothing to think about and therefore all the foolishness of the world, enter his head. What is this thing that’s so enticing? There’s nothing to it! It’s only imagination, nothing but dimyonos, nothing but imagination. But if you have an empty head, then nature abhors a vacuum, and your head will fill up very quickly with all the foolish dimyonos of this world.
TAPE # 613