How does one fight the Yetzer Ha’rah?
That’s a good question and the answer is בראתי יצר הרע בראתי תורה תבלין לו – “I created the yetzer harah,” says Hashem, “And I created the Torah as its remedy” (Kiddushin 30b). Learning! Learning means that you’re filling your mind with Torah thoughts, Torah attitudes. You have to learn Torah because the Torah teaches you how to deal with the yetzer ha’rah.
Now there are two ways that this works. One way is bi’derech segulah. Merely learning – learning alone – is vitamins against the yetzer ha’rah. Hakodosh Boruch Hu sees that you’re learning and He says, “I’m going to protect you from the yetzer ha’rah.” Without any other logical explanation – it’s called segulah.
And the second way is sechel. Because the Torah is full of ideas and ideals that give you the right kinds of thoughts. When a person has no good thoughts in his mind – when his mind is vacant – a vacuum will not remain a vacuum forever and wrong ideas and bad thoughts will come into his head from the outside world. But if you fill your mind with good ideas – with Torah ideas – and you’re thinking all the time about these right ideas – in the street, at home – then you won’t have time for or interest in the yetzer ha’rah. You walk in the street and think about Ma’amad Har Sinai. You sit at the bus stop waiting and you’re thinking about Yetzias Mitzraim. It takes work to learn how to do that, but there is no option. You must fill your mind with good ideas. And then when the yetzerha’rah comes knocking on your door, you’ll tell him, “No, I’m sorry. This place is already occupied.”
TAPE # E-231 (May 2000)