web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Sefira And The Battle With Our Evil Inclination

Front-Page-041312

“Night” is galus. These two passages seem to indicate that just before the end of our current Exile the children of Yaakov will succeed in overcoming this malach, and that will be a prelude to the “break of dawn,” the coming of Mashiach.

Yaakov Avinu says, “I will not let you go unless you bless me,” at which point the malach informs Yaakov his name has been changed to “Yisrael” (Bereishis 32:27ff).

* * * * *

What does it all mean?

I see from my own observation of life that there are three types of people. One group is so afraid of the yetzer hara that it falls completely under its domination. These people run from God, living as if He does not exist, which is exactly the yetzer hara’s goal. In their case, the yetzer hara has completely succeeded.

Rabbi Yaakov Hillel has (in a recent commentary on Pirkei Avos) brilliantly characterized the other two classes of people. Both are trying to follow the lead of our Father Yaakov. Both classes understand that, in order to live, one must battle the yetzer hara directly, but let’s try to differentiate between them.

Let’s try to imagine the Beis HaMikdosh. The “middle group” stands, so to speak, in the kodesh, the holy area between the shulchan (which represents worldly success), and the menorah (which represents spirituality). This is praiseworthy, but not the highest level.

At the highest level are those who have elevated themselves to a life completely dedicated to serving Hashem. If you think this is impossible, just look at the heroes of our people down through the ages. Look at Moshe Rabbeinu and Dovid HaMelech.

Can such a person exist today? Look at the late Mirrer rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt”l. He began as a typical yeshiva boy in Chicago and became a legendary example of total dedication to Torah and to his beloved talmidim.

Another such person is Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, who recently was hospitalized with life-threatening problems. A well-known rabbi said recently, “If Rav Elyashiv is in danger, we are all in danger.” Why? Rav Elayshiv protects all of us because he has sublimated his personal life to the life of the nation and the service of Hashem.

The point is that such a lifestyle is possible. It requires great personal dedication, but it is an aim to which we all can aspire. I say this because the challenge now before us is so great that we are called upon to go to great lengths to protect ourselves. The Haggadah tells us that in Mitzraim there were plagues within plagues: “Rabbi Eliezer said that…in Egypt the Egyptians were smitten with forty plagues, while at the Sea they were smitten with two hundred plagues,” and Rabbi Akiva says “fifty” and “two hundred fifty” respectively.

In our day also, we face plague upon plague. Perhaps, just as in ancient Egypt where the solution was a complete reevaluation of life, we need to go to the very source of our problems to uproot our troubles. We left crumbling Egypt and followed Moshe Rabbeinu to Har Sinai, where we submitted ourselves totally to the Master of the Universe. Perhaps in our own day it is appropriate to contemplate a complete cure to our malady.

In preparation for that, let us try to confront the root of our problem, the ancient conflict with the power of evil. As the Gemara tells us, “Barasi yetzer hara, barasi Torah tavlin – I created a yetzer hara, and I created the Torah as a medicine” (Kiddushin 30b).

Perhaps we can follow our Father Jacob’s example and cease to fear the yetzer hara. The ancient verse will then apply to us: “No longer will it be said that your name is Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with the Divine and with man and have overcome.”

The name “Jacob” is associated with Exile.

“Yisrael” expresses our ability to overcome all challenges.

May we soon see the burst of light that will herald the Dawn of our Redemption.

Roy Neuberger’s latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim), is available in English, Hebrew and Spanish, with French and Russian editions in preparation. Roy is also the author of “From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (available in English, Hebrew and Russian) and “Worldstorm.”

Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at roy@tosinai.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.

About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim) is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Russian, and Georgian. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, and Georgian) and “Worldstorm.” Roy and Leah Neuberger speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at roy@tosinai.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Sefira And The Battle With Our Evil Inclination”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israeli PM Netanyahu and US Pres. Obama met in the Oval Office on Oct. 1, 2014.
Netanyahu-Obama Press Conference, Iran as Subtext [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
MK Moshe-Feiglin

Soldiers at various hospitals complained that they experienced hostility from Arab hospital staff.

Keeping-Jerusalem

“We have succeeded in raising an ideological generation that loves death like our enemies love life”

There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.

No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.

With $2 billion on hand the Islamic State is an extremely well-funded terrorist group that may pose a major international crisis for the U.S. and the world. Learn about their rise to power and the toll they’ve taken thus far.

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

A., a teacher: “I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll.”

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

More Articles from Roy S. Neuberger

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

Our rabbis told us it’s going to be very difficult before Mashiach comes. Should we fool ourselves?

The unwarranted hatred among us that caused the destruction of the Second Temple clearly still plagues us.

At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.

“Logically” speaking, after the millennia of hatred and destruction directed against us, there should not be one Jew in the world today who still keeps the Torah.

They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.

Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.

At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.

So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.

What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/sefira-and-the-battle-with-our-evil-inclination/2012/04/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: