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Shabbat Parashat Pinchas 5778

Ein Ayah: Combining the Two Inclinations

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 6:70)

Gemara: That which it says in the pasuk (Kohelet 11:9), “Be happy, young man, in your childhood and let your heart make you feel good while you are single, and follow the paths of your heart and that which your eyes see…– until this point the pasuk is referring to the words of the yetzer hara (evil inclination). “… and know that Hashem will bring you to justice for all of these” From this point on are the words of the yetzer hatov (inclination toward good).


Ein Ayah: The vigor of physical life and the happiness of the spirit with the effervescent spirit that revels when it approaches that which the heart desires, in matters of the spirit and in materialism, must exist in mankind in order to make his nature complete.

The natural inclinations, when they are intact and complete, do not distinguish between good and bad, honest and corrupt, and between permitted and forbidden. That is why they need moral restraints through intellect and through the Torah, which calculate limitations for the boundaries of the inclinations. Therefore, it is not a good situation for a person’s spirit if his natural inclinations, with all their force, are taken from him, for then his essence is lacking and blemished. Rather a person should be built based on his inclinations. Those elements of morality which are missing from his inclinations should be made up by the guidance of wisdom, holy influences, and the morality of the intellect.

The claims of the yetzer hara must be in the midst of the heart, and the words of the yetzer hatov, which are the foundation of the power of being a judge, who has many proper calculations, must always accompany them. Within the complete spirit there must always be an illumination of the yetzer hara with its basis in nature, along with the yetzer hatov lighting up the path upon which a person must embark. Specifically when the two join together, a person will be able to live and function properly. In fact, his actions will be for the good, as even his enemy (i.e., the yetzer hara) will make him more complete than he could have been without it (see Mishlei 16:7).

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