Kee Yetzer Ha’adam Rah Minoorav
There is a verse that says, “the inclination of man is bad from his youth.” This verse has many explanations and expounding details. One is that a child is born with willfulness, the “me, me, me” unrealistic expectations and desires. Only after Bar or Bas Mitzvah does the child get the maturity to have a “good inclination” a desire to do the morally right thing.
The Gemorah discusses this verse and then discusses how to deal with this bad inclination, this desire pull that drags us down. We are told to drag our desires into the Bais Medrash, into the study hall as Torah study wears it down, that bad inclination. We are also told to pray, as prayer also smashes and bashes and pushes away that evil inclination.
Yet, there is something I’ve noted. Read that verse again, but put a pause there. Read it this way. Kee Yetzer Ha’adam, the evil inclination of man, “Rah minoorav” is to value himself as bad from when he was little.
The Yetzer Hara starts off with you’re a bad person. That is the first sin as a youngster, to have that feeling of failure before you even start off in life.
Not allowed, my friend. We can never allow ourselves to think of ourselves as bad. Nor should we ever call our children bad. They might mess up. We might mess up. But calling ourselves Rah is just the Yetzer getting the better of us. How do we know we are not all bad, even when our inside voice likes to tell us that we are bad? Because we have the ability to go into that study hall and learn the exalted Torah. We have the ability to talk to G-d through prayer. Surely, if we can do that, there is no way we are bad. We are good, just with some slips and errors in our past.