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To what is the Yetzer Hara similar?

GYE Corp. Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Here is an (approximate) translation of a Zohar that I came across in Parshas VaYerah:

Rabbi Yitzchak says. To what is the Yetzer Hara similar? To a band of highway robbers who murder and steal from people. They take a man from their ranks who is a smooth talker, and they stake him out on the highway. And there he awaits people on the road and goes out to greet them, making himself as a poor man who wants to be their servant and friend, until the people believe him and trust in his love and in what he says. And he brings them with his smooth talking to the place where the robbers are waiting, and in the end, he is the first one to kill them and rob all they have after giving them over into the hands of the robbers to kill them and steal their money. And the people cry out "woe to us that we listened to this man and to his smooth tongue". And after the robbers have killed these people, this man goes up from there again to stand on the highway and convince others to follow him. What do the wise men do? When they see this man coming towards them and enticing them, they know him and know that he is trying to trap their very souls, and they kill him and take a different route.

So it is with the Yetzer Hara. He comes up from the band of robbers - from Gehinnom - towards men, to entice them with the sweetness of his words. And the fools believe in him and in his love, and he makes himself as their servant. He gives them beautiful women who are prohibited, he gives them people to harm, he takes off the yoke of Torah and the yoke of heaven from them. And the foolish trust in his love until he goes with them and brings them to the path where the bandits await; the way to Gehinom, where there is nowhere to turn right or left [to escape]. And when he gets there with them, he is the first to kill them, and he turns into the angel of death and takes them into Gehinom and brings down upon them the angels of destruction, and they cry and shout "woe to us that we listened to this one". But it doesn't help them [for Teshuvah and regret no longer help one over there]. Afterwards, he goes up from Gehinom and entices others. But the wise, when they see him, they recognize him and overpower him until they control him. And they turn from that path and go on another path to be saved from him.