Turning the Evil Inclination to Good

Even during the Days of Repentance, with Yom Ha-Kippurim right around the corner, we may find that our resolutions for the new year have begun to waver.

We may find that some of our sins are not new ones, but ones that we fall prey to year after year. Over time we my come to terms with the realization that certain sins are here to stay. Old habits die hard, but some habits never die.

Or so we may think!

The Talmud Yerushalmi (Berakhoth 9:2) teaches us that Abraham was able to turn his Evil Inclination to Good. He was able to discipline himself to route his evil impulses to positive uses. In a sense, Abraham had developed a second Good Inclination.

Self-restraint alone often does not yield permanent results. Containing negative desires simply creates a barrier that is destined to burst. In contrast, Abraham created an outlet for his Evil Inclination, putting it to use in positive ways rather than simply holding it back.

Changing our ways for the years to come, no matter what we may think is in fact within our reach, even when we have been repeating the same sins over and over again.

Turning our Evil Inclinations to Good, like our Patriarch Abraham can enable us to finally break free of sin where formerly self-restraint by itself has shown to be futile!

May God grant us the strength and creativity to route our evil impulses for good use and allow us once and for all to break the cycle of sin.

Michael Linetsky is the director of the Talmud Yerushalmi Institute If you would like to receive these postings your mailbox when they become available, please email {encode=”througheyesoftalmudyerushalmi@gmail.com” title=”througheyesoftalmudyerushalmi@gmail.com”}