By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
It’s a battle every day and some times it can become downright nasty. How do we, how can we, deal with it.
Inside each one of us there is a G-dly soul and a G-dly inclination. We also have inside of us a bad and animalistic inclination. One is telling us to use our lives in a worthwhile way, not to waste away our lives, and the other just wants to have fun and enjoyment, NOW, at any expense. The animal inside is always trying to stop us from reaching the optimum level that as a human being we can and should reach.
The problem is, that the good inclination and soul never gives up and is always making the person feel guilty, empty, meaningless, inadequate, unless it gets its way of living for a purpose, higher than mere existence. Sometimes, it’s possible a person can become so totally numb and insensitive to higher values it’s “as if” there is no more care in the direction of the good and noble. The animal soul, never gives up its effort. It strives constantly to get us drawn into the temptations of the eyes and immediate gratification. The animal inside is all about, I and me.
A person’s world is in his mind, and if a person is all the time in a G-dly world, in prayer and the study of the bible, if a person has the awareness of G-d constantly on his mind, it is very unlikely for him to have to battle the animal inside. Since he is only feeding the G-dly soul, giving it constant strength, and there are no animals in sight in this world, his battles if any at all, will be infrequent and relatively weak ones.
The problem is when we leave or drop this G-dly world for whatever reason, be it weakness, business, curiosity etc. This is when we encounter the battles and struggles of staying on the proper path. Ethics and proper moral behavior seem to become fuzzy and blurred. How do we battle this enemy?
The Bible gives us the best advice, since it comes from the designer and architect of the entire universe. The Bible tells us, when you go out to war against your enemy, your approach should be above and higher than your enemy. Your attitude should not be one of getting down to the level of the enemy, but one that puts you mentally and spiritually on a much higher level than engaging with the enemy on their deprived convoluted level.
Let’s says the animal and evil temptation inside is saying to eat something improper or to take something not yours. Knowing that you have this weakness inside, you can wait until you are in a full fledged hand to hand struggle with these thoughts and feeling and at this point you stand the chance of losing the war. Or, you can take the preemptive, high ground approach.
To begin with, you avoid the situation of war with the negative, with the thought in mind, it is beneath me to be on the level of my enemy. You say to yourself, “I see myself and I consider myself on a higher more refined level of human being than this type of behavior,” you avoid being drawn into a fight.
As you are walking in the store or situation where you have a pretty good feeling that temptation may be lurking somewhere in the background, you take the preemptive decision to do whatever is necessary before being dragged into war, to avoid or deal from a prepared and higher position with the challenge.
The Bible assures each single one of us. When the proper approach is used against our enemies, and we approach our challenges with absolute faith and trust that G-d always “prepares the cure before the malady”, and “only expects of each according to his and her ability,” nothing in life is too difficult to deal with. With this in mind, we are guaranteed to succeed, and not only win, but also take captives.
The enemy themselves becomes a source of support and strength. The difficulty which at first was standing in the way of progressing, becomes an experience and strength that adds and enhances the final victory and outcome.
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