11 Cheshvan 5782 / Sunday, October 17, 2021 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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You wouldn't expect this to be the title of an article for the Three Weeks. But instead of lamenting, let’s become proactive and rectify the reason why we lost our Holy Temple…


You wouldn't expect this to be the title of an article for the Three Weeks. But instead of lamenting, let’s become proactive and rectify the reason why we lost our Holy Temple…


We all know that the Holy Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred. By fulfilling the Torah's commandment to love one another, we not only get our Holy Temple back, but we create a beautiful world as well. How?


Hashem loves a person unconditionally and is always there to help him. Knowing this fact offsets any deficiencies he might have. He lives with emuna, knowing that all the occurrences of his life are for the very best. He reacts to whatever happens to him with prayer, so that his entire life becomes good and pleasant. This is the life of emuna; the more he prays, the sweeter and better life becomes. This level of emuna enables a person to love everyone else. Wherever there is strife and contention between people, there's a lack of emuna.


People with emuna simply avoid conflicts with others. It's the evil inclination that incites all the tension and arguments between people. [See Rabbi Arush's series about loving others here.]


We learn this important matter from Rebbe Shimon ben Lakish, known as "Reish Lakish", one of the greatest baalei teshuva of all time. Reish Lakish teaches us that, "Every day, a person's evil inclination rises against him to kill him, and were it not for Hashem's help, he couldn't overcome it" (Tractate Succah 52b). Without Hashem's help, no one stands a chance in prevailing over his murderous evil inclination. Yes, the evil inclination is a murderer that does everything to kill a person by inciting him to speak with an evil tongue, to covet, to be jealous, to get angry and to be displeased. The evil inclination discourages you from believing in yourself so that you won't believe that you'll ever be able to improve yourself.


Therefore, a person is lost without Hashem's help. Every day, he must seek Hashem's help, because what happened yesterday is over and today is a new battle. We should tell Hashem daily about everything that's happening to us – our struggles, our thoughts and our desires.


The evil inclination's (EI) biggest war is to prevent a person from engaging in personal prayer, especially daily personal prayer. The EI wants a person to lose hope that he'll ever improve. The opposite is true. The EI is really our asset, for it forces us to strengthen ourselves in order to heed Hashem and to do good. A person should tell himself, "If I didn't have an evil inclination, my efforts would be as meaningless as a game with only one team on the field. What value does any victory have when there's no opposition?


The value of any achievement is measured by the level of difficulty in achieving it. For example, it is not difficult for a Torah-observant individual to refrain from lighting a fire on Shabbat. He also does not have an evil inclination for eating insects and worms. Yet, he has a big challenge in avoiding arguments, guarding his tongue from gossip and slander and guarding his eyes from looking at things he shouldn't be looking at, each person according to his own particular temptations. The general rule is that wherever the challenge is most difficult, the reward is the greatest.


A person should remind himself every minute of every day: I cannot defeat my evil inclination on my own. I have no chance against it on my own. My only free choice is to devote time to prayer; this is a person's only choice. Ask Hashem to help you cope with the evil inclination and not succumb to it. This is the scope of your free choice. Once you've devoted time to prayer, you've fulfilled your obligation, but you must do that every day because the evil inclination rises up against you every day, especially in everything that is connected to your speech! Don't give in and don't give up. If everyone would engage in daily personal prayer and ask Hashem to help us love our fellow human, the Three Weeks of mourning would turn into Three Weeks of grand celebrations, in the courtyard of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem, speedily and in our days, amen!

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