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Oct 24, 2006

Creating an image

In daf yomi we learned an interesting gemara last night. I would like to share it with you. On page 52a of Tractate Sukka the gemara is discussing the idea that in the future there will be a day on which the Evil Inclination will be eulogized after having been slaughtered by God. The gemara questions this asking why would we eulogize the loss of the Evil Inclination - we should rejoice when that happens?

The gemara answers with a tradition that in the future Hashem would slaughter the Yetzer Ha'Ra before the righteous and before the wicked people. The righteous people will see how the Yetzer Ha'Ra was so strong and powerful like a tall mountain they had to conquer and will therefore cry over how much they toiled, suffered and succeeded. The wicked people will see the Yetzer Ha'Ra as a simple small thread. They will cry because they will realize had they only tried a tiny bit harder they could have overcome their desires.

I am reading a book now called, "The 33 Strategies of War" by Robert Greene. In chapter 10 he discusses the strategy of creating an image and reputation for yourself. More important than what you actually have on your side is what your opponent thinks you have on your side. He brings examples from the American Civil War how a unit of 3600 men was able to standoff in battles against 90,000 men and change the direction of the war. All because the general Stonewall Jackson was able to create an image and perception of having many more men than he actually had.

The author brings a number of other examples showing the same idea. If you can create an image of yourself, you caan effect people's perception of you. Even if it is not true, you can make people think it might be.

That is the strategy employed by the Yetzer Ha'Ra. To the righteous people he creates an image of small bump in the road. He knows they will be willing to fight hard to overcome their inclination and therefore he makes it look easy hoping they will try to face the [easy] challenge and find it more difficult than expected.
When he deals with the wicked, he knows that they will not try hard to overcome the challenge, but will give in to their temptations quickly. To them he appears as a large mountain. When they see the challenge is great, they will not even try but will give in to their desires quickly.

The Yetzer Ha'Ra tricks us by creating an image of himself that he feels will cause us to fail. He tries to get us to believe that image and perceive him in a specific way.

The righteous will cry because they will see what they really overcame. They will see how difficult it really was. The wicked will cry because they thought it would be difficult but will see they really had a wrong impression and it would have been easy had they only tried with a bit fo effort.


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