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Great People Sin Greatly!

Published on Sunday April 18th, 2021

QUESTION: Why do some pure-hearted men stumble by sinning while some other, much less great people, are not trapped by the Yetzer Hara for such sins?


ANSWER: The Michtav Me’Eliyahu (vol.5, p.157) answers this question in a wonderful and profound way. He writes that the Yetzer Hara causes pure and upright people to serious sin. It is obvious that he tries to make man stumble with the worst sins, because that is his job, like a businessman who seeks the greatest profit. The Yetzer is not interested in making one who has an evil heart and who cultivates gratuitous hatred sin. He prefers indeed that he continues to continually violate these "light" sins like gratuitous hatred, that he never does Teshuvah and that he dies with these sins.

This is how the Michtav Me'Eliyahu explains the sins of the people living in the time of the first Temple whose hearts were devoted to Hashem, as indicated in the Talmud, and yet the Yetzer Hara made them stumble by getting involved in forbidden relationships, murder, and idolatrous worship. Rav Dessler compares them to those people living during the time of the Second Temple who cultivated gratuitous hatred: he contented himself with this sin without attempting to make them sin more gravely.

The Michtav Me'Eliyahu concludes:

"We learn from here that the Yetzer Hara prefers to protect man from grave sins and to support him in his Torah learning and Mitzvah observance, provided that he multiplies his secondary sins, even slight ones, because the multitude of light sins distances man from Teshuvah (according to Rabbeinu Yona, Shaarei Teshuvah), as taught in the Talmud (Yoma 9b): "To teach you that gratuitous hatred is as serious as the three cardinal sins, forbidden relations, murder, and idol worship." 

Rav Yaakov Israel LUGASSY - © Torah-Box Account

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