The last Torah Minute discussed how important it is for us to strive to totally eradicate our Yeser Hara in the same manner in which we make sure to derive no pleasure from our Hamess during Pesah, and even burn the Hames we do have before Pesah begins. The Yeser Hara is a master planner and manipulator, and if we make even an inch of space for him, we will find that he will totally overtake us in his devious ways. The following Mashal (parable) depicts exactly how cunningly our Yeser Hara operates.
There was once a poor fisherman who spent years of his life fishing for fish that he then sold to provide for his family. One day, this man caught a most exquisite fish, whose scales contained the most magnificent colors and designs. Without hesitating for a moment, this poor fisherman decided that he would like to give this fish as a gift to the King. This king was so overcome by the thoughtfulness of his subject that he presented him with 200 gold coins.
This king, meanwhile, had a very mean-spirited advisor, who did not want anyone else to ever benefit from the king’s generosity. He therefore assigned 10 guards, each one to guard one of the ten gates to the King’s inner court, and commanded these guard to not let in anyone who sought to give a present to the king. A few days later, another man caught a beautiful fish. He too, wanted to present the fish to the king as a gift.
As he approached the palace and came towards the first gate, he was stopped by the first guard who told him “I am not allowed to let anyone in, you cannot enter to present this fish to the king.” The quick thinking fisherman told this guard “If you let me in, I will give 10% of what the king rewards me, to you.” The guard quickly changed his mind, and let the fisherman in, excited to receive 10% of whatever the king would grant. The same thing happened with the second, third fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth guard. Each initially turned the fisherman away, but when he promised to share 10% of whatever the king gave him, all quickly opened the door for the fisherman, letting him proceed to visit the king.
When the fisherman finally entered the King’s room, the King was so moved by the beautiful gift, that he asked the fisherman what he desired. The fisherman promptly answered “Please give me 1,100 lashes, your Majesty.” “1,1,00 lashes?!” The King exclaimed, “but you will die.” “Trust me” said the fisherman. After receiving 100 lashes, the fisherman yelled “Stop!” He then called in each guard, one by one, telling them that he would now share 10% of what the king gave him, with them. When the king heard the explanation to this, he was very amused. He gave the guards their due lashes, but gave the fisherman a big reward.
This is exactly how the Yeser Hara interacts with us. He convinces us to join him, with the promise of a wonderful reward awaiting us. In essence though, he is slyly tricking us, and when we join him, we soon find that all that awaits us is pain and humiliation.