וְסָפְדָה הָאָרֶץ מִשְׁפָּחוֹת מִשְׁפָּחוֹת לְבָד מִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית דָּוִד לְבָד וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד אָמְרוּ וַהֲלֹא דְּבָרִים קַל וָחוֹמֶר וּמָה לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא שֶׁעוֹסְקִין בְּהֶסְפֵּד וְאֵין יֵצֶר הָרָע שׁוֹלֵט בָּהֶם אָמְרָה תּוֹרָה אֲנָשִׁים לְבַד וְנָשִׁים לְבַד עַכְשָׁיו שֶׁעֲסוּקִין בְּשִׂמְחָה וְיֵצֶר הָרָע שׁוֹלֵט בָּהֶם עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה It is stated: “The land will eulogize, each family separately; the family of the house of David separately, and their women separately, the family of the house of Nathan separately, and their women separately” (Zechariah 12:12). This indicates that at the end of days a great eulogy will be organized during which men and women will be separate. They said: And are these matters not inferred a fortiori? If in the future, at the end of days referred to in this prophecy, when people are involved in a great eulogy and consequently the evil inclination does not dominate them, as typically during mourning inappropriate thoughts and conduct are less likely, and nevertheless the Torah says: Men separately and women separately; then now that they are involved in the Celebration of the Drawing of the Water, and as such the evil inclination dominates them, since celebration lends itself to levity, all the more so should men and women be separate.
הָא הֶסְפֵּידָא מַאי עֲבִידְתֵּיהּ פְּלִיגִי בַּהּ רַבִּי דּוֹסָא וְרַבָּנַן חַד אָמַר עַל מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן יוֹסֵף שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג וְחַד אָמַר עַל יֵצֶר הָרַע שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג Apropos the eulogy at the end of days, the Gemara asks: For what is the nature of this eulogy? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Dosa and the Rabbis disagree concerning this matter. One said that this eulogy is for Messiah ben Yosef who was killed in the war of Gog from the land of Magog prior to the ultimate redemption with the coming of Messiah ben David. And one said that this eulogy is for the evil inclination that was killed.
בִּשְׁלָמָא לְמַאן דְּאָמַר עַל מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן יוֹסֵף שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג הַיְינוּ דִּכְתִיב וְהִבִּיטוּ אֵלַי אֵת אֲשֶׁר דָּקָרוּ וְסָפְדוּ עָלָיו כְּמִסְפֵּד עַל הַיָּחִיד אֶלָּא לְמַאן דְּאָמַר עַל יֵצֶר הָרַע שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג הַאי הֶסְפֵּידָא בָּעֵי לְמֶעְבַּד שִׂמְחָה בָּעֵי לְמֶעְבַּד אַמַּאי בָּכוּ The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who said that the lament is for Messiah ben Yosef who was killed, this would be the meaning of that which is written in that context: “And they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son” (Zechariah 12:10). However, according to the one who said that the eulogy is for the evil inclination that was killed, does one need to conduct a eulogy for this? On the contrary, one should conduct a celebration. Why, then, did they cry?
כִּדְדָרֵשׁ רַבִּי יְהוּדָה לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא מְבִיאוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיֵצֶר הָרָע וְשׁוֹחֲטוֹ בִּפְנֵי הַצַּדִּיקִים וּבִפְנֵי הָרְשָׁעִים צַדִּיקִים נִדְמֶה לָהֶם כְּהַר גָּבוֹהַּ וּרְשָׁעִים נִדְמֶה לָהֶם כְּחוּט הַשַּׂעֲרָה הַלָּלוּ בּוֹכִין וְהַלָּלוּ בּוֹכִין צַדִּיקִים בּוֹכִין וְאוֹמְרִים הֵיאַךְ יָכוֹלְנוּ לִכְבּוֹשׁ הַר גָּבוֹהַּ כָּזֶה וּרְשָׁעִים בּוֹכִין וְאוֹמְרִים הֵיאַךְ לֹא יָכוֹלְנוּ לִכְבּוֹשׁ אֶת חוּט הַשַּׂעֲרָה הַזֶּה וְאַף הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא תָּמֵהַּ עִמָּהֶם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כֹּה אָמַר ה׳ צְבָאוֹת כִּי יִפָּלֵא בְּעֵינֵי שְׁאֵרִית הָעָם הַזֶּה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם גַּם בְּעֵינַי יִפָּלֵא The Gemara answers: This can be understood as Rabbi Yehuda taught: In the future, at the end of days, God will bring the evil inclination and slaughter it in the presence of the righteous and in the presence of the wicked. For the righteous the evil inclination appears to them as a high mountain, and for the wicked it appears to them as a mere strand of hair. These weep and those weep. The righteous weep and say: How were we able to overcome so high a mountain? And the wicked weep and say: How were we unable to overcome this strand of hair? And even the Holy One, Blessed be He, will wonder with them, as it is stated with regard to the eulogy: “So says the Lord of hosts: If it be wondrous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, it should also be wondrous in My eyes” (Zechariah 8:6).
אָמַר רַב אַסִּי יֵצֶר הָרָע בַּתְּחִילָּה דּוֹמֶה לְחוּט שֶׁל בּוּכְיָא וּלְבַסּוֹף דּוֹמֶה כַּעֲבוֹתוֹת הָעֲגָלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הוֹי מוֹשְׁכֵי הֶעָוֹן בְּחַבְלֵי הַשָּׁוְא וְכַעֲבוֹת הָעֲגָלָה חַטָּאָה Apropos the evil inclination and the battle against it, the Gemara cites that which Rav Asi said: Initially, when it begins to entice someone, the evil inclination is like a strand of a spider’s web [bukhya]; and ultimately it is like the thick ropes of a wagon, as it is stated: “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if it were with a wagon rope” (Isaiah 5:18). Initially, the enticement is almost imperceptible, like a thin strand; however, after one sins, it is like wagon ropes tied tightly around him.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד שֶׁעָתִיד לְהִגָּלוֹת בִּמְהֵרָה בְּיָמֵינוּ אוֹמֵר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שְׁאַל מִמֶּנִּי דָּבָר וְאֶתֵּן לָךְ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חוֹק וְגוֹ׳ אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ שְׁאַל מִמֶּנִּי וְאֶתְּנָה גוֹיִם נַחֲלָתֶךָ וְכֵיוָן שֶׁרָאָה מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן יוֹסֵף שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג אוֹמֵר לְפָנָיו רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם אֵינִי מְבַקֵּשׁ מִמְּךָ אֶלָּא חַיִּים אוֹמֵר לוֹ חַיִּים עַד שֶׁלֹּא אָמַרְתָּ כְּבָר הִתְנַבֵּא עָלֶיךָ דָּוִד אָבִיךָ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר חַיִּים שָׁאַל מִמְּךָ נָתַתָּה לוֹ וְגוֹ׳ The Sages taught: To Messiah ben David, who is destined to be revealed swiftly in our time, the Holy One, Blessed be He, says: Ask of Me anything and I will give you whatever you wish, as it is stated: “I will tell of the decree; the Lord said unto me: You are My son, this day have I begotten you, ask of Me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession” (Psalms 2:7–8). Once the Messiah ben David saw Messiah ben Yosef, who was killed, he says to the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, I ask of you only life; that I will not suffer the same fate. The Holy One, Blessed be He, says to him: Life? Even before you stated this request, your father, David, already prophesied about you with regard to this matter precisely, as it is stated: “He asked life of You, You gave it to him; even length of days for ever and ever” (Psalms 21:5).
דָּרֵשׁ רַבִּי עַוִּירָא וְאִיתֵּימָא רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי שִׁבְעָה שֵׁמוֹת יֵשׁ לוֹ לְיֵצֶר הָרָע הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא קְרָאוֹ רַע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי יֵצֶר לֵב הָאָדָם רַע מִנְּעוּרָיו מֹשֶׁה קְרָאוֹ עָרֵל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וּמַלְתֶּם אֵת עׇרְלַת לְבַבְכֶם דָּוִד קְרָאוֹ טָמֵא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר לֵב טָהוֹר בְּרָא לִי אֱלֹהִים מִכְּלָל דְּאִיכָּא טָמֵא § Rabbi Avira, and some say Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, taught: The evil inclination has seven names. The Holy One, Blessed be He, called it evil, as it is stated: “For the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). Moses called it uncircumcised, as it is stated: “And circumcise the foreskin of your hearts” (Deuteronomy 10:16). David called it impure, as it is stated: “Create for me a pure heart, O God” (Psalms 51:12); by inference, there is an impure heart that is the evil inclination.
שְׁלֹמֹה קְרָאוֹ שׂוֹנֵא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אִם רָעֵב שֹׂנַאֲךָ הַאֲכִילֵהוּ לָחֶם וְאִם צָמֵא הַשְׁקֵהוּ מָיִם כִּי גֶחָלִים אַתָּה חוֹתֶה עַל רֹאשׁוֹ וַה׳ יְשַׁלֶּם לָךְ אַל תִּקְרֵי יְשַׁלֶּם לָךְ אֶלָּא יַשְׁלִימֶנּוּ לָךְ Solomon called it enemy, as it is stated: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21–22). Do not read it as: And the Lord will reward you [yeshalem lakh]; rather read it as: And the Lord will reconcile it to you [yashlimenu lakh]. God will cause the evil inclination to love you and no longer seek to entice you to sin.
יְשַׁעְיָה קְרָאוֹ מִכְשׁוֹל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר סוֹלּוּ סוֹלּוּ פַּנּוּ דָרֶךְ הָרִימוּ מִכְשׁוֹל מִדֶּרֶךְ עַמִּי יְחֶזְקֵאל קְרָאוֹ אֶבֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת לֵב הָאֶבֶן מִבְּשַׂרְכֶם וְנָתַתִּי לָכֶם לֵב בָּשָׂר יוֹאֵל קְרָאוֹ צְפוֹנִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְאֶת הַצְּפוֹנִי אַרְחִיק מֵעֲלֵיכֶם תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן וְאֶת הַצְּפוֹנִי אַרְחִיק מֵעֲלֵיכֶם זֶה יֵצֶר הָרָע שֶׁצָּפוּן וְעוֹמֵד בְּלִבּוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם Isaiah called it a stumbling block, as it is stated: “And He will say: Cast you up, cast you up, clear the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of My people” (Isaiah 57:14). Ezekiel called it stone, as it is stated: “And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Joel called it hidden one, as it says: “But I will remove the northern one [hatzefoni] far off from you” (Joel 2:20). The Sages taught concerning the verse: “But I will remove the northern one [hatzefoni] far off from you,” that this is referring to the evil inclination. And why is the evil inclination referred to as tzefoni? It is due to the fact that it is always hidden [tzafun] in the heart of man.
וְהִדַּחְתִּיו אֶל אֶרֶץ צִיָּה וּשְׁמָמָה לִמְקוֹם שֶׁאֵין בְּנֵי אָדָם מְצוּיִין לְהִתְגָּרוֹת בָּהֶן אֶת פָּנָיו אֶל הַיָּם הַקַּדְמוֹנִי שֶׁנָּתַן עֵינָיו בְּמִקְדָּשׁ רִאשׁוֹן וְהֶחְרִיבוֹ וְהָרַג תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁבּוֹ וְסוֹפוֹ אֶל הַיָּם הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁנָּתַן עֵינָיו בְּמִקְדָּשׁ שֵׁנִי וְהֶחְרִיבוֹ וְהָרַג תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁבּוֹ וְעָלָה בׇאְשׁוֹ וְתַעַל צַחֲנָתוֹ שֶׁמַּנִּיחַ אוּמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם וּמִתְגָּרֶה בְּשׂוֹנְאֵיהֶם שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי הִגְדִּיל לַעֲשׂוֹת אָמַר אַבָּיֵי וּבְתַלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים יוֹתֵר מִכּוּלָּם The baraita continues interpreting the verse in the book of Joel. “And will drive it to a land barren and desolate” (Joel 2:20), where there are no people for the evil inclination to incite. And what damage does the evil inclination cause? “With its face toward the eastern [hakadmoni] sea” (Joel 2:20), as it set its eyes on the First [mukdam] Temple and destroyed it, and killed the Torah scholars that were in it; “and its end toward the western [ha’aḥaron] sea” (Joel 2:20), as it set its eyes on the Second [aḥaron] Temple and destroyed it, and killed the Torah scholars that were in it; “its foulness may come up, and its ill odor may come up” (Joel 2:20), as it forsakes the nations of the world and incites the enemies of the Jewish people: In this context, the term the nations is a euphemism for the Jewish people. The evil inclination seeks to corrupt the Jews more than it does the members of any other nation. “Because it has done greatly” (Joel 2:20): Abaye said: And it provokes Torah scholars more than it provokes everyone else.
כִּי הָא דְּאַבָּיֵי שַׁמְעֵיהּ לְהָהוּא גַּבְרָא דְּקָאָמַר לְהַהִיא אִתְּתָא נַקְדֵּים וְנֵיזִיל בְּאוֹרְחָא אֲמַר אֵיזִיל אַפְרְשִׁינְהוּ מֵאִיסּוּרָא אֲזַל בָּתְרַיְיהוּ תְּלָתָא פַּרְסֵי בְּאַגְמָא כִּי הֲווֹ פָּרְשִׁי מֵהֲדָדֵי שַׁמְעִינְהוּ דְּקָא אָמְרִי אוֹרְחִין רַחִיקָא וְצַוְותִּין בְּסִימָא The Gemara illustrates that point. It is like this incident, as Abaye once heard a certain man say to a certain woman: Let us rise early and go on the road. Upon hearing this, Abaye said to himself: I will go and accompany them and prevent them from violating the prohibition that they certainly intend to violate. He went after them for a distance of three parasangs in a marsh among the reeds, while they walked on the road, and they did not engage in any wrongful activity. When they were taking leave of each other, he heard that they were saying: We traveled a long distance together, and the company was pleasant company.
אֲמַר אַבָּיֵי אִי מַאן דְּסָנֵי לִי הֲוָה לָא הֲוָה מָצֵי לְאוֹקוֹמֵי נַפְשֵׁיהּ אֲזַל תְּלָא נַפְשֵׁיהּ בְּעִיבּוּרָא דְּדָשָׁא וּמִצְטַעֵר אֲתָא הָהוּא סָבָא תְּנָא לֵיהּ כׇּל הַגָּדוֹל מֵחֲבֵירוֹ יִצְרוֹ גָּדוֹל הֵימֶנּוּ Abaye said: In that situation, if instead of that man it had been one whom I hate, a euphemism for himself, he would not have been able to restrain himself from sinning. After becoming aware of so great a shortcoming he went and leaned against the doorpost, thinking and feeling regret. A certain Elder came and taught him: Anyone who is greater than another, his evil inclination is greater than his. Therefore, Abaye should not feel regret, as his realization is a consequence of his greatness.
אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק יִצְרוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם מִתְגַּבֵּר עָלָיו בְּכׇל יוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר רַק Rabbi Yitzḥak said: A person’s inclination overcomes him each day, as it is stated: “Only