הָא הֶסְפֵּידָא מַאי עֲבִידְתֵּיהּ? פְּלִיגִי בַּהּ רַבִּי דּוֹסָא וְרַבָּנַן. חַד אָמַר: עַל מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן יוֹסֵף שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג, וְחַד אָמַר: עַל יֵצֶר הָרַע שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג. 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? 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״. אָמַר רַב אַסִּי: יֵצֶר הָרָע בַּתְּחִילָּה דּוֹמֶה לְחוּט שֶׁל בּוּכְיָא, וּלְבַסּוֹף דּוֹמֶה כַּעֲבוֹתוֹת הָעֲגָלָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״הוֹי מוֹשְׁכֵי הֶעָוֹן בְּחַבְלֵי הַשָּׁוְא וְכַעֲבוֹת הָעֲגָלָה חַטָּאָה״. 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׳״.
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. 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? 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). 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. 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).