(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 18:58:47 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Satan vs Yeser Hara

Mark Price, in Bais Medrash, Vol 1, Number 58, asks on the difference
between *) The Yeser HaRa mentioned in Braishith, *) The satan mentioned in

Actually I believe the Ibn Ezra on Job cites the Talmud that three things
are all the same: >  He is SATAN, he is YESER HARA, he is THE ANGEL OF DEATH<
In other words SATAN, YESER RA and ANGEL OF DEATH refer to 3 points of the
same process.

Let me (briefly) elaborate:
SATAN: From SATAH, to deviate, is the angel in charge of TEMPTING man. This
is clearly seen in Job---Satan wants Job tempted

YESER HARA: From RAA--fragmented, broken--refers to occasional impulses
which pop up in our mind. These impulses traditionally don't look at the
WHOLE of an act but rather demand immediate gratification of some fragment
of the act (e.g. having an affair and not thinking of possible pregnancy -
to take a simple example)

ANGEL OF DEATH: If a person listens to his YESER HARA (which was instigated
by SATAN) he may end up committing a capital crime and deserving death.

So these 3 are components of the same process. Interestingly Rabbi Hirsch
(On Gen 4,6) cites the Midrash that Satan tempts man and then complains to
God when they listen to him!! Why? Because Satan, as an angel that serves
God, does not tempt man, IN ORDER to make man sin, but rather Satan tempts
man IN ORDER to give man the opportunity to OVERCOME sin and earn a share
with God in the next world.

Russell Jay Hendel; phd asa
rhendel @ mcs drexel edu