Our will to cling to God is a fortress, but there are breaches in the wall . . .
Let every man stand in the breach against his will to evil.
His case may be compared to that of a king who has many foes and is fearful of them. So he goes and inspects all of his fortresses and strengthens the breaches at every place where the enemy could possibly enter. The king makes his plans: “Perhaps they will climb stealthily over at this point; and let us build castles and a tower for defense at this point.”
So it is with the will to evil. He is the enemy that lies in ambush and besieges man day and night, inciting him to transgress, that he may be caught in his trap. For that is why the will to evil was created, and he is compelled to do his part, and is an expert at it. Therefore let every man be alert to stand in the breach against the will to evil, and let every man constantly be searching and delving deep in his mind, that he may come to know every place where his will is inciting him to transgression.
-Sermon by Rabbi Jacob Ben-Moses HaLevi, in S.Y. Agnon, Days of Awe
Most devious is the heart; It is perverse — who can fathom it?
-Jeremiah 17:9, JPS
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