Alas! Alas! Time eats away our lives,
And the hidden Enemy who gnaws at our hearts
Grows by drawing strength from the blood we lose!
—Charles Baudelaire, L’Ennemi
The idea of a dark side, the evil inclination, whatever it is in humans that allows them to commit evil, to be cruel or wicked or bad or possess vices and desires, is a fascinating one. The mind is drawn to the idea of wickedness, paints it in attractive shades of black and red, fantasizes about the forbidden and its allure.
Judaism has a very interesting view of the evil inclination, one that does not entirely subscribe to the romantic portrait we paint of it. First, the evil inclination is internal, second, it has its balance, the good inclination. What, then, is the evil inclination, and where do we find it?
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Bible reference(s): Genesis 1:31, Genesis 8:21, Deuteronomy 10:16, Psalms 51:10, Proverbs 25:21, Isaiah 5:18, Isaiah 57:14, Ezekiel 36:26, Joel 2:20, Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 6:13, Mark 1:13, Luke 11:4, Luke 4:2-13, John 8:44, Acts 5:3, Romans 7:17-24, 1 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 12:7, 2 Corinthians 11:14, Galatians 1:4, Ephesians 4:27, Ephesians 6:11, Ephesians 6:16, 1 Thessalonians 3:5, 1 Timothy 3:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:26, Hebrews 2:14, James 4:7, 1 John 2:13-14, 1 John 3:8, 1 John 3:10, 1 John 3:12, 1 John 5:18-19
Source: “The Evil Inclination,” The Curious Jew.
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