Our Friends and the Evil Inclination

We must realize many sins result chiefly from evil acquaintances, so one must flee from those persons as one would from fire. The Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination) has already taken up permanent residence with such persons, and he appoints them messengers to shoot arrows even at the souls of their friends. These “arrows” are their foul language and irreverence with which they make every prohibition seem more attractive, provoking their own Evil Inclination and that of their friends, and causing every evil to occur. As Chazal said¹, “Many friends do evil.” Even if they advise and entice one to only go along with them but not do what they do, one should not heed them, because this is the incitement of the Evil Inclination itself. The Torah says, “Happy is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the wicked” (Tehillim [Psalms] 1:1); and King Shlomo [Solomon] cried out, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent If they say, ‘Come with us’...do not walk in the way with them” (Mishlei [Proverbs] 1:10,15).

Consider how artfully the Yetzer Hara incites a person to sin. The Midrash² states:

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Author: The Chofetz Chaim

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Bible reference(s): Psalms 1:1, Proverbs 1:10, Proverbs 1:15, Proverbs 4:14-15, Ephesians 6:16, James 4:7

Source: The Chofetz Chaim (Yisrael Meir Poupko), Music of the Universe, trans. Raphael Blumberg (Jerusalem), pp. 26-30.

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