Day 40/50: GUERILLA WARFARE – Practical Tip

Day 40/50: GUERILLA WARFARE – Practical Tip

וְנָֽתַתִּ֧י אֶת־כָּל־אֹֽיְבֶ֛יךָ אֵלֶ֖יךָ עֹֽרֶף

And I will make all your enemies run from you.


Why can’t the IDF, the strongest army in the Middle East, wipe-out a bunch of terrorist squads in Gaza in just a few days? The answer is that the terrorists know they stand no chance at fighting the IDF head-on. So they apply guerilla warfare tactics, making it much more difficult to vanquish them. 

We need to learn from this strategy when fighting the Yetzer Hara. The pasuk in Mishlei (24:6) says: “With cunning make your battle”. If we try to fight the Yetzer Hara head on, we’ll most likely fail. After all, he is a malach and we are just flesh and blood! There are a series of stories in the Gemara in Kiddushin (80-81) where Hashem demonstrated the power of the Yetzer Hara to some of the greatest Tana’im who had belittled his influence. We can learn from these stories how it is almost impossible to overcome these tests when a person is faced head-on with powerful lust.

To succeed in this struggle, we must pre-empt the Yetzer Hara. That means making careful fences to avoid a head-on confrontation. As the Ohr Hachayim writes (Acharei Mos), the only way to succeed in this struggle is to diligently guard our eyes and thoughts, because once we are thinking about these things, and especially if we see the temptations before our eyes, it becomes so much harder to control ourselves.

To learn what fences we need to make, we have to ask ourselves how the Yetzer Hara was successful in the past? In what situations were we caught off guard? What moods are we usually in when we begin to slip; are we bored or lonely? If so, what can we do to prevent such situations in the future? Which locations, devices, apps or web-sites most trigger our desire? (The TaPHSiC method can be helpful for setting up fences).

When we study ourselves honestly, we can learn the Yetzer Hara’s battle maneuvers and pre-empt him, thereby preventing him from fighting us head-on. Ultimately, we must learn to try not to even get into discussions with him at all.

🌤️ Today I shall…

…try not to fight the Yetzer Hara directly, but rather do my best to avoid him altogether.