The Rebbe Battles the Yetzer Hara

At the farbrengen of Simchas Torah night, 5723 (1962), the Rebbe cried about the Yetzer Hara’s relentless hold on a person, and then put his head down, unable to continue…

Simchas Torah night, 5723 (1962). The Rebbe made many l’chaims at the farbrengen and encouraged the festive niggunim, and the sichos poured forth. The sixth sicha began with elucidations on the pesukim of “Ata Hareisa,” based on the Baal Shem Tov and the Frierdiker Rebbe’s words.

Suddenly, as the sicha was winding up, the Rebbe began weeping openly. Describing how the yetzer hara doesn’t let go of a Yid for a moment, the Rebbe exclaimed, “The yetzer hara tells a Yid, ‘You want to say Ata Hareisa – say Ata Hareisa! Deliver a vort from the Baal Shem Tov! You could share a vort of the Rebbe der Shver! But I am here with you!’ Even when you say l’chaim in order to transcend limitations, the yetzer hara is present…” 

After banging his hand emphatically on the table a few times, the Rebbe cried out though his tears, “Un ot do shteit der yetzer hara! (Here stands the yetzer hara!)” 

The Rebbe laid his holy head on the table, and couldn’t continue talking…

(As heard from Reb Leibel Shapiro)

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