The value of life and the day the Yetzer Hara will be slaughtered

Life is very dear to those who discover its value, and very cheap to those who squander it.”- from the sefer GESHER HACHAIM (The Bridge of Life)

I posted this quote about three weeks ago on Facebook.  The sefer Gersher HaChaim, by Rav Yechiel Michel Tucazinsky, was suggested to me by Micha Berger as a good thing to learn when dealing with the death of a loved one.  Micha was kind enough to comment on Facebook, “I’m happy to see it is speaking to you.  BTW, contrast that quote to the various perceptions of the size of the yeitzer hara on the day it will be slaughtered.”

The gemara that R Berger was referring to is in Sukka 52a:
“Rabbi Yehuda lectured: In the future, Hashem will take the yetzer and slaughter him in the presence of both the tzaddikim and the reshaim.  To the tzaddikim he will appear like a high mountain and to thereshaim he will appear like a thin hair. Both, however, will cry. The tzaddikim will cry “How could we have overpowered such a high mountain?” and the reshaim will cry: “How could we not have subdued such a thin hair?”

 Rav Dessler discusses this gemara in Michtav M’Eliyahu.  He explains thats that a tzaddikim will view all of their challenges, urges, difficulties in life as a tall mountain.  The rashaim will see “that one act of the will which could have taken him to the top in one bound” as that thin little hair. (See Strive for Truth Vol 1 pg 105)
The goals and aspirations of a tzaddik in this world are to get close to Hashem.  For the rasha, his only interest is to distance himself from the Creator.  I think this is what Micha was alluding to.

The things we have a ratzon, a desire, for will fight for.  We’ll climb, to use the gemara’s imagery, the mountain if we have to.  We will use all of our energy and might.  The tzaddik will fight his yeter hara until the end to get closer to Hashem.   Don’t be fooled.  The rasha will fight also for what he desires.  With just as much strength as the tzaddik.  What the Gesher HaChaim is telling us is that those things that the tzaddik values are looked upon as almost worthless to the rasha.

That is why both the tzaddik and the rasha will cry, in the end.  Out of joy and awe will the tzaddikim cry when they see the high mountain that was their yetzer hara.  All most too difficult to conquer, yet they did conquer it.  The tzaddikim will cry tears of joy.  The rashaim, on the on other hand, will see their yetzer hara, that they gave into time and time again, as nothing more than a hair.  Nothing more than a little thing they could have blown or brushed aside.  That is why they will cry tears of regret.

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