Which will win out?
Which will win out?iStock

David Sacks, a Harvard graduate and winner of an Emmy and Golden Globe, hosts a deeply spiritual podcast called “Spiritual Tools for an Outrageous World.”

Don’t be fooled by the name; his words are transforming. He’s a baal teshuva who was mentored by Rabbi Carlebach and has the gift of uncovering profound truths within the Jewish realm. In his most recent podcast, he delivers a powerful message, one that can ensure survival on a minute-to-minute basis.

It's known that G-d created the yetzer hatov and yetzer hara, the good and eveil inclinations.. These are external to G-d because G-d is one and no other entity shares rulership with Him.

Sacks further articulates that the yetzer hara which represents evil is an invention by G-d to give humanity the choice to overcome it. He brings down that when man overcomes the evil inclination, the evil inclination itself breaks out in joy because man did the right thing and followed G-d whereas if one sins, the evil inclination mourns because G-d’s will wasn't followed, because,after all,the evil inclination wants a positive outcome for G-d.

In essence, the yetzer hara wants you to say no to him.

The Kotzker Rebbe was known to say that man should envision the evil inclination on his shoulder every minute with an axe ready to decapitate the person’s head and if he doesn't have that vision he already lost. Why did he already lose? Because someone who is unprepared to battle the evil inclination has no chance, and as Sacks says, you lose to evil which wanted you to triumph.

Sacks has created an avenue for an audience to bask in delightful ideas, a true blessing.


And remember it when you are out there in the world outside the Beit Midrash:

Bread and Butter
I once asked a very successful businessman who was dedicated to his business, in addition to many passion projects, how he doesn't get pulled into the passion projects full-time. I guess the answer is in the question. One must prioritize their financial soundness and only then give time to their passion projects. Differentiating between bread and butter and other pursuits makes one think about how priorities work.

I recently read a thought proffered by Rav Scheinberg zt"l. He asks why the king of Israel had two sifrei Torah, one that went out to battle and one that remained in the palace. He says that a pure and clean Torah is needed at home, as it's the model one. The tattered one that comes from war must be put back into shape, but the one in the palace is always sterling and pristine. Rav Sheinberg zt"l used this idea to explain the vicissitudes of life: we go out in the world and get bruised and battered. But we must always come back to a spiritual home - to the beit medrash - to restore our purity.

With the bread-and-butter approach, I would posit the following regarding the Mishkan. The Mishkan had a basic bread and butter tzibur aspect that asked for a giving from everyone and everyone that gave was part of a collective whole. However, there were those who wanted to volunteer their skills as well, though they couldn't possibly have learned the needed ones, as they were slaves in Egypt. These people experienced attaining miraculous chachma by G-d to have skills they never had before. Was this volunteering required? No. But was there room for someone to give more of themselves to the Mishkan? Yes, and with it came G-d's wisdom. Imagine in real life – if you go the extra mile what kind of miraculous divine assistance you can receive.

My late relative, Rav Avrohom Genecovsky zt"l, was the previous rosh yeshiva of Tshebin. Upon his parents’ request he attained a law degree and finished at the top of his class with Moshe Dayan. He never had to tap into this bread-and-butter degree, but it serves as an example of the idea of bread and butter. In no way am I advocating any approach to degrees. Some people make millions without going to college whereas other set up solid professions through the college track. The counterargument to this would be the Mishna in Avot that proclaims without Torah there's no bread, meaning the learning secures the income.

One must always protect his bread and butter and make sure he is responsible with his main profession. His other passions are just as important but are not basics. When discussing the outside world and learning, as Rav Scheinerg zt"l says, one must protect his Gemara seder and make sure the outside world doesn't dominate his spiritual condition. The Mishkan showed that if you want to go beyond bread and butter there are new creative worlds waiting for you. When it comes to education the typical bread and butter comes by way of a college degree. But in this realm, there is really no definite model anymore: with a skill or other self-propelled business you can succeed even without the college track.