Your Devil Inside
by Rabbi Aron Moss
I got an interesting question from our 6 year old the other day. She asked me "What is a devil?" This question really stumped me. I think I have been told before that Jewish people don't believe in the devil, is that true? I am also interested in how you would have answered that question to a 6 year old?
There is a force of negativity in the world, an angel of evil called Satan, which is a Hebrew word. It is also known as the yetzer hara - evil inclination. It is the voice inside us that tells us to do the wrong thing. Maybe we would call it the devil inside.
We don't need to be scared of Satan. This angel is just doing its job. G-d wants us to choose good over evil, but to have a choice, there has to be two options. The Satan presents the evil option. Deep down, even Satan wants us to ignore him and do the right thing.
I think a six year old can relate to this. Sometimes you want to do something naughty, you know it is wrong, but something pushes you to do it. You know you are not allowed to take sweets without permission, you shouldn't snatch your sister's dolly from her, and you must never be rude to mummy. But something makes you do it. That is the devil inside.
So if your inner devil is doing its job, to make you do naughty things, you have to do your job. Your job is to beat it. When the voice tells you to do something wrong, say NO! I know better than that. I can't do whatever I want, because some of what I want is coming from my bad side. I must not let that side win. I must let my good side win.
Each time you do, you get stronger, and that devil inside gets weaker. It won't go away, but you will learn to keep it in control. Because a strong person is not someone who can hurt someone else, a strong person is someone who can control themselves.