Halacha for Thursday 4 Elul 5781 August 12 2021

Losing Hope of Repenting

The verse in Kohelet (11:9) states: “Rejoice young man in your youth and let your heart cheer you up in your adolescence and walk in the path of your heart and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all of these, G-d shall bring you into justice.” The Gemara (Shabbat 63b) states, “Rav Huna said, ‘These are the words of the Evil Inclination.’” This means that Rav Huna explains that the entire aforementioned verse in Kohelet is told to an individual by his Evil Inclination.

Nevertheless, this is somewhat difficult to understand, since the beginning of the verse “Rejoice young man in your youth and let your heart cheer you up in your adolescence and walk in the path of your heart and in the sight of your eyes”, seems like something the Evil Inclination would tell a person. However, the end of the verse, “But know that for all of these, G-d shall bring you into justice”, seems like something the Good Inclination would say, not the Evil Inclination!

Hagaon Harav Yaakov Krantz, the great Dubno Maggid, explains in his Kol Yaakov, a commentary on Megillat Kohelet, that the Evil Inclination seduces an individual in the beginning of his life to follow the hedonistic pursuits this world has to offer and to leave the Torah and Mitzvot. When the individual begins to mature and analyze the meaning of his life, especially when he realizes that his senior years are edging closer, he begins experiencing feelings of remorse for his actions and then begins wishing to repent and gather merits he can take along with him to the World to Come.

At this point, the Evil Inclination appears on the scene once again but takes the guise of the Good Inclination and he begins frightening the individual and showing him how great his punishment will be in the World to Come, as the verse states, “But know that for all of these, G-d shall bring you into justice”, meaning that he tells the individual, “See here how you have already wasted all your good days wantonly and the sins of your youth are innumerable; you will never have time to repent for and mend all of your wicked actions.”

Thus, the Evil Inclination then convinces the person that if he does not have any chance of achieving a share in the World to Come anyway, he may as well enjoy himself in this world.

Based on this, the Evil Inclination says the entire verse, as he starts off by saying “Rejoice young man in your youth” and then tells him, “Let your heart cheer you up in your adolescence” and finally, he convinces the individual to slack off in repenting since “For all of these, G-d shall bring you into justice” so it just makes sense to enjoy the rest of your days in this world at the very least.

This is what King Solomon warns us about in his Kohelet that even if the Evil Inclination tries to sway an individual in this way, do not believe him, for our Sages teach us (Talmud Yerushalmi, Chagiga, Chapter 2) that one may repent until the exit of his soul and the Gates of Repentance are always wide open for one to return to his Creator.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Spiritual Blockage of the Heart

Question: Must one be careful regarding the Kashrut standards of the foods one’s children eat as well? Answer: Regarding any food which is prohibited for consumption by the Torah, such as milk and meat or an impure animal’s milk, it is certainly forbidden to give such foods to childre......

Read Halacha

Question: Is one obligated to wait six hours after eating meat foods before eating dairy foods?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Chullin (105a) states: “Mor Ukva said: When my father would eat meat, he would not eat cheese until the next day. Regarding myself, however, within the same meal I do not eat meat and then cheese, but I would eat cheese during the next meal.” The Rif writes......

Read Halacha


Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

Eating Dairy Items after Eating Poultry

In the previous Halacha we have discussed in general the law that one must wait six hours after eating meat before eating dairy foods either because the nature of meat is to get stuck between one’s teeth or because meat gives off a taste in one’s mouth for a prolonged amount of time. ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha