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Section: Stories   Category: Mashal
Rav Chaim Ben Betzalel - Selling Your Soul To The Satan

In the Sefer HaChaim the brother of the Maharal MiPrague writes that Hashem only does a Nes with a person smart enough to recognize the Nes and thank Hashem for it. It is for this reason that we haven't witnessed many supernatural Nissim in this galus.

If so he asks, how can it be that we see completely foolish people who do not recognize Hashem and are successful but when they embark on the path of Tshuva suddenly their fortunes take a turn for the worse?

He answers with a Mashal. There was a beggar in town who was an absolute fool. The king's men brought him to the king's court to entertain themselves with him at his expense. Being that he lived at the palace this beggar ate from the king's food and always had much more than he needed.

At some point he came back to his senses and stopped acting like a fool. For this he was beaten mercilessly by the king's men and he was summarily sent from the palace and returned to a life of poverty and homelessness, always begging for his next meal. Until now this man's foolishness was the source of his good fortune and the returning of his senses was his great downfall.

Similarly a Rasha is the source of entertainment for the Satan and his army. They enjoy a person's wickedness and encourage him to continue, while all his needs are cared for. As soon as he smartens up and wakes up to tshuva, refusing to fill the desires of the Satan, he is mercilessly beaten by the Satan and cast out of his comfortable surroundings.

This is what the gemara says (Megila 6b), that a tzaddik should not get in the way of a Rasha SheHashaa "MiSachekes" Lo, a wicked person with who, the time is "playing". This playing can be taken quite literally says the Sefer HaChaim. All his good fortune is just for the pleasure of the Satan, who sponsors him and keeps him out of harm's way. It's not easy to break away, but then again do you want to remain the Satan's fool for eternity?

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Visitor Comments: 2

mb, Passaic, NJ, chu, 2011-03-16 07:11:05
I'm thrown by this vort.

Rav Chaim Ben Betzalel portrays the satan as an evil force, someone a person can choose to follow ch"v rather than HQBH. I had thought that such a portrayal was unique to the Xian notion of "the devil". That in Yahadus, the satan -- like every other angel -- lack free will and always serves G-d. It's "just" that his particular job happens to be to pose obsticals ("lesatein") that pushes growth in the people who overcome them.

As I said, I therefore found this source startling, and not sure how to put it into my "Hashkafah Toolkit".
Anonymous, 2011-03-16 07:25:57
Before you rush to any conclusions you should see it for yourself Sefer Slicha U'Michila Cheilek 4 Perek 7. You can find it on hebrewbooks.org if you don't have it. Download the older version since the newer one is missing pages and sometimes out of order.

I don't think this idea or the mashal and nimshal necessarily suggest the Satan has a free will. The whole show is part of his job. That being said it is an astounding sefer with many non-conventional ideas and incredible drashos. Worth a look. Rav Aryeh Finkel told me that he once found it in Shul and began reading and did not leave until he finished.

See also the gemara Shabbos 104a where Gehinom asks Hashem to please send him some Jews to satisfy his unsatiable apetite.

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