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The end of Birkot Ha’Shachar

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Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Cheshvan 13, 5776
Question
Shalom dear Rabbi, I have for a long time wondered about a part of the prayer/blessing at the end of the morning blessings, starting with "haMaavir Shena meEynai uTnuma meAfafai" My question is about the part "ve Kof et Yitzreinu leHishta?abed Lach" it is translated in my Artscroll siddur as "And compel our [Evil] inclination to be subservient to You" My question is basically, given that the evil inclination has a function in the world and is already subservient to Hashem, and also that the evil inclination is actually benefitial to us because it is a major source of merit to resist it and to do mitzvot despite its detractions, and that are true always and at all times, what it is that we ask Hashem to do with our evil inclination and what the meaning of "to be subservient to you" is? Is the idea that we ask Hashem to lessen our evil inclination so it becomes easier for us to serve Hashem? Or it is about the evil inclination itself to be more subservient to God? (for example that we use the evil inclination in the sense that we draw on past negative experiences or temptations in the past and we gain understanding of why people in general struggle to do mitzvot), so that the evil inclination can paradoxically help us to serve God by helping us in understanding the weaknesses of humans? ( Or could "Kof et Yitzreinu leHishta?abed Lach" also mean our inclinations in general,without specifying good or bad inclinations, that they should be inclinations to do good - that our yetzer should be a yetzer tov? ) Thank you very much in advance
Answer
ב"ה Shalom I think the explanation is quite simple and it expresses an idea that appears in numerous places in the Talmud. We are not asking for Hashem to do away with our Yetzer Hara, just that He help us in our ongoing struggle with it and as the Talmud says in Kiddushin (30b) that without Hashem's assistance we cannot handle it on our own and he who comes to cleanse himself is assisted. Talmud Yoma 38b. All the best
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