7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! Certainly, I would not have known sin except through the law. For indeed I would not have known what it means to desire something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of wrong desires. For apart from the law, sin is dead. 9 And I was once alive apart from the law, but with the coming of the commandment, sin became alive 10 and I died. So I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life brought death! 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it I died. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.
Chagigah 16aBabylonian Talmud
Apropos this Sage, the Gemara cites another statement of his: Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Naḥmani, the disseminator of Reish Lakish, interpreted a verse homiletically: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Trust not in a companion, do not put your confidence in an intimate friend” (Micah 7:5)? If the evil inclination says to you: Sin, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, will forgive, do not trust it, since it is stated: “Trust not in a companion [rei’a].” And rei’a is referring to none other than the evil [ra] inclination, as it is stated: “For the inclination of the heart of man is evil [ra]” (Genesis 8:21).
Notes and References
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