Sirach 15:14

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

11 Do not say, "It was the Lord's doing that I fell away"; for he does not do what he hates. 12 Do not say, "It was he who led me astray"; for he has no need of the sinful. 13 The Lord hates all abominations; such things are not loved by those who fear him. 14 It was he who created humankind in the beginning, and he left them in the power of their own free choice. 15 If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. 16 He has placed before you fire and water; stretch out your hand for whichever you choose.

Genesis Rabbah 9:7


7 Rabbi Nahman said in Rabbi Samuel's name: 'Behold, it was good' refers to the Good Desire; 'And behold, it was very good' refers to the Evil Desire. (It only says 'very good' after man was created with both the good and bad inclinations, in all other cases it only says 'and God saw that it was good') Can then the Evil Desire be very good? That would be extraordinary! But without the Evil Desire, however, no man would build a house, take a wife and beget children; and thus said Solomon: 'Again, I considered all labour and all excelling in work, that it is a man's rivalry with his neighbor.'.

 Notes and References

"... The starting point for a study of Syriac usage of yaṣrā is the small collection of biblical passages in the Peshitta that use the word, namely Genesis 6:5, 8:21b, and Deuteronomy 31:21a. In each of these passages the Syriac yaṣrā renders the Hebrew yetzer. It is also found in three passages in Sirach, which was included in the Peshitta biblical canon, and was translated into Syriac from Hebrew (rather than Greek). In the first of these, Sirach 15:14, the Hebrew text is preserved, and includes the term yetzer. In the other two passages, Sirach 17:31 and 21:11, the Hebrew is now lost. However, the presence of yaṣrā in these passages is strong evidence that the lost Hebrew verses also contained yetzer. This is significant, not just because it adds a few more references to our list of citations, but also because these verses provided early readers with further information about the yaṣrā. While the Genesis passages emphasize the habitual and protracted wickedness of the human yaṣrā, Sirach 17:31 introduces the possibility that the yaṣrā can be subdued (kbaš) - and this I presume is also the origin of the rabbinic tradition that the yetzer can be subdued (כבשׁ) - and Sirach 21:11 states that the one who keeps the law restrains (ā leṣ) his yetzer ..."

Taylor, David G. K. "'Inclination' (yasra) in the Syriac Tradition" in Patmore, Hector M. (eds.) The Evil Inclination in Early Judaism and Christianity (pp. 262-279) Cambridge University Press, 2021

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