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Morning Blessings: External Enemy

In the “Yehi ratzon” we recite after the morning blessings (Nusach S’fard), we ask that God rescue us “from an evil person, from the evil inclination, from an evil friend, from an evil neighbor”.

The person, the friend and the neighbor are all external evils, why is the evil inclination mentioned in the middle of all this?

Rabbi Yitzchak said: “At first, the evil inclination is called a wayfarer, then a guest, and ultimately, is called the master of the house (Bereishit Rabah 22:11). As Nathan the Prophet said to King David (Samuel II 12:4), ‘And there came a wayfarer unto the rich man. He was reluctant to take from his own sheep…to prepare for the guest…so he took the poor man’s ewe and prepared it for the man who had come to him”.

When we begin our day, we beseech God to help us battle our evil inclination while we are still able to point at it as an external foe. It is easier to fight it as a wayfarer than to wage a war when the enemy is within.

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