Six hours! That’s something like 2 hours of thanking Hashem, 2 hours of confession, and 2 hours of requests – or however the woman parceled it out.
People can go through their whole life without ever accumulating 2 hours of sincere heartfelt confession before Hashem. And here, she did that (more or less) in one go – and she tripped up right after.
That’s not encouraging, is it?
Why It's Not Your Fault
Your yetzer hara is so strong that good intentions and iron resolve aren’t enough; you need Hashem.
It’s actually another way of saying that your flaws and your falls aren’t really your fault.
You aren’t a failure if you try then stumble.
The yetzer hara is barreling at us full-force, particularly in this generation, and Hashem is the only One strong enough to overcome it.
Some Sagely Statements
Sefer Hachareidim: “A person must pray over himself and his children to be rescued from the yetzer hara.”
This is why the morning blessings specifically request that the yetzer hara not overcome a person.
Likewise, during the Bedtime Shema in the blessing of “Hamapil” ("al yishlot bi yetzer hara – don’t let the evil inclination take control of me") a person must intend that he, his spouse, and his children are saved from the yetzer hara. (Yeladim Mutzlachim/Successful Children by Rav Shalom Arush)
Chazal: “The yetzer hara is so harsh that even its Creator called it ‘bad’.”
Rav Yitzchak: “The yetzer of a person renews itself upon him each day.”
Rav Sh. Ben Levi: “The yetzer of a person overcomes him each day and seeks to slay him – and if the Holy One Blessed Be He wouldn’t help him, he [the person] could not [help himself]. (Kiddushim 30)
Rav Yechezkel Levenshtein (Avot Yisrael): “A person’s greatest hater is the yetzer hara, and it wants to annihilate him from two worlds [i.e., This World and the World to Come].”
Sefer HaYashar: “...each person needs to fear for his soul and to pray each day to his God to rescue him from the force of the yetzer hara.”
The above paints a picture of a merciless and monstrous psychopath in hot pursuit of ripping us to pieces.
So if we’re crushed beneath the yetzer hara, is it really our fault?
Only if we didn’t cry out for help.
Say something like: “I DON’T WANT THIS! I DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE THIS! I HATE THIS MIDDAH! I HATE THIS FACET OF ME – TAKE IT AWAY, HASHEM, BECAUSE I DON’T WANT IT!!!”
Because of this, Rav Arush recommends to cry out several times a day, once on behalf of yourself and a few more times on behalf of your spouse and children, to be saved from your biggest enemy, which wants you to lose Two Worlds.
So don’t sink into self-disgust or despair if you fall.
Maybe you had great week, then you find yourself back to square one again.
Maybe yesterday, you managed victory after victory, then all of the sudden, you trip up this morning before you even said Modeh Ani.
Or maybe you started off your morning well, then found yourself flat on your face by noon.
That’s how it goes, sorry to say.
It’s not a reflection on you.
As described in a previous post, this generation is under assault from the fierce and gargantuan death throes of everything bad.
Why is that YOUR fault?
So even as you find your face smushed into the mud from yet another fall, try to at least mumble the words: “I protest! Help me, Hashem! Save me from the yetzer hara! Mrmph-mrmph!”
As Rebbe Akiva Rabinovitz said [Ahavat Kedumim, p. 170, emphasis mine]:
Hakadosh Baruch Hu holds absolutely no hakpadah against a Jewish person who possess evil traits and lusts.
Hakadosh Baruch Hu does not come in accusations about this since He implanted these within him, and He brought us down here FOR THIS PURPOSE.
If so, regarding what is the hakpadah?
The hakpadah occurs when the Jewish person does not strive to seek out the path and the counsel as to how to get out of [those evil traits and lusts].
Therefore, there exists the iron rule:
"As long as a person engages in battle, he is always called 'the winner'."
It means that even if you don’t succeed, you are still considered victorious in Shamayim just because you TRY.
But you have to really try.
And you have to call out to Hashem.
Inspiring Words for the Darkest & Coldest Times
How to Get Past Toxic Shame & Apathy