We find in the Talmud a famous phrase: “בראתי יצר הרע ובראתי לו תורה תבלין” – “I created the negative instinct, and created the Torah as a spice for it.” It is hard to understand this concept, since spices are apparently secondary elements that adorn a meal. Was the Torah given in this way, simply as a complement or additive to fight against our negative inclinations?
At the moment in which we take stock of our actions, we look inside ourselves and find that we have many bad tendencies, defects, mistakes made, we need tools to be able to modify our actions in order to improve ourselves. That is why Rabbi Chaim Yosef Azulay explains that, in reality, the Talmud is referring to the “seasoning” in a deeper way, in which if one has the merit of studying and deepening the Torah with a pure will and for love of oneself, the negative instinct – yetzer ha-ra can be channeled into the goodness one does, just as a seasoning turns a bland meal into a delicacy for kings.
As Jews we aim to improve ourselves day by day. The secret to this is to deepen the sources to achieve “לעסוק בתורה” to devote ourselves to the Torah. This does not necessarily mean studying or praying all day, but to apply the logic and message of the Torah to all aspects of life; work, university, relationships, etc. To do this, with a space dedicated to the study of Torah in depth, valuing its essence and its eternal messages, we will be able to transform everyday life into a deeper reality, with meaning and transcendence.
By RABBI DR. PASCANSKY, MENORA