I heard this saying a while ago, but did not remember the source. I’ve done Google searches and cannot find reference to it.

Could someone enlighten me as to where this is from?

With blessings.

1 Answer 1


Refer to the Gemara in Berachos 61b, where Rabbi Yosei HaGelili says that a righteous person is ruled by his good inclination, a wicked person by his evil inclination.

With regard to one’s inclinations, it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei HaGelili says: The good inclination rules the righteous, as it is stated: “And my heart is dead within me” (Psalms 109:22); the evil inclination has been completely banished from his heart. The evil inclination rules the wicked, as it is stated: “Transgression speaks to the wicked, there is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalms 36:2). Middling people are ruled by both the good and evil inclinations, as it is stated: “Because He stands at the right hand of the needy, to save him from them that rule his soul” (Psalms 109:31).

In the Midrash on Koheles, we read a similair idea, but here it says that a righteous person will choose his good inclination over his evil inclination.

Who will choose the good inclination over the evil inclination? These are the righteous. Who will choose the evil inclination over the good inclination? These are the wicked.

The Alter Rebbe in Tanya, Likutei Amarim similary writes:

And the sages explained in the Talmud, that the 'righteous person who has good' is the perfectly righteous person [or the perfect tzaddik]; the 'righteous person who has evil' is a person who is righteous but not completely [or the imperfect tzaddik]. And in Raya Mehemna he explains, that [in the description of] 'a righteous person who has evil' [not that there is something evil about him, rather] - that any evil within him is completely mastered by his goodness, etc. And in the Talmud-Gemara: "The righteous [tzaddik] are judged by their good inclination etc., the wicked [rasha] are judged by their evil inclination, while the intermediate person [beinoni] is judged by both inclinations etc. Said Raba, 'For example, I am an intermediate person [beinoni].' Said Abaye to him, 'Our master has left no life for any creature.'"

More to follow.

  • that’s astonishing, thank you very much :) Will leave this for a couple of hours in case someone can find a direct correlation with the saying as I quoted it, but will accept this if nothing comes in before Shabbos. Many blessings :)
    – Tom W
    Jan 19 at 12:41
  • 1
    My pleasure, great to be of help. Have a wonderful Shabbos in advance!
    – Shmuel
    Jan 19 at 12:42
  • B”H, Shabbat shalom! :)
    – Tom W
    Jan 19 at 12:46
  • 1
    seems somewhat parallel to proverbs 10:1 a wise son brings joy to his father but a foolish son brings grief to his mother Jan 20 at 0:03

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