There is a phrase in Bereshit/Genesis 6:5 which reads in hebrew: '.... v'kol yetzer machshevot libo...'

I found different translations starting of with: The entire, every, the whole.. And ending with: imaginations of/from the heart, thoughts or ideas from/of the heart, every plan divised, inclination/impulse etc.

It seems that it's not the heart which is evil, but the Yetzer machshevot which comes from the heart. So what exactly does the wording 'Yetzer machshevot' mean and learn?

And what does it mean that it was evil from the early period (youth) of the human being (Bereshit 8:21)?

1 Answer 1


Rd"k explains that normally a person has two Yetzarim - sources of desire - one for good, and one for evil. The verse is conveying through this wording that the former had been corrupted, so that both of these yetzarim were now evil.

Regarding your second question, Rashi explains it to mean from the time of birth.

  • You're confusing me, how can the Yetzer HaTov become Rah? And if indeed the human being is evil and the Yetzer HaTov comes later (at the age of 13), then why do children seem to have a tendancy to do good as well? What does it mean to have a Yetzer harah from birth or youth.
    – Levi
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 17:32
  • @Levi if that's what you meant to ask, then it's a dupe - judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/31230/…
    – Jay
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 18:41
  • not really, I wanted to know what Yetzer machshevot is (because in Bereshit 6:5 the verse just says Yetzer, but both seems from the heart). In relation to the meaning of this combination of words I wanted to know what it means to have this from youth or birth; how do these words Yetzer Machshevot belong to this stage of life.
    – Levi
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 8:15
  • No, I think Jay answered that appropriately. I believe it's the Rambam who calls the yetzer tov and yetzer hara the spiritual drive and physical drive, respectively. These people were so corrupted that even their spiritual drive wanted to do evil.
    – DonielF
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 5:27

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