We have learned (Berachot 4a) that a man should always apply himself to arousing the Good Inclination against the Evil Inclination. [When the Evil Inclination leads man to sin, one should connect with holiness to overpower the Satan who accuses against him, above in the spiritual realms]. If evil departs, that is fine; if not, he should study the Torah, for there is nothing like the power of Torah to break the evil inclination. If evil departs, that is fine; if not, man should remind him of his dying day in order to break it.

We have to study this further. The Evil Inclination is the Angel of Death. Why should the Angel of Death be broken just before the day of death, seeing that it is he who delights in killing. Indeed, he leads them astray to bring death upon them.
...the Evil Inclination dwells only in a place of intoxication and pride.
Surely we have learned that man needs to be reminded of his dying day in order to break his heart, for the Evil Inclination dwells only in a place of intoxication and pride. When a person's spirit is broken, evil departs and does not stay with him. One should therefore be reminded of his dying day so that his spirit will be crushed and the Evil Inclination will go away.

Come and see. The Good Inclination wants the joy of the Torah and the Evil Inclination the joy of wine, adultery, and pride. Therefore, a man should always vex him
[the Evil Inclination] by mention of that great day [the last day before death], the day of judgment, the Day of Reckoning, for there is nothing that protects man except the good deeds that he performs in this world.

Come and see: "And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house." With all their might and strength, one youth who brought them into Joseph's house made his brothers afraid. How much more
[fear will one feel] when G‑d will demand justice of man?

Hence, a man should strive in this world to be careful
[while he is alive and can still rectify his deeds] and to strengthen [his awareness of] G‑d and put his trust in Him; that even though he sinned, he can fully repent. And a man should fortify himself in [his belief that to] G‑d, it will be as if he had never sinned.
The tribes were afraid because they had sinned in stealing Joseph...
The tribes were afraid because they had sinned in stealing Joseph
[even though this sin had happened years before]. They would not have been afraid at all had they not sinned, for man's sins break his heart and strength. Why? Because his Good Inclination is crushed within him, and it has no power to overcome the evil inclination. It is therefore written, "What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted," (Deut. 20:8) "that is fearful" of the sins upon his hands, which break a man's heart.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
Elul starts next week; Rosh HaShanah in 5 weeks. Time for the yearly accounting. Here we learn of a "starter" method of Teshuvah, from the place of fear of punishment. We return to ourselves, to our center, and to G‑d to avoid fire and brimstone. Not a bad motivation for the inner child in us that needs stern discipline.

But, there are higher levels. Like the return to G‑d because we love him with all our hearts, souls, and might. And the even higher level to return because we are in awe of His exalted state: we are petrified of damaging the precious relationship we have with our Loved One.

Whatever your motivation is, come back home—return to your centering, in these lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer - especially since the restriction of the Three Weeks has recently passed - we may wish to just slack out. But those who want to greet the King in the field in Elul know better. Time to make hay while the sun shines. Hay as in the Letter Hei of G‑d's Name Havayah, for Teshuvah is Tashuv Hei, Return the [letter] Hei that has fallen because of our failure to keep Him before us always.

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[Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries]