Caught in the Web!
Then they said to one another, "Indeed we are guilty concerning our brother, inasmuch as we saw his heartfelt anguish when he pleaded with us and we paid no heed." (Gen. 42:21)
When the Egyptian viceroy demanded the presentation of Binyamin, the brothers began to feel guilty about their treatment of Yoseph. They said to one another, "Indeed we are guilty… we saw his heartfelt anguish when he pleaded with us and we paid no heed." Why did the brothers not say this after they sold Yoseph?
In the heat of sin, man is so captivated by evil that he does not hear any legitimate counter argument. It was only when they began to disengage themselves from the hold of the evil inclination that the brothers realized that Yoseph had begged for mercy during their sale of him. At the time they had been so spiritually deaf that they heard nothing.(1)
Once man allows any evil to penetrate his defenses, he is no longer able to see the truth or accept rebuke. He becomes spiritually deaf and blind. Like a guard, the evil inclination patrols the entrance to his heart, preventing any change or growth. A person must set up boundaries to ensure that he doesn't get caught up in the web of the evil inclination. For once he falls into the trap, it is nearly impossible to escape.
1. R' Shlomo Freifeld.