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Is man inherently good or evil?

This video encourages the discussion of Jewish values as they relate to contemporary culture. Jewlarious does not endorse any particular film.

Comments (10)

(9) Lyone, January 9, 2012 7:48 PM

Both Are in Us

@ David E, etc, I don't know about that Jewish "dictum" (not a Hebrew word) , but I do know that we are all clearly taught two crucial things about human nature in Judaism. Firstly, that all humans have a Yetzer haTov (a good impulse) and a Yetzer haRah (a bad impulse)--both in equal proportions in most of us at birth, unless we are either unusually righteous or unusually evil individuals. The second crucial teaching is that God made the humans in God's image--so, as God is, we are, I would think.

(8) David E., March 15, 2010 2:36 AM

Don't argue with Chazal!

There is a Jewish dictum that "adam ra mineurav" (Man is wicked from his youth). Why are we even debating this? man is inherently evil. Only through working on oneself can one become good.

(7) d a, January 12, 2010 11:54 PM

Man IS good!

I don't usually write comments here, however I just have to say that MAN IS GOOD!!! This video was also good!

(6) Anonymous, December 24, 2009 10:17 AM

Thank you Sharon from comment #5

That is amazing wisdom. If someone spends his life working on developing his character traits and learning how to be a more spiritual person, eventually he will become a better person. If he spends his time indulging in his desires he will be "feeding the bad wolf"

(5) Sharon, December 23, 2009 3:49 PM

It's the one you feed!

An old Cherokee told his grandson that there were two wolves warring in all of us- one that hated, bred guilt, was jealous, selfish, judgmental,.... and one that was kind, generous, thoughtful, forgiving, selfless,..... The child asked, "Which one wins the war?" "The one you feed", answered the grandfather.

Pinchas, January 22, 2013 8:56 AM


That sums it up .

(4) Anonymous, December 22, 2009 3:27 AM

You choose!

Man has the power to go against his instinct in purely altruistic acts. That power, that free choice, that capacity for greatness can be used either for evil or for good. Man is not inherently evil or good. He is inherently free to choose. And every choice he makes will make him a better or worse person. Every seemingly benign choice he makes will dull his senses of altruism with selfishness and bring him closer to being evil or it will bring him closer to being a truly great and good person. (What choice did you make when you stepped through the door and greeted your spouse/child/parent after a long, tiring, frustrating day? Did it bring you closer to being great?)

(3) Akiva Crown, December 21, 2009 11:38 PM

Good and Evil

G-d said I put forth before you Good and Evil...and then said to choose good. Man is not inherently anything and can be evil, good or in most cases both. Every moment is a choice. Hopefully we choose good.

(2) Leah, December 21, 2009 10:55 PM

Everything in this world can be used for good or bad. One can access trash online, and one can be inspired to do good. Even a character trait can be used for good or bad, one can help a friend in need, and one can help a friend do something wrong. Same with man. IMO, its not possible to make a blanket statement about man. There are good men, and bad men. There are men who promote good, and those who promote evil. I think it depends a lot on ones upbringing but not completely, part of it is inborn. Its up to us to work ourselves, and to push ourselves into the proper direction

(1) Anonymous, December 21, 2009 4:09 PM

is it"either or"

I don't completely understand having only two options. Man has the potential to be good and the potential to be evil. It's a choice. We experience biased hatred and universal acceptance in our world....selfishness and generosity....The Yetzer Hora and the Yetzer Tov explain it quite well.


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