When you go out to war on your enemies, the L-rd your G‑d shall deliver them into your hands, and you shall capture from them captives (Deuteronomy 21:10)

According to the Torah, a person has two inclinations — the "good inclination" (yetzer tov) and the "evil inclination" (yetzer ha-ra). The evil inclination is out to trap us and lead us into inappropriate behavior. The good inclination tries to keep us on the straight and narrow and to help us prevail over the evil inclination. The choice is ours; it is hard work, though, to resist the evil inclination!

This week's parshah begins by speaking about "when you go to war on your enemy." The chassidic masters explain that on a deeper level, "your enemy" refers to the evil inclination, which we are constantly battling each and every day. The Torah gives us hope — the verse continues, "and G‑d will deliver him into your hand... and you will take captives..."

The Talmud states that "one who comes to purify himself... is helped." When we are sincere in our desire to do the right thing, we receive a boost from Above to help us overpower the evil inclination and the other temptations around us. Hence when we face the challenge head-on, the evil inclination is not only "delivered into your hand" but it becomes "captive," meaning that it is subjugated and transformed into good.

According to Chassidic philosophy, this is the continuing daily process of transforming ourselves and the world around us, of "refining" everything in Creation, using it for the good and to serve a higher purpose.