1. "And Jacob dwelt in the land in which his father sojourned, in the land of Canaan" (Beresheet 37:1). Rabbi Chiya opened the discussion with the verse, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, and Hashem delivers him out of them all" (Tehilim 34:20). Come and behold, how many enemies a man must face from the day that the Holy One, blessed be He, gives him a soul in this world. As soon as man comes into the world, the Evil Inclination is immediately ready to join him, as it is written, "sin crouches at the door" (Beresheet 4:7), because that is when the Evil Inclination associates with him.
2. Come and behold, this is true. From the day of birth, beasts protect themselves by fleeing from fire and evil places. WHEN HE IS BORN, man immediately flings himself into the fire because the Evil Inclination dwells within him and immediately prompts him to follow the path of evil.
3. For we have learned that it says, "Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king who knows not how to take care of himself" (Kohelet 4:13). "Better is a child," because a child represents the Good Inclination; it has been with man for only a short time. Since the age of thirteen years and onward, IT IS WITH MAN, as we have already learned.
4. In the verse, "...than an old and foolish king" (Kohelet 4:13), "king" refers to the Evil Inclination which is called a 'king' and 'ruler of people in the world.' It is certainly "old," and "foolish," because as soon as man is born and comes into the world, it lives with him. Hence, it is an "old and foolish king."
5. Further it reads, " ...Who knows not how to take care of himself." It is not written, 'To take care of others,' but, "to take care of himself." Why? Because it is foolish. In this regard, Solomon said, "And the fool walks in darkness" (Kohelet 2:14), because this foolishness comes from the refuse of darkness and will never have light. BUT HE WHO DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF OTHERS IS NOT YET CONSIDERED FOOLISH.
6. Rabbi Shimon said, Come and behold. It is written, "Better is a poor and wise child." AND HE ASKS, Who is a poor child? AND HE REPLIES, It has been explained, and we learned he is the Good Inclination. But "better is a child," as it is written, "I have been young, and now am old" (Tehilim 37:25). This is the lad who is a poor child and owns nothing. Why is he called a lad? Because he is constantly renewed, like the moon. He is also "a wise child," because wisdom dwells within him.
7. "Than an old ...king" refers to the Evil Inclination, WHICH STANDS IN CONTRAST TO METATRON AND IS CALLED A 'SCOUNDREL.' As we have learned, it never departed from its impure ways from the day it was created. It is foolish, as all its ways lead to evil. It deludes people and does not know how to take care of itself. It accuses people falsely and misleads them from the path of good to the path of wickedness.
8. Come and behold, this is why THE EVIL INCLINATION comes early TO JOIN with man, from the day he is born, so that man will believe in it. Later, when the Good Inclination arrives, man will find it difficult to believe in it, AND ITS WORDS will seem burdensome. Similarly, we have learned that he who is a subtle evil monger hastens to plead his case in front of a judge before the arrival of his colleague, the litigant, as written, "The one who pleads first seems to be in the right" (Mishlei 18:17).
9. This evil monger IS THE EVIL INCLINATION. As written, "The serpent was craftier" (Beresheet 3:2). He, too, hurries to dwell in man before his colleague, THE GOOD INCLINATION, comes to dwell in him. And because he arrived early to plead his case, when his colleague, who is the Good Inclination, comes later, it is difficult for man to unite with it! And he cannot raise his head, as if he carried on his shoulders all the burdens of the world. All this is because the Evil One came first. Of this, Solomon said, "The Poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard" (Kohelet 9:16), because the other one arrived earlier.
10. Subsequently, for any judge who accepts the words of a litigant before his colleague arrives, it is as if he accepts another deity to believe in. But, "his neighbor comes forward, and sifts his case" (Mishlei 18:17), WHICH MEANS ONLY AFTER HIS COLLEAGUE COMES SHOULD HE HEAR HIS WORDS. This is the way of a righteous man because a righteous man does not believe the subtle evil monger, who is the Evil Inclination, even if he hastens to plead his case before the arrival of his colleague, the Good Inclination. SO IT FULFILLS THE VERSE, "AND HIS NEIGHBOR COMES FORWARD, AND SIFTS HIS CASE." And with this act, people fail TO MERIT the World to Come.