Two Aspects of Dominion
There are two aspects of dominion over the yetzer hara. The first is for one to overcome his nature so that he does not commit evil. The second is to change one’s nature so that he performs good. The second aspect is more difficult than the first, for it is more difficult to transform one’s nature than to overcome his nature. Therefore, man must develop stage by stage. Initially, he should strive to fulfill the precept “Turn from evil” (Tehillim 34:15); this is the first aspect of growth. Afterwards, he should strive to fulfill the imperative to “do good” (ibid), which is the second and more advanced level.
Letter Seventeen taken from Rav Yisrael Salanter’s OHR Yisrael book. Edited by Targum/Feldheim.