In commenting on Gen. 2:25, Rashi says that, “There was not given to him [Adam] an evil inclination until he ate from the tree.” But his view is very problematic. If Adam had no evil inclination before he ate from the tree, then why did he eat from the tree? He knew it was wrong.
However, the rabbinic view is also expressed that, following that first sin, humanity is subject to Sin, and the Yetzer haRa, from the time when the process of birth begins.. “Antoninus also enquired of Rabbi, ‘From what time does the Evil Inclination rule in man, from the formation, or from going out? ‘From the formation,’ he replied. ‘If so,’ he objected, ‘it would rebel in its mother’s womb and go out. But it is from when it goes out.’ Rabbi said: ‘Antoninus taught me this thing, and Scripture supports him, for it is said, ‘At the door [of birth] sin lies in wait. (Gen. 4:7)’” (Tal. Sanhedrin 91b) Rashi says the same. (Gen. 8:21)
There is a related view presented in Tal. Baba Metzia 107a, in commentary on Dt. 28:6, “You wil be blessed in your coming in, you will be blessed in your going out.” The commentary says, “That your going out from the world will be as your coming into the world: as your coming into the world was without sin, even so may your going out from the world be without sin.”
In general, the Rabbis speak of the Yetzer haRa as being the hidden cause for the imagination of humanity being evil and unclean, and for human hearts being hard and unclean. The Rabbis speak of it as being our enemy and the thing that causes us to stumble. In short, the Rabbis speak of the Yetzer haRa in much the same way that the Messianic Writings speak of Sin.
There is an interesting passage in Tal. Sukkah 52a that connects the death of Messiah and the death of the yetzer hara. “‘And the land will mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart.’ (Zech. 12:12) Is it not, they said, an a fortiori argument? If in the future when they will be engaged in mourning and the Evil Inclination will have no power over them, the Torah nevertheless says men separately and women separately, how much more so now when they are engaged in rejoicing and the Evil Inclination has sway over them.
“What is the cause of the mourning? R. Dosa and the Rabbis differ on the point. One explained, ‘The cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph,’ and the other explained, ‘The cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination.’
“It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, since that well agrees with the Scriptural verse, ‘And they will look upon me because they have thrust him through, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for his only son.’ (Zech. 12:12)
“But according to him who explains the cause to be the slaying of the Evil Inclination, is this an occasion for mourning? Is it not rather an occasion for rejoicing? Why then should they weep? As R. Judah expounded: ‘In the time to come the Holy One, blessed be He, will bring the Evil Inclination and slay it in the presence of the righteous and the wicked. To the righteous it will have the appearance of a towering hill, and to the wicked it will have the appearance of a hair thread. Both the former and the latter will weep; the righteous will weep saying, How were we able to overcome such a towering hill! The wicked also will weep saying, How is it that we were unable to conquer this hair thread!...
“R. Avira or, as some say, R. Joshua b. Levi, made the following exposition: The Evil Inclination has seven names. The Holy One, blessed be He, called it ‘Evil,’ as it is said, ‘For the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.’ Moses called it ‘the Uncircumcised,’ as it is said, ‘Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart.’ David called it ‘Unclean,’ as it is said, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O Lord,’ which implies that there is an unclean one. Solomon called it ‘the Enemy,’ as it is said, ‘If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat and if he is thirsty give him water to drink. For you will heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Everpresent Lord will reward you.’ Do not read ‘will reward you’ but ‘will cause it to be at peace with you.’ Isaiah called it ‘the Stumbling-Block,’ as it is said, ‘Throw away, throw away, clear the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of My people.’ Ezekiel called it ‘Stone,’ as it is said, ‘And I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh.’ Joel called it ‘the Hidden One,’ as it is said, ‘But I will remove far off from you the hidden one.’”
“The Holy One, blessed be He, created the yetzer hara, but He created the Torah to swallow it up.” (Tal. Baba Batra 16a)
There is also the view that the Yetzer haRa is necessary for this age: “‘And God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good’ (Gen.1:31), This is the Evil Inclination. And therefore the Evil Inclination is called good. This is to teach that if it were not for the Evil Inclination, a man would not take a wife, and would not father children from her, and the world would not be established.” (Mid. Psalms 9.1)