A New Insight Into Old Words
Last night as I ran on the treadmill, I listened to Rabbi Nasan Maimon's shiurim on Meshivas Nafesh. One teaching in particular from Meshivas Nafesh 17 resonated with me during my half-hour run.
The very strength of desire which a person experiences to draw close to Hashem can in fact be a danger thrown up by the yetzer hara. At times his "passion" burns far more fiercely than it should. This is the meaning of the warning which Hashem gave to Moshe before the Torah was given, "but the kohanim and the people shall not break their formation to ascend to the Hashem, lest He wreak destruction upon them." (Shemos 19:24) You must pray that Hashem's loving kindness will protect you from this.
Rabbi Nasan Maimon explained that the words והסר שטן מלפנינו ומאחרינו (remove the Satan from in front of us and from behind us) that are found in the Maariv tefillah of Haskiveinu allude to this very idea that Rebbe Nachman of Breslov addressed.
Just as there are times when the yetzer hara tries to cool us off and dissuade us from making advancements in our avodas Hashem - מלפנינו, there are also times when the yetzer hara tries to force us to sprint full speed ahead with the hopes that we will tire quickly or hit a wall in the process and give up - ומאחרינו.