There is an inexplicable attraction between the evil impulse and man.
Indeed, this is the very source of life for evil and makes possible its growth.
On the other hand, the contact even when it is full of love-is destructive:
For the evil impulse is a spiritual parasite, incapable of independent existence; it has to live off some living creature.
As it grows, sapping strength and holiness, it destroys the human being who feeds it, and thereby undermines its own existence.
Consequently, it is said that the Divine seems to go out of His way to provoke scholars and saints.
One who is superior to his fellows has to suffer more from the provocations of the evil impulse.
The more pure and holy the man, the more he is prey to the parasitic forces of evil.
Thus, in him, evil, of whatever scale, becomes a significant factor, drawing on his very greatness of soul.
Also, the punishment is proportionately severe, the self-punishment of the righteous.
The ironic thing is that, in itself, the evil impulse is quite impotent.
It cannot really do much harm, being nothing more than a negation, a zero, devoid of real being of its own.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From "On Transgression," in The Long Shorter Way by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz