5780 Zachor

Confidence To Bounce Back

The Mitzvah of זכירת עמלק is not just to incite the שנאה towards the people of Amalek but towards the evil aspect that which they represent, as the Maggid from Koznitz says that every Jew needs to eradicate the Amalek, that which it embodies and personifies, from within. There have been many enemies of the Jews in our history but we are only commanded to remember that which Amalek in order to not lose the שנאה over generations. Therefore it must be understood what is it about Amalek that is so critical to never forget in order that we can eradicate the essence of that which Amalek represents and personifies?

The Pasuk in בלק says ראשית גוים עמלק ואחריתו עדי אובד. The Pasuk indicates that there is a connection between the fact that Amalek is ראשית גוים that there אחריתו is עדי אובד. But it’s not only because they were chronologically first to attack the Jews coming out of Mitzrayim rather there is something more fundamental about what they represent that is a contradiction to us and this aspect is the reason why there is no place for their existence in the end of days.

The Pasuk says ויזנב בך את כל הנחשלים אחריך ואתה עייף ויגע וכו'. Rashi says חסרי כח מחמת חטאם שהיה הענן פולטם. It’s clear that sin alone would not have been a sufficient reason to be attacked by Amalek rather it was only because of the חסרי כח because of the חטאם that allowed Amalek to attack. The idea of חסרי כח is the feeling of discouragement one feels and his inability to bounce back after he sins. But this feeling only comes from an impression of himself that he feels small and unworthy.

This התקטנות was the reason why שאול was unable to fully destroy Amalek. The Pasuk in Shmuel says ויאמר שמואל הלא אם קטן אתה בעיניך וכו'. From שמואל statement to שאול, we see what שאול issue was regarding being unable to defeat all of Amalek, which was this feeling of קטנות ושפלות. The Psukim earlier indicate that שאול struggled with this from the beginning when he was approached to be the king and his response was that he was from among the קטני שבטי ישראל. The fact that עמלק survival was made possible through this aspect of a person feeling lowly and small is no coincidence, and on the contrary, its whole existence stems from this trait.

The Pasuk in משלי says לץ תכה ופתי יערים (יט,כה). The Medrash says לץ תכה is Amalek and פתי יערים is Yisro. Chazal describe Amalek with the מדה of ליצנות. It’s a mistake to think that ליצנות is just being מזלזל in others. Rather the reason why a person is מזלזל in others is because he has not self-value and he is not מחשיב himself and therefore he can’t be מחשיב others. This is the idea behind איזהו מכובד המכבד את הבריות because if he himself is not מכובד because he has no self-worth, then he will not be able to be מכבד אחרים. Amalek is the descendent of Eisav and we see that Eisav lacked this self-worth and confidence. The Pasuk says ויבז עשיו את הבכורה. The ביזוי was because he said הנה אנכי הולך למות ולמה זה לי בכורה. Rashi says כמה אזהרות ועונשין ומיתות תלויין בה וכו' הנה אנכי הולך למות על ידה וכו'. Eisav lacked the self-confidence and that led to him being מבזה the Avodah. The ז' עממין represent ז' מידות רעות which all correspond to ז' מידות דקדושה. Each of these מידות are inherently good just depending on how they are used they can be used for bad and therefore there is a תיקון for these nations. However, Amalek which is the מידה of ליצנות which has no purpose or function except for ליצנותא דעבודה זרה. Therefore, in the future where there won’t be any עבודה זרה, all of ליצנות will be eradicated from the world, which is the meaning of אחריתו עדי אובד.

Reb Tzadok in צדקת הצדיק says just like a person has to believe in Hashem, so too he has to believe in himself that he has purpose and Hashem has a mission for him that only he can accomplish. This is the explanation in the Pausk ויאמינו בה' ובמשה עבדו, that Moshe encompasses all ששים רבוא נפשות ישראל in that generation. They all believed in themselves and had the self confidence that they had a purpose and were wanted by Hashem.

The שינאת עמלק is the hatred against ליצנות and זלזל which comes from a person feeling lowly of himself. Therefore, מחיית עמלק can only be possible by getting rid of the התקטנות and having self-confidence and self-worth.

Embracing Doubt

Many want to suggest that the Gematria of עמלק is ספק and the Avodah is to have no ספק. But it’s hard to say that there should be no ספק because it’s human nature and the human condition to have doubt so it can’t be that the goal and focus is to live without doubt. (It’s interesting to note that even within the Parshah of Zachor we have the ספק of whether we read it “zecher” or “zeicher”. Similarly, in regards to Purim and Megillah, there are עיירות מסופקות in regards to which day to read the megillah. Also, the Gemara in Yoma discusses ה' פסוקים שאין להם הכרע, ono of them being on the word מחר - וצא הלחם בעמלק מחר. Even Mordechai wasn’t sure of the outcome when he said to Esther מי יודע.)

But really a person is not supposed to get rid of the ספק rather he is supposed to embrace ספק and learn to live with the ספק. There are people that can’t live without uncertainty and they have to know everything but it’s those people that don’t really know. On the contrary, only when a person come’s to the realization that he doesn’t know can he really know. Haman in the Torah is by the עץ הדעת where it says המן העץ. The חטא of Adam was that he needed to know-יודע דעת אלוקים and he couldn’t live with uncertainty. The זוהמא that came into the world at the time of the חטא was פסקא by Matan Torah because when Klal Yisrael said נעשה ונשמע, they were accepting something without certainty. They heard and understood to the best of their abilities and knowledge and made an intelligent decision based on what they knew even though they didn’t know for sure. However, by the חטא העגל, that זוהמא came back because Klal Yisrael said האיש משה לא ידענו מה היה לו and they weren’t able to live with that uncertainty. Therefore, the Avodah in this world is to be able to live with uncertainty and doubt and understand and know that we really don’t know.


Parshas Zachor 5772