8.26.2016

LIGHT TO THE NATIONS SERIES PART 1

B"H

The phrase “light to the nations” has been distorted along with most of the Torah by the Hellenizers of our day, the Erev Rav.

Before us we have a recommendation for one world and one people, and why should Israel remain alone, a nation that dwells apart?

Likewise, regarding the verse, "Return, return, O Shulammite.  Return, return, that we may look upon you.  What will you see in the Shulammite?  As it were a dance of two companies" (Song of Songs 7:1), our sages offered the following description (Shir HaShirim Rabbah, 7:[1]2):

The nations of the world say to Israel, "How long shall you die for your G-d and pay Him... How long shall you be killed for His sake... How long shall you show G-d kindness when He shows you misfortune?  Come to us and we shall appoint you governors, prefects and commanders.  'Let us look [nechezeh] upon you--You will be the admiration [machazit] of the whole world"  As it says, "You shall be seen [techezeh] of all the people" (Ex. 18:21). 

The admiration of the whole world, a "light unto the nations"... Here is their basic enticement, adopted also by the Hellenists and falsifiers of Israel.  They have distorted the concept of Israel being a "covenant of the people, a light unto the nations" (Isaiah 42:6).  In their hands, this has turned into a demand that we depart the Land of our isolation and cling to the nations in the exile, living there with them in order to serve as their beacon.  To achieve this, we are supposed to abandon unpleasant, "unacceptable" concepts and laws, lest these make the nations hate us, and all this in the name of unity.  That is, we are supposed to assimilate for the sake of unity. (Or HaRa'ayon, Havdallah, Rabbi Kahane)

Being a "light to the nations" isn't a commandment or an action we perform nor our mission. It is the affect we have on the world by serving Hashem and following his Torah.

The 613 mitzvoth are called pillars of light.  When a Jew fulfills one of the 613 mitzvoth he/she brings down light from above (heaven) to below (earth), as we learn from the Tanya:

And this is what the Yenuka meant when he said that "The Supernal light that is kindled on one's head, namely, the Shechinah, requires oil," that is, to be clothed in wisdom, which is called "oil from the holy anointing," as is explained in the Zohar, that "these are the good deeds," namely, the 613 commandments, which derive from His blessed wisdom. Thereby the light of the Shechinah can cling to the wick, i.e. the vivifying soul in the body, which is metaphorically called a "wick." For just as in the case of a material candle, the light shines by virtue of the annihilation and burning of the wick turning to fire, so does the light of the Shechinah rest on the divine soul as a result of the annihilation of the animal soul and its transformation "From darkness to light and from bitterness to sweetness" in the case of the righteous, or at least through the destruction of its garments, which are thought, speech and action, and their transformation from the darkness of the kelipot to the Divine light of the blessed En Sof, which is clothed and united in the thought, speech and action of the 613 commandments of the Torah, in the case of benonim. For as a result of the transformation of the animal soul, originating from the kelipat nogah, [a transformation] from darkness to light, and so forth, there is brought about the so-called "ascent of the feminine waters" to draw the light of the Shechinah, i.e. the category of the "revealed" light of the blessed En Sof— over one's divine soul [principally dwelling] in the brain of the head. Thereby will also be clearly understood the text "For the Lord Thy G-d is a consuming fire" as is explained elsewhere.

The Greeks forbid Jews from keeping mitzvoth, which brings down the supernal light.  They also desired to eliminate the uniqueness of the Jewish people by destroying the separation between Jew and non-Jew.  Only when Am Yisrael is separated from impurity and the impure nations and fulfilling mitzvoth are we able to bring down the supernal light and then we will be "a light unto the nations".    The lighting of the oil which was lit in the Beit HaMikdash represented the intention of the Jews led by the Maccabees to be separate from the Greeks and the Hellenists and to return to mitzvot. (still trying to locate the source for this)

There is no commandment “to be a light to the nations” in the 613 mitzvot.  This is because “being a light to the nations” is a result of the actions of Am Yisrael doing all of the mitzvot. So if you want to be a "light to the nations" or even better you want to bring down the light of Hashem to illuminate the world, DO MITZVOT!!!! 






We are COMMANDED to LOVE good and to HATE evil

B"H

From here emerges the fundamental contrast between the thinking of G-d and the alien culture of the nations and the assimilationists among our own people.  In G-d's Torah, tolerance toward evil is inappropriate and impossible.  There does not exist any concept of coexistence between good and evil.  Quite the contrary, an oft repeated decree and command is this: "Destroy evil from your midst! Destroy evil from Israel!"  (Deut. 13:6; 17:7,12; 19:19; 21:21-22,24; 24:7).  Time and time again, G-d commands us regarding the need to separate between good and evil, so as to eradicate the evil from our midst.

 Evil is the thing G-d most hates.  It contradicts the purpose of Creation of the world, which is wholly good.  It is an unseemly black mark, marring the beauty and radiance of G-d's perfect, holy, entirely good world.  Evil threatens G-d's kingdom, as it were, and even threatens G-d's presence in that world.  Evil threatens G-d's kingdom, as it were, and even threaten's G-d's presence in that world. It threatens the continued existence of the world, created only for the sake of goodness.

 As King David said (Psalms 119:104),  "From Your precepts I get understanding.  Therefore I hate every false way"; and "I hate them that are of a double mind, but Your law do I love" (Ibid., v. 113); and "I hate and abhor falsehood" (Ibid., v. 163).

Furthermore, Amos said, "Seek good and not evil... Hate the evil and love the good" (Amos 5;14-15). And King Solomon said, "The fear of the L-rd is to hate evil"  (Prov. 8:13).

King David also said (Psalms 5:5), "You are not a G-d Who has pleasure in wickedness.  Evil shall not sojourn with You."  If G-d hates evil, He is also an enemy of evildoers.  As King David continues in the following verse, "The boasters shall not stand in Your sight.  You hate all workers of iniquity." In other words, if "evil shall not sojourn" with G-d, then it is clear that He "hates all workers of iniquity."  He also said, "The face of the L-rd is against them that do evil"  (Ibid., 34:17).
Therefore, wherever the Torah says, "Destroy evil from your midst," Onkelos renders it as, "Destroy evildoers from your midst." Evil, per se, is only an inanimate concept.  Only with the advent of evildoers, who translate evil into the language of reality, bringing it to life, does evil actually enter the world.  Therefore, despite their being His own handiwork, G-d hates them and commands that they be removed from the world.

Just as G-d loves good, so too, man, whose task is to emulate G-d, is obligated to love good and to cling to it and to ensure its spread throughout the world.  Since G-d hates evil and evildoers, it is man's task as well to hate evil and to destroy it.  As King David said (Psalms 97:10), "Ye that love the L-rd, hate evil!"  That is, the duty of those who love G-d is to hate evil and eradicate it from the world.
    Clearly, just as G-d hates evildoers, so must a Jew hate them and frustrate their designs.  As King David said, "I beheld them that were faithless and strove with them, because they observed not Your word" (Psalms 119;158); and "Do I not hate them, O L-rd, those who hate You?  Do I not strive with them that rise up against You?  I hate them with the utmost hatred.  I count them my enemies"  (Ibid., v. 139:21-22).  Redak comments on the phrase "utmost hatred":  "Hatred so great he could not hate them any more."

We also find, "They that forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them: (Prov.  28:4).  Metzudat David comments: "Contend with them:  They take issue with their wickedness, and even if the evildoers are great in number, they do not flatter them."  Ibn Ezra suggest a remarkable new idea when he comments, "'Contend with them': with those who forsake the law." Our sages said (Yevamot 103a-b):

Everything that is good when done by the righteous, is evil when done by the wicked:  [G-d told Laban]  "Take heed that you speak not to Jacob either good or bad" (Gen.  31:24).  I might understand his being forbidden to speak evil to him.  Fine!  But why good as well?  The point is that good deeds done by the wicked for the righteous are bad for them.

Moreover, as noted above, Or HaChaim comments on the verse, "You shall consume all the peoples that the L-rd your G-d delivers unto you.  Your eye shall not pity them"  (Deut.  7:16):  This conforms with , "Taking pity on the wicked is cruel' (Prov. 12:10).  In other words, such behavior is not good but evil."

King Solomon said (Prov. 21:12), "The righteous man who brings the evildoer success [such that the evildoer then attributes his success not to G-d but to himself-- Metzudat David] leads him astray to greater evil," and in Shemot Rabbah 9:2 we find:

Say unto Aaron:  "Take your rod"  (Ex. 7;():  This conforms with, "The rod of your strength G-d will send forth out of Zion.  Rule in the midst of your enemies"  (Psalms 110:2).  G-d dominates the wicked only with a rod.  Why?  Because they are likened to dogs.  As it says, "They return at evening.  They howl like a dog"  (Ibid., 59:7).  Just as dogs are commonly smitten with a rod, so are the wicked smitten.  It therefore mentions, "the rod of your strength"... G-d said to them, "Pharaoh is an evildoer.  If he asks you for a miracle, smite him with a rod."

Some agree that we are duty-bound to fight for good and to praise goodness and good people, yet they hold that we should not wage war against evil, and certainly should not provoke or curse the evildoer, yet they are in grave error:

Whoever mentions an evildoer without cursing him misses out on a Torah commandment-- "The name of the wicked shall rot" (Prov.  10:7).  Whenever Rav mentioned Haman on Purim he would say, "Cursed be Haman and cursed be his sons," to fulfill the verse from Proverbs.  (Bereshit Rabbah 49:1)

Here it would be fitting to interpret our sages' words from Megillah 7b:  "A man is required to become so intoxicated on Purim that he does not know the difference between 'Cursed be Haman' and 'Blessed be Mordechai,'" brought down as law in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chim 695:2.  Many fine people have difficulty understanding this utterance.  I believe our sages established here a powerful and remarkable principle: the point is not that one should drink until he becomes confused and says, "Cursed be Mordechai,"  G-d forbid.  Rather, he should understand that there is no difference between blessing Mordechai and cursing Haman, between blessing the righteous man and cursing the evil one.  Both are mitzvot.  It is a mitzvah to fight and curse the evildoer precisely the way it is a mitzvah to bless the righteous man.  On Purim one should not hesitate to curse and hate Haman, because this is a mitzvah exactly like blessing a righteous man.  The two are equal.  
(Rabbi Meir Kahane, Or HaRa'ayon,pp.126-129)




8.07.2016

SEPARATING AND REMOVING THE EREV RAV

In the past few years I have wondered why Hashem would allow this growing alliance between Jews and xians. Why would he allow xians to attach themselves to our government, our land, our customs and our people. Why would He let rabbis teach them Torah, which they then use for their own agenda? Why would Hashem let "judeo-xianity" develop and spread? Well finally I think I know the answer. Before we were given a Torah and a land, Moshe Rabbeinu accepted the Erev Rav into Am Yisrael. Before we can be completely redeemed, the Erev Rav has to be separated and removed from within Am Yisrael. Those Jews who have attached themselves to the goyim by making alliances and building relationships with them are the Erev Rav. Once the separation is completed, the evil will be removed. Of course this is only one part of the separation but it is the part that most affects my "community".


8.03.2016

RABBI MEIR KAHANE ON THE EREV RAV

B"H

The erev rav is that part of the Jewish People intent on war against G-d and against the truth and credibility of His Torah.  With them we face an uncompromising battle to the finish, and the Gra emphasized this in his call to holy war against them.  When he says that whoever does not actively fight the erev rav becomes their partner and is better off never having been born, he means to warn against the distorted tolerance and groundless love which are the main impediments in this war. Rather, says the Gra, our task is to assist our Messiahs in their task, and the task of Mashiach ben Yosef is once more emphasized there (Chapter 1:6):  "The general purpose of Mashiach ben Yosef is in three things: uncovering the Torah's secrets, the ingathering of the exiles, and eradicating the spirit of impurity from the Land."  Whoever does not take part in this, strengthens the hand of those who block the way to redemption "in haste," thereby bringing upon us tragedies, grief and destruction, Heaven help us! Whoever refuses to fight them sheds blood. (Or HaRa'ayon, p.922)


8.02.2016

THE EREV RAV

In his book EVEN SHELOMO, the Vilna Gaon, ztk’l wrote that the selection and purification of Israel will not be complete until the Erev Rav separates from Israel completely, because they (Erev Rav) are very attached to the Jews and the Jews learn from their actions.

In the Tikkune Zohar (97a) it is written: “All the exile and the destruction of the Beit ha Mikdash and all the suffering, all of it came through Moshe’s acceptance of the Erev Rav, and all wicked people and evildoers in each generation come from them, meaning from their souls, for they are reincarnations of those who left Egypt and this is what the Gemara (Beitza 32) refers to: “They come from the Erev Rav”.

THE MAIN DRIVE OF THE EREV RAV IS TO UNIFY EISAV AND YISHMAEL AND TO SEPARATE THE TWO MOSHIACHS.

THEREFORE, OUR MAIN SERVICE AND BATTLE IS TO BREAK AND TO REMOVE THE STRENGTH OF THE EREV RAV, THE K'LIPAH OF ARMELIUS THE EVIL, FROM ISRAEL; THE EREV RAV IS OUR GREATEST ENEMY, THE ONE WHO SEPARATES THE TWO MOSHIACHS.

The purpose in our bringing about the ingathering of the exiles is to set up faithful people for the sake of the unification of the two moshiachs (i.e., Moshiach Ben Yosef and Moshiach Ben Dovid) in the gates of Jerusalem. This is in order to return the Divine Presence to bring about the redemption, the true redemption and sanctification of God's Name. According to our teacher, the Vilna Gaon, z"l, we can bring about, with the help of God and through these strong people, these two moshiachs, and to learn well all the levels and their purposes in practical terms. The general purpose of the two moshiachs, Moshiach Ben Yosef and Moshiach Ben Dovid, throughout all the generations has been to protect and fight against the three 'heads' of the K'lipos, Eisav, Yishmael, and the Erev Rav. The specific role of Moshiach Ben Yosef is against Eisav who is the k'lipah of the left, the main purpose of Moshiach Ben Dovid is against Yishmael, the k'lipah of the right, and together they go against Eisav and Yishmael who are the ox and the donkey from the side of impurity. The joining of Eisav and Yishmael is the result of Armelius, the sar of the Erev Rav, who are able to destroy Israel and the entire world, may God have mercy. The main drive of the Erev Rav is to unify Eisav and Yishmael and to separate the two moshiachs. Therefore, our main service and battle is to break and to remove the strength of the Erev Rav, the k'lipah of Armelius the Evil, from Israel; the Erev Rav is our greatest enemy, the one who separates the two moshiachs. The k'lipah of the Erev Rav works only through deception and roundabout ways. Therefore, the war against the Erev Rav is the most difficult and bitterest of all. We must strengthen ourselves for this war, and anyone who does not participate in the battle against the Erev Rav becomes, de facto, a partner with the k'lipah of the Erev Rav, and was better off not being born in the first place.
(Kol HaTor, Chapter 2, Section 2, Letter 'bais')


8.01.2016

Separation is the Key to Redemption

(from the Zohar on Parshat Lech Lecha)
20. "And there was a strife between the herdsmen of Avram's cattle"

When Avraham discovered that Lot, his nephew, was engaged in Idol Worshipping, Avraham knew immediately that he had to disconnect himself completely from Lot. The spiritual principle of this story concerns the influence that our immediate environment exerts upon us. It is incumbent upon all of us to associate with people who are sincere in their desire for spiritual growth. Although our own intentions may be pure, the influences that surround us inevitably affect our way of life.

The Relevance of this Passage

The Kabbalistic definition of Idol Worshipping includes much more than simply praying to statues or other false gods. Whenever we allow an external object or situation to control our behavior, our thoughts, or our emotions, we are worshipping an idol. Many people, for example, worship the idol of money. They are disciples and servants to their own businesses. Others are ruled by appearances and the perceptions of those around them. The moment we allow the external world to control our hearts and minds, we are committing the sin of Idol Worshipping. In this portion, freedom from external negative forces and influences is bestowed upon the reader.

174. Rabbi Shimon said, Come and behold, It is written: "And there was strife (Heb. riv) between the herdsmen of Avram's cattle." The word riv is spelled Resh Bet without the letter Yud, which means that Lot wanted to return to idol worshipping, which was the custom of the natives. Thus, at the end of the verse, it is written: "and the Cnaani and the Perizi dwelt then in the land." THIS TEACHES US THAT LOT WANTED TO WORSHIP IDOLS AS THEY DID. AND THE REASON WHY IT GIVES RIV WITHOUT A YUD IS TO POINT TOWARD IDOL WORSHIP. IT FOLLOWS THE SECRET FOUND IN THE VERSE, "AND THE ELDER (HEB. RAV) SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER" (BERESHEET 25:23). ESAV SAID TO YA'AKOV, "I HAVE ENOUGH (HEB. RAV - RESH BET)" (BERESHEET 33:9), BUT YA'AKOV SAID TO HIM, "AND BECAUSE I HAVE ALL (HEB. KOL)" (BERESHEET 25:11). THIS IS ALSO THE SECRET OF THE VERSE, "AND A MIXED MULTITUDE (HEB. EREV RAV) WENT UP ALSO WITH THEM" (SHEMOT 12:38).


175. How do we know that Lot reverted to his evil ways of idolatry? We know is from the verse: "and Lot journeyed from the east (i.e. from yore)" (Beresheet 13:11). And what is the meaning of "yore?" It means from Him-He who is more ancient than the world. And thus it is written: "and Lot journeyed from the east," and "it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east" (Beresheet 11:1). So, because there they journeyed away from Him-He who is more ancient than the world, it means the same thing here!


176. As soon as Avraham realized that Lot reverted TO IDOLATRY, he spoke to him: "And Avram said to Lot, separate yourself, I pray you, from me" (Beresheet 13:8-9)--you are not worthy of associating with me. So Avraham separated from him and did not want to travel with or deal him any more, because whoever accompanies a wicked person shall eventually follow in his steps and be punished because of him.


177. How do we know this? We know this from Yehoshafat, who associated with Achav. And had it not been for the merit of his ancestors, Yehoshafat would have been punished because of Achav. As it is written: "but Yehoshafat cried out..." (II Divrei Hayamim 18:31). Then he was saved, as it is written: "and Elohim moved them to depart from him" (Ibid.)


We must separate ourselves from Esav, from Yishmael and from the Erev Rav, this is our mission.

3.18.2016

PARSHAT ZACHOR

B"H


On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha (which is Parashat Vayikra this year, 5776) and in the second one we read the portion of “Zachor Et Asher Asa Lecha Amalek” (“Remember what Amalek has done to you”). This Torah portion is referred to as“Parashat Zachor”. (Parashat Zachor can be found at the end of Parashat Ki Tetzeh in the Book of Devarim.)

According to most Poskim, the reading of Parashat Zachor is a Torah obligation. Since the Halacha is well-known that “Mitzvot require intention” (Shulchan Aruch, Chapter 60, Section 4), one must take care while listening to Parashat Zachor to have in mind to fulfill the Torah obligation of remembering the actions of Amalek and obligation to annihilate them. Similarly, the individual reading from the Torah must have in mind that the entire congregation will be fulfilling their obligation by listening to his reading. (Read more)

There are those who have separated Hashem into a G-d of good, love, and life (represented by xianity/Esav) and a G-d of evil, hate and death (Islam/Yishmael). They determine for themselves what is good and what is evil. They say love and mercy, even to your enemy, is “good” and hate and war are “evil”.

A real Jew knows that Hashem is one. He is the G-d of everything and everything has a “good” purpose and an “evil” purpose. The Torah tells us there is a time for hate and war just as there is a time for love and mercy. We, as Jews, are the servants of Hashem and He tells us, through the Torah, what is “good” and what is “evil”. We don’t determine this for ourselves. We do as he commands not as we like or as we feel. Parshat Amalek reminds us of this.

We are commanded not only to hate Amalek but to utterly destroy him. We read in the maftir Devarim 25:17;

Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way when you were leaving Egypt, that he happened upon you on the way, and he struck those of you who were hindmost, all the weaklings at your rear, when you were faint and exhausted, and he did not fear G-d.

What made Amalek worse than all the other enemies of our people?

And he did not fear G-d—This phrase explains why Amalek is more despised than any of the many other nations that waged war against Israel. Had Amalek made a brave frontal attack like the others, defying both G-d and their intended human victims, the crime would not have been so heinous. But Amalek did fear people—that is why it chose to ambush the Jews who straggled at the rear of the nation, the people who were faint and exhausted, and least able to defend themselves. By doing so, Amalek showed special contempt for G-d (R. Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik) (Artscroll Chumash)

The Haftarah begins (I Samuel 15:1-3);

1. And Samuel said to Saul, "The Lord sent me to anoint you to be king over His people, over Israel; and now hearken to the voice of the words of the Lord.
2. So said the Lord of Hosts, 'I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid (wait) for him on the way, when he came up out of Egypt.
3. Now, go, and you shall smite Amalek, and you shall utterly destroy all that is his, and you shall not have pity on him: and you shall slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.'

 9. And Saul and the people had pity on Agag, and on the best of the sheep and the cattle, and the fatlings, and on the fattened sheep, and on all that was good; and they did not want to destroy them; but everything which was vile and feeble, that they utterly destroyed

What happened here? Shaul and the people had pity “on all that was good” but “everything which was vile and feeble” they destroyed. Shaul and the people determined what was “good” and what was “evil” rather than trusting Hashem and obeying Hashem. They determined who deserved mercy and who should be destroyed rather than trusting and obeying Hashem.

22. And Samuel said, "Has the Lord (as much) desire in burnt offerings and peace-offerings, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than a peace-offering; to hearken (is better) than the fat of rams.

Hashem demands obedience. Obedience to the Torah is the trait of fear of Hashem.

23. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Since you rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being a king."

Redak explains the parallel between rebellion and divination, thus. Just as one who divines, commits a grave sin because he removes his trust from the Almighty and seeks other sources to determine his future, so, one who rebels against the L-rd’s command, removes his belief in the L-rd’s power to reward and punish. Similarly, just as an idolator denies the L-rd’s rule over the Universe, so, one who is stubborn and disobedient also denies G-d’s authority.

24. And Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I transgressed the Lord's command, and your words, for I feared the people, and I hearkened to their voice. 

Shaul didn’t fear Hashem but did fear the people, so he couldn’t destroy Amalek, who didn’t fear Hashem but feared the people. This led to the birth of Haman and the decree of destruction of our people at Purim. According to the commentary;

G-d informed Israel that there would be an eternal state of war between Him and Amalek, because Amalek’s battle was primarily against the cause of holiness, not against the nation that God chose to be its standard bearer. And G-d commanded Israel to remember what that renegade nation did, and to destroy the Amalekites so completely that they would not even be remembered.

If Amalek is at war with Hashem, why must we battle against them? Why doesn’t Hashem wipe them out like he did the Egyptians in the sea? If Amalek represents fear of man over fear of Hashem, then only fear of Hashem over man can defeat it and only we, Am Yisrael, are capable of complete trust and fear of Hashem over fear of man.

So, in a sense, the command to remember Amalek is to remember to fear Hashem and obey Hashem. Only fear of Hashem through obeying his commandments will save us from our enemies. When we fear the nations and not Hashem, Amalek comes against us.

Eventually there will come a final battle between Hashem (and those who fear and obey him), and Amalek (and those who fear and trust in man). Which side will you be on?

The gematriah of Amalek seems to reinforce these ideas as we see in the book, What's In A Name by Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson;

The gematriah of עמלק (70+40+30+100), plus the four letters of the word, is 244, which is equal to that of Hitler, הטלר (5+9+30+200), may his name be blotted out.

The number 244 is the value, too, of two other important concepts: מרד , rebelliousness, whose source is to be found in Amalek’s evil, and רדם, apathy. Amalek’s strategy is to cause apathy within Israel regarding Torah observance, which he will then flaunt to justify their destruction. It was precisely this way in which behaved a famous descendant of Amalek, Haman. He came before King Ahasuerus and said, “There exists a nation, divided and spread out among your peoples…” (Esther 3:8); the first word, ישנו , can also be understood as a derivation of the root meaning “old”, as in, “a people who have allowed mitzvah-observance to become old and outdated” (Megilla 13b). He thereby hoped to lower Israel’s stock in G-d’s eyes, allowing himself free rein for his destructive scheming.

The Torah recounts Amalek’s devious attack on Israel during the time of the Exodus from Egypt: “And Amalek came, and warred with Israel in Refidim” (Ex. 17,8). The Mechilta to this verse explains that the name רפידים implies רפיון ידים , debility; Amalek sought to bring about weakness in Israel’s dedication to learning Torah, thereby facilitating a victory over them.

The value of the word רפידים is 344 (200+80+10 +4+10+40), the same as the word sh’mad, שמד (300+40+4), meaning spiritual destruction. A weakening of our resolve to grow spiritually, as caused by the vicious evil of Amalek, leads to our disintegration on all planes. This, unfortunately, was distinctly noticeable during the period prior to the Holocaust, when the growing strength on the Reform and Haskalah movements weakened Torah resolve and commitment among European Jewry.

The circle is completed when we note the closeness of the word שמד to the words מרד and רדם; the letter ש is replaced by its preceding letter in the alphabet, ר. Amalek’s appeal to the evil inclination brings about apathy and coldness regarding Torah and mitzvoth, which leads to his physical conquest of the Land and the People.

The Rebbi of Lublin states this clearly in his work Zichron Zot, on Parashat Zachor, “…the evil inclination which brings about laziness and coldness is called Amalek: עם, as in עוממות גחלים, dying out coals, which strives to לק, lick our blood as a dog.