Purim : Learning from Amalek

The government is imposing a Purim lockdown.  But frankly, we're ignoring it.  We have not had any guests in a year.  Not one.  We haven't been to Yerushaliyim in over a year and we don't know when we'll be there next.  My children have not seen their "safta" in a year-and-a-half and will not see her for at least another seven months.  We're vaccinated.  Our guests are vaccinated and have been just as careful.  So, G-d willing, we will be having a very nice Purim get together this year.  It will be a bit stressful, since it's right before Shabbos, but if I can go into Shabbos slightly drunk, I won't complain.  


When the Jewish people left Egypt, and the world saw how Hashem took them out, there was one nation that refused to learn from that experience.  Shortly after the miraculous rescue at the Red Sea, Amalek launched an attack.  They knew it was a futile attempt and it triggered an everlasting war between them and us.


So why did they do it?  Nations wage war for a reason.  Usually, because they need land or resources.  Sometimes, it's because of honor--one king insulted the mother of another. But what did Amalek go to war for?  We did not have land.  We did not have resources.  And we certainly did not insult their mothers.  They could have easily sat back, relaxed, enjoyed their movies on the television and go on in life.  Why did they need to launch a fruitless attack?  What did they have to gain?


The same could be asked of Amalek's descendant, Haman.  He had the world on a string … sitting on a rainbow, got the string around his finger … (ten points if you know where that is from… make it twenty, I'm in a good mood.  Rabbi Seif, you better know…).  He was the prime-minister for the world's superpower.  He was the king's right-hand man.  He had children in influential places and riches beyond his means.  Why did he throw that all away in order to attack the Jewish people?


The same could be asked of another one of Amalek's descendants: Israeli newspapers and news stations.  Every day, they launch new attacks on the religious world.  Sometimes, unfortunately, the religious world invites it, but during those "lulls," the newspapers still feel this need to fill in the void, writing about "the secret lives of the Ultra-Orthodox," "Why the Ultra-Orthodox do this?" "Why the Ultra-Orthodox do that?" and those articles?  They have nothing to do with the "Ultra-Orthodox," they have to do with Torah and halacha that every frum Jew keeps, whether they are "Ultra,"  "Modern," or "Religious Zionist."  No matter what, three days won't go by without such an article.


The answer is simple.  The job of Amalek is to wage a war against Hashem and His Torah.  That is all.  They are willing to risk everything, going out of their way, when they could easily stay home and enjoy life, to wage this war.  And Hashem sends them in our direction, when we are unwilling to go out of OUR way, to wage war FOR Hashem and His Torah.


Being a "soldier" of Hashem is not the easiest thing.  It's supposed to be a bit difficult in order to continuously strengthen us.  But, unfortunately, after fighting one or two battles, we need to "rest" for a few years.  Ask any baal tshuvah.  They left a completely secular lifestyle, and starting keeping Shabbos and kosher.  Was it hard? Yes, of course.  Were they successful?  Yes.  What are they battling now?  Many will honestly answer, "I don't know."  And those who grew up frum?  Many might never have fought any battles.


We need to learn this important lesson from Amalek.  They left the comforts of their lives for what they believe in.  They were willing to risk it all.  They are unrelenting and refuse to give in.  Are we willing to do the same for our beliefs?


Have a wonderful and meaningful Purim and Shabbos!