Adarmain postsPurim

Careful! Look out for Amalek!

They have been married for ten years, and for a long time, he no longer quite remembers what a natural feeling of love for her is. Routine leads to arguments and conflicts, the daily struggle for livelihood and raising children wears them down, and it seems as if there is no room left for the excitement they once had, for the good experience of warm feelings.

He is a good person. He does not want to end the relationship or hurt her, He went for counseling.  He was told to accustom himself to reflect on her virtues, her good qualities, her fear of God, the good things she does, her care for the children. To notice all the small and beautiful things that she gives the family. He truly appreciates all these things, he knows it is right to love his wife. And in truth, when he thinks about it, positive thoughts do awaken inside him. But not enough! He feels as if there is a war inside him between the consciousness that these thoughts fill, and the inner point in the heart that feels lacking – that does not share the positive attitude he is so desperately trying to build within himself.

Then, he thinks, am I deceiving myself? Shouldn't love be something authentic? Is it logical that there is such disparity between my intellect and good will, and the heart that longs for something similar to what once was?

These questions cause him to feel an even greater war inside: occasionally, the heart says that perhaps with someone else it would be different, he would indeed feel strong, authentic love.

Beware!! Amalek!!

In chasidic psychology, it is explained that this is the meaning of what is said in Parashat Zachor, that Amalek attacked Israel precisely when they were “on the way” – “who met you on the way…”.

In the soul, "Egypt" is the raw starting point of psychic development, a primitive, childlike point, which sometimes also expresses innocence.

The destination they wish to reach – the "Land of Israel" – "a good and spacious land… a land flowing with milk and honey" – is a state where the great aspirations, the true desires, and Divine revelations penetrate the depths of the soul and the heart's interior. The entire existential human experience is transformed. It identifies with the good, the right, the holy, and the Divine.

Indeed, between the primitive-raw state and the desired and complete state, there is always a stage of “the way”. This is a stage where, on one hand, the intellect and consciousness direct the heart, and shake its initial primitive assumption. But on the other hand, they still fail to touch it deep down, to plumb its depths, to awaken it to yearn and want the good and the sublime, to be authentic and flowing. This path goes through the “desert,” a state of thirst, of a hard feeling that the reality I insist on achieving (closeness to God / the woman with me) is not identical to what my heart naturally wants. Even if I adhere to positive goals, it won't address the lack that I feel in my heart, the experience that my heart feels is the purpose of my life.

This thirst allows Amalek (= doubt, as is known) to come and endanger the soul's completeness. The doubt gnaws, disturbs, and raises the question: Isn't inner identification and authenticity more important than the cold intellectual decision of what is good and what is not? Isn't the feeling of inner incompleteness a sign that the decision favoring good is not correct?

 Strike Amalek

Against such a doubt, we need two tools:

A. Amalek must be unmasked. We must remember that this doubt that disguises itself as a desire for honesty and completeness, is ultimately pain, disintegration, and separation. It is like a worm that seemingly seeks the inner heart, but actually gnaws away, crumbles, and decays everything from within.

B. The path to the destination is always difficult. Even if it is hard and barren now, it doesn't mean it will always be so. We believe that eventually, with persistence in the right direction, our inner point will be awakened, and we will reach "a land flowing with milk and honey".

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