Colliding Worlds

Moshe Kempinski

To understand the subtext of the upheaval that has gripped the world ,one needs to comprehend that we are not witnessing geopolitical unrest .we are in fact experiencing a collision of ideas, passions and theologies.

At the end of the Torah portion of Ki Teitzeh we read the following;

Remember what the Amalekites did to you on the way, when you left Egypt. They met you along the way and attacked the weak members of the nation at the back of the pack, and you were exhausted. and did not fear G-d”. ( Velo Yareh Elokim).. And it will be, when G-d gives you rest from your enemies round about, in the Land that G-d has given to you as an inheritance, you are mandated to wipe out the memory of Amalek from beneath the heavens – Do not forget!” (Deuteronomy 25:17-18)

Amalek, a small tribe descending from Esau living in the Negev region of Israel, attacks the Israelite nation as they leave Egypt. They may have been the first, but were definitely not the last. They may have been cruel, but were not the most brutal. They may have inflicted damage on the new people leaving slavery, but the destruction pales in comparison to the damage inflicted by the Romans, Babylonians and Edomites. Yet, it is the nation of Amalek that becomes the prototype of evil.

The Zohar asks, “What is the reason that the war that Amalek waged against Israel was singled out for remembering by the Holy One Blessed Be He, more than all the wars that all other nations waged against Israel?” (Zohar, Shemot 194b) The answer is that the war battled by Amalek was not only physical, but spiritual. The essence of the battle of Amalek can be understood by understanding one word in the Biblical text:”…how they happened upon you [asher karcha] by the way, and smote the hindmost of you.”

The word karcha does not make sense. The Amalekites could not just have happened upon the Israelites, as they were living a very great distance from where the Israelites were wandering. So if the attack was premeditated, then what then does the word karcha mean? Rashi on that verse gives three possible explanations for the word, all three of which give great insight into Amalek and their mission. We will focus on one of them. The word karcha comes from the word mikreh – “happenstance”

In the words of Reb Tzadok HaCohen, “The whole essence of Amalek is random happenstance… and as it is written ‘how they happened [asher karcha] upon you’: since Amalek attributes all things to random chance.”

We see that Amalek always appears when the people of Israel lose their sense of purpose and direction;

“he named the place Massah [testing] and Meribah [quarreling] because of the quarrel of the children of Israel and because of their testing the Lord, saying, Is the Lord in our midst or not?(Ex. 17:7)

Following this we immediately read” Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.

“Is G d present among us or not?”…Amalek then came” (ibid 8)

We also see that this struggle is not a struggle relegated to Biblical times only.

“For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.( ibid 17:16 )

In fact the battle with Amalek is the last battle in the line of Biblical prophetic history;

Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau;and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (Obadiah 1:21 )

Hashem’s kingdom becomes fulfilled when the “spiritual power ” that is Esau or Edom is redeemed.

This will be the subtext of human history as we see it undfolding in our days. Two colliding world views will be struggling for acsension.

The one defined by the spiritual power of Amalek proposes a world wherein everything is random. Random mutation, random occurrences and relative values. The other represented by biblical history speaks of a purpose, direction and meaning to life’s history.

As a result we see the spiritual heirs of Amalek continue to kill each other in preparation for their battle against Hashem’s people and plan. That seems to be the subtext to the events around the upcoming elections in the United States, the cultural war spreading through Europe and the mad rush towards nuclear capabilities in the Middle East and in the Far East.

Focusing on meaning and purpose will be critical tools in preparing for and succeeding against whatever physical battles loom ahead. It is then that we will succeed to fulfill the mandate to wipe out the memory of Amalek from beneath the heavens (Deuteronomy 25:18).

That is to say to wipe away the influence and sway of the spiritual philosophy and were of Amalek.

“ Do Not Forget”

LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved

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