Getting rid of doubt
It’s that time of year again: getting rid of Amalek! But this year it takes on even more significance.
What is Amalek? People who hate Jews simply because we are Jewish.
But it is more than that. Spiritually bgematria it equals the Hebrew word sofek, which means doubt.
So Amalek is that little voice that puts doubt into our minds and hearts.
That cools down our enthusiasm and happiness.
And I thought to myself: this is absolutely the idea of the terrorists. They plant doubts into the minds of people. How could G-d Who is good allow a terrorist to harm anyone? And this is precisely what we need to eliminate: both the doubts and the terrorists!
Because G-d is good. He created a world which He envisioned to be perfect, full of holiness, goodness and purity. But because we human beings are not perfect, and do not always listen to what G-d wants, society deteriorated, people have lost a lot of their morality, the world has become a chaotic place. But it is never too late to reclaim the holiness and goodness that is the true essence of the world and human beings.
And to do that we need to get rid of Amalek. We need to eliminate doubts. We need to trust G-d and believe in G-d and return to Him in faith and humility.
In Kabbalistic terms, Amalek is the crown of all impurities. Doubt is the root of all maladies. And that doubt originates from the primordial Tzimtzum (the concealment and contraction of the original light), which concealed the Divine conscious presence, thereby setting the stage for all forms of uncertainty. In the pre-tzitmzum state, the Divine presence is the all pervasive, all-consuming reality. In such a state of seamlessness – above the heavens – there are no doubts; all is clear. But “under the heavens” – once that unifying presence is concealed and we feel alone, doubt is its inevitable product: “Is G-d with us or not?”
Self doubt is driven by insecurity. But why should we be insecure? Because we live in an independent universe whose existence is possible only by virtue of concealed light.
Certainty is the converse of doubt. How is it possible to find certainty in an uncertain world?
We can make the greatest plans, everything can seem right, but then… things happen and all our plans are upset. We all age, everything erodes, everyone dies – how can we ever expect to find certainty in such an unstable environment?
The one and only answer is that we have within us an inherent connection to the eternal, to the absolute – to the pre-tzimtzum unity – that gives us a sense of utter certainty. Some call this faith – not the blind faith of the fool, but the sophisticated belief in something greater than arbitrary logic or ever-changing circumstances.
This connection is the power of the soul. The body and everything material, by its very nature, is in a state of flux, and thus always shrouded in doubt: What will come next? The soul is a consistent flame, always sure of itself, always connected. It is the sense within that we are not alone. And when we really feel that we are not alone and G-d is with us, all doubt melts away.
As children, when our parents and support systems nurture and validate us, they cultivate our soul’s natural connection to its source and build our self-confidence – inbuing us with a profound sense of certainty and belonging. But when our love and nurturing is compromised, doubts begin to fill up our psyches, only reinforced by the narcissism we begin to witness in others.
The vicious cycle is now in relentless motion. Doubt breeds doubt.
Thus we are commanded to “go forth and fight against Amalek.” And do so with absolute vigilance – “obliterate the memory of Amalek from under the heavens.” Because doubt is our greatest enemy; one that brings on all our other problems. With confidence we can take on any challenge. But when we doubt ourselves, and have no self-confidence, every difficulty becomes a big deal.
“Obliterate Amalek” – obliterate every doubt, even the memory of doubt, “from under the heavens.” Because above the heavens there is no doubt; doubt is only possible in a material world where truth and reality are concealed.
And we don’t fight this battle against Amalekite doubt alone. Led by Moses and his trusted disciple, Joshua, we have the power to overcome any doubt. Moses is the ultimate spiritual mentor – the selfless leader that helps us connect to the Divine. His prayers help us overcome the Amalekite doubts. As the Torah relates: While they fought Amalek, Moshe held up his hands in prayer, entreating G-d to strengthen His people. When his arms weakened, Moshe sat on a stone while his brother, Aaron, and his nephew Chur supported him on each side. A night passed this way, and by the time the sun rose, the Amalekites were defeated. So too now the Moshe Rabbenu of our generation helps us to get rid of doubts, to stay on the path of truth and reveal G-dliness in ourselves and in the world.
The same happened with the story of Purim: Everyone bowed down to Haman the Amalekite, except Mordechai. Mordechai refused to bow to any man or man-made idols, and the inevitable insecurity and doubts that these human forms bring. Only through connecting to the Divine does one reach clarity and certainty.
Just as all doubt stems from the cosmic concealment, all certainty originates from the clarity that “G-d is with us” and the concealment is just that: Concealment with the purpose that we reveal the Reality within.
And just as doubt breeds doubt, certainty breeds certainty. Once you open the doors of certainty in your life, that you are connected to the Divine, it begins to spill over into other areas of your life.
The battle against Amalekite doubt is in every generation and in every situation; perhaps the single most important battle of our lives – because when we overcome our doubts and conquer our fears everything else becomes possible. When we cleave to the Divine and have faith and trust, all doubts, problems and worries fall away. We eliminate all negativities in our life and we see the downfall of our enemies, spiritual ones and physical ones.
And this is the lesson of Purim. The threat of total annihilation hung over the heads of all the Jewish people in Persia. But in one moment the whole decree was turned over and the Jews gained the upper hand and saw the downfall of their enemies completely with the eradication of Haman and his sons.
So today we need to return to G-d in sincerity and remove all doubts and may we very soon see the elimination and destruction of evil in the world. This is the month of nehepachu, when everything can change around and completely reverse itself. May the joy of Adar change all negativity into positivity.