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THE ANNIHILATION OF AMALEK
by: Rav Avraham Brandwein, Dean
It is a positive Mitzvah (precept) from the Torah, to eradicate the memory of Amalek, as it is said: "Remember what Amalek did to you ..... eradicate, totally, the memory of Amalek."
The question is asked, "Why of all the nations of the earth are we commanded to eradicate Amalek." In the Torah portion, "Ki Tissah," it is written: "And I expelled the Cananites, the Emorites the Hittites, the Prizites and Chivites and the Yevussites and, also, the Girgashites." Why are we not commanded to eradicate them but only to expel them?
It is known, that the issue of the seven nations alludes to the seven bad qualities, as is written in the Ba'al Shem Tov's book on the Torah - Parshat Shmot in comment #12. "Cananite" alludes to love and the passion of coupling associated with the Sfira of "Chesed". Hittite is a linguistic allusion to fear, i.e., "evil awe" associated with the Sfira of "Gvurah." Emorite is the equivalent of pride associated with the Sfira, "Tiferet." Prizite is equivalent to boldness associated with the Sfira, "Netzach," i.e., "without awe." The Chivite is associated with the Sfira, "Hod," an allusion to sadness (the letters of Hod, inverted, spell "Davve" which means "sad"). The Girgashite represents laziness.
The issue of human qualities is that they are not to be annihilated but each quality is to be modulated according to the correct measure (measure and quality are the same word in Hebrew). Each quality has its good measure that we must pursue diligently. Just as there is destructive envy there is constructive envy and emulation, i.e., the envy of authors, just as there is good love and bad love, good awe and bad awe, etc. Accordingly, we are not commanded to annihilate these nations but to conquer them and bring them within the sacred which is not the case with Amalek whose essence is the matter of planting doubt in the existence of divine supervision as is written in the Torah portion, "Beshalach," that Israel tested the L-rd saying "is G-d among us or not?".
As it is written, "Asher Korcha BaDerech" (Korcha=accident), that everything is accidental and thus Amalek, in Gematria, is doubt. And since the source of all lack of faith in divine supervision and so it is said of Amalek, "Amalek is the first of the nations," i.e., the root of transgression in thought, i.e., that there is no divine supervision in the world, that comes from Amalek and the other measures come from the other seven nations. And the early root of Amalek is the primordial serpent that caused all sins, as is written in Genesis, "the serpent tempted me and I ate." The word "tempted," in Hebrew, uses the same letters as the expression "Is there nothing?". Only the revelation of the Light of Wisdom can correct this flaw through the expansion of Torah. Through the Torah it is possible to reveal the Creator's supervision over His creatures and then the doubt disappears and then comes the realization of "Eye to eye they will see when HaShem will return to Zion." Thus there is no sense in conquering the quality of Amalek but only to eradicate it by revealing the light of the Torah and then doubt disappears. Chazal said, "there is no joy so great as the elimination of doubt," and so during Purim we benefit from happiness by means of the revelation of the Light of Wisdom that is alluded to by drinking wine. And so one is commanded to become inebriated etc. until there is confusion between "cursed be Haman and blessed be Mordechai." After the revelation of divine supervision, the measure of evil disappears and all is transformed into good and then, indeed, there is no further distinction between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordechai."
>From this we shall understand from what those of blessed memory said, "there is no complete throne or complete name of the Creator until the name of Amalek is eradicated. Because the revelation of the Creator's divine supervision is the light from Zion and the complete name of the Creator that alludes to "Tov UMetiv" and this revelation depends upon the eradication of Amalek that is the root of denial of His supervision. There is the well-known saying of the Gr"a, "the L-rd chose Zion as His abode" and in a verse at the end of B'Shalach "Ki Yad Al Kess Yud Keh," the letter "Aleph" is lacking from Kess and the letters "Vav Keh" from the name of G-d." And this is the hint to the secret of "And then from Zion the revelation of light," as it is said, "And light shall go out of Zion" and also, "the L-rd will bless you from Zion." There will be a throne and then His Name will be complete at the time when Amalek shall be annihilated.