The weekly Parsha – Parshas Beshalach

This week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, speaks about the perpetual battle the Jewish people was commanded to wage against Amalek. “Because G-d has sworn by His throne, that the L-rd will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
 
The Targum of Yonatan ben Uziel (a translation of the Bible into Aramaic, the Jewish vernacular of ancient times) explains that the war against Amalek will end only when Moshiach comes and ushers in the Messianic age.
 
Nowadays we do not know the physical identity of Amalek; only Moshiach will be able to correctly distinguish between who is, and who is not, one of his descendants. Thus, at present, we are unable to fulfil the mitzva (commandment) in the literal sense.
 
Nonetheless, the commandment to “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven” is still incumbent on us today, albeit in the spiritual sense.
 
“Amalek,” in terms of our spiritual service of G-d, is symbolic of coldness and apathy for all that is holy. Of Amalek it is said, “He cooled you off” – i.e., the physical Amalek dampened Israel’s eagerness and enthusiasm for the Torah they were about to receive at Sinai following the exodus from Egypt; the spiritual Amalek lurks in the recesses of our hearts.
 
G-dliness and holiness are warm and filled with life and vitality; apathy and indifference are cool and unresponsive.
 
“All right,” the spiritual Amalek whispers in our ears, “you want to observe the Torah’s commandments? Fine! Every Jew should do so. But why be all excited about it? It’s not as if you’re doing something new, something you’ve never done before. Every day you learn Torah, every day you recite your prayers. What’s the big deal?” In this way (as well as in many other subtle ones) Amalek attempts to cool off the Jew’s innate ardor and natural affinity for holiness. His aim is to blind him to the true reality: that a Jew’s performance of a mitzva is the single most significant act that can ever be accomplished in this world, one which affects his entire being forever and ever.
 
The crafty Amalek is ever vigilant and resourceful when it comes to tricking a Jew into adopting a ho-hum attitude towards sanctity and G-dliness.
 
How are we to fight this incursion of coldness? By responding with warmth and emotion, consciously resisting Amalek’s attempt to cloud our eyes to the truth.
 
Furthermore, waging war against Amalek in the spiritual sense serves to prepare us for the era in which we will be able to do so in the physical sense – thThis week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, speaks about the perpetual battle the Jewish people was commanded to wage against Amalek. “Because G-d has sworn by His throne, that the L-rd will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
The Targum of Yonatan ben Uziel (a translation of the Bible into Aramaic, the Jewish vernacular of ancient times) explains that the war against Amalek will end only when Moshiach comes and ushers in the Messianic age.
 
Nowadays we do not know the physical identity of Amalek; only Moshiach will be able to correctly distinguish between who is, and who is not, one of his descendants. Thus, at present, we are unable to fulfill the mitzva (commandment) in the literal sense.
 
Nonetheless, the commandment to “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven” is still incumbent on us today, albeit in the spiritual sense.
 
“Amalek,” in terms of our spiritual service of G-d, is symbolic of coldness and apathy for all that is holy. Of Amalek it is said, “He cooled you off” – i.e., the physical Amalek dampened Israel’s eagerness and enthusiasm for the Torah they were about to receive at Sinai following the exodus from Egypt; the spiritual Amalek lurks in the recesses of our hearts.
 
G-dliness and holiness are warm and filled with life and vitality; apathy and indifference are cool and unresponsive.
 
“All right,” the spiritual Amalek whispers in our ears, “you want to observe the Torah’s commandments? Fine! Every Jew should do so. But why be all excited about it? It’s not as if you’re doing something new, something you’ve never done before. Every day you learn Torah, every day you recite your prayers. What’s the big deal?” In this way (as well as in many other subtle ones) Amalek attempts to cool off the Jew’s innate ardor and natural affinity for holiness. His aim is to blind him to the true reality: that a Jew’s performance of a mitzva is the single most significant act that can ever be accomplished in this world, one which affects his entire being forever and ever.
 
The crafty Amalek is ever vigilant and resourceful when it comes to tricking a Jew into adopting a ho-hum attitude towards sanctity and G-dliness.
 
How are we to fight this incursion of coldness? By responding with warmth and emotion, consciously resisting Amalek’s attempt to cloud our eyes to the truth.
 
Furthermore, waging war against Amalek in the spiritual sense serves to prepare us for the era in which we will be able to do so in the physical sense – the age of our Righteous Moshiach, may it commence immediately.e age of our Righteous Moshiach, may it commence immediately. Moshiach NOW!!!