Dvar Torah Purim— The Enemy Within

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    Purim — The Enemy Within:
    והיה בהניח ה’ אלקיך לך מכל איביך מסביב בארץ אשר ה’ אלקיך נתן לך נחלה לרשתה תמחה את זכר עמלק מתחת השמים לא תשכח
    It will be when Hashem, your G-d, grants you respite from all your enemies around, in the land that Hashem, your G-d, gives to you as an inheritance to possess, you shall obliterate the remembrance of Amalek from beneath the heavens. You shall not forget (Devarim 25:19).

    After we have been granted respite and are free from all the enemies surrounding us, we are instructed to destroy the remembrance of Amalek. This leads to several questions.
    First, the Torah tells us to destroy Amalek after we are granted respite from all of our enemies, but isn’t Amalek one of those enemies? In fact, he is our archenemy, as it says in Parashas Balak, “Reishis goyim Amalek — Amalek is the first among nations” (Bamidbar 24:20). Second, what is meant by obliterating the remembrance of Amalek? If it is referring to the people, why describe them as a remembrance?
    Another question arises regarding the day we celebrate Purim, which commemorates our victory over Amalek. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth of Adar, the day after the battles against Amalek (Esther 9:17), while walled cities celebrate on the fifteenth, paralleling Shushan, a walled city, where the battle carried over into the fourteenth (ibid. verses 18–19). Typically, a military victory is commemorated on the day the war was won, not on the following day when the people gained relief, so why is our yearly commemoration held on the day after the miraculous victory and not on the day of the victory itself?
    There are two factors to Amalek: the nation itself, who is at war with Hashem; and the Amalek within, the negative effect the nation has on each of us. We are obligated to destroy both components: the external enemy, as well as the enemy within.
    Which part do we have to destroy first? If we eradicate the Amalek within and purify ourselves, the outside contagion still exists. The people of Amalek are still out and about, and can adversely affect us; we can be “re-infected.” We must first destroy the source of the contagion, the people of Amalek. Once they are gone, we are able to work on the enemy within, the lingering effect that they have on us.
    Perhaps that is why Purim is celebrated on the day the Jews rested, the day after the battle. We were victorious over Amalek on the thirteenth of Adar (and in Shushan on the thirteenth and fourteenth). That was the battle against the external enemy. It was only the next day, when we had respite from that enemy that we were able to address what was perhaps the more insidious enemy, the enemy within. That is the day to celebrate.
    In addition, the ultimate destruction of the internal Amalek can only be realized after the external and surrounding Amalek is destroyed. Therefore, the Torah writes, “It will be when Hashem, your G-d, grants you respite from all your enemies around,” for it is only when we have relief from our external enemies — including Amalek — that we are able to destroy the internal enemy, the lingering effects from Amalek. This is conveyed in the words: “the remembrance of Amalek.”
    So we see that even after the people of Amalek are gone, their negative influence must be removed. We did this on the day after a victory over Amalek, the day of Purim, and we will do this again in the future in our final victory over Amalek.
    It says in Parashas Re’eh, “Va’avartem es haYardein vi’shavtem ba’aretz asher Hashem Elokeichem manchil eschem ve’haniach lachem mi’kol oyveichem mi’saviv vi’shavtem betach — You shall cross the Yardein and settle in the land Hashem, your G-d, is giving you as an inheritance, and He will give you rest from all your enemies surrounding you, and you will dwell securely” (Bamidbar 12:10).
    There seem to be two promises in this pasuk: Hashem will give us rest from our enemies, and we will dwell securely. In Tiferes Yehonasan, Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz points out that if all outside enemies are vanquished, it`s a given that we will be secure. What is being added by saying, “vi’shavtem betach — and you will dwell securely”?
    Rav Yonasan explains that after gaining freedom from the danger created by outside enemies, internal squabbling can set in. The petty jealousies that were put aside during war can rear their ugly heads, creating internal strife. To this, we have a second guarantee from Hashem: Even after the external enemy is gone, there will be no bickering and infighting. You will be secure, militarily and emotionally. There will be no fear of attack from an outside enemy — or from your own insecurities, which can lead to fights among family and friends.
    In light of our premise that overcoming our enemies requires two steps, perhaps we can offer an alternative way to account for the Torah’s second promise in Re’eh. First, the Torah promises freedom from outside enemies. After this, we have to work on ourselves and reclaim what it means to be a Jew unaffected by foreign influence. To this, the Torah adds an assurance: “vi’shavtem betach — and you will dwell securely.” The mission to search and destroy the enemy within ourselves will be successful.
    Even when the outside enemy is long gone, we must always be mindful of a lingering internal effect. Then, and only then, can we be secure and dwell in true peace.

    Reb Eliezer

    Maybe, Anolek is a reflection of the enemy from within, ki setzei lamilchama al oyvecha, the true enemy, the yetzer hara. A king came home after a great baftle and was happy being victorious, so he was told that now comes the real battle, the war against the yetzer hara, our bad inclination. The Chasan Sofer expains what it says vayhi kedibro elov yom yom as by Eishes Potifar to Yosef. When simeone has good merchandise, he does niot have to be a nudge to convince one to buy, the merchandice speaks for itself, only the yetzer hara speaks oinstantly to convince someone because he has nothing good to sell.


    Amalek, like SAR-COV-2, attacks those who are weak, old, and walk in a disorganized crowd.

    The strong, young, and healthy need to step in the fight to protect, starting with their own yetzer hara.

    If the young do not help, they will be overwhelmed also (some immediately, some after becoming old)

    Reb Eliezer

    The Ben Ish Chai compares the yetzer hara toa lame person who a horse rider has mercy on and he picks him up and allows him to sit in tne front of tne horse and to hold the reins. When they enter the town, the picked up person says to the horse’s owner, get off my horse. They go to the beis din and the dayan says to the owner, we know you are the owner of tne horse, but why did you allow him to sit in the front and let him hold the reins, so be careful not to let the yetzer hara be too confortable and take over.

    Reb Eliezer

    Yom Kepurim a day like Purim. Purim is similar and greater than Yom Kippur. Both are kabolas Hatorah but by Purim was accepted with a full heart.

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