February 29, 2012
Rabbi Akiva Wagner in #825, Amalek, Farbrengen, Parshas Zachor

Mrs. Geula Cohen was a member of the Knesset, and was also a long-time admirer of the Rebbe. She understood and identified strongly with the Rebbe’s position regarding various crucial issues pertaining to Eretz Yisroel and was actively involved in furthering the Rebbe’s goals.

Once she attended a farbrengen of the Rebbe in 770. She listened from the veiber shul while the Rebbe spoke passionately about the terrible danger in returning territories, areas of land that were captured by Israel, to our enemies. (According to another version, the Rebbe was discussing the scandalous law regarding Mihu Yehudi and the urgent need to have it changed.)

After the farbrengen, she was asked for her impressions. “I am very much in agreement with everything the Rebbe said,” was her reply, “but I don’t understand why he speaks about it here, to the Chassidim in attendance of his farbrengen. These are matters that need to be dealt with by Israeli politicians and public figures; what assistance can be provided by Crown Heights-based Lubavitchers?”

When the Rebbe was told about her query, he responded: “Zog ir, az oib di yungeleit vellen ton in taavos heter, vet dos brengen di yeshua in Eretz Yisroel” [Tell her that when the Chassidim here put their efforts into abstaining from worldly indulgences, this will bring about the betterment of the situation in Israel]. According to another version, the Rebbe said this about the bachurim applying themselves diligently to their learning.

We are the Chassidim, the batlanim of Crown Heights (or its various branches throughout the world). Yet, as the Rebbe pointed, we can have an even greater impact than the Israeli politicians or the government officials. It’s merely our methods that differ. Our influence is through the spiritual war that we wage. It is through learning, koching zich in learning and through avoda b’poel. It is through increasing our efforts to live as Chassidim – to (occasionally) forego worldly pleasures, even those that are fully permissible.

As Yidden, we believe and know that there is more than meets the eye. We have to focus on the fact that our dedication to fulfill the Will of Hashem and serve Him better, although not having visible bearing on the war that the Rebbe waged for shleimus ha’aretz, are in fact vital weapons that are critical to the war effort and its ultimate success.

The Frierdike Rebbe once repeated a story that was told to him by Reb Chaim Brisker, about his father, the Beis HaLevi: The Beis HaLevi had a shiur every day with two great talmidei chachomim. (One of them was known as Reb Eizik Klotz, because he spent so many continuous hours each day sitting on a klotz – a block of wood – that he left a mark on the klotz.)Beis HaLevi

One day a group of askanim came to meet with the Beis HaLevi about a very urgent matter affecting the entire community. The Bais HaLevi, however, who was in the middle of his shiur at the time, first completed the shiur and only then attended to the communal matters.

One of the askanim was upset at this practice, and questioned the Beis HaLevi, saying that the shiur could wait, while the matter about which they had come was of utmost importance. The Bais HaLevi, however, disagreed, and attached more importance to the learning of these two great scholars, explaining that if Eizik would shorten the time of his learning by even one hour, that would set in motion a chain reaction, that would ultimately result in the Jew in Paris committing shmad r”l.

We are going to read this Shabbos Parshas Zachor, when we remember the evil done to us by Amalek. The Torah tells us clearly that Amalek is present in every generation – “Milchama L’Hashem Ba’Amalek MiDor Dor.” Incidents such as what is happening now with Iran remind us that Amalek is very real and tangible, an enemy that is actively fighting us to this very day.

One of the prominent Chassidim of the Alter Rebbe was first attracted to Chassidus by seeing the intense and genuine hatred that a Chasid displayed towards Amalek. While it may be difficult for us to relate to or despise the spiritual evil that Amalek represents, it becomes much easier when he manifests his evil into the physical plane, in physical acts of terror.

During WWII, one of the generals of the allied forces, after capturing and liberating a concentration camp, made all of his soldiers pass through and witness what had been taking place there, stating “I don’t know if they understand what they’re fighting for; let them at least understand what they’re fighting against.”

But this doesn’t change the nature of the fight, which remains a spiritual one. We hate Amalek with all of our being, but the way to defeat him is by combating kaltkeit – “asher karcha” – and eliminating doubt, sofek. The only certain way for us to defeat Amalek is by increasing within ourselves and those around us the light and warmth of Torah and Yiddishkait.

This and only this will weaken him, until he will be completely eliminated. Then, and only then, will Hashem’s throne be complete, when G-dliness will be revealed throughout the world.

Then, and only then, will we finally be able to make sense of all the madness, and see the purpose behind the pain, when all of the K’doshim and all of the tzaddikim of all of the generations will return to the world, when we will once again have – truly and literally – “Ora V’simcha V’sasson Vi’yekar!”

L’chaim! May we all join forces to combat Amalek, beginning with the one contained within each of us, and through that, obliterate the evil in the world, and may this Purim be overshadowed by the greater Geula with the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu Teikef U’miyad Mamash!

From a written farbrengen directed towards Alumni of Yeshivas Lubavitch Toronto. The original article was written with regards to the Itamar massacre one year ago.

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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