Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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11 Adar 5764 - March 4, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Opinion & Comment
Hating Evil Leads to Pure Spiritual Simchah

The mitzvah of remembering Amolek is not just to recall historical incidents, but to remind us to hate all evil. According to the Rambam: "The 189th [Mitzvas Asei] is that He has commanded us to remember what Amolek did to us when hastening to do evil to us. And we must hate him all the time, and we must arouse all souls to fight him, and we should encourage people to hate him -- to ensure that the mitzvah is not forgotten and to ensure that the hatred of [Amolek] is not weakened nor found lacking in people's souls with the passage of time."

If there is one emotion that the modern Western sensitivity abhors, it is hatred. There is no room for hatred. No one should hate, according to modern "wisdom." Everything has its place and time, and tolerance is imperative. Whatever you do, do not hate.

If you cannot tolerate something, then just go away from it. Let it be. Don't rock the boat. We are all in it together. Everyone is "cool" even if sometimes it may take some effort to feel that. Even if you do not agree with something, at least try to understand it.

The legitimacy of understanding even what we oppose is one of the most destructive ideas that has come out of the push for tolerance. In its name people write books and make plays and movies about the worst depravity that exists. In the hands of a sensitive professional, the depiction of even crude and warped deeds can be a profoundly moving experience. But this is only because it arouses deep emotions that are present in any soul that is connected to a body. These emotions are extremely powerful but they are best left latent. Stirring them up is certainly moving, but the direction of the motion is strongly negative.

If we remember how to hate, we will certainly hate such low emotions that are so destructive.

We must arouse hatred for all that is truly evil and destructive. It is not a blind and unreasoning hatred that strikes out in all directions. Rather it is a calculating and targeted hatred that is directed at the true sources of evil and at them alone.

If we do not properly and fully hate evil, we cannot love good. Something is lacking in our love for parents or spouses if we do not feel anything against those who threaten them or who do them harm. Similarly, something is lacking in our love for Hashem if we do not hate those who oppose Him and try to drag others away from Him. As long as the bitter opponents of Hashem have power, His own presence in the world is not as full as it should be.

This brings us to one of the important distinguishing features of Torah-mandated hate. It is not and can never become an end in itself. The hatred of evil that the Torah teaches is only the first stage -- an essential first step but one whose importance in the Torah scheme of things is such that it leads well beyond itself. Destroying Amolek is the preface to simchas Purim.

Without eradicating Amolek, the simchah of Purim will certainly be incomplete and worse, since it may easily become tainted with the stain of Amolek's crude pleasures rather than being the pure and spiritual orah, vesimchah, vesossone vikor. The forces for evil in the world are so strong and so ubiquitous that if they are not completely erased they can thrust themselves anywhere.

If we do the work that we are supposed to do on parshas Zochor -- to hate Amolek all the time, and to arouse all souls to fight him, and to encourage people to hate him -- then we will be able to fully accept the Torah on Purim, and we will truly merit orah, vesimchah, vesossone vikor.

May it be that way for us.

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