Section:  Avodah   Category: Emuna
Our Amalek Problem

There are different approaches among the Rishonim as to what a person must do to satisfy his obligation of Hishtadlus (making and effort) in this world. Some hold that every person must always play by the rules of the game and do all the normal things humans even though it makes no difference. Others say that if you truly have complete emuna in Hashem, Hishtadlus is not necessary. Either way, everyone agrees that Hishtadlus has no ability to bear fruit and only Hashem's will determines success.

Our challenge is to believe that while our hands do the work, it is our emuna that actually gets things done. This is what makes Amalek our arch enemy. In a time where everyone believed in some sort of G-d or supernatural force, Amalek was the lone atheist. Amalek believed in nothing other than the natural order of things.

This why Amalek attacked the Jews, not only first, but quick on the heels of the destruction of Mitzrayim through supernatural means. While all the other nations were afraid of the Force protecting Bnei Yisroel, Amalek scoffed at the notion. They attributed all the miracles to pure coincidence. They had nothing to fear from the rag tag band of newly freed slaves. Moreover they wanted to prove to the world for once and for all that indeed there was no such thing as mystical forces, only whatever you can see with your eyes and feel with your hands.

The war with Amalek was a lesson in emuna for all generations. How did we fight? Moshe lifted his hands towards Heaven. When his hands became heavy Amalek had the upper hand. Why did he let his hands fall? How did lifting his hands help? Moshe was signaling to us that while the hands do the work, they are merely a show. It is Heaven that dictates the winners and losers, success and failure. "Vayehi Yadav Emuna", his hands were faith.

The Malbim says (Bishalach 17:12), "what were the hands that Moshe lifted that won the war? These hands were emuna. The faith that Bnei Yisroel had in Hashem were the hands that Moshe lifted heavenward to give Bnei Yisroel the upper hand." He explains that Bnei Yisroel struggled with their emuna in the war with Amalek. When it faltered, Moshe's hands became heavy. Physical hands cannot win a war and they grow tired. When Bnei Yisroel strengthened themselves, his hands were thrust Heavenward, inspiring them to continue.

Hashem's name will only be complete when we lift our hands towards Heaven and relinquish the notion that our hands serve us well in the natural order of things. Then we will wipe out the Amalek within us and remove any doubt about Hashem. We need to realize that no worldly occurrence no matter had big or small, in our private lives or on a national level is in any way related to the effort of our hands or the way of the world, only the grace of Hashem. It is incumbent on us erase the ideology of Amalek that has seeped into our psyche from the nations who host us. The more we believe, the more we remove the blinders called Amalek, the better off we will be and the faster we and the whole world will be zocheh to see Hashem in all his glory.