This Week’s Torah Portion | August 27 – September 02, 2017 – 5 Elul – 11 Elul, 5777

Ki Tetze (When You Go) – Weekly Torah Portion


TORAH : DEUTERONOMY 21:10-25:19
PROPHETS : ISAIAH 54:1-10
GOSPEL : LUKE 23:1-25

About the Weekly Torah Portion

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage.

We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will highlight specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel.

The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world.

Winning the Peace

On the first examination, our parashah, KI SEITZEI, may appear to be a collection of many apparently unrelated commandments in a wide variety of different areas. It is not immediately clear in what way the opening words of the parashah — “When you go out to WAR” (Deut. 21:10) — set the theme for the whole of the rest of the parashah. The question is sharpened by the fact that in the previous parashah, SHOFTIM, we already had a Torah section beginning with precisely the same words: “When you go out to war against your enemy” (Deut. 20:1). As discussed in the commentary on SHOFTIM, it is in that section that the Torah sets forth the main laws relating to the conduct of actual war. Our present pars hah of KI SEITZEI begins with a mitzvah that applies after the battle is already over — what to do with a beautiful captive. Yet five verses later, the Torah turns to the laws of inheritance, education of children, lost property and other areas that have little apparent connection with war.

There are indeed a few more references to actual war later on in our parashah. The Israelite camp must be pure (Deut. 23:10); a newly married man is exempt from military service (Deut. 24:5); and at the end of the parashah, we are commanded to remember the first war against Israel, that of Amalek. However, the greater part of the parashah deals with laws that relate not so much to war on the actual battlefield as to life on the home front. In the home itself, in social life and in business, out and about in the town, out in the field and out in the wilds of our own hearts, we confront a different enemy: the Evil Inclination. It is against this enemy that we must learn the stratagems of warfare and battle. “The Torah speaks against none other than the Evil Inclination” (Rashi on Deut. 21:11).

Many of the situations we face every day confront us with choices. These include difficult choices between what reason, intuition and conscience may be telling us to do, and what our more impulsive side is pushing us to do. In Parshas KI SEITZEI, the Torah provides us with guidance in making the right and good choices when fighting the battles of daily life in the home, at work, in business, and in many other contexts.

The opening mitzvah of the parashah, that of the beautiful captive, addresses a fundamental issue facing all who seek to observe the Torah in the fullest way possible. Since the Torah regulates our interactions with the outside world down to the very food we take into our mouths and the clothes we wear, what, if anything, are we allowed to take from the alien cultures around us? The beautiful captive embodies all that is most alluring and enticing in the alien culture. The Torah tells us to “let her hair grow long and her nails grow like claws”: instead of allowing ourselves to jump at surface attractiveness, we must take a little time to discover how quickly this fades and turns ugly. The Torah teaches us not to fall for immediate surface appeal but to consider the long term consequences and ramifications of the choices and decisions we make. The beautiful captive may turn into a hated wife who bears a glutton, drunkard son. The Torah sees to the end of the matter.

One bad choice can lead to a lot of evil and suffering. On the other hand, a single good choice, even over something tiny, can lead to amazing goodness — in this world and the next. What could be more insignificant than walking on a road somewhere and happening to find a bird’s nest with a mother and eggs or fledglings? How can it be that sending away the mother bird before taking the eggs or fledglings (it costs you nothing) guarantees the long life in this world and the next? (Deut. 22:6-7). Only the One who is above time and Who sees from the beginning of a thing to the end knows what are the long-term consequences of our actions in this world, for good or for bad. It is precise because we do not see the long-term consequences of our actions that we need true guidance in making our choices. The commandments contained in TI SEITZEI give us practical guidance in our home and family life, in making a livelihood and doing business, in how we talk and many other areas “in order that He may bestow good on you and you will lengthen your days” (Deut. 22:7).

Each of the commandments in the parashah must be taken on the level of PSHAT — the simple meaning — and each one involves detailed binding laws, as discussed in the relevant sections of the Talmud and Codes. At the same time, each word of each verse contains the deepest levels of SOD — secret meaning — so that when we fulfill these laws in practice, we even unknowingly create configurations of G-godliness and goodness in the world around us and in our own hearts and souls. In the following discussion of the commandments contained in our parashah, they are discussed not in the sequence in which they appear in the parashah but under themes.

The Home and The Family

The opening mitzvah of the parashah, that of the beautiful captive, takes us directly inside the home, which is where the captive is taken to “grow her hair and nails”. Life in the home and in the family is a central theme throughout the parashah. Immediately following the law of the beautiful captive comes a hint of marital discord (the hated wife), followed by the Torah law of family inheritance and the birthright. This is followed by the law of the gluttonous son, whose penalty is to be stoned to death. The requisite amounts of meat and wine the gluttonous son would have to imbibe were so gigantic that in practice no one would ever fulfill all the conditions that would make them liable to the death penalty. The Torah does not want to kill the son, but rather to teach the essence of good parenting, from childhood onwards and especially during puberty and adolescence. Children need not be given everything they want. They must be taught to listen to the voice of mother and father, wisdom and understanding.

The education of girls for the life of Torah and the holiness of Israel is no less important than that of boys. The stoning of the girl whose new husband found her to have been unfaithful after their betrothal is not only a terrible punishment for the girl. It is a bitter lesson for her father, outside whose house the execution takes place. “See the offspring you have raised” (Rashi on Deut. 22:21). The holiness of the Israelite home and family is based upon KIDDUSHIN, the act of betrothal whereby husband and wife sanctify and dedicate themselves to one another. In bringing up a new generation, the parental duty is to ensure that girls understand the holiness and seriousness of marriage and of marital fidelity. They must understand what is happening to their pubescent bodies and the attendant dangers in the outside world and from the lurking Evil Urge. This education is particularly important today when the world is flooded with a culture that encourages teenagers to think of nothing but sexual attraction and romance all day every day. The laws of rape and seduction in our parashah underline how carefully parents must protect their daughters (and sons). Protection must start by lovingly teaching our children about the uniqueness and holiness of Israel and the special level of conduct required of BNEY MELACHIM, children of kings — “for your are children of HaShem”.

Our parashah contains the laws of marriage and divorce that make up most of SEDER NASHIM, the Order of the Mishneh relating to these areas. These include the laws of YIBUM, the Levirate marriage, and CHALITZA, the ceremony for nullifying it, with all their many secrets. Many of the basic laws of KIDDUSHIN and NISU’IM, betrothal and marriage, are learned from verses in our parashah, as are the laws of the GET, “bill of divorce”. The prohibition against a divorced woman who married another man from subsequently remarrying her first husband sets Israel apart from the alien culture that licenses switching back and forth from one partner to another. The holiness of the bond between husband and wife is founded on its exclusiveness. In the realities of life in the world we live in, divorce is sometimes necessary and must be carried out with the proper procedure. However, there is no doubt that the Torah prefers not to license divorce (which “makes the altar-stones weep”) but rather that man and wife should joyously build their home together to fulfill “and your camp shall be holy” (Deut. 23:15) for many long, good years. The first year of marriage sets the foundation for all that follows. In that year the groom is commanded that “he make joyous his wife that he took” (Deut. 24:5). The surest foundation for joy in the home is the study and practice of the Torah.

Bound up with the laws of marriage are the laws relating to personal status and those entitled to enter the community of Israel. The community excludes male Ammonites and Moabites (though King David himself was descended from a Moabitess), and Egyptians and Edomites to the third generation. A different status is that of the MAMZER, who as the child of an incestuous relationship of Israelites is also inherently flawed and may not marry into the community. The purpose of these laws is to protect the purity of the Israelite family.

The home is a private domain — so much so that even a creditor may not enter to take a pledge but must wait outside for the debtor to bring it out. But while the home is private, it must be a place of dignity so that G-d’s holy Presence may dwell there. Dignity begins with personal hygiene and cleanliness, which is why the Torah commands us to attend to our physical needs “outside the camp” and properly cover the waste. Within our homes, we are free to do all that the Torah permits, but we must keep our eyes open and take precautions against potential dangers. “Make a parapet for your roof”. The law to make a parapet to prevent someone falling off the roof is the foundation of the general Torah law that potential hazards of all kinds should be removed (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat #427). Not only does the Torah govern how we build our homes. It even governs the clothes we wear: we may not wear mixtures of wool and linen, and men must wear Tzitzit. The Tzitzis are the first line of defense against immorality (which is why the commandment of wearing tzitzit immediately precedes the laws of the betrothed maiden). A man must not wear women’s clothes or ornaments and vice versa.

Making A Living:Between Man And His Fellow

Commandments relating to making a living — from plowing the land to loans and the money economy — also take up major parts of Parshas KI SEITZEI. Just as the separation between Israel and the nations is part of G-d’s order, so is the separation between different species of animals and vegetables. One must not drive the plow with an ox and a donkey together. One may not plant one field with diverse species. What distinguishes Israel is the trait of kindness and compassion, which must be carefully cultivated. When harvesting the crops, gifts must be left for the unfortunate and the needy: the proselyte, the widow, the orphan and the poor. The farmer must even be sensitive to the feelings of his ox: while threshing, he may not muzzle the ox to prevent it munching on some of the produce while at work.

Relevant to all are the laws governing the respective rights and obligations of employers and employees. The employee must work industriously and may not abuse the privileges the Torah gives him. Having completed his work, he is entitled to prompt payment: now the mitzvah is on the employer. The laws in our parashah relating to the money economy include those of giving interest-free loans to fellow Israelites and the strict prohibition of taking interest (RIBIS). Business activity is to be governed by the laws of fair weights and measures.

Not only are we bound to conduct our business dealings with integrity. We are responsible for the property of others if they lose it — our parashah contains the laws of lost property. And if our friend gets into trouble — if his donkey can’t carry the load — we must help him rearrange the load.


Double Standards — And Amalek

The detailed laws in our parashah culminate in what on one level is a business law — the prohibition of keeping a big and a small weight: a big weight to use in weighing what one buys, and a small weight in weighing what one sells. We are to use one standard in our business dealings, and likewise, one standard in all of our judgments and evaluations: the Torah standard. We may not judge ourselves and those we like favorably while judging those outside our preferred circle unfavorably. We are to examine ourselves and others and everything in our lives with sobriety, carefully examining to see how things measure up according to the Torah standard. It is this that protects us from Amalek.

From the proximity of the prohibition of double standards to the law of remembering and wiping out Amalek, we learn that having double standards is what brings the scourge of Amalek. The war against Amalek is a theme during this month of Elul, just as it is in the month of Adar, which is six months earlier and diagonally opposite/facing Elul in the circle of the months. Just as fighting Amalek is necessary for Adar in preparation for Nissan, the month of redemption, so it is necessary as part of the Teshuvah process during Elul as we approach Rosh HaShanah and the Days of Awe.

Amalek “encountered you [KORCHO] on the way” (Deut. 25:18). The Rabbis stated that Amalek “cooled [KAR] you” — When the Israelites were flushed with joy and innocent fervor immediately after the Exodus, Amalek attacked with demoralization and despair. Amalek attacked with MIKREH, “chance” — the philosophy that there is no order in the universe and that therefore everything is permitted. Amalek attacked with KERI, the wasteful emission of seed through sexual permissiveness and immorality. These are the very opposite of the holiness that is the foundation of Israel.

The alien culture around us is now reaching its climax in the espousal of the unholy. The Torah states that a man shall not wear the clothes and ornaments of a woman, and vice verse. Yet the alien culture is obsessed with gender and cross gender issues, and has legitimized homosexual relationships — an abomination in the eyes of the Torah — to the point that the countries which consider themselves most advanced are those that have legislated to give homosexual couples the same rights and benefits as husbands and wives. The Midrash clearly states that giving sanction to homosexual marriages brings ANDROLOMUSIA — chaos in which the innocent suffer from the guilty. We can see with our own eyes how the very world that has sanctioned this mockery of marriage is reeling from the fires of war and terror, crime, violence, economic recession, disease…

The foundation of the holiness of Israel has nothing to do with this mockery of marriage, this vain emission of seed. The foundation of the holiness of Israel is KIDDUSHIN, the sacred bond of marriage and fidelity between the man and his wife. This is the foundation of family, continuity, the education of children, refinement, modesty, compassion and all other good traits.

In A Nutshell

The portion, Ki Tetze (When You Go), details special and infrequent Mitzvot (commandments), such as the attitude toward a rebellious son, a firstborn son of the loved one or the hated one, and the commandment to send a bird from the nest and not harm it, when taking the bird’s eggs or nestlings.

The portion also details many Mitzvot that deal with everyday life, ethics, and social order, such as returning a loss, divorce, and the obligation to be considerate of others in vulnerable situations, such as poor, proselytes, orphans, and widows. Additionally, the portion mentions the importance of a just sentence. The last Mitzva (singular of Mitzvot) is to always remember what Amalek did to Israel when they came out of Egypt, when it jumped them when they were unprepared, and to blot out the memory of Amalek.

Commentary

The portion marks a stage in the spiritual development after the reception of the ego, the reception of the evil inclination from Egypt. First, the evil inclination in us should appear, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination.” That appearance happens when we try to achieve love of others, to come out of ourselves. When we attempt to do it, we discover how much we are actually immersed in self-love and hatred of others. At that time we determine that our hatred of others and our love for ourselves are what is called the “evil inclination.”

That revelation is profound inner work. It is no small task. There is a very good reason why it is written, “I have created the evil inclination.” “I have created” means that the Creator created. The recognition of the evil inclination in a person—that it is hatred of others and love of oneself—is precisely what brings us into contact with the Creator. From that recognition, a person marches on a path of hard work, trying to be good to others, as it is written, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Then a person discovers great internal obstacles, which actually come from above, from the Creator. This is man’s first contact with the Creator.

Following the initial contact with the Creator, a person begins to move along with Him, in partnership. This is when there is, “I have created the Torah as a spice,” and a person has someone to turn to, someone to help one correct oneself.

It is precisely through the evil inclination that a person makes contact with the Creator. The evil inclination is the mediator, the connector between man and the Creator. This is the only reason why man would need it. We might lead an entire life without needing anything, until we try to nurture love of others, and then we see how impossible it is.

Some people recognize the merit of love of others out of their own feelings. It is a drive for something spiritual, to discover the meaning of life, its purpose, it essence. Others achieve love of others through suffering, hopelessness about life, or an overall crisis, as we are now seeing the world over. These people search for a way out of the plight they are in, and discover that the world has become global, integral, and that the only choice they have is to connect to others in a reciprocal manner, or else they might be left hungry the next day.

This fact is becoming increasingly evident. Some people discover it through an inner drive, and some are pushed to it by suffering. But sooner or later all of us will have to connect to others in mutual guarantee, even just to obtain our sustenance.

We are discovering that connection is impossible. Our nature is preventing us from connecting to others, as if it is failing us. We are beginning to recognize that there is a higher governance here, that the Creator, the upper force, is not letting us do anything. At that time the three of us—me, my evil inclination, and the Creator—begin to work together, like Moses in Egypt.

It is written, “Come unto Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart” (Exodus 10:1). Moses, the Creator, and Pharaoh, all work together in us. It is how we advance. We discern the evil inclination, the help made against us, and we have no choice because specifically with its help does one turn to the Creator. Were it not for the evil inclination, we would never turn to the Creator, we would never discover Him, and we would never need Him.

We advance through corrections made on our evil inclination, while increasingly connecting through it to the Creator. The more attached we become to the overall force of bestowal and love that governs the world, even if it is hidden, the more we become exposed to it and attribute it to ourselves. We learn to use our evil inclination, and eventually gladly relinquish it because it was created in order for us to obliterate it.

In this portion we are reaching a greater level of Aviut (thickness) of the evil inclination, expressed in the aforementioned special Mitzvot. A Mitzva is a correction of the evil inclination. Our evil inclination is divided into 613 egotistical desires that we must correct into having the aim to bestow upon others, into love of others. In this portion we are dealing with the biggest, meanest, and heaviest desires. Although it seems that we meet these desires only rarely, in truth, only once we have made many lighter corrections do we come to meet the evil inclination in us that requires this type of corrections.

It follows that the Mitzva concerning a rebellious son, the sending of the bird, and the blotting out of Amalek are the toughest Mitzvot. It is truly our stony heart, the foundation of all the evil. This forms our final contact in our eternal connection with the Creator, as man and the Creator connect together, “Israel, the Torah, and the Creator are one” (The Book of Zohar, Beresheet (Genesis), item 85). This is expressed in absolute love toward others; as it comes from the Creator, so it comes from the creature. This is the goal.

What does it mean, a rebellious son?

Ben (son) comes from the word Mevin (understanding). We do things without recognizing, understanding, or feeling them. We must correct our egos—the will to receive that is expressed precisely between us and others—absentmindedly, without quite knowing the nature of that correction. We do not know what it means to bestow or to not bestow, and we only notice that we do not have good connections with others, and that hatred and rejection are arresting our progress in spirituality and corporeality.

We see that our lives are quite miserable, and we have no idea what might happen tomorrow, which brings us to the need to correct our relationships with others. When we correct the relationships between us, we do something that is above our reason, even against it, because by nature, we have no desire for it: We ask for correction against our will.

We are willing to love others even though we feel no need for it. This work is called “work above reason,” where we do not understand what we are doing or what is happening. When one works against one’s will, it is considered achieving understanding because once we correct, a new reality truly opens to us, where we see and feel in all our senses, in our minds and in our hearts. That degree is called Ben (son), Mevin (understanding), because then we understand the situation, we feel it, and control it.

So what does a “rebellious” son mean?

It is a situation in which one does not want to know one’s next degree and does not want to correct oneself. It happens when there is something within that resists the correction so fiercely that one cannot overcome that rejection. Sometimes there are sons who are obstinate whatever we do. On the one hand, he is your son, but on the other hand, there is nothing you can do with him. In that state the son needs to be brought into correction the way the Torah describes.

These are corrections we need to do with ourselves because everything is within. To some extent, they happen in each state, and it is called “The pain of raising sons.”

Today it is very difficult for parents and children to communicate, and the same is true for teachers and students. There is a big gap.

Yes, especially today, because we are approaching the generation of correction. We are beginning to discover our true nature, which is truly an evil inclination. We see it within us; we are discovering how cruel and inconsiderate we are. We hardly get along with ourselves, not to mention with our partners, our children, and in general.

This is who we are today. However, it is not our fault; it is our nature, which is appearing in this way. We feel it in our children, too. But it is precisely these conditions that bring us to correction. It is called “Pharaoh bringing the children of Israel closer to the Creator.” Our evil inclination helps us recognize that it is no longer possible to continue without putting things in the proper order.

This portion mentions divorce. Today the number of divorces is nearing the number of marriages.

It has passed it. In Europe, fifty-seven percent of the people are divorced, and it is also spreading in the U.S.

Can we do spiritual work with a spouse?

We cannot correct the world without correcting ourselves. If we ever want to marry and have a truly good and solid family, we need to see to the correction of couples. But first, we ourselves must be corrected.

Today it is almost hopeless. It is impossible to commit to marriage because it is a contract where the groom commits before the bride, and today it is very hard to commit. These days, men can commit only if they are under the social pressure of certain circles in society.

It seems that with a spouse it is easier to correct because a person is hesitant to leave ones’ family. Is this truly a good place to work?

We have built many systems that help us get along without a family. We have Social Security, health insurance, old-age homes, etc. Money buys everything, and people can do without the family warmth because they can seemingly buy it.

Today we are moving into a world that is far more complicated, where the money will not help us. We are in an economic crisis that demands of us to connect in a friendly way with the environment, with friends, with family, with children and with parents. We do not have all that, and this is the revelation of the evil that will help push us toward correcting our relationships, correcting human nature. We will eventually come to a state where we will feel lost without a family, and we have no family because we have lost the concept of the family along the way.

What is divorce in spirituality?

Divorce means that a person can no longer correct one’s Malchut, the will to receive, and therefore does not sign a contract with that desire, because as a man, one cannot place oneself over the woman, over the desire that must be corrected. Therefore, a person divorces it.

But we know that a greater desire will follow it, so what is the point of the divorce?

This is why it is written that divorce is the worst option, that Divinity cries for every divorce. We are all parts of Divinity, and if we cannot correct it, it is as though we are delaying the correction, and this is very bad. That said, sometimes people have that feeling, that understanding that additional corrections are required here.

If a man quarrels with his wife and feels that he hates her, and then turns to the Creator and asks for a correction of loving her, is this the way to be corrected?

It happens in spirituality. Indeed, a person needs to cope with one’s will to receive. He is bad, he is wrong, and she is wrong, too. But when we know that we have no choice and we must become corrected, we do it. All those Mitzvot are about the inner man and wife; it is a person’s desire to bestow. The strength to overcome is called “man,” and the deficiency that one must correct, that corrupt desire one has found, is called a “woman.” In the connection between them we correct the relationship.

A person receives a desire for correction from the inner woman, and the strength to correct from the inner man, who is connected to the Creator. It is written, “A man and a woman, if they are rewarded, Divinity is between them” (Masecht Suttah, 17a). Through those three we correct that relation into the right one. If we correct it, we have performed a Mitzva, and so we continue to the next woman (deficiency), and the next man, and the next deficiency, and again, “A man and a woman, if they are rewarded, Divinity is between them.” Then once again we correct them and perform a Mitzva. A will to receive with a Masach (screen) and Ohr Hozer (Reflected Light) performs a Zivug de Hakaa (coupling of striking), and the revelation of the Creator arrives within the connection called a “son,” meaning a person acquires understanding, sensation, Dvekut (adhesion).

Giving a Bad Name

“A man should speak with his wife before coupling with her because she might have been replaced with another. The thing about a woman is that she is from the side of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” In other words, she can be good, and she can be bad, and who knows from which side you should now speak with the will to receive, meaning examine it, how to connect to it and how to correct it. “Her marrow tends to change. However, if she is from the Shechina (Divinity), there are no changes in her.” The Shechina is called Malchut of Atzilut, the corrected state, when she is ready for correction. “This is the meaning of, ‘I the Lord do not change.’ I am the Shechina, who is not afraid of all the other sides, the Klipot, as it is written, ‘All the nations are as nothing compared to Him.’”

The quotes are from Zohar for All, Ki Tetze (When You Go), item 8

Can it be said that the “me” in spirituality is really the will to receive with the addition of the point in the heart, and we only try to balance them out?

The self of a person is the husband and the wife within. We need to know how to work with both of them together so that the self will be similar to the Creator.

What is the Mitzva of sending from the nest?

It is a very complicated Mitzva. It is quite cruel to drive a bird from the nest and take her eggs. Many books have been written about it, and it is also mentioned in The Book of Zohar, and in the writings of the ARI.

We are the Malchut, the will to receive that must be promoted and adjusted to Bina. The “mother” is Bina. The mother of the sons is the mother of the understandings, the attainments.

We need to take the eggs from the mother, the future nestlings, and rear them. We do it by connecting to the nest, and performing the Mitzva of sending from the nest. It is considered a Mitzva (commandment—correction, good deed) because once reaching this degree, it is a Mitzva for that person.

Sending the mother away is actually detaching oneself from Bina, and working with the ZAT of Bina, a part of her that belongs to the person. That person then takes her and turns the desires of ZAT of Bina, correcting the part of Malchut through them. This is the connection of Bina with Malchut in Tzimtzum Bet (Second Restriction). It is a very big Mitzva. When a person ascends, when Malchut ascends to Bina, Malchut becomes detached from her, and corrects herself.

In other words, here, too, as there is a son, there are nestlings, which are the continuation of that quality.

Yes, but it is only when one becomes detached from Bina, when one can use part of her to correct oneself.

There is the issue that Amalek “jumps” on a person when one is unprepared.

Amalek is a big problem. It is essentially the same evil inclination that is in our will to receive. Amalek is really an acronym of Al Menat LeKabel (in order to receive). The Book of Zohar also writes that it is Am and Lek, where Am is from Balaam and Lek is from Balak.

Blotting Out the Remembrance of Amalek

“He asks, ‘Who is the root of Amalek above, in spirituality, for we see that Balaam and Balak are from there, from Amalek of above?’ They were their souls, which is why they hated Israel more than any other nation or language. This is why Amalek is written in the names, meaning Am of Balaam, and Lek of Balak. Also, the Amaleks are male and female.”

Zohar for All, Ki Tetze (When You Go), item 110

When Balaam and Balak conjoin, they build the name Amalek. Amalek is their common root, and this is how they work within us, connected between them. The foundation of the evil in us are Amalek—Balaam and Balak.

But this is how we were created.

True, it is not from us. From the beginning, the Creator said, “I have created the evil inclination,” so Amalek is from Him. Balaam, Balak, Pharaoh, Hitler, they are all from Him.

So who is supposed to blot out the memory of Amalek?

It is for man to correct, and to correct so thoroughly that no trace of it will remain. In other words, the whole of the will to receive will come to aim to bestow through the last element, because if anything is left of it, it grows again.

Why does Amalek jump them?

Amalek emerged from one root, one incident. It is known, even according to what is said in the Torah, that if anything is left of it, it grows within us once again. In other words, until we blot it out completely the problems will not end.

Amalek is presented as shrewd.

Yes, this is why we constantly focus our corrections on Amalek, parts of the will to receive, which are all from it. And yet, it is not considered one of those parts because the first nine, our evil inclination, also consist of the ten Sefirot, the ten Sefirot of Tuma’a (impurity), while we can correct the first nine Sefirot. This is why we do not call them Amalek, but “evil inclination.”

And yet, the essence of the evil inclination, the “Egypt,” the extract of the evil inclination, since Mitzraim (Egypt) comes from Mitz Ra (evil extract), is Pharaoh, and Amalek is a result. Balaam and Balak, however, are its representatives from the sides of male and female. It is still this way today.

Is there a distinct expression to the term, Amalek, in the desires of our generation?

Amalek is when a person bears such vehement hatred toward the people of Israel, toward bestowal, toward love, that he or she cannot accept them in anyway after all the corrections. A person cannot simply say it. Naturally, none of us want them, but once we correct everything, almost to the end, then Amalek appears. It does not appear prior to it.

It is written about it that after all the Mitzvot, after the whole desert, after all that we corrected in ourselves, in connection with the upper light—the Creator—after everything, we have reached the very special and rare Mitzvot in our portion. Only then, in the end, do we arrive at the blotting out of Amalek.

But we are talking about blotting out the memory of Amalek.

Yes, because we have reached the end of the corrections.

Does that mean the worst is still ahead?

No. When we enter the land of Israel there is no longer any evil. Here we are trying to turn it into good. Of course we still discover it, but in a different way, in scrutinizing how to connect to others, not how to detach ourselves from the evil in us, but how to connect to others.

Let us hope that we will soon return to the real land of Israel, first the inner, spiritual one, the Yashar El (straight to God), that we will all be in united and bonded as brothers.