Why does Hashem command us so strongly to remember what Amalek did for us?
And how do we overcome Amalek? How do we carry out Hashem's parallel command to wipe out the memory of Amalek?
What's the Deal with Amalek?
- everything Hashem did for us
- how special we are
- that we are Hashem's Chosen
- that Hashem loves us so much
(Come to think of it, this also makes sense in terms of the Amalekite Erev Rav, where you have seeming Jews investing everything in making us forget how much Hashem loves us, how special we are with a unique mission in the world no one else can fulfill, and rallying us to fulfill non-Jewish missions in the world rather than our soul-mission, etc.)
Anyway, Rabbi Spero explains how we can combat this by investing in the following:
- Remember how special we are as a Nation.
- Remember how special you are as a unique soul.
- Remember how much Hashem loves you.
- Look for the good in yourself & others.
He emphasizes how the teshuvah of Elul means NOT making yourself feel worthless & sinful.
On the contrary—feel WORTHY.
Feel hopeful & special as a Jew with a uniquely Jewish neshamah & a uniquely VITAL mission to fulfill in life.
Jews who behave as they should end up bringing the entire world to its rectification.
Where is the Media List of "The 10 Most Nurturing, Gentle, and Compassionate Frum Women"?
Most Jews today (including some frum Jews) believe our mission should be to fulfill the roles of non-Jews in a non-Jewish manner.
And our society lauds non-Jewish roles while denigrating quintessentially Jewish roles (like Torah-based marriage & parenthood or being a talmid chacham).
Especially for women...
How many times do you read about frum women doing amazing things—always stuff within the secular or non-Jewish community (or a frum imitation of them) in traditionally secular/non-Jewish masculine roles?
Why is a woman only considered really awesome when she fills a traditionally masculine role?
Why can't a woman heroically filling a traditional feminine role be considered really awesome too (as exemplified by the title of this section above)?
Do you ever read about a frum woman who, say, dealt with colicky twins for 3 months and did not lose her temper or her mind?
SHE should make the front page of the papers!
That's an incredible feat of middot.
I'm being totally serious.
Here's another example:
I have a friend (who was a stay-at-home mother at the time) with a genuinely helpful husband who is also "a real gem" in her own words.
He worked full time, but strove to dedicate time to serious Torah learning.
The problem was waking up very early to learn Torah wasn't working for him. (He also helped with the baby at night.)
Going out to the Beit Midrash in the late-night hours also proved less than ideal; he was too tired to learn properly.
Together, they realized the best time for him to learn Torah was in the evening hours—davka the time she needed him most.
Unlike some husbands, her husband was fantastic at managing the whole pre-bedtime & bedtime routine with the kids.
She didn't know how she could manage without his genuinely valuable help.
And this needed to be a daily commitment.
But as they discussed it, she realized that giving up her husband's help for those essential hours was the best way to fulfill her own Torah role.
So she did it.
He appealed to her, but did not pressure her. It really was her decision.
Yes, she went into it with trepidation & maybe some dread—but also with a gratifying sense of duty.
And it was hard—especially at the beginning (these things are always REALLY hard at the beginning!)—but she did it.
(This is a great example to both their sons & their daughters, by the way. It also brings a lot of bracha & Heavenly reward.)
In a nutshell: This is a huge mesirut nefesh for a normal person.
So why isn't she in the media as a "successful frum woman"?
How come HER story & her achievement aren't publicized?
Because she didn't do it while wearing chic suits & a sleek European-hair shaitel down to her forearms? Because she doesn't need a professional make-up artist to help carry out her task?
Because it didn't take any kind of degree or charisma to accomplish it?
Because that kind of accomplishment isn't valued by the secular non-Jewish world, so we cannot hold her up as a "successful frum woman"?
The truth is, we can't publicize all these unseen yet powerful victories.
But we also don't need to take so much to heart the publicized accomplishments based on non-Jewish values.
Saving the World at the Expense of the Child
Her mother occupied herself with world organizations meant to save children in Africa while neglecting her own daughter's needs.
(I think she was physically taken care of by hired help.)
Though usually a warm & upbeat person, she once expressed her pain by noting how her mother seemed to care more about the children halfway across the world in Africa than she did her own daughter right there in her own home.
Yet despite all her mother's efforts toward children in Africa since the 1970s—at the expense of her daughter—you probably noticed that much of Africa continues to be one big heartbreaking mess of human suffering & human rights violations.
Meaning—individual situations aside—you can't really tell there was some very intelligent & devoted Jewish lady sacrificing herself for decades to improve the lot of African children.
It's a terrible tragedy this Jewish woman did not channel her idealism, devotion, and energies into the Torah community in a Torah way.
Fortunately, Hashem blessed her daughter with tremendous compassion, idealism, warmth, and simchat chaim, and this daughter made her way to Torah-true Judaism, where she could utilize her wonderful gifts in the best way possible.
The Best Way to Do Teshuvah & Overcome Amalek
And the constant swimming against the current drains a lot of emotional & physical stamina.
(Which is why one should seek out a current going in the correct direction. It won't always flow in your particular direction because you need to build yourself by going against it at times—but at least you're not in constant opposition.)
But really, if a Jew truly cares about the world, desires world peace, true justice, genuine freedom, robust health & long lives for all...then that Jew will do his or her best to be the absolute best Jew he or she can be.
By Am Yisrael carrying out its tasks (especially b'simcha—one of the most powerful mitzvot), this rectifies the world.
Know you are worthy & special with a unique mission of your unique soul & also a National mission together with Am Yisrael.
That's the best way to do teshuvah.
That's the best way to defeat Amalek.
By conforming exactly to halacha—especially combined with feeling GOOD about being a Jew—a Jew sweetens din (Heaven-sent consequences), hastens Mashiach b'rachamim, and thus brings healing & rectification to the world.
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