web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Battle For Faith

PTI-031414

We live in a world of cause and effect.  In physics, we are taught that “every action has a reaction.”  It’s an American axiom that “hard work pays off” – if you work hard you will succeed.  Financial analysts explain how grain shortages in the Midwest cause a rise in the price of processor chips in Korea; meteorologists link global warming to record snowfall in the Rockies.  Gum disease is linked to the risk of heart attack (really… go brush your teeth, now!)

In the Torah portion that we read on Purim day, the Torah describes an unusual cause and effect. When Bnei Yisroel battled Amalek, who attacked them as they came out of Mitzrayim, we are told, When Moshe lifted his hands to the heavens Bnei Yisroel overpowered Amelek, but when he lowered his hands Amelek started winning (Beshalach 17:11). The Mishna in Rosh Hashanah 29b asks the obvious question:  Do Moshe’s hands make a war or break a war? The answer it gives is no; however, when Bnei Yisroel lifts their eyes to our Father in Heaven they would win. The real cause of Bnei Yisroel’s  success in battle was their faith in Hashem.

Although this seems straightforward, we should investigate further. After all, what is the Mishna’s question? There are many miracles performed with “the hands of Moshe” – the makkos and the splitting of the sea – so why does the Mishna ask about the role of Moshe’s hands during the battle?  Rav Gedalia Schorr zt”l provides us with an incredible insight.  He says that we have misunderstood the Mishna’s question! What the Mishna is really asking is: if Moshe Rabbeinu’s hands were the cause of victory, how could he lower them? The Mishna’s response is that the victory was dependent only on Bnei Yisroel’s faith in Hashem; Moshe hands were just a barometer of their faith.

The battle on Purim was our war with Amalek; we know that Haman was a descendent of Amalek and we are commanded to annihilate that entire nation. Think about that for a moment:  genocide! How is it possible for a merciful nation, children of Hashem the Merciful, to do such a thing?

The answer is that since Amalek’s mission in this world is to create agnostics – people who deny the very existence of Hashem – Hashem declares, “My throne is not complete as long as Amalek is in existence” (Beshalach 17:16).  Amalek is the antithesis of the Divine purpose of this world, to spread the awareness of Hashem throughout creation: kol hanikrah bshmi, v’lichvodi b’rasiv – Everyone who is called by My name and whom I have created for My glory” (Yishayahu 43:7).

How does Amalek insinuate its false ideology into society?  The pasuk says, “Zachor es asher asah lecha Amalekasher karcha baderech…” (Ki Seitzei 25:17). Rashi explains that one of the definitions of “karcha” is “mikreh” occurrence (“stuff happens,” they say.)  That is a veiled version of “cause and effect.” Believing that our financial success is due to our hard work alone with a few random “breaks” – that’s the ideology of Amalek!

Why isn’t Hashem’s name mentioned in the Megillah even once?  Because the battle between Amalek and Bnei Yisroel is in how to interpret the “natural unfolding of events.”  Imagine the news in Shushan: “Haman Promoted to Grand Vizier, Declares Final Solution to Jewish Problem!” Was this just Haman’s plan – or was this the will of the Almighty?

We know that the decree to kill the Jews was not based on Haman’s influence on Achashveirosh or Achashveirosh’s own wicked desires, but rather it was an extension of Hashem’s decree, based on the actions of the Bnei Yisroel. But for Haman and his followers it was his idea and his power that were at play.

About the Author: Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim is Associate Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Passaic Torah Institute, Passaic, NJ.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

13 Responses to “The Battle For Faith”

  1. Have a good PURIM celebration

  2. Karen Bryant says:

    Should have done it way back when told to.

  3. Larry Villa says:

    We will help you pray to win the battle over the enemy..
    God is in control of everything…

  4. I know ! I read it in my Bible today! The Old Testament section!!

  5. Remember the mighty hands of the Lord who rescued your from slavery in Egypt for 430 years during the time of Prophet Moses… the Lord has make a solemn promise that he will always rescue his people turn to him with all your heart.. to win the war does not depend on the size of the army if the Lord himself will fight for you…as you advance into battle the angel of the LORD will march ahead of you…and threw the enemies into panic.

  6. Remember the mighty hands of the Lord who rescued your from slavery in Egypt for 430 years during the time of Prophet Moses… the Lord has make a solemn promise that he will always rescue his people turn to him with all your heart.. to win the war does not depend on the size of the army if the Lord himself will fight for you…as you advance into battle the angel of the LORD will march ahead of you…and threw the enemies into panic.

  7. That’s the only problem I have with the Jewish people. They never obeyed what God told them to do. Now these are the same people who cause and sponsor terrorism all over the world.

    Not only the Amalekites, but indeed all the descendant of Esau.

  8. Metaphorical not literal.

  9. Lina Deza says:

    Praying for Israel against their enemies!

  10. Issy Rondel says:

    They did not do a good job, as there still millions of them threatening to kill Israel. How about doing it now properly.

  11. Karen Bryant says:

    Azuka, when we can honestly say that we as individuals have done all that God commanded, then we can have a problem with other people not obeying. I believe it would have been better if the Jewish people had obeyed , but in reading the scripture it seems that their compassion for their fellow man was the reason behind sparing some. Unfortunately it has come back to bite them.

  12. Gary Harper says:

    He who confesses Hashem is not an Amalekite. This needs to be considered, remembered, and understood when the time promised comes.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
UN Human Rights Council
UN HRC Condemns Israel (But Not Hamas) for War Crimes
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

More Articles from Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim
Bodenheim-032715

Our ability to teach is only successful if done by example.

PTI-logo-NEW

This is a recurring theme in this week’s parsha, in which there are many mistakes made based on perception.

People love their GPS; just type in the address and it tells you exactly how to get to where you want to go.

There is one day of the year on which the Satan has no power: Yom Kippur.

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Life is what you make of it. And if our lives are defined by Torah, then these weeks of Sefira are all about making the most of it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/holidays/the-battle-for-faith/2014/03/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: