In Adar we must increase in joy, as we mentioned before. In general, serving the Almighty with joy is a Torah directive. In fact, if we are lacking happiness in our service of G-d, exile is the result, as the Torah says “As you did not serve G-d, your G-d, with joy and good heartedness”. Of course, knowing the importance of joy, the yetzer hara (evil inclination) tries specifically to make us depressed, sad, moody and to take away our joyfulness. This is also the work of Amalek. This past Shabbos we read parshas Zachor, to remember and eradicate Amalek.
The Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement, taught that the Hebrew word “safek” (doubt) equals b’gematria the Hebrew word Amalek (the nation that caused the Jewish people to lose faith when they left Egypt). They cooled off the Jewish people’s enthusiasm. After seeing all the miracles that G-d did for the Israelites at the Red Sea and in Egypt, the Jews were so happy and excited. Amalek met them after that and attacked them, basically saying “We saw the miracles done for the Jews, but we don’t’ care.” It was an attitude of rebellion. It created some doubts into the minds of the Jewish nation.
How does doubt affect us? Why is there a commandment to remember what Amalek did to us, and to eradicate Amalek and not forget ? Doubt starts in the mind, trying to affect our faith in G-d. We wonder: is G-d really among us or not? Is this a miracle, or just coincidence? That thought itself is the manifestation of Amalek. It takes on many forms: doubting if Hashem cares about us, is helping us, will protect us and resolve our problems etc.
If doubt enters the level of speech, we find ourselves unable to clearly express our faith. We may stumble or stutter in our words. We have difficulty affecting others positively with our speech.
And if doubt enters the level of action, it expresses itself by our doubts in our ability to do anything or be successful. We feel restricted and unable to accomplish or progress. A person’s hands become weak and their ability to walk can be affected. This especially affects one’s ability to accomplish for holy matters.
If a person already moves to the “other side” of unholiness, then they can actually appear self confident, because Amalek helps them to do so. But a person who wants to be part of holiness and yet entertains some doubts, needs to work to completely uproot amalek within himself. He needs to uproot doubts, even on a subconscious level. This is part of destroying Amalek. And then he is able to “not forget” and to constantly keep a strong level of faith and joy.