The Torah describes two types of enemies, one of which we are commanded to eradicate and never forget, the other we must tell the story of, yet we must find compassion for their suffering.
The first enemy is Amalek, and the second enemy are the Egyptians.
The Egyptians were drowning in the sea and the Jews began singing praise to God for saving them. Yet God said, ‘the Egyptians are my children as well; don’t sing– this is a tragedy, a necessary tragedy, yet a tragedy all the same.’
This differs from the story of Amalek, where we are told never to forget and to eradicate them from the earth.
They were also God’s children, so what was the difference between the two?
Ultimately, this is a huge lesson in life. The Amalekites represented baseless hatred. I hate you because you are a Jew, because you are black, because you are not me– not because of anything you have done or fear for anything you may do.
This form of hate is toxic and enduring. It must be eradicated both from our souls and from the earth, for there is no negotiating with such a level of hatred.
Rabbi Sachs relates this to the Nazis; when they knew they were losing the war, instead of transporting munitions which would have saved their lives, they were so caught up with their baseless hatred that they sent more Jews to the gas chambers instead of saving themselves.
The Egyptians, on the other hand, were so fearful that the Jews would outnumber them and take over that they enslaved the Jews. This certainly wasn’t a kind act on their part, yet it was based on the Egyptian’s rationale, which is something that can be dealt with.
When we have an enemy based on some type of rationale, we must do everything in our power to quash the fear and chase peace. However, when we have an enemy based on irrational hatred, we must do everything we can to eradicate it.
So to with our own internal battle, when it’s based on fear we must challenge the fear, address it, and deal with it. Yet when it’s baseless hatred, we must quickly eradicate it so it doesn’t take hold.
This week, let’s find ways to eradicate our baseless biases and find ways to negotiate with and calm our fears.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love