Curb Your Enthusiasm?

Friday, 8 March, 2019 - 3:16 pm

 " ...Accursed be Haman who sought to destroy me, blessed be Mordechai the Jew.  Accursed be Zeresh, the wife of my terrorizer, blessed be Esther who sacrificed for me - and Charvonah, too, be remembered for good [for suggesting to the King that Haman be hanged on the gallows]..." -Prayer Following Megillah Reading


Dear Friend,

The Jewish people have a looong national memory. In the Purim prayer above, we delineate every last ill-wisher and friend down to Charvonah - the quick-thinking low-level hand in the palace of King Achashverosh. 

Within the prism of Chabad Chassidic thought, all the good and bad characters of the Torah represent corresponding character traits and emotions. Stubborn Pharoah becomes 'Pharoah-itis'- the traits of a drug addict whose actions (or inaction) slowly destroys themselves and every last relationship. The ancient Philistines, 'Klipat Pelishtim or Phillistine-itis', feelings of deep depression.

In the Purim narrative we spin our graggers when we mention our nemesis, the people of Amalek, progenitors of the Purim villian, Haman. More important than this specific offender, though, is to recognize the offense- and look within oneself to obliterate any trace of a negative character trait.

In Chassidic thought, Amalek represents a cynical voice within, always ready to curb your enthusiasm by suggesting, 'Don't get too holy; you went to Shul for two consecutive Shabbats; make sure you are not evolving into a religious extremist! Cool it down, take it easy..."-- that's Amalek.

To be sure, as Maimonides teaches  (Laws of Human Dispositions 1:3-4) , it's ideal to to strive to be a 'middle of the road type of 'guy', finding balance in all you do. With that said, it's ok to be extreme (sometimes). When you love someone, pour your passion into the relationship; it can only benefit. And when you feel passion for something holy and worthwhile, like Torah study and a relationship with your creator, put yourself into it; your soul and your spiritual connection will only benefit.

G-d can be admired--better yet, served, worshipped. The Shema Prayer comes to mind. 'Love Hashem with all your heart, all your soul and might' certainly implies extreme devotion, the polar opposite of a flippant and indifferent inner Amalek.

At Chabad, there are many opportunities to fan the inner flame, pining for a more Jewish and meaningful life experience.  For starters, we have an AWESOME Purim party planned; we look forward to greeting you and and enjoying Purim to the extreme.

With blessing,

Rabbi Shmuel A. Metzger

Comments on: Curb Your Enthusiasm?

Sarah wrote...

Great photo!