Protection from Doubts
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Protection from Doubts

Michael Berg
January 23, 2019

There is a section in the Midrash that I believe to be a driving thought and force of Shabbat Yitro: The Creator says to Moses, regarding his father-in-law Jethro, or Yitro, "My Essence is always to bring forth, to bring close, and never to push away." 

"The greatest danger we face is a lack of desire."

We understand from this that in the portion Yitro, the Creator brings us close to Him. However, in order for that to happen, we have to beg for it, and the reason we have to beg for it is important. On the other side of the Creator’s bringing us close is the force of Amalek, the force of doubt and uncertainty, the force that pushes us away from the Creator. Amalek is when the thoughts of, “I don’t even want to connect,” come into our mind. The only way to counteract such thoughts is to first understand what Amalek is, and then, especially on Shabbat Yitro when the essence of the Light of the Creator is bringing us close, beg for that closeness.

And the reason we have to beg for it because it indicates we are battling for that closeness. The greatest spiritual danger we face is not our battle for connection, because if we are battling, then we are already on the spiritual path; rather, the greatest danger we face is a lack of desire to battle. It is the decision Adam and Eve made when they got kicked out of the Garden of Eden and said, "We do not even want to go back,” and that the tribe of Dan made when they were traveling with the Israelites, and decided, "We no longer want to be a part of that protective shield.” They made these decisions because of the force of Amalek, the doubts that came into their minds. Therefore, we need to understand that the greatest danger we face when we wake up every morning is not that we are going to battle to connect, such as when we are tired yet still desire to try, for example, but that we don’t even want to try.

"We can receive the Creator’s gift of bringing us close."

When we have a battle of consciousness, we are still connected, whereas the force of Amalek is when we have decided we don’t even want to battle for it anymore. And that could happen in a moment or a day, in small things or in great things. That is the real battle, and on Shabbat Yitro, we can receive the true antidote to it by begging the Creator to bring us close to Him. However, in order to do so, we need to understand that the danger of Amalek is not the battle. The danger of Amalek is when its force of doubt has seeped into our consciousness and we have decided we don’t even want to try to connect. It is scary, because look at Adam and Eve and the tribe of Dan; they had been spiritual people, doing the spiritual work, but then Amalek entered their consciousness, and they left the Garden of Eden, and the Israelites, respectively, and the thought came to them that they didn’t even want to go back.  

This teaches us, therefore, that even if we are doing the spiritual work, Amalek can still seep in. Because as long as we are doing the spiritual work, but staying in our comfort zones, then doubts can still come in. When what we are living, even if it is spiritual, is within the realm of our nature, we have no spiritual sustainability, and anything can happen in which we can lose it completely But if we push ourselves to go outside of our nature and comfort zones, then we are protected.

So, we learn that the protection from Amalek is twofold: we have to beg the Creator to bring us close, as well as continue to push ourselves outside of our nature in doing our spiritual work. And on Shabbat Yitro, the Light of the Creator's arms is open to us; if we ask for it, we can receive both the Creator’s gift of bringing us close, so that Amalek cannot enter into our consciousness, and of giving us strength to push ourselves in our spiritual work.