Cold. Benumbed. Arctic. Inflexible, rigid, and unyielding.

On the human plane, ice represents apathy, emotional frigidity, imperviousness to change, and resistance to inspiration.

It should come as no surprise then that our nation's archenemy, the nation of Amalek, is associated with coldness.

"Remember that which Amalek did to you, on the way, when you went out of Egypt. How he encountered you on the way..." (Deuteronomy 25:17).

The Hebrew word for "encountered you" is kar'cha—which can also be translated as "cooled you."

After experiencing the miraculous Exodus, the even more spectacular Splitting of the Sea, and then being treated daily to manna from heaven—it is understandable that our ancestors were enjoying a spiritual heat wave. Warm, excited, inspired, on the highest of highs.

It should come as no surprise that our nation's archenemy is associated with coldness.Their heat, and their aura of invincibility, radiated outwards, and no nation dared to confront them. No nation, that is, besides one. Amalek was unaffected by the heat, and brazenly came forth to attack the Israelites and apply a cold compress to their burning enthusiasm. Miracles shmiracles...

They tried to cool our passion—and we are enjoined to never forget their chilling stab, and to utterly eliminate them from the face of the earth.

And on a personal level, there is an Amalek lurking within every one of us. It is the icy voice that attempts to inculcate us with apathy and immunize us against passion and inspiration. This Amalek, too, must be destroyed.

But how?

Well, the most obvious antidote to ice is heat. With enough heat you could melt a glacier.

But there's another way...


Cold. Benumbed. Arctic. Inflexible, rigid, and unyielding.

In terms of spiritual service, ice represents absolute and unshakable commitment to G‑d.

Not a commitment based on emotions (warmth), not one that rests on a foundation of love and awe for the Creator or an appreciation of the beauty and importance of serving Him. For ultimately, any such relationship is based on a feeling of self: I love, I fear, I feel, I like, I appreciate, I understand...

And when the service depends on my warmth and excitement, it will fluctuate from day to day, even minute to minute. Some days will be sunny and warm; others will be overcast and chilly.

But if the commitment isn't driven by warmth and passion, by what I want and feel, but by what is wanted of me—then it's steady and constant, and not subject to vacillations and swings. Because what I'm wanted and needed for doesn't change.

In Ezekiel's depiction of the supernal chariot, he describes the "awesome ice" that stands above the holy Chayot (Ezekiel 1:22).

When my service depends on my excitement, some days will be sunny and warm; others will be overcast and chillyThe Chayot are angels who, as we say in our daily morning prayers, serve their Master with a "mighty tumult." Their excitement at singing G‑d's praises and proclaiming His holiness defies description.

But there's something above their heads, a service superior to theirs.


And don't mistake the person who serves G‑d with icy resolve for a wimp. Don't think that his lack of ego or personal agenda renders him a pushover.

Much to the contrary, his icy determination isn't mitigated by considerations of ego and pride. He stands his ground no matter what may come his way. His determination can sink ships that are deemed to be unsinkable.

So if you want to melt your inner ice, go right ahead.

But I recommend that you fight ice with ice.1