I like your modern interpretations of biblical Judaism. But it seems that you pick and choose what commandments are still relevant, and just ignore the primitive ones. For example, the Torah commands the Israelites to wage an eternal war against the nation of Amalek, and to wipe them out totally. If the word of G‑d is eternal, why aren't you armed and dangerous, seeking out Amalekites to kill?


I've got news for you — I do seek out Amalekites. Between you and me, I've even killed a few. You should try it, it's not nearly as bad as it sounds. No one gets hurt, and it feels great. But first you have to learn to identify who Amalek really is.

Amalek was an ancient Middle Eastern nation that had an inborn hatred towards Israel. The Amalekites took any opportunity to attack Jews for absolutely no reason. There was no land dispute or provocation that caused this hatred - it was an intrinsic pathological need to destroy G‑d's people. Such hatred cannot be combatted through diplomacy. There was no option to re-educate the Amalekites or review their school curricula. Their hatred was not taught - it was ingrained. As long as an Amalekite walked the earth, no Jew was safe. It was a clear case of kill or be killed. A Jew had to take the command to kill Amalek quite literally - his life depended on it.

In time, the Amalekite nation assimilated into the people around them. Their inborn hatred became diluted as their national identity dissolved, and the command to kill them became impossible to fulfill. This was no accident of fate. The G‑d who authored the Torah is also the Author of history. He decided that the time had come that this command should no longer apply in its literal sense. It was time for the Jewish people to move on.

But this doesn't mean that Amalek has disappeared. Amalek is alive and well today, albeit in a different form. No longer a foreign nation, today's Amalek is an internal enemy. We each have an Amalekite lurking within our very self. The inner Amalek is unholy cynicism. That little voice inside each of us that derides, belittles and attacks truth and goodness; our irrational tendency to mock people who act morally, to be cynical when we see altruism, to doubt our own or other's sincerity - these are the modern day Amalekites. They wage a lethal war with our soul. If we let it, cynicism can kill our every attempt to improve ourselves and smother any move towards refining our character and expressing our soul.

There is only one effective response to Amalek's attacks: Annihilation. Don't argue back, it won't work. The power of cynicism is that it is irrational. The most inspiring, uplifting and profound moment of spiritual awakening can be dismissed in an instant by Amalek's sarcastic taunts. The most logical and sound arguments can be deflected with his quick one-liners — "Get real!", "Who ya kidding?" or "Hey, you think you're so holy-moly?" There is no answer to such cheap pot-shots. You can't fight cynicism with reason. Just wipe it out. No dialogue. No compromise. Erase it from the face of your soul.

Next time your cynical Amalekite raises his ugly head, stomp on it. Beat him at his own game: Do good things for no good reason. Be kind without an explanation. Love your fellow irrationally. Become the hero of your own inner battle, and free your captured soul—kill an Amalekite today.