Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Purim, Amalek, and the Spiritual Power of Procrastination

Baruch Hashem, R' Boruch Leff, a mechanech in Baltimore and writer for Yated,, and other publications has given me permission to post a series of pieces which quote my rebbe, Rav Moshe Weinberger, from his book Are You Growing?, which is available on Aish's website at a 40% discount here.
Amaleik is not merely the nation who attacked us first-they are the spiritual thorn in our side, always trying to bring us down and away from Hashem. As weprepare for next week’s Parshas Zachor we must remember what Amaleik wanted and continues to want to do to us and we must work hard to defend ourselves fromtheir plans.
The pasuk in Parshas Balak describes Amaleikas ‘Reishis Goyim Amaleik’and the acronym, roshei tayvos, ofthese words spell rega, which means amoment. Amaleik wants us to becomedistracted, forgetting about Adar and eternity, and exchange eternity for thenow, for the pleasure of the rega,the moment. But Rav Moshe Weinberger explains that the way to combat the desireof Amaleik is to realize that all that’s needed is a fight and a struggle for just a brief moment. The passion of the desire for sin, the height of the strength and difficulty usually lasts but for a minute. If we can find the inner power to resist for that minute and walkaway, we will usually find that the battle is much easier after that minute has passed.
Dieting works this way as well. You see the chocolate cake and your body immediately sends aquick message to your brain, “I want that cake—all of it! I need that cake!” Ifwe listen to this urge and stop rational thought we will cave in. But if stopfor a rega, if we walk away for aminute, we usually can withstand the desire a minute later when the height ofthe desire has left.
Rav Eliyahu Dessler says that this is the way to fight the yetzer hara. Don’t fight it head on, just delay it, tell the yetzer hara that you’ll revisit the decision soon, just not right  now. If we do this, the rega, the ‘Reishis Goyim Amaleik’ends and we are better equipped to resist.
Shabbos is the day in which we have many regaim,many moments with which to remove ourselves from the rat race of life. We have time to think, time to recharge our spiritual batteries and connect to Hashem.The Ramchal in Mesilas Yesharim writes that the yetzer hara wants to keep us busy constantly, never having time totruly think about what’s important in life. We counter this problem but letting ourselves have a rega, a serenemoment in time when we can get our priorities straight and combat the push of Amaleik to live only for the rega. Instead, we make choices based upon eternity, not merely for the rega.
For these reasons, we must treasure the serenity and break from the hustle and bustle of life which Shabbos offers. Theword rega actually is derived fromthe word ragua, which means to berelaxed and calm. We are supposed to utilize every moment of life in this manner—bybeing relaxed and calm. Only in this manner will we make good choices.
Let us try to feel ragua appreciating themeaning that it offers, so that we can build the strength to fight the rushed rega attitude of Amaleik with a proper‘take a step back and think’ Torah and regaapproach.
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