Chazal tell us that the Jews enjoyed their participation in the feast of Achashveirosh – a feast established as a celebration of the fact that the Jewish nation had not returned from exile and that Hashem had apparently abandoned His people (Maseches Megillah 12a). Before this incident, the Jewish people were content to live their lives in galus within the Persian Empire and did not long to return to Eretz Yisrael nor rebuild the Temple.
They had despaired of ever being redeemed. In the innermost recesses of their hearts, they started to believe that Hashem had truly abandoned them. Mordechai knew that this yeush, this depression and apathy were very dangerous to the preservation of the Jewish People, since it would eventually lead to assimilation.
If the Jews would no longer listen to him, then he had to set the example. Come what may, he knew that Hashem, though His Presence may have been hidden, had not truly abandoned the Jewish People.
There is a saying: If the Jews don’t make Kiddush, the goyim make Havdalah. Chazal tell us that between the Jewish People and Eisav, from whom Amaleik is a descendant, there is the dynamic that when one is up the other is down. If the Jews are connected to Hashem and following His Torah, they will rule over Eisav. When the Jews are weak in their avodas Hashem, then Hashem sends Eisav to force them to do t’shuvah.
We see this in the Torah’s account of the incident at Refidim (Sh’mos 17:7-8). Shortly after the awesome revelation of K’rias Yam Suf, the Jewish People faltered in their emunas Hashem to the point that they asked themselves, “Hayeish Hashem b’kirbeinu? (Is Hashem among us?)”
Rashi explains that Refidim is “Rafu y’deihem min haTorah.” That is, they were weak in their study of Torah. Precisely, when they felt weak in their connection to Torah and Hashem, Amaleik was given the opening and the strength to attack.
Mordechai HaTzadik no doubt knew about this dynamic, and we could explain his refusal to bow as more than just setting an example or avoiding a situation of avodah zarah, as some Sages have suggested. Perhaps, he reasoned, if he, as their spiritual leader, combined with their Torah learning and mitzvos, were not enough to bring the Jewish people back to Hashem, then the threat of Amaleik would be.
But Mordechai had to show the Jews that in order to fight Amaleik, you have to be strong – especially at the “gate” of t’shuvah. You have to do what you can to maintain your connection to Hashem, His Torah, and Truth, even when you’ve made mistakes and have fallen from your previous spiritual level. Never ever give up; never ever bow down. Because once you give in to yeush and you weaken in your emunah – even a little – then you give Amaleik – which is the physical representation of the yeitzer ha’ra – an opening to attack.
(Material was previously published on ShiratMiriam.com.)
List of People Who Need
a R’fuah Sh’leimah
(a complete recovery)
Please recite Psalms 20, 30, 88, 121, and 130.
Rachamim ben Sa’eda Mazal
Alter Shmuel ben Chavah Leah
Chaim Avraham ben Shifrah Zisel
Chaim ben Malkah
Yehudah Yudel ben Miriam Gittel
Rav Shmuel Zalman ben Chanah
Yerachmiel Daniel ben Tovah Basha
Rafael Moshe Yehuda ben Feiga Necha
Chaim Meir Binyamin ben Chanah Sarah
Pinchas ben Feiga Dinah
David Israel ben Rivkah
Tzvi ben Miriam Rachel
Yitzchak Mordechai ben Rose Nizha
Refael Avraham ben Ivonne
Moshe ben Chasyah Hadassah
Meshulam David ben Alta Hendel
Yisachar Dov ben Chayah Brachah
Yosef ben Basyah
Yeshayahu Yosef ben Zari
Nissan ben Shoshanah
Chayah Sarah Brachah bas Miriam Shifrah
Ruchamah Perel Malkah Leah bas Chanah Serel
Esther Hadassah bas Devorah
Shirah bas Devorah Leah
Adinah Aidel bas Sheina Mindel
Tinokes bas Adinah Aidel
Malkah bas Allegre
Yehudis bas Rivkah
Ruchamah Rinah Basyah bas Shifrah Rus
Tehilah Hadassah bas Elanah
Mazal bas Malkah
Malkah bas Nechamah
Miriam bas Rachel
Tziporah Stellah bas Shirin
Miriam bas Rachel
Tziporah Yeta bas Yehudis
Rachel bas Hindah Raizel
Efrat Tehilah bas Nina
Tinokes bas Efrat Tehilah