I know that one of Moshiach’s (Messiah) tasks is to rid the world of the nation of Amalek. Up until recently I understood this to be a literal killing of a nation who has always been our arch enemy. Recently, though, I read an opinion that states that the Amalek that we are referring to is actually the Amalek which resides inside each one of us in the form of uncertainty as the word “Amalek” in Hebrew actually means “uncertainty.” Can you explain this? Will Moshiach actually lead us to kill a nation called Amalek or is it meant figuratively? If it is literal, how are we to know which nation is actually Amalek thousands of years later?
Questions pertaining to Moshiach are from the most difficult to answer, simply because of the amount of unknown information.
What we do know about Amalek is based upon the various episodes in history that discuss Amalek. Amalek is the same numerical value as doubt (Safek), hence the idea that Amalek is rooted in doubt. Essentially, they created the initial doubt in the world about G-d’s ability to oversee the details of the Jewish People. By jumping in and attacking us after the world had witnessed all the miracles of Egypt and the Sea, they cast aspersions on the sanctity of our relationship with G-d. That is what the Midrash comments “they cooled off the bath water”, they created doubts in the minds of the nations and the Jewish People. The Almighty’s Throne will not be restored to its full glory until all doubt about His Omnipotence is eradicated. This was the task that King Shaul was to achieve and didn’t. This remains our ongoing task, removing doubt.
Whether Moshiach will literally or figuratively fight the battle, I can’t tell you. But our job is to continue to strengthen our relationship with the Almighty step by step until the goal is achieved.
Rabbi Yehudah Abrams