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Insights Into Daniel: Evil’s Genius

Rebbe said that when Daniel understood that the Master of the Eunuchs wanted to redefine him by changing his name, he applied a counterbalancing (ezer kenegdo) force. I believe that we can apply this incredibly simple yet genius act in our day to day battle with evil.


When I heard about the boy in Brooklyn being slaughtered, and then later about my very own sister and a close friend being mugged at gunpoint, I was extremely overwhelmed. I was very angry at God. How could He allow something like that to happen on a large scale, to the Jewish people. How could he do something like that on a personal level, to my own sister.

Then when I spoke to my sister, I was blown away. I didn’t hear, “How could God do this to me?” I heard her say that at a moment when her own life was being threatened, she challenged herself to apply the beliefs she knew to be true. She understood even in an intensely threatening moment, that her values must shine through both when experiencing good, and confronting evil. I was extremely humbled. Here I was, I hadn’t even experienced it, and I was already mad at God. She used the experience to expand.

She gave me the courage to expand, as well. I realized, I too, can expand by applying Daniel’s principle. In class, we learned that evil can be brilliant. Our enemies can exhibit such brilliance to undermine us, that we are left unsure and insecure about ourselves and where we stand in our relationship with God. Look at how the master of Eunuchs figures out a genius way to destabilize Daniel. He manipulates his external environment to make him feel unsafe. Daniel fights back by saying the one area my sense of safety must derive from is my own sense of being. It comes from how I choose to respond to evil.

At the evil I see this week I say, wow, how brilliant is my yetzer hara. He simultaneously attacked me on a general and personal level. He wanted to see how my attitude towards God will change. And He succeeded, initially. He made me feel anger towards God, he succeeded in putting a barrier. Thank God, Hashem gave me the eyes to catch it, and to say, “Wow, if evil is so meticulous, calculating every detail, exhibiting brilliance, HOW MUCH MORE SO HASHEM!” Is it conceivable, that the enemy who is created, would be more brilliant than God himself? So, if evil leaves no detail uncalculated how much more so would Hashem be scrupulous with every ounce of pain, and every moment of suffering.

I choose to see a world of God’s meticulous and careful calculation, in response to the evil that has made me feel that God has forgotten me, that God has overlooked our collective and personal suffering.

How can we apply this idea in our davening? VeKol Harisha Kerega Toved

“May all evil in one moment be lost” We can use this idea to remember our principle. When we are being challenged by evil, and then we fight back, not externally with guns or war, but internally. When we say, “no, I will not allow evil to corrupt me, I choose to believe that as brilliant as evil is , how much more so God” Then we cause evil to vanish in that moment. May we gather all of those moments collectively, until we truly experience a reality in which all evil, indeed, has vanished.

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