Morning Blessings-Moshe & Amalek-Clarity in Learning
Our principal purpose and perfection lies in serving the Lord in complete simplicity, without any sophistication. There are philosophers who say that our principal purpose and reason for existence in the World to, is only to know everything as it is; for instance, to know a star as it is, to know its essence, and why it is located in such and such specific place. For there is the quality of the thinker, the intellect itself, and that which is conceived by the intellect. They maintain that the goal of our existence in the World to, is that all should become unified. Hence they spend their days in this world contemplating mastering these concepts, regarding this as their purpose. In their opinion, this in itself is the World to Come, except that in this world, where they are enclothed in bodies, they do not derive as much pleasure from the philosophical speculation, but in the World to Capcom, where they will be divested of their bodies, they will derive great pleasure from it. According to their evil opinion, our purpose is essentially attained by means of philosophical reasoning and secular sciences.
But truly, we hold that our purpose is fulfilled only through faith in the practical observances, serving the Lord by means of the Torah, simply and artlessly. By this means alone do we merit what we merit, “No eye has seen (Isaiah 64:3).” So it is written, “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Psalms 111:10),” the essential beginning of wisdom and prior to it is only the fear of the Lord; for one must give precedence to fear, piety, over wisdom.
Proof that their opinion is incorrect is that according to them only a very few people, the philosopher–intellectuals, would ever fulfill their purpose. But how are lesser people, the majority in mainstay of the world, to attain their purpose, seeing that they do not have sufficient intellect to engage in philosophical speculation and to grasp these ideas? In truth, we fulfill our purpose only and specifically by means of simplicity, the fear of the Lord and the practical observances, in utter artlessness.
This is what is meant by, “The end of the matter, all having been heard; fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13).”, “The end of the matter King Solomon teaches us that the fulfillment of our purpose,” comes about only by means of simplicity, fearing the Lord and observing His commandments with simplicity. Hence, “the end of the matter, all having been heard; fear God, and keep His commandments,” alluding to the quality of simplicity and artlessness, fearing the Lord and keeping His commandments.
This is why the verse concludes, “for this is the whole of man,” it is possible for every man to observe this and to attain his purpose thereby, since the essence of all is, “fear God.” There every man can attain his purpose.
In truth, it is a very great transgression to philosophize and to study books of secular knowledge, heaven forbid. Only the very great Tzaddik is permitted to do this, to study the sciences. For one who enters into these sciences can stumble there.
In each science there is a stumbling block in the category of Amalek, and because of this stumbling block one tends to fall, heaven forbid.
Amalek was a philosopher and inquirer, and denied the foundations of the faith, as it is written, “And he feared not God (Deuteronomy 25:18),” he conducted himself only by means of reason, but had no fear or piety whatsoever.
But the Tzaddik, when he enters into the sciences, strengthens himself and remains on his firm basis, by means of faith, as in, “The righteous lives by his faith (Habbakuk 2:4).”
Thus it is written, concerning our master Moses on the occasion of the war with Amalek, “and his hands were steady (Exodus 17:12),” for by means of faith he weakened Amalek, science and philosophical reasoning, as mentioned above. Thus, “And his hands were faithful (Emunah);” his hands referred to the practical commandments, for they are the expressions of faith, Emunah, as it is written, “All Your commandments are faithful–Emunah (Psalms 119:86),” for by means of faith and the practical commandments, which are the opposite of the category of Amalek, he weakened Amalek.
The philosophers and the heretics interpret the Torah in accordance with their sciences and heresy, maintaining that the whole Torah, including the practical commandments written in the Torah, is to be explained by means of form and intelligence. (Likkutei Moharan, II, 19)
“Please, God, our Lord, sweeten the words of Your Torah in our mouth.” Grant us the gift of the sweetness of Torah providing us with sufficient faith to maintain our clarity in our battle against Amalek, and those who reject faith for pure intellect.