Kenneth Cohen

Evil Disguised

After the death of Aharon, the ענני הכבוד, clouds of glory, no longer protected the Jewish people. They had been there for forty years in the desert, in the merit of Aharon.

The Torah tells us that וישמע הכנעני, that the Canaanite heard. This means that they heard of the lack of protection and vulnerability of Am Yisrael. Rashi tells us that in actuality, they were Amalekites pretending to be Canaanites, in order to catch Israel off guard.

Thankfully, after Israel made a vow of loyalty to Hashem, they were victorious in their battle against Canaan/Amalek. There was a great lesson to be learned here.
We have an ongoing battle with evil in our lives. We must constantly be on guard in its efforts to infiltrate. Sometimes it pretends to be someone else. Other times, it plays with our minds and causes confusion.

This is exactly what Amalek tries to do. The numerical value of the word, “עמלק,” is “ספק,” meaning, doubt. We become unsure of ourselves when Amalek, or Ayin Hara, or Yeitzer Hara, come to entice and confuse us.

These are all forms of evil that are cunning and deceptive. We must be aware of individuals who have allowed themselves to fall to such a point, where they wish harm on others. We must not allow such people to be a part of our lives.

We see how the Amalekites that were complete evil, tried to do this to Israel. They saw weakness and tried to pounce on it. We must be victorious over our Amalekites in our lives, just as the Jewish people were in the desert.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at