Endgame For Evil

Free translation and adaptation from a discourse of
Rabbi Sholom Dov Baer Schneerson
Purim 5680 (1920)

by Rabbi David Rothschild

Part 1

[In the text an attempt was made to abridge and elucidate their content. To provide background information for difficult terms and concepts, additional material from other Chassidic discourses, appears in brackets. The remaining content is a free translation.]


Part 2 (of 2)

II. Measurement Methodology

Desire Absence

There are two kinds of measurement. Regarding the ten sefirot, G?d measures the quantity and quality of light He wants revealed. A precise amount of light must be estimated for each particular vessel. Then G-d reveals this measured light.

The second technique of measurement, though, operates in the opposite manner. Here,
G-d withdraws His light. Rather than descending below, light moves in an upward motion away from the world. Measurement, then, is a function of the extent light should be withdrawn - a magnitude of the absence of revelation. And just as there is measurement in space, so too is there measurement within the framework of time.

The source for the difference between these methods of measurement lies in the primordial World of Chaos and the World of Rectification. Regarding these worlds the Midrash writes, "These were pleasing to G-d, and these were not pleasing to G-d."

In the World of Rectification, measurement is of the nature of revelation and descent
below. G-d measures the manner of light's revelation. But in the World of Chaos, measurement is the extent G-d doesn't want light to be revealed. He withdraws His Will. This explains why the sefirot of Chaos flew back to their source resulting in the destruction of the vessels of that World. The sefirot of the World of Rectification, though, were emanated downward where they continue to exist in a settled state. Isaiah informed, "He did not create the world to be a wasteland, He formed it to be inhabited" (Isaiah 45:18).

Staying Power

Evil's source is located in the shattered vessels of the World of Chaos. Prior to the destruction of Chaos, evil didn't exist. As G-d didn't desire Chaos, and this is evil's source, it follows that evil's existence is actually the absence of existence; for evil derives from the absence of G-d's Will.

Evil's measurement is the extent G-d withdrew his Will. Thus, there is an end, time limit, to the forces of evil. Then, they will be completely nullified.

The opposite is true in the realm of Divinity. Although measurement also applies to Divine emanations, differences in revelations are willed by G-d. It follows that in Divinity, time limits don't exist. As the Zohar explains, "Divinity is manifest higher and higher, without end; and lower and lower, without limit."

A revelation of Divine attributes is willed by G-d. Therefore they are continuously bound together with their Divine source. Just as G-d's existence is eternal, immutable and true, so too His attributes.

Evil, though, is a manifestation of the lack of G-d's Will. This results in their intrinsic separation from G-d. As such, evil hasn't any reality or endurance in itself. Its existence is solely due to the power of the or makif light that sustains it.
[G-d's intention in its temporary existence is to give man free choice.]

Joshua foresaw this, "Their cover is departed from them" (Numbers 14:9). When G-d removes the or makif from the forces of evil, they will have no true reality.

This then is the explanation of "He puts an end to darkness." G-d measured an end and a time limit for the forces of evil. When their time runs out, they will be utterly annihilated.

Amalek's Ruin

The endgame for evil is especially pronounced regarding the archetype of evil-the Kelipah of Amalek.

Kabbala classifies Amalek as the crown of evil. He is the highest and hence most terrible form of evil. Amalek corresponds to the World of Emanation of Klipah -- "Amalek was the first nation" (Numbers 24:20). Amalek's nature is irrational impudence and brazenness.

It is self understood that Amalek completely lacks an immutable true existence. An analogy is useful. An ocean's wave is lifted high into the air. The wave, however, doesn't lift itself, as water naturally descends. It's only the power of wind, brought to bear on the wave, that causes it to be raised. And when the wind subsides, the wave crashes down.

Likewise regarding forces of evil: their existence is due to the or makif light that supports and maintains them. Once their life-force terminates, so will they. As is known, "With wind they come, and with wind they depart."

However, it does make a difference whether evil's end comes at the appointed time or before the appointed time. If it arrives at the appointed time evil will then be utterly destroyed. But its end arrives before the appointed time, then evil will receive a degree of purification.

In the Talmud, the sages made this distinction: "When Jews are meritorious in their spiritual service of purifying the world, then evil's end will occur before the appointed time." This also applies should evil bring about its own premature destruction. In the latter scenario, a revelation of additional light will shine into the realm of Divinity.

King Solomon taught, "When the wicked perish there is joy" (Proverbs 11:10). Should Jews precipitate evil's early demise, the revelation of G-d's light will be stronger and more internalized.

King Ahasuerus ordered Haman, "Make haste and take the royal cloak" (Esther 6:10). Why was alacrity relevant? Actually, however, haste is to Haman's advantage; Haman himself becomes a "beautiful garment for Mordechai" (Esther 6:11).

Since, ultimately, evil will be completely nullified and annihilated, Ahasuerus offered Haman friendly advice: he should hurry up and effect his own early purification. For by doing so, evil itself becomes a beautiful garment for Mordechai.


[Rabbi David Rothschild, a resident of Tsfat, is the founder and editor of Nefesh Magazine.]


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