Two types of enemies lurk: the external and the internal. * The hardest battles are the ones we fight inside. * On the first reading of Parshas Teitzei.
Klie Yakar's commentary on the Chumash provides rich insight into the verse "when you go out to war against your enemies" (Devarim 21:10). At first glance, the message seems to speak solely about actual physical warfare. However, Klie Yakar intriguingly suggests that the Torah might be hinting at another kind of war - the spiritual and internal struggles every individual faces.
Klie Yakar explicates this by stating, "ומטעם זה הוצרך לפרש על אויביך כנגד אויביך," meaning that the Torah uses the phrase "against your enemies" in a plural form, signifying multiple types of foes, not just external ones. This dual enemy perspective is groundbreaking. We're not just fighting external adversaries, but also our inner challenges, symbolized as the "Yetzer Hara" or evil inclination. This insight resonates deeply with Chassidic teachings, which frequently emphasize the significance of personal refinement and internal struggles.
Chassidic texts, like the Tanya, prioritize the battle with the "Yetzer Hara" above almost everything else. The Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chassidism, taught that our internal struggles reflect cosmic spiritual battles. While we might not be wielding swords or shields, our internal efforts can ripple through spiritual realms, influencing the cosmic order.
Taking our cue from this, imagine a CEO making a business decision. On one hand, the external enemy is the competitive market. Yet, on the other, the internal enemy is her ego, greed, or fear of failure. If she conquers her internal foes, she will more effectively address the external ones, just as the commentary implies: "כי המלחמה שעם היצה"ר אינה באה מלמעלה כ"א האדם צריך להיות המתחיל." This notion states that our battles with the "Yetzer Hara" don't come from above but begin within us, and God completes the victory.
Our times echo these teachings more than ever. As we anticipate Moshiach's arrival, we recognize that our inner victories, our ability to combat negativity, divisiveness, and selfishness, prepare the world for a brighter, unified future.
The age-old wisdom from our sages isn't merely theoretical. It offers tangible guidance for our contemporary challenges. Next time you're faced with a decision, ask yourself: Which of my enemies am I confronting? By addressing and resolving our internal battles, we can more adeptly handle our external challenges, bringing both personal and collective redemption a step closer.