Winston Churchill once said: You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life!
Do we have enemies? Which of them are the most dangerous? How do we react or even respond?
The weekly Torah portion opens with the words “When you go out to war against your enemies”. The first Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the true enemy of man is the self centred inclination within each and every one of us. It appears benign. Initially there is no intention to cause harm to anyone. However with time this selfish instinct continually expands resulting in a diminishing regard for others.
What makes this battle so challenging is the fact that we are all naturally inclined to love ourselves. How then can we be our own worst enemies?
In truth we can not see our own weaknesses. Certainly not with the same clarity as seen by others. It is most difficult to constantly be vigilant regarding our own selfish tendencies. Can we ever be genuinely selfless?
It is not easy. One needs tremendous courage and perseverance. This is in fact the most difficult journey known to man.
King Solomon says “He places the world into their hearts”. The mystics explain this verse to mean that G-d has created the the world at large to reflect the world inside of us.
Two fundamental lessons can be learned:
One: We can’t blame the world, its institutions or its leaders for our misfortunes. For they are in fact a reflection of our very own weaknesses.
Two: We can change the world, only by first changing ourselves. There are no shortcuts.
We can do so by embarking on the most incredible journey in life. It begins by looking inwards.