Have you ever wondered how brilliant people who have impressive accomplishments can sometimes act totally irrational? Take for example Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi who did not escape their countries and continued to believe they would win their war against the Allied Forces? Even while any simple person could see that they had no choice? Chassidic philosophy teaches that arrogance and insolence are inseparable. A person’s haughtiness gives him a feeling of superiority which blocks rational thinking.
This Shabbos, which is the Shabbos before Purim, there is a special Mitzvah to read the story of how the nation of Amalek attacked the Jewish people after they left Egypt and as a result how G-d commanded the Jews to eradicate the nation of Amalek. Amalek is the prototype of arrogance and irrationality. The whole world had heard of the awesome miracles G-d had performed for the Jew in Egypt at the sea of Reeds yet Amalek did not pay attention to all of this and allowed their hatred of the Jewish people to get the better of themselves.
The lesson we are meant to learn from reading the story is that we should not allow our own arrogance to allow us to act irrationally. Many times we recognize G-d’s head in the world and in our lives, yet we are slow to dedicate ourselves to fulfilling his will. This is a symptom of Amalek which must be eradicated.