The intensity of this discourse testifies that it dates from a traumatic time — for the Jewish people as a whole and for Lubavitch in particular.
It was delivered in Rostov on the River Don, soon after its author succeeded to the mantle of leadership as Lubavitcher Rebbe on 2 Nissan, 5680 (1920). His father, the Rebbe Shalom DovBer, who passed away on that date, had been relentlessly hounded by the virulent communist regime, which had been incited and kept informed by the notoriously antireligious Yevsektsia, the “Jewish Section” of the Party. It was now his turn to undergo prolonged persecution at their hands, which culminated in his arrest and imprisonment under capital sentence
Little wonder, then, that the last discourse delivered by his father, and this, the first discourse which he himself delivered, both call for the eradication of Amalek, “the first of nations.” Amalek, the Biblical paradigm of evil, is discussed here in the mystical terms of Chassidus and the Kabbalah, both as a challenge confronting the individual pursuing self-refinement, and as part of a broader cosmic canvas.