9:30 A.M. May 4, 2011. Supreme Court of New York - Westchester County. With timidity, I entered Justice Tolbert's courtroom perched on the Courthouse's tenth floor. It was the first time I had appeared before him and had only received my "assignment" the prior afternoon when an Albany-based firm sought an attorney to pinch-hit for them. Complicating matters was the somewhat irregular configuration of the room that left me wondering where exactly to station myself - to the right or left side of the Judge's bench; at the first or second row of tables.

Don't lose your cool, I tell myself. Just hang tight and watch where the attorneys on the first case park themselves.

Great idea … except that my case was - you guessed it - first on the calendar.

No problem. Just hang tight and observe where your adversary goes when your case is called and just do the opposite.

Great idea … except that, you guessed it, no attorney appeared on behalf of the opposing party that morning.

Okay, Plan C. Things could be (much) worse. Without any adversary in the room, not even I could lose this one. Justice Tolbert entered, "All rise …" and when he called my case first I began to explain who I was, which party I represented when the clerk cut me off saying, "Uh, Counselor, we're just calling the calendar now … please wait your turn."

Right. Of course. I knew that.

When our case was finally called (for real), the Judge perceiving there was no attorney for the other side proceeded to issue a ruling from the bench. His cadence, however, was somewhat stop-and-go. One of those people whom you can never really anticipate when they have finished talking, whether they are asking a rhetorical question or whether they are actually looking for some sort of input, response or advocacy from the other end.

Needless to say, I emerged with a legal victory. Satisfying? Well, I suppose, but I remained mildly frustrated by the unnerving uncertainty associated with this otherwise run-of-the-mill day in court. Nearly every step of the way was fretted with doubts that eroded my confidence.

* * *

"Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way when you were leaving Egypt ... you shall wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heaven - you shall not forget!" (Dev. 25:17, 19)

"The most powerful of the yetzer hara's weapons, which it hurls at you and with which it assaults you in your innermost being, is its attempt to sow doubt in your minds about true notions, confound you in what had been clear to you, and confuse your soul with mistaken notions and false arguments. It thereby distracts you from your true interests and causes you to doubt confirmed doctrines and beliefs." - Chovos Halevovos (Gate of Wholehearted Devotion, Chapter 5)

We've all been stuck behind that hesitant stop-and-go driver. You know, the one who slows down at every intersection in the desperate attempt to clarify if this particular right turn is the one he's looking for. It's obvious he's in an unfamiliar neighborhood seeking an unfamiliar address. It's unpleasant driving behind him. It's even more unpleasant being that uncertain driver.

On life's highway, we also find those in the EZ Pass fast lane, those on the highway, those in perpetual start-and-stop trying to find their destination and those who simply don't even know where in the world they are even located. So many of us are plagued with self-doubt and uncertainty. Second-guessing and third-guessing. One foot on the gas and one on the break.

Who isn't envious of those folks who are so comfortable, confident and clear in their path that they effortlessly marshal all their physical, emotional and intellectual assets uncluttered with self-doubt and unshackled from uncertainty?

The difficulty associated with decision-making is often a pesky and undesirable by-product of the incertitude of his/her priorities. On the flip-side, the momentum associated with having made a decision is often an unexpected and welcomed by-product of having identified (and given expression) to those very heretofore free-floating, ill-defined, amorphous priorities.

What should I be doing with my life?

How am I investing my most precious asset (i.e., my time) and how could I invest that asset more effectively?

What patterns of conduct am I seemingly entrenched in that are derailing my aspirations of being the person I truly strive to be?

What are my dreams and what concrete steps am I taking to achieve them?

What hang-ups are usurping my capacity for true happiness?

Where can I improve and who can effectively advise me how to do so?

Am I giving God nachas?

Am I the spouse/parent/friend I aspire to be?

* * *

Amalek, our Sages explain, carries the same gematria as the word "safek" which means doubt in Hebrew. "Doubtfulness" describes the essence of Amalek - as well as the effectiveness of his stratagems to get us off our game and hi-jack our quest for clarity. In this respect, we can understand that the spiritual force of Amalek with which we struggle (both personally and nationally) until this very day - manifests itself in the doubtfulness that rears its unpleasant head in so many facets of existence.

To the extent that we can clarify our understanding of our relationship with God and what He expects of us in this world, we can take significant steps towards eradicating the evil forces of Amalek. There is no better day in the Torah's calendar to make inroads in the war of clarity over uncertainty, of confidence over hesitation, of Truth over Amalek than this Shabbos - Shabbos Zachor. As the cloudiness of Amalek dissipates against the penetrating light of the Truth, we will un-doubt-edly discover true simcha and thereby set the stage to scale the heights and plumb the depths of a Purim the likes of which we have never experienced.

Rabbi Viders’ book on the Torah portion, “Seize the Moment” has recently been published by Mosaica Press.