Hatred is poisonous but tolerance of evil is suicidal. How do we educate ourselves and our children to be intolerant of evil without teaching them to hate? R. Norman Lamm sees the mitzvah to hate Amalek as the solution.
R. Norman Lamm, Megillah: Majesty & Mystery on Esther 3:1, pp. 76-79:
Underneath all the obvious fun of wielding the groggers and the stamping are expressions of vindictiveness. Doesn’t this open the floodgates to hatred against real people here and now? And is not hatred unreservedly evil and morally corrupting?
But just as there is a mitzvah to love God, our neighbor, or the stranger, so there is a mitzvah to hate. For instance, we must hate Amalek. And yet, Halakhah provides immediate correctives and restraints so that the practice is far different from the theory. Thus, some authorities maintain that the commandments to destroy Amalek is operative only when the Amalekites refuse first to accept the seven commandments of the sons of Noah, the basic foundations of civilized life. Hence, it is not a genocidal commandment, but it means that we must do battle with those who are so uncivilized as to corrupt and destroy others.
We reserve our actual, living hatred for the unusually hateful individuals who commit historic crimes and whose malice is monstrous and premeditated. Anti-Semites who wish to destroy all the Jewish people; monsters who seek sadistically to wipe out whole populations–such people remain deserving, on purely moral grounds, of actual contempt and hatred. And, of course, we are always bidden to release our hatred against the symbols of evil.
This is the basic motif of the commandment to read the Biblical portion of Amalek, and to observe the festival of Purim. I want to teach my children to hate as well as to love. I want them to know that there is a moral law which requires that those who have placed themselves outside morality deserve not our love but our contempt. I want my children to have available for themselves the psychological relief in hating those who deserve it, so that they can relate to all others constructively and lovingly. I want them to be halakhic Jews, and thus to handle hatred with extreme circumspection and caution and great care; and so, in effect, they will hate without hurt, and express their innate hostility toward evil by stamping and stomping and groggering Haman. By restricting our hatred to evil and those who personify it and symbolize by chanting the commandment to obliterate Amalek and by hissing and booing at the mention of Haman’s name, we shall learn to act lovingly to all God’s creatures.