The Power of Hate
When Pharaoh had a change of heart and decided to pursue the newly liberated Jewish people, the Torah relates how he prepared himself for that pursuit:
“He harnessed his chariot and took [or: persuaded] his people [to come] with him.”
Rashi makes the observation that Pharaoh harnessed his own chariot. Apparently, Rashi’s intention is to point out how unusual it was for a powerful monarch to harness his own chariot and not delegate the task to a servant!
Why would Pharaoh behave this way? And why would the Torah point out this anomaly?
At first blush, one is tempted to explain Pharaoh’s bizarre behavior by referring to the Torah’s statement that the heathen prophet Bilam saddled his own donkey on his way to curse the Jewish people. There too Rashi makes the observation that Bilam personally saddled his donkey and explains:
From here we can derive that hatred undermines the rules of normal behavior, for he saddled it himself. Said the Holy One Blessed is He, “Wicked one! Their Abraham had already preceded you as it says, ‘He woke up early in the morning and saddled his donkey.’”
Rashi interprets Bilam’s saddling of his donkey as a demonstration of his irrational hatred for the Jews and implies that Abraham's act of saddling his own donkey was evidence of Abraham’s irrational love for G‑d. Indeed, Rashi (Bereishis 22:3) applies the saying “love undermines normal behavior” to Abraham’s saddling of his own donkey.
The Difference Between Bilam and Pharaoh
Based on the foregoing it would seem that Pharaoh’s personal involvement in the harnessing of his chariot was also motivated by hatred, which can cause an otherwise normal person to behave irrationally.
However, if this is true one can ask why Rashi stresses, “from here [i.e., the story of Bilam] we can derive that hatred undermines the rules of normal behavior,” intimating that the earlier incident with Pharaoh does not convey that message. Why doesn’t Rashi cite Pharaoh’s unconventional behavior of harnessing his own chariot as an even earlier source for the lesson that the power of hatred can cause one to behave irrationally?
Moreover, the Midrash does, in fact, compare the hatred of Bilam, who personally saddled his donkey, to the hatred of Pharaoh, who harnessed his own chariot. Why does Rashi deviate from the Midrash in this regard?
The Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos, volume 28, p. 162) explains that there was a fundamental difference between Bilam’s behavior and that of Pharaoh. Bilam was consumed with an abiding and profound hatred for the Jewish people. Pharaoh, on the other hand, wanted to convince his people to join him in pursuit of the Jewish people to retrieve the wealth they took from the Egyptians. In other words, Pharaoh’s behavior was not irrational and was not motivated by hatred but by greed and the need to convince his subjects to follow him in the pursuit of the fleeing Jews.
The question can be raised: While this explains Rashi’s approach, what can we say with respect to the Midrash? Why does it impute the motive of hatred to Pharaoh and compare him to Bilam? Wasn’t Pharaoh motivated by greed and Bilam by hatred?
Two Dimensions of Hatred
The answer to this question seems to hinge on the different approaches of Rashi and the Midrash which are reflected in the way they view the text of the Torah and, by extension, the way we are to understand and interpret people’s motives.
Rashi follows the dimension of p’shat, the simple, straightforward and surface level of the Torah. When Rashi reads the text of how Pharaoh harnessed his own chariot he reads it in context. Right before this verse the Torah states,
Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart towards the people, and they said, “What have we done, that we have sent away Israel from serving us?”
In other words, they regretted having freed the Jews and thereby having lost the benefits of slavery.
Another “clue” that his harnessing of his own chariot was not an overt act of hatred is the way the Torah states, “He harnessed his chariot, and took the people with him.” This, Rashi explains, means Pharaoh convinced them to join him by promising them he would lead the charge and divide the spoils equally. Harnessing his own chariot was a calculated and rational gimmick.
The root of the word Midrash means to investigate and probe beneath the surface. It is in the Midrash that we dig deeper into the text and into human behavior.
Yes, it is true that Pharaoh was motivated by greed and the desire to get back his wealth and his slaves. But beneath the surface greed there lurked a deep-rooted hatred for the Jewish People.
Modern Day Forms of Anti-Semitism
In modern times two models—the Bilam and Pharaoh models—of anti-Semitism have emerged. There are some who do not hide their irrational hatred for the Jewish People; they state openly what violence they desire to do to us, may Hashem protect us from their designs! Tragically, we have seen too much of this evil in recent times. But there is an even more insidious form of antipathy to the Jewish people although it is often couched in other terms. While some state openly that they despise us, others hide behind neat clichés and euphemistic expressions. Some— the so-called intellectually elite such as many academics, journalists, political leaders, etc.—even sound as if they truly care for us; if we would only give up another part of the Land of Israel, they would love us! They charge us with all sorts of injustices even as they turn a blind eye to all of the injustices perpetrated against the Jewish People, as well as all the others in the world who suffer from the forces of evil.
We ought not be fooled by these fake excuses for their opposition to the Jewish People. Underneath their pronouncements lurks hatred, much like Pharaoh’s underlying motive for pursuing the Jewish people. While the p’shatdeclares that their opposition to us is based on other considerations, the Midrash reveals the truth of their hatred for us.
One may suggest that the more insidious a form of evil is, the harder it is to combat and neutralize it. Often the hater himself does not believe he is motivated by hatred. As we see in the current international climate, the greatest critics of Israel and the Jews bristle at the suggestion that they are motivated by anti-Semitism.  
Now that we know who our enemy is, we must know how we can defeat both the overt and covert forms of anti-Semitism.
Abraham’s Legacy
The answer is provided in a better understanding of Rashi’s comments. Rashi cited G‑d’s response to Bilam that Abraham had preceded him with the unconventional saddling of his own donkey. The Rebbe (in the foregoing citation) suggests that Abraham’s unconventional devotion to G‑d not only neutralized the hatred of Bilam, but also empowered us to transform the curses of Bilam into blessings.
How can we apply the transformation of Bilam’s curses into blessings insofar as this hatred is concerned?
The Rebbe explains that Judaism encompasses two areas of service to G‑d: doing good and refraining from evil. Love is what motivates us to perform the “positive” or active Mitzvos, whereas our hatred and revulsion of evil endows us with the strength to resist it.
However, the two areas of service are themselves divided.  There are two levels of love of G‑d and doing good and two levels of the parallel hatred for evil: a rational, measured and limited form of love and hate and an unlimited, supra-rational form. It was this supra-rational love of good and abhorrence of evil that Abraham bequeathed to us. This is the powerful force which enables us to transform Bilam’s hatred of the Jews and all that is holy to them into hatred of all that is evil.
Hidden Levels Emerging
We may take the Rebbe’s analysis of the transformation of Bilam’s hatred and apply it also to the hidden hatred of Pharaoh.
Pharaoh’s anti-Semitism is particularly insidious. The Pharaoh’s of this world must dig very deep into their psyche to discover the root cause of their antipathy to Jews.
When we transform this brand of evil, we can develop the ability to resist, neutralize and transform even the most insidious forms of evil.
The Rebbe often referred to the phenomenon in recent times whereby hidden forms of good and evil have surfaced in the world at large and within individuals. This phenomenon, the Rebbe stated, was a symptom of the Messianic Era.  As the prophet Daniel predicted, everything will become clarified and crystallized in that Era. Hidden evils are now surfacing, which explains why so many people whom we thought of as civilized, reasonable and decent have turned against us.
When we consider the pervasive nature of this hatred throughout the world, where supposedly decent people have teamed up with the greatest of haters or given them tacit support, we cannot become intimidated. Instead, how can we find the strength to cope with this new situation?
In truth, we have already been given that strength.  Our father Abraham’s unconventional love of G‑d has empowered us, his descendants, to unleash our heretofore hidden powers to neutralize and even transform that hidden evil. Although, Abraham’s power was always available to us, it has become most accessible in these last moments of exile.  We are about to say our final goodbye to Galus and welcome Moshiach and the Final Redemption, when all forms of evil will be obliterated and transformed into good.