Remembering What Amalek Did
With Purim only a few days away, Jews will this Shabbat hear a special reading of the Torah in addition to the regular weekly portion. In a second Sefer Torah Parshat Zachor will be read in fulfillment of the Torah command to “remember what Amalek did to you.”
Although the Torah did not specify a date for this annual remembrance, our Talmudic Sages ordered it to take place on the Shabbat before Purim, which celebrates our miraculous deliverance from the Amalekite Haman.
There is more in this juxtaposition than just the relationship of the genocidal Haman to his vicious forebears. Our ancestors were made vulnerable by Heaven to an attack from the Amalekites as a means of shocking them out of their almost heretical attitude, expressed in their complaint of “Is the L-rd among us or not?” (Shmot 17:7).
Haman, too, was unleashed against our ancestors because of mistakes they made in regard to bowing to Nebuchadenetzer’s idol-like statue and participating in the feast of Achashverosh.
Parshat Zachor and Purim should remind us that it pays to come to our senses in regard to our responsibilities as Jews so that we do not have to be shocked into doing so by our enemies, and thus secure Israel forever.