On the Shabbat preceding Purim, which is this coming Shabbat, after the opening of the Ark immediately following Shacharit prayers, two Sifrei Torah are removed; in the first one, we read the weekly Parasha and in the second one we read the portion of “Zachor Et Asher Asa Lecha Amalek” (“Remember what Amalek has done to you”). This Torah portion is referred to as“Parashat Zachor”. (Parashat Zachor can be found at the end of Parashat Ki Tetzeh in the Book of Devarim.)

According to most Poskim, the reading of Parashat Zachor is a Torah obligation. Since the Halacha is well-known that “Mitzvot require intention” (Shulchan Aruch, Chapter 60, Section 4), one must take care while listening to Parashat Zachor to have in mind to fulfill the Torah obligation of remembering the actions of Amalek and obligation to annihilate them. Similarly, the individual reading from the Torah must have in mind that the entire congregation will be fulfilling their obligation by listening to his reading. (Read more)

There are those who have separated Hashem into a G-d of good, love, and life (represented by xianity/Esav) and a G-d of evil, hate and death (Islam/Yishmael). They determine for themselves what is good and what is evil. They say love and mercy, even to your enemy, is “good” and hate and war are “evil”.

A real Jew knows that Hashem is one. He is the G-d of everything and everything has a “good” purpose and an “evil” purpose. The Torah tells us there is a time for hate and war just as there is a time for love and mercy. We, as Jews, are the servants of Hashem and He tells us, through the Torah, what is “good” and what is “evil”. We don’t determine this for ourselves. We do as he commands not as we like or as we feel. Parshat Amalek reminds us of this.

We are commanded not only to hate Amalek but to utterly destroy him. We read in the maftir Devarim 25:17;

Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way when you were leaving Egypt, that he happened upon you on the way, and he struck those of you who were hindmost, all the weaklings at your rear, when you were faint and exhausted, and he did not fear G-d.

What made Amalek worse than all the other enemies of our people?

And he did not fear G-d—This phrase explains why Amalek is more despised than any of the many other nations that waged war against Israel. Had Amalek made a brave frontal attack like the others, defying both G-d and their intended human victims, the crime would not have been so heinous. But Amalek did fear people—that is why it chose to ambush the Jews who straggled at the rear of the nation, the people who were faint and exhausted, and least able to defend themselves. By doing so, Amalek showed special contempt for G-d (R. Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik) (Artscroll Chumash)

The Haftarah begins (I Samuel 15:1-3);

1. And Samuel said to Saul, "The Lord sent me to anoint you to be king over His people, over Israel; and now hearken to the voice of the words of the Lord.
2. So said the Lord of Hosts, 'I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid (wait) for him on the way, when he came up out of Egypt.
3. Now, go, and you shall smite Amalek, and you shall utterly destroy all that is his, and you shall not have pity on him: and you shall slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.'

 9. And Saul and the people had pity on Agag, and on the best of the sheep and the cattle, and the fatlings, and on the fattened sheep, and on all that was good; and they did not want to destroy them; but everything which was vile and feeble, that they utterly destroyed

What happened here? Shaul and the people had pity “on all that was good” but “everything which was vile and feeble” they destroyed. Shaul and the people determined what was “good” and what was “evil” rather than trusting Hashem and obeying Hashem. They determined who deserved mercy and who should be destroyed rather than trusting and obeying Hashem.

22. And Samuel said, "Has the Lord (as much) desire in burnt offerings and peace-offerings, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than a peace-offering; to hearken (is better) than the fat of rams.

Hashem demands obedience. Obedience to the Torah is the trait of fear of Hashem.

23. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Since you rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being a king."

Redak explains the parallel between rebellion and divination, thus. Just as one who divines, commits a grave sin because he removes his trust from the Almighty and seeks other sources to determine his future, so, one who rebels against the L-rd’s command, removes his belief in the L-rd’s power to reward and punish. Similarly, just as an idolator denies the L-rd’s rule over the Universe, so, one who is stubborn and disobedient also denies G-d’s authority.

24. And Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I transgressed the Lord's command, and your words, for I feared the people, and I hearkened to their voice. 

Shaul didn’t fear Hashem but did fear the people, so he couldn’t destroy Amalek, who didn’t fear Hashem but feared the people. This led to the birth of Haman and the decree of destruction of our people at Purim. According to the commentary;

G-d informed Israel that there would be an eternal state of war between Him and Amalek, because Amalek’s battle was primarily against the cause of holiness, not against the nation that God chose to be its standard bearer. And G-d commanded Israel to remember what that renegade nation did, and to destroy the Amalekites so completely that they would not even be remembered.

If Amalek is at war with Hashem, why must we battle against them? Why doesn’t Hashem wipe them out like he did the Egyptians in the sea? If Amalek represents fear of man over fear of Hashem, then only fear of Hashem over man can defeat it and only we, Am Yisrael, are capable of complete trust and fear of Hashem over fear of man.

So, in a sense, the command to remember Amalek is to remember to fear Hashem and obey Hashem. Only fear of Hashem through obeying his commandments will save us from our enemies. When we fear the nations and not Hashem, Amalek comes against us.

Eventually there will come a final battle between Hashem (and those who fear and obey him), and Amalek (and those who fear and trust in man). Which side will you be on?

The gematriah of Amalek seems to reinforce these ideas as we see in the book, What's In A Name by Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson;

The gematriah of עמלק (70+40+30+100), plus the four letters of the word, is 244, which is equal to that of Hitler, הטלר (5+9+30+200), may his name be blotted out.

The number 244 is the value, too, of two other important concepts: מרד , rebelliousness, whose source is to be found in Amalek’s evil, and רדם, apathy. Amalek’s strategy is to cause apathy within Israel regarding Torah observance, which he will then flaunt to justify their destruction. It was precisely this way in which behaved a famous descendant of Amalek, Haman. He came before King Ahasuerus and said, “There exists a nation, divided and spread out among your peoples…” (Esther 3:8); the first word, ישנו , can also be understood as a derivation of the root meaning “old”, as in, “a people who have allowed mitzvah-observance to become old and outdated” (Megilla 13b). He thereby hoped to lower Israel’s stock in G-d’s eyes, allowing himself free rein for his destructive scheming.

The Torah recounts Amalek’s devious attack on Israel during the time of the Exodus from Egypt: “And Amalek came, and warred with Israel in Refidim” (Ex. 17,8). The Mechilta to this verse explains that the name רפידים implies רפיון ידים , debility; Amalek sought to bring about weakness in Israel’s dedication to learning Torah, thereby facilitating a victory over them.

The value of the word רפידים is 344 (200+80+10 +4+10+40), the same as the word sh’mad, שמד (300+40+4), meaning spiritual destruction. A weakening of our resolve to grow spiritually, as caused by the vicious evil of Amalek, leads to our disintegration on all planes. This, unfortunately, was distinctly noticeable during the period prior to the Holocaust, when the growing strength on the Reform and Haskalah movements weakened Torah resolve and commitment among European Jewry.

The circle is completed when we note the closeness of the word שמד to the words מרד and רדם; the letter ש is replaced by its preceding letter in the alphabet, ר. Amalek’s appeal to the evil inclination brings about apathy and coldness regarding Torah and mitzvoth, which leads to his physical conquest of the Land and the People.

The Rebbi of Lublin states this clearly in his work Zichron Zot, on Parashat Zachor, “…the evil inclination which brings about laziness and coldness is called Amalek: עם, as in עוממות גחלים, dying out coals, which strives to לק, lick our blood as a dog.

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