Sunday, March 4, 2012

It is all about Amalek


We are commanded not to forget what Amalek did to us

Amalek was a grandson of Yitzchak's son Esav. He was the first one ever attacking Jews for no reason (see Exodus - Shemot 17:8). Amalek attacked Israel in order to destroy it. This was pretty new in Jewish history and "Exodus - Shemot" 17:16 lets us know that there will be war between G - d and Amalek from generation to generation. Meaning, every generation will bring forth someone who wants to kill the Jews for no reason but for being Jewish. 

After G - d had taken us out of Egypt, all nations were impressed but NOT Amalek. He alone dared to provoke G d's wrath and started a battle against Him and Israel. Today, there are different opinions on what and who is Amalek. Easily we tend to accuse all kinds of anti - Semites or nations who are against us of being Amalek. Starting with Rome and later on the Germans during the Nazi Reich. Now some Jews claim that Obama or the Iranian or Syrian presidents are Amalek. Fact is, the battle is not over yet and will continue until Meshiach comes. There will always be nations hating Jews and trying to destroy them. 

After Amalek attacked the Jews in Refidim, the next encounter took place 434 years later. When King Shaul ben Kish (from the Tribe of Binyamin) did not destroy the entire nation of the Amalekites but spared their King Aggag. Not following the precise instructions of Shmuel HaNavi (the Prophet Samuel), Shaul made a vital mistake. Aggag had time to beget a son and this son became an ancestor of evil Haman. Shaul, on the other hand, was an ancestor of Mordechai and Esther. About ten generations were between them. 

In the end, Shmuel killed Aggag in Gilgal but some 520 years later, the Jews in Shushan had to suffer from Shaul's mistake. However, Shaul had caused a new Amalek but the Jews in Shushan caused their own "punishment" for being disobedient. It was them neglecting Torah study and many of them participated in the non - kosher meal (party) of Achashverosh. Not only by eating but also by enjoying. 

In a way we can understand King Shaul. Isn't it true that some of G - d's orders seem to be cruel in the first place.
"Destroy everyone ! Don't leave anyone alive !"
When we hear this today, well, then we think about the media, what other people (nations) say, about our own conscience. The answer to that is that G - d sees the wider picture, we don't. We only see the NOW. G - d, however, knows exactly what our actions cause to the future generations and if we knew what He does, we would definitely follow His instructions. 

But many times we don't because we have our FREE CHOICE in life.
To be honest: I am glad that I was not in King Shaul's situation but … each of us has his or her own situation and while making decisions, we should also take the future into consideration.


PURIM: Season of Miracles
By Rabbi Zechariah Fendel