What is Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat of the Remembrance?

Thursday, 18 February, 2021 - 1:42 pm

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This Shabbat, we will read in synagogues (where they are open), in addition to the Parasha of the week Teruma, Parashat Zachor, the Reading of the Remembrance. What is this about? It is the double commandments of G-d to us to remember what Amalek did to us (positive commandment) and not to forget it (negative commandment) as well as the Mitzva to erase his name from the world.

What did Amalek do, to cause such hate? He was the first one to go to war with the Jewish people when they left Egypt. Then, the whole world was afraid to fight the Jewish people. They had heard about the great miracles that G-d did for the People of Israel (the 10 Plagues and the Splitting of the Sea) and they feared G-d. But Amalek came to fight the Jewish people.

The Talmud tells us a parable: It is like a bath filled with boiling water, where everyone is afraid to go in. Suddenly, someone jumps inside. Sure, he will get burnt, but the water will not seem that boiling anymore to the others now that someone got inside. In this way, Amalek “opened the road” for others, showing that there is a possibility to fight with the Jews.

We always read the Parasha Zachor on the Shabbat before Purim. Why? Because Haman, was an Amalekite, and before Purim, when we celebrate our victory against him, we remember the Mitzvah that is connected to him.

There is a deeper message in this Mitzvah. Amalek symbolizes the “cold” which also exists in the soul level. When we want to do a good action, we may think that maybe it is not needed, maybe it is not that important, maybe it will not help and there is no point in doing it etc. But even when we are decided to do this action, we may think that it is not necessary to do it with enthusiasm, we can do the action without our heart as long as we do it with our body etc. in other words, simply do the action.

Yet, we need to remember that the “cold”, that is the inaction or the “cold” action, come from Amalek. Like the water, which in cold temperatures, freezes and does not continue its flow. But we need to erase Amalek, we must not allow him to “cool” us up. We need to do the Mitzvot at all times, and we need to do them with all the enthusiasm and the warmth of our souls.

Shabbat Shalom,

Arie from the Yeshiva 

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