VOLUME 100 NUMBER 1
Adar (2) 8, 5782
March 11, 2022
PARSHAS VAYIKRA/PARSHAS ZACHOR
Candlelighting Time 5:44 PM
This Shabbos we will read a special parsha reminding us of the attack of the Amalikites. We had just left Egypt in shambles and gained the respect of the entire world. Amalek attempted to undermine our eminence that we had achieved after destroying the mighty Egyptian empire. They certainly were somewhat successful and therefore we are commanded to remember their contemptible deed. Furthermore, we are commanded to eliminate them. And until we accomplish that mitzvah, Hashem’s name and His throne will be imperfect.
Since we are committed to eradicate them, why is there a need for a second mitzvah to recall their unprovoked attack against us? Furthermore, certainly their unnecessary aggression was deplorable, however, is that a reason to call for their total obliteration? We also are commanded to kill all of the Canaanites when we enter into the Land of Israel. Therefore, it would seem as though there is a similarity between these two nations. However, we don’t find that the nations that resided in Israel had perpetrated crimes against us thereby justifying that we should kill them!
The distinction between these two situations is quite extensive. The Midrash states that Amalek due to their attack against us ‘cooled off the hot steaming bath’. The entire world was amazed that millions of people marched out of Egypt when even a slave could not escape bondage under their rule. They realized that a supernatural power was operating to execute our release from there. Our connection to Hashem was firmly and unequivocally established and we certainly attained global status as the nation of Hashem, invincible and supreme. Not only were we highly regarded but, of course, Hashem was now recognized as the omnipotent king of the world and universe. Amalek our archenemy and the true source of evil, attempted to ruin our veneration and that of Hashem as well. Rav Chaim of Volozhin in his seminal work “Nefesh HaChaim” terms their treachery as an outright desecration of Hashem’s honor. This intent is embodied by another statement of the Sages that the Amalekites threw the cut off circumcised parts of their victims heavenward. The message was clear and unadulterated, your nation’s dedication to you is worthless. We have penetrated your secured perimeter and they were not protected. Hence, the Torah states that Hashem’s Name is not whole nor is His throne complete as long as there is any lasting remembrance of Amalek, even their animals. Anything that could remind us of Amalek had to be eliminated. This was not so regarding the nations of Canaan. Although we were commanded to destroy them, that was to ensure that we would not be influenced by them. However, there wasn’t a mitzvah to totally eradicate anything that was connected with them or their civilization. Surely their culture was antithetical to ours, however, they didn’t have an agenda to ruin us.
Amalek represents those forces of evil that thwart us from serving Hashem with total dedication and commitment. Therefore, Hashem’s ‘throne’ is incomplete, His visible domination of this world is seemingly diminished because we, His nation, are prevented from our level of perfection. However, the time will arrive when we surmount the challenge and reckon with those forces that seek to deter us from our goal, total devotion and allegiance to Hashem. And then, we will witness Hashem’s sovereignty rule the world.
BYTE FOR SHABBOS
When Moshe died, he crossed his arms over his heart and stated that such is the end of man, a mortal being. He did not recite the normal prayers one says before passing on. The nation had such respect for Moshe that if he would not have died then perhaps people would have thought that he was indeed a Divine creation since he performed all the miracles that occurred in Egypt and the desert. Therefore, in order to emphasize that he was only an emissary of Hashem, and that Hashem is the true and only source of our salvation and ongoing existence, Moshe died a normal death to confirm and aggrandize the majesty of Hashem. CHASAM; SOFER IN HONOR OF MOSHE RABBEINU’S YAHRTZEI 7 ADAR