Sunday, 13 May 2012

Remember what Amalek did

by Fishman, Tzvi (See all authors)

Excerpts taken from Tzvi Fishman's Blog

This Shabbos is Parshas Zachor.

The Torah commandment states: "Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you by the way and smote the hindmost of you, all that were feeble in and trailing, when you were faint and weary, and he feared not G-d (Devarim, 25:17).

Just what is it that we are supposed to remember? That our enemies hate us? They themselves remind us of this all the time. That they attack us for no reason at all? This is a lesson that Jewish history teaches without the need for any additional reminder.

Rashi says that "karcha" should be understood as "keri," meaning seminal pollution. Rashi explains that Amalek lured the Jews into sexual transgression, then cut off their "milot," the sign of their circumcision, and threw them up to the sky, as if to say, "This is what's left of Your holy nation." Rashi concludes that the protective Clouds of Glory spit out these Jews who were feeble because of their sexual sins. These were the Jews whom Amalek killed.

The universally respected Torah commentary, the "Sfat Emet," explains that Amalek's principal goal in going to war against Israel was to banish sexual purity from the world, represented by the brit milah. This is why they cast the sign of the circumcision into the air. The brit milah is considered the seal of G-d, stamping the Jewish People with the Name of G-d, and distinguishing us from all of the nations. It is our adherence to the laws of sexual purity which set us apart from the gentiles. In contrast, the nation of Amalek represents the spirit of evil in the world, the impure orlah, the husk that prevents the light of G-d from entering the world. This explains why the Name of G-d cannot be fully revealed until Amalek is obliterated. By fighting against the sexual purity of Israel, Amalek pollutes the moral message of Israel, causing G-d's Presence to be screened from the world ("Sfat Emet," Parshat Zachor, Year 5664).