Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Shabbat Zachor: “The Amalek in You”

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Shabbat Zachor: “The Amalek in You” - The Shabbat before Purim is a very important one.  It allows us to fulfill the unique mitzvah, timcheh et zecher Amalek – “you shall blot out the memory of Amalek.” The Torah tells us Amalek attacked the Israelites “when they were faint and weary; and he feared not God.”  He is considered the ancestor of Haman and thus the connection to Purim.
Amalek, refers not just to the tribe of the Amalekites and their descendants like Haman about whom we’ll read on Purim.  Amalek exists in all those who act without respect for God and God’s people and God’s will.
While we don’t like to think of it this way, the spirit of Amalek can even infect us, God forbid, Jews, who should be the very people who know best to fear the influence of Amalek!
How is this?  The Seer of Lublin, a Hasidic rabbi, points out the following.  He says, “A person can be faint and weary because of the different afflictions and fasts he imposes upon himself, and nevertheless not fear God.”
What we must remember, (when we remember to blot out Amalek), is exactly this. 
We must always have respect for God and God’s will.  And never become so sure of ourselves that we know the answers behind what God wants.  We must always be a little humble and a little careful, and not let ourselves become too impressed with our own goodness. 
As the rabbis point out, Im lamadta Torah harbeh, al tachazek tovah l’atzmecha, ki l’chach notzarta.  “If you’ve learned much Torah, don’t claim credit for yourself, because you were created for this purpose.”
Constantly search yourself and your actions so that you will be able to blot out any trace of Amalek’s nature within yourself and be wholly dedicated to the service of God.

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