To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.
Someone asked me what we should have in mind on Purim.
I would answer with one word: Amalek.
You want simcha?
You want geulah?
Chazal stipulated that we read Parshas Amalek directly before Purim. Why? Because without understanding the threat there is no liberation.
Without understanding the reality of Amalek there is no reality in Purim.
“Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way, when you were leaving Egypt, that he happened upon you on the way and he struck those of you who were hindmost, all the weaklings at your rear, when you were faint and exhausted, and he did not fear God. It shall be that when Hashem, your God, gives you rest from all your enemies all around, in the Land that Hashem, your God, gives you as an inheritance to possess it, you shall wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heaven – you shall not forget.” (Devarim 25:17-19)
Imagine the scenario. We have just been liberated from Egypt. God is guiding us through the desert. Our enemies seem to have vanished under the Red Sea. We have nothing to worry about. We can take it easy now.
Out of nowhere comes the worst threat of all. The nation that “did not fear God,” whose entire existence is focused onhatred of us, whose jealousy of the Children of Israel is a consuming passion, suddenly appears with murderous malice and threatens us with complete annihilation, God forbid. Just when we thought everything was perfect.
Twice a day, at least, we say the following words:
“And it will come to pass that if you continually hearken to My commandments that I will provide rain for your land that you may gather in your grain, your wine and your oil. I will provide grass in your field for your cattle and you will eat and be satisfied .”(Shema/Devarim 11)
Beautiful. Perfect. We are satisfied and well fed in our beautiful land.
What comes next?
“Beware lest your heart be seduced and you turn astray and serve gods of others and bow to them. Then the wrath of Hashem will blaze against you and you will swiftly be banished from the goodly land that Hashem gives you.”
What happened? We were so secure. Why were we suddenly banished?
Leaving Egypt is not enough. Sitting complacently in our land is not enough. “Not by bread alone does man live” (Devarim 8:3).
When we walk the road of life complacently, that is when Amalek strikes. And he is deadly.
Like everything else in our holy Torah, Purim has direct meaning this very day, this moment. “Ma’ase avos siman l’banim – what happened to our fathers is a sign for the children.”
Look around. The world is in flames. Israel is surrounded. We are all surrounded.
And what are we doing? We are sitting at the table of Achashveirosh, eating and drinking.
We are satisfied. All is good. The banquet is glatt kosher!
This is the most dangerous moment, right now. The moment when we believe we are secure. We live in a bounteous land, a land that has treated us well. We are free citizens, able to pursue any path we desire. We are comfortable.
But the footsteps of Amalek can be heard.
How did Moshe Rabbeinu battle Amalek? It sounds unbelievable:
“Moshe, Aharon and Hur ascended to the top of the hill. It happened that when Moshe raised his hand Israel was stronger, and when he lowered his hand Amalek was stronger. Moshe’s hands grew heavy, so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it, and Aharon and Hur supported his hands, one on this side and one on that side, and he remained with his hands in faithful prayer until sunset.” (Shemos 17:10-12)
How can this be? Moshe Rabbeinu defeated Amalek by raising his hands? Come on! We are trying to deal with reality here.
But this is reality. This is our only way out.
Beware the banquet. It’s a trick.
Do you think we are secure? Do you think we can “eat and be satisfied”? The time has not yet come. We will be secure only when we raise our hands and understand that our security comes from the One Above. We must pray with all our heart and soul. And if our hands are “heavy,” we must help each other. We must hold our friend’s hands up in the air and help him pray, help him learn Torah. And he in turn will help us.
Then and only then will Hashem “erase the memory of Amalek from under the Heavens” (Shemos 17:14). Then and only then will “the Jews [have] light and gladness, joy and honor” (Megillas Esther 8:16).
It will come – and sooner than we think. We will help each other, holding our brother’s hands high. We will seek the help of Hashem, as one Nation, with all our heart and soul.
Then the entire world will be filled with light, forever and ever. May we see it soon in our days.
Roy Neuberger’s latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim), is available in English, Hebrew and Spanish, with a French edition in preparation. Roy is also the author of “From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (available in English, Hebrew and Russian) and “Worldstorm.”
About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim) is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Russian, and Georgian. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, and Georgian) and “Worldstorm.” Roy and Leah Neuberger speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at email@example.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
My son is seventeen; he didn’t want to talk about what happened, or give any details of the Rosh Yeshiva’s words of chizuk.
All involved in the Ferguson debate should learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews: the Noahide Laws.
Prominent Jewish leaders acknowledged that their predecessors had mistreated the Bergson Group.
Hamas’s love for death tried to have as many Palestinian civilians killed as possible
Israel recognizes the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; So what do we want from the Swedes?
Arab attacking Jews in the land date back a century, long before Israel was created or in control.
Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.
Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.
It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”
Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.
Unfortunately, at present, the rabbinate does not play a positive role in preventing abuse.
In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.
The unwarranted hatred among us that caused the destruction of the Second Temple clearly still plagues us.
At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.
“Logically” speaking, after the millennia of hatred and destruction directed against us, there should not be one Jew in the world today who still keeps the Torah.
They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.
Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.
At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.
So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/think-amalek/2011/03/16/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: