web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

How to Blot out Amalek

So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. -- Ex. 17:10-12

So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. -- Ex. 17:10-12
Photo Credit: Fresnozionism.org

Share Button

Since this is the week before Purim, there is a special maftir from Deuteronomy, one that is highly relevant to our situation today:

“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.” – Deut. 25, 17-19

Amalek appears throughout the Tanach, always the bitterest enemy of the Jewish people. Amalek fought against Moses, Saul and David, often apparently destroyed, but always coming back to fight again. Haman was said to be a descendent of Amalek, and more recently so have Hitler and Ahmadinejad.

Historically there may have been Amalekites, but it’s not clear that the various biblical references relate to a single people. Probably not. But the concept of an Enemy is a natural one, an antithesis to the concept of a People.

Perhaps you can’t really define a people without also defining its enemies. Certainly many believe that if the Jews could get rid of the idea of peoplehood, then they wouldn’t have enemies. Shimon Peres likes to refer approvingly to “world citizenship,” as though it is an antidote to endless war with Amalek. In his 1993 book “The New Middle East,” he wrote that “In Western Europe, particularist nationalism is fading and the idea of ‘citizen of the world’ is taking hold,” and “The entire idea of the small national state – the Jewish state included – has collapsed …”

The experience of the 19th century assimilationists and post-Oslo Israel tells us that this strategy doesn’t work in the real world. Even if we refuse to remember Amalek, he remembers us. And if we don’t have the support of self-conscious peoplehood (and its concrete representation, the Jewish state), how can we fight him?

The Book of Commandments (ספר המצוות) lists three commandments related to Amalek:

  1. To remember Amalek (a positive commandment)
  2. Not to forget Amalek (a negative one)
  3. To destroy Amalek completely (the commandment Saul violated when he allowed Agag to live)

There are various explanations for the difference between 1 and 2 above. I like this one: 1 says that we must remember that we have enemies today who wish to destroy us. And 2 tells us not to drop our guard tomorrow – this situation is not going to change. As the quotation from Deuteronomy indicates, we must not forget Amalek, even when the Jewish people are sovereign in the land of Israel (this seems to be the part Shimon Peres doesn’t get).

What does it mean that we are required to “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven?” It cannot mean that we are required, like Saul, to exterminate a tribe. Even if there was at some time a distinct  tribe of Amalek, it has long since disappeared as a distinct population. For this reason the rabbis warned us not to take this commandment literally.

I think – and it is appropriate that we are reading this parsha during Israel Apartheid Week – that what we are required to “blot out” are the false narratives of our enemies: the stories that they tell about the ‘crimes‘ of the Jewish people and Israel, including but not limited to

  1. Deicide
  2. Causing the Plague
  3. Making matza from human blood
  4. Controlling international finance and media
  5. Dispossessing Arabs and stealing their land
  6. Killing Mohammad Dura
  7. Committing war crimes in Gaza
  8. Imposing an apartheid regime

Our enemies today attack the Jewish people violently when they can, but they are not strong enough by themselves to damage us severely. Today’s Amalekite strategy is to bit by bit assassinate the truth about us, to create an image of an evil people in illegitimate possession of the land, in order to create a coalition that at best will stand by when we are assaulted and at worst actively prevent us from defending ourselves.

To summarize, here is how I would interpret the commandments relating to Amalek today:

  1. Always be vigilant and prepared
  2. Don’t be fooled by visions of peace through surrender
  3. Tell our story loudly and fight the false narratives

 

Originally published at http://fresnozionism.org/

Share Button

About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “How to Blot out Amalek”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Vic Rosenthal
Baruch Mizrachi Funeral

When will the State of Israel decide the Palestinian Arabs are a hostile enemy and treat them as such?

Sandra Korn

The fact that she chooses a boycott of Israeli universities as an example of a just limitation of academic freedom is a perfect example of the defect in her approach.

Israel is an independent sovereign state, and it should not be treated as a banana republic.

The survival of the state requires control of Judea/Samaria and a primarily Jewish population without hostile elements.

Unfortunately, some people are still in the dark about the significance of this, and similar acts.

This is not a post that I wanted to write, though I knew it was coming.

The U.S. government is tacitly agreeing that the historical truth about the Jews and Israel is inimical to “peace.”

Peres chose the uranium because Israel needed it to survive.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/how-to-blot-out-amalek/2012/03/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: