web analytics
August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Why Don’t We Recite A Berachah On The Mitzvah Of Zachor?


Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

This column is dedicated to the refuah sheleimah of Shlomo Eliezer ben Chaya Sarah Elka.

This week we read parshas Zachor (Devarim 25:17), which details the attack of Amalek and the commandment for us to destroy any remembrance of them. There is a mitzvah to remember what Amalek did to us on the way when we left Mitzrayim. We fulfill this mitzvah by reading the parshah that describes this incident. It includes the commandment to annihilate Amalek.

Many Acharonim were bothered by the following question: Generally we recite a berachah prior to performing any mitzvah. So why is it that there is no berachah recited prior to performing the mitzvah of hearing the reading of parshas Zachor?

The Kaf HaChaim suggests that we do not recite a berachah prior to performing any mitzvah that is associated with destruction. Since this mitzvah is associated with the annihilation of Amalek, we do not recite a berachah over it. He compares this to the concept in the Gemara that says that when Hashem’s creations are drowning in the sea, we should not be reciting shirah.

Perhaps this solution is dependent on a different machlokes, whether the mitzvah of remembering what Amalek did to us is a prerequisite to the mitzvah of annihilating Amalek. Or is it independent? For example, in the time when all of Amalek will be destroyed and the kisei of Hashem will be complete, perhaps there will still be a mitzvah to remember what Amalek did to us. However, if the mitzvah is only a prerequisite to enable one to build up his hatred for Amalek in order for one to be able to fulfill the mitzvah of annihilating Amalek – at that point in time when Amalek no longer exists – the mitzvah of remembering what Amalek did to us will become unnecessary and should cease. It seems that the Kaf HaChaim is taking the position that the mitzvah to remember is a prerequisite to the mitzvah of annihilating Amalek, and he therefore rules that the mitzvah of remembering is a mitzvah of destruction that does not require a berachah.

The Sdei Chemed  (2:9) offers another solution why we do not recite a berachah over this mitzvah. He says that in fact we do recite one, namely the birchas haTorah that we recite every morning – a berachah that is effectively said on this mitzvah.

This solution is very perplexing, for how can the berachah that we recite in the morning over the mitzvah of learning Torah affect the mitzvah of reading and remembering what Amalek did to us? What is the connection? The mitzvah to remember what Amalek did to us is not a mitzvah of learning Torah. The preferred method of performing the mitzvah of remembering what Amalek did to us is accomplished by reading the parshah in the Torah that discusses this mitzvah. However, it is not a mitzvah of learning Torah. So how can a berachah that only mentions learning Torah be applied to this mitzvah?

The Ramban in parshas Zachor quotes from the Sifra: there is one mitzvah to remember and another mitzvah not to forget what Amalek did to us. The Sifra says that when the Torah says zachor, perhaps one might think that it refers to remembering in one’s heart. But this cannot be the case since we already have a pasuk that commands us to remember in our hearts. Therefore we must conclude that the pasuk of zachor is teaching us that it must be fluent in our mouths. The Ramban then quotes the Sifrei that also says that zachor is to be accomplished by speaking out something, and that the pasuk of lo tishkach is referring to remembering in one’s heart.

The Ramban asks the following: What is the nature of the obligation to fulfill the requirement of zachor with our mouths? If the idea that the Sifrei is teaching us is that the Torah is commanding us to read from the Torah about Amalek, this may then be a source in the Torah that we should read Megillas Esther, which deals with Amalek. Since there is no source from the Torah, this cannot be the indication of the Sifrei.

The Ramban concludes that the lesson that the Sifrei intends to teach is that we must speak about the attack of Amalek to our children. The Sifrei or Sifra did not intend to obligate us in min haTorah to read from the Torah about parshas Zachor.

The Ravad, in his commentary to the Sifra (at the beginning of parshas Bechukosai (1:3), explains that the obligation to remember what Amalek did to us that we must fulfill with our mouths is accomplished by learning the halachos that pertain to this mitzvah.

Based on this we can explain the answer that the Acharonim suggested, namely that the berachah on the mitzvah of reading parshas Zachor is the birchas haTorah that we recite in the morning (or before reading the Torah). This is because the mitzvah of remembering what Amalek did to us is fulfilled by learning the halachos that pertain to the mitzvah. The learning of these halachos begins with the reading of the parshah in the Torah that discusses this mitzvah.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Why Don’t We Recite A Berachah On The Mitzvah Of Zachor?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.

Neihaus-073115

Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

In addition to the restrictions of Tisha B’Av, there are several restrictions that one may not perform during the week that Tisha B’Av falls in.

We do not find that Pinchas was chastised for what he did; on the contrary he was greatly rewarded.

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Tosafos answers that nevertheless the sprinkling is a part of his taharah process.

Performing ketores outside the Beis Hamikdash, and at the wrong time is an aveirah.

Ten of the twelve spies returned with a negative report, stating that this would be impossible.

The flavor of the mon was not artificial; the mon would now consist of the actual flavors from the desired food.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/why-dont-we-recite-a-berachah-on-the-mitzvah-of-zachor/2013/02/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: