Are You at War With Amalek?

Friday, 2 March, 2012 - 1:52 pm

This week in synagogues around the world we will read the story of Amalek, the originators of anti-Semitism. The nation of Amalek was the first to attack the Jewish people, without any provocation, after the Exodus from Egypt. (Haman, the villain of the Purim story, was a direct descendant of Amalek, hence the story being read on the Shabbat prior to Purim).

The Torah commands us that we must remember what Amalek did to our ancestors on their way out of Egypt. We must read about it in the Torah and we must constantly recall their actions. It is even included in the six most important things to remember daily. Why such an emphasis on remembering the deplorable actions of a nation that has long since been relegated to the dust bins of history? Have you ever met an Amalakite? They no longer exist! Why such an emphasis on remembering their deeds?

Here is an interesting idea: Every Hebrew letter is also a number. The numerical value of Amalek (240) is the same as the Hebrew word safek, doubt. The experience of doubt is the modern manifestation of Amalek; when one is certain and confident in their convictions, nothing can deter them. But when one doubts the very basis for their belief, their subsequent behavior will be wavering at best.

Safek, doubt, is what so many Jewish people suffer from today. They are unsure of their own traditions and beliefs, they aren’t confident enough to display their own precious heritage proudly and publicly. Beginning with doubt, their Jewish involvement (or lack thereof) devolves into apathy, they don’t see the need, life is good as it is. Their lack of knowledge about their own religion is such that they’ll even search for meaning in other religions.

This is the modern day Amalek that we have to remember and combat! We must educate ourselves and our families - that is the weapon of this battle against Jewish apathy.

Please take advantage of the many educational opportunities that we offer (some examples are advertised below), for you and for your children, and help win the battle against this modern day Amalek!

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