Zachor: It's Not Just Villains

A brave fighter against the evil of terrorism.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7

Memory is the key to Redemption. The ability to forget can be a great bracha, for how could we go with our lives on if we were unable to forget our troubles and our failures? But the ability to remember is an even greater bracha. Memory bestows on us a glorious past, focuses our present course and defines our future destiny as a people.

All our various senses are designed to trigger memory. Chazal (commenting on our sedra, Tetzaveh) tell us that the people would hear the Kohen Gadol approach the Kodesh HaKodashim on Yom Kippur (there were little bells on the hem of his robe) and they would remember the awesomeness of the day and be spurred to repent. And when they saw the sky-blue color of the techelet he wore, they were reminded of the blue heavens and HaShem's indigo Throne of Glory.

Smell, too, plays a key role in our spiritual life. The b'samim at Havdalah, the etrog on Sukkot, the Chanuka latkes, the Pesach knaidlach - every Jew "nose" the unique feeling we get when the right aroma arrives.
From Haman to Antiochus to Hitler to Hamas, we Jews know that every generation has its anti-G-d.

This Shabbat is parshat Zachor - when the entire Jewish People is commanded to remember what Amalek did to us, and never to forget G-d's charge to wage an eternal fight against evil. From Haman to Antiochus to Hitler to Hamas, we Jews know that every generation has its anti-G-d, and we are eternally called to battle against HaShem's enemies.

So perhaps it is eminently fitting that this Shabbat marks the opening of Beit Knesset and Torah Learning Center Ohel Ari in Ra'anana (the official Chanukat HaBayit will come a bit later I.Y.H.) Our son Ari, for all his sweet gentleness, was a brave fighter against the monstrous evil of terrorism. He recognized and fully embraced his obligation to put aside the dreams of youth and take up arms as a soldier in the holy IDF. Like his namesake the lion, he sprang into action when his extended family - Am Yisrael - was endangered. It seems right and fitting that Ari should be remembered on parshat Zachor.

The first time we encounter Amalek, in parshat B'shalach, we are told that the struggle to eradicate these vicious sadists is "an unending, Divine war, for (Amalek's) hand is on the throne of G-d." The Hebrew words ki yad al kays Y-h are missing three letters, signifying that HaShem's very name is incomplete so long as Amalek is not indelibly purged from this world.

The three missing letters are alef from the word kiseh; and yud and hay from the word HaShem. These are the same letters which stand for Ari's name - Ari Yehoshua Halevi.

Ari, you are indeed missing and sorely missed by your family and friends. But your name, and the cause you so bravely fought for, lives on. May your memory be blessed.