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Blog Out the Memory of Amalek

By Tzvi Fishman
2/24/2010, 12:00 AM

Here’s a serious blog before the joy of Purim takes over the keyboard. We read the portion of Amalek on Shabbat Zachor before Purim in order to remember that victory over our enemies depends on the holiness of our sexual lives. When Israel’s sanctity rises, then the strength of Amalek falls, paving the way for its destruction on Purim ("Yisrael Kiddoshim," Rabbi Tzaddok HaKohen of Lublin, 8:27).          


Today, the spirit of Amalek in the world is still trying to uproot the holiness of Israel by exporting all of its immoral culture, homosexuality, and pornography to the Holy Land. In addition, throughout the Diaspora, the spirit of Amalek is working overtime to lure the Jews into sexual transgression via assimilation.


This is what we have to remember, and guard against, and fight with education and counseling, in order to repel this plague of spiritual pollution from our borders, from our streets, and from our homes, cell phones, and computers.

The next time you are tempted to click on a forbidden link and take a peek at some porn, ask yourself if you really want to add power to the enemies of Israel, helping them to carry out their terrorism and slaughter.


The Torah states:


"Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you by the way and smote the hindmost of you, all that were feeble in your rear, when you were faint and weary, and he feared not G-d (Devarim, 25:17).


Usually, during their Shabbat Zachor sermons, rabbis explain Rashi's third understanding of the verse. Rashi writes that the Hebrew for "how he met you by the way" - "karcha baderech" - comes from the word "kar" meaning cold. In attacking Israel, Amalek showed the nations of the world that, notwithstanding all of the miracles in Egypt, the Jewish People were not invincible, just as when a scoundrel jumps into a scalding bathtub, even though he gets burnt, he cools it off for others to follow after him.


This is all well and good, but it ignores Rashi’s central explanation.


Rashi says that "karcha" should be understood as keri, meaning seminal pollution. Rashi explains that Amalek lured the Jews into homosexual transgression, then cut off their "milot," the sign of their circumcision, and threw them up to the sky, as if to say, "This is what's left of Your holy nation." Rashi concludes that the protective Clouds of Glory spit out these Jews who were feeble because of their sexual sins. These were the Jews whom Amalek killed.


What does all of this mean? 


The holy Sage and Kabbalist, Rabbi Tzaddok HaKohen of Lublin, explains the evils of Amalek in several of his works. He explains that Amalek and the gentile nations dominate in the world when Israel falls from its Divine stature through sexual transgression ("Resisae Lilah," 23:1). When this occurs, holiness recedes from the world, and mankind is shrouded by an outer covering of evil. This is because holiness can only be found in a place that is detached from sexual sin, and this can only be found in Israel.  


Rabbi Tzaddok explains that ever since the sin of Adam, mankind was infested with lust. The brit milah was given to the Nation of Israel as a tikun, to rectify the world from its fallen state. Sexuality for the Jewish People was to be a commandment in the service of G-d, sanctifying the act and the holy offspring who would derive from it. This sexual holiness was what Amalek was seeking to erase from the world when they came and tempted the weak and erring Jews. Therefore, when they castrated their victims, they threw their milot skyward, and called out to Heaven, "Take that which You chose for Yourself." As if to say that the Jews were no different than the other nations in their submission to animal passions and lust.


For Amalek could not tolerate that there could be a nation, Israel, that sanctified the sexual act. They could not tolerate the idea that G-d had a part in this too (Ibid, 48:17-20). "Thus the verse says, ‘karcha baderech,' meaning that they caused the Jews to spill semen in an unholy way. For when the sexual act is not performed in its intended holy fashion as a mitzvah, but rather after the lustful inclination, which is called evil, this is considered ‘mikre,' spilling semen in vain."  And there is nothing which causes the Divine Presence to flee from the world more than the spilling of semen in vain. This was Amalek's goal, to remove the Presence of G-d from the world, so that mankind could be free to wallow in its lusts and evil inclination (Rabbi Tzaddok, "Takanat Hashavin," 10:13).


It is by sanctifying our lives that we blot out the memory of Amalek, giving the armies of Israel the power to uproot and destroy the enemies of G-d from the world, and in so doing, the L-rd G-d of Israel shall be One - King over all of the earth.