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Audio: Parshat Zachor - What Should We Remember?

Not whom we know whom. Amalek. The question is what.
3/14/2014, 3:22 PM

A7 Radio's "Torah Tidbits Audio" with Phil Chernofsky
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Not whom; we know whom. Amalek. The question is what.

The Torah tells us to remember that Amalek attacked us shortly after we left Mitzrayim. We get that from the Torah reading of Zachor.
But the haftara also conveys a message.
And, of course, so does Megilat Esther.
And we keep talking about the spiritual heirs of Amalek, even if we have no genealogical evidence of a connection.

What follows is not a complete treatment of the question. It will bring up two points for your own pondering. That will be enough for now. Both points will focus on Haman.

First, the nature of Haman's hatred and his plan.
The king elevates Haman to a high position. He orders that people bow to Haman. And so they do... except for Mordechai.
But Haman doesn't notice. Perhaps his nose was in the air and he didn't see Mordechai remaining erect. Perhaps Mordechai stood behind a convenient pillar to avoid notice.

But the people in the king's court, who were bowing to Haman, noticed that Mordechai wasn't. And they asked him about it. Every day. And Mordechai apparently explained that it was a halachic issue of Haman having been deified in some way.
The others didn't leave it at that. They told Haman about Mordechai's not bowing - to see if Mordechai would stick to his principles even with Haman being aware. That's when Haman sees and becomes furious.
And, it isn't enough just to deal with Mordechai. Not when the issue was a Jewish one. His plan was to destroy every man, woman, and child of Mordechai's nation.

This is the kind of enemy we've had throughout our history. This is what we must remember - with vigilance.

Second, Haman FAILED. Miserably. Yet that does not make him any less our enemy.
Next time you hear a news broad- cast about rockets fired into Israel with no damage of injury, think again. There is always injury - at least psychological, which is no small thing. And our enemy's failure is thanks to G-d, not the Haman. That too is something to remember.

Phil Chernofsky is the educational director of the Orthodox Union's OU Israel Center in Jerusalem and editor of the Torah Tidbits parsha pamphlet. Since 1998, he has hosted Torah Tidbits Audio, a shiur on the weekly parsha with witty insights. It airs every Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Israel time and is downloadable as a podcast on Israel National Radio. Phil made Aliyah to Israel over 30 years ago. He is the author of the newly released book And Every Single One Was Someone, a tribute to victims of the Holocaust.
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