Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Zachor

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

Since the halacha portion of the shiur dealt with the mitzva of hearing Parshas Zachor, R' Frand transitioned from the halacha to the parsha vort and spoke of Parshas Zachor. R' Frand noted that the last pasuk of Parshas Zachor (Devarim 25:19) states that "It shall be that when Hashem your G-d gives you rest from all your enemies shall wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heaven, you shall not forget.

R' Frand quoted R' Avraham Bukspan of Miami who asked three questions: (1) The Torah states that after the Jews have respite from conquering their enemies, the Jews should wipe out Amalek. But if all the enemies have been conquered, why do we need to wipe out Amalek now? (2) Why is it that we are commanded to wipe out the memory of Amalek? Shouldn't the commandment be to wipe out the people of Amalek? (3) When does one usually celebrate the victory in a war? On the anniversary of the winning the war. So why is it that the celebration of conquering Haman celebrated in Shushan on the following day?

R' Frand answered that there is a difference between the enemy from without and the enemy from within. Amalek was a nation that was defeated, but it was also an ideology. Amalek stands for the philosophy that things happen by accident and coincidence. This is contrary to Judaism which believes that Hashem is in control. This is why Amalek attacked us - to challenge the concept that it is all from Hashem. Indeed, the gematria of Amalek is Safek.

This is why the pasuk states that after we have conquered the enemies around us, there is another enemy. We need to wipe out the philosophy of Amalek and its life motif. This is also why we conquer the memory of Amalek - we have already defeated him physically, but we need to make sure that besides conquering the physical enemy, we also conquer the ideology of Amalek so that it cannot be internalized. And this is why the holiday is celebrated the following day - because we need to remember and celebrate beyond the day that Amalek was physically conquered.

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