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Hashem is the Reason Behind It All

By: Mrs. Rena Coren

Rav Rivlin , in his sefer “Hesteirim b'Esther” comments that it is interesting to note that the concepts of Amelek and zechirah (remembering”) are intrinsically intertwined. When we first meet Amalek as a nation in Shmot 17,14, the Torah mentions this concept twice- “Vayomer Hashem el Moshe ketav zot zikaron basefer, vesim be'aznei Yehoshua ki machoh emcheh et zecher Amalek”.

We find later in Devarim 25, 17-19, (which is the excerpt that we read for parshat Zachor, this week) that when Hashem commands us to have an eternal battle with, and ultimately completely decimate Amalek, this commandment is expressed through two mitzvot asei and one lo ta'asei. All three are connected to the concept of remembering - “Zachor et asher asah lecha Amalek...timche at zecher Amalek mitachat hashamayim lo tishkach”.

To elucidate the internal connection between Amalek and zechirah, Rav Rivlin quotes the previous Rosh Yeshivah of Kerem B'Yavneh, Harav Goldvicht zt”L., who explains that shichichah- forgetting , is privy only to the physical, while zechirah- remembering- is privy only to the spiritual. The ability to forget can only exist when there are dimensions of space and time. Something that is happening right now or is present right now in front of you, cannot be forgotten. It is only when an event, object, person is further away from you in time or space that there is the possibility to forget about it. These two dimensions only exist on the physical plane- in spiritual matters there is no such thing as the limits of time and space and therefore no such thing as forgetting. An example of this is “Ain Shichichah lifnei kisei kivodecha” (Brachos 32 :) that there is no such thing as forgetfullness in front of Hashem- in the spiritual realm there is total recall of every person's thoughts and deeds.

It is fascinating to note that the strongest expression of zechirah in the positive sense, is through the mitzvah of shabbos. In Shemot 20,8,when Am Yisrael receives the Aseret Hadibrot, the pasuk says “Zachor et yom hashabbat l'kadsho”- remember shabbos and sanctify it. A few pesukim later, in Shemos 20, 11 we are told that shabbos is a testimony to remind of us of two pivotal events that form the basis of our emunah- “Zikaron l'maaseh breishit.. zecher l'yitziat mitzrayim” - the creation of the world and the exodus from Egypt. Based on the explanation of Rav Goldvicht zt”l above, we now understand the significance of the link between Shabbos and zechirah, for shabbos comes to imbibe within us emunah in Hashem who created the world and who continues to guide and conduct the world down to the last detail. Since Shabbos is day of spirituality, a day where we are blessed with a neshama yeteirah , we are also blessed with zechirah. On Shabbos, more than any other time, we have the ability of complete recall of the meaning and purpose behind every nuance in our lives and deeply connecting to Hashem because of it.

In stark contrast, we now can also understand the connection the mitzvah of zechirah in relation to Amalek. Amalek's soul purpose in this world is to denigrate our connection to Hashem and belief in His continuing hashgacha pratit of the world. Amalek comes against us with the weapon of forgetfullness. As Rashi (Devarim 25,18) says on the words “Asher Karcha Baderech” -that Amalek happened upon you on the way- karchecha is from the lashon of mikreh- happenstance. Amalek's voice wants us to live a life where the guiding principle is the ultimate forgetfullness; that it just so happened to be that something occurred in our lives, but there's no real meaning and purpose behind it. Everything is random in this world- there's no guiding hand of Hashem behind every detail. It is to counteract this voice of Amalek, which wants to force us and the world to exist only on a physical plane ,that we are commanded “ZACHOR”! Don't forget! Don't listen to the voice of Amalek, whether it's external from our materalistically entrenched surroundings or whether we hear it through our own internal voice. ZACHOR that there IS meaning, ZACHOR that there IS a purpose, ZACHOR that Hashem is the source and reason behind it all.




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