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Lost and Found

By: Rabbi Yitzchak Lerner

In this week's maftir we read the famous mitzvah of remembering what the nation of Amalek did to us as we left Egypt… The pasuk uses interesting language “asher karcha baderech”.  What is the word ‘karcha’? Rashi offers a few different translations. The first is that it is the simple language of “they chanced upon you". Another explanation is that the word for cold or cooled you down could be ‘karcha’. The question is then - what does it mean that they cooled us down?

Rashi continues and says that all of the nations of the world had a fear of the Jews. Could you blame them? For the last year unbelievable miracles were happening to/for us in Egypt, climaxing with the splitting of the sea and the drowning of the entire Egyptian army. Would you want to start with the Jews? Rashi continues to give us a famous analogy. Let's say that you have a bathtub that is boiling hot - no regular person can go in without getting burned. All of a sudden, a person decides to jump in. That person would get terribly burnt. While that may be true, in the meantime the water of the bathtub has now cooled down so the next person can go in without getting burnt.  Rashi expains that this is what Amalek did. They cooled us down - hence the word ‘karcha’.  

We were untouchable (!), as we should have been. Then Amalek attacked us. It could even be that we lost our self-confidence. So we must remember what Amelek did to us; we cannot forget who we really are. We are the chosen people. We are a people who have survived. We must be confident in who we are, our relationship with Hashem and our role in the rest of the world. 

Shabbat Shalom





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