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Kabbalat Shabbat: The Expectations of Shabbat Zachor

The Chiddushei ha-Rim says in the name of the Ari HaKadosh that each Shabbat we regain the crowns of “Na’aseh V’Nishma,” that we lost after the sin of the Golden Calf. This means that on Shabbat we have the opportunity to study Torah with God as our study partner, “Panim el Panim.,” Face to Face, as did Moshe, and as we did at Revelation. If so, asks the Chiddushei ha-Rim, why do we not experiences? He answers, either because we do not want it enough, or because we do not feel pain over its absence during the week, or we don’t expect it.


I thought that perhaps that perhaps the Kavanot we find in the Siddur before performing certain mitzvot are not just to prepare our minds to fulfill the midsole with proper intentions, but to allow us to create expectations that the mitzvah will be great; we will experience the most wonderful tefillin of our lives, the most powerful Shabbat, the greatest prayer.

I find that Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat immediately preceding Purim is a time of tremendous expectation. It is a time of miracles. It is the beginning of the process of redemption that culminates in Pesach.

Expectations mean a belief in the power of a mitzvah and its ability to affect us and change us. Expectations are the opposite of the “tiredness and exhaustion,” that we experienced at the time Amalek attacked us. We can use this Shabbat not only as a time of expectation, but as away of using our expectations of miracles and being transformed by our mitzvot to rectify the mistake we made that led to Amalek’s attack.

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