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Zachor: Remembering II

“Remember what Amalek perpetrated against you.” (Deuteronomy 25:17)



it is written “Remember” and concerning Shabbat it is also written, “Remember”. Are Amalek and Shabbat considered equals? Shlomo said, “So I said to myself, ‘The fate of the fool will befall me also, so what have I gained by becoming wiser/’ (Ecclesiastes 2:15) And I said to myself, “For there is no comparison between the remembrance of the wise man and that of the fool.” (Ecclesiastes 2:16)


Even though “Remember” is mentioned with regard to Shabbat and Amalek, they are not on the same level. This can be compared to a king who prepared a banquet and invited many guests. When a tray full of delicacies was presented before him, he declared, Remember my friends!” When the tray was empty, he declared, “Remember my enemies!” The guests asked the king to explain his comments. He said to them, “I mention my friends over a tray filled with delicacies, but mention my enemies over an empty tray!”

Similarly, concerning Shabbat it is written, “Remember the Shabbat day to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8) So as to honor it with food, drink, and clean clothes. But concerning Amalek it is written, “Remember what Amalek perpetrated against you.” With what is he remembered? With an empty table. (Midrash Tanchuma; Ki Teitzei #8)

Memories are connection with the past, the way we can learn from the past and use it to guide our present and our future. Not all memories are applicable at the moment, but we must always keep them alive, each in its proper context. Remembering can be an important part of our service of God. (Machberes Avodas Hashem)

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