What Was So Terrible About Amalek?

Sponsored by Sharona, Josh, Dov, Moshe and Yehuda Halickman in honor of the Bar Mitzvah of Eliezer Avraham Weisman


This Shabbat is Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat before Purim where we read the psukim about the nation of Amalek from the book of Dvarim 25: 17-19:


“Remember what Amalek did to you by the way as you came out of Egypt; he met you by the way and smote the hindmost of you, all that were enfeebled in your rear, when you were faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from all of your enemies round about, in the land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it, that you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.”


What was so bad about the nation of Amalek?


According to Rashi, all of the nations were afraid to fight against you and this one came and began and showed the others. This may be compared with a bath of boiling water which no creature can get into. Comes along a fool and jumps into it. Though he gets scalded, he has cooled it for others.


Nehama Leibowitz points out that after the Exodus from Egypt “mankind as a whole might have taken one great step further and acknowledged the sovereignty of the God of justice and truth, but then along came Amalek and unrestrained by the dread and awe that kept all the nations in the world in check- jumped into the boiling cauldron and showed the way for the others. What was there to fear? That a people had gone forth from the land of Egypt? But had not others gone forth from the midst of other nations? Who could prove that they had been brought out by God? Didn’t this nation go forth by their own power? Now they were wandering in the wilderness, weary and struggling. Why should they not be spoiled and smitten? This was the way of the world. In this manner, the moment of awe at the mighty hand of God passed away and the atmosphere of astonishment at God’s miracles evaporated. The world returned to its former rut, to the idols of gold and silver, its faith in moral power and brute force. The opportunity had been lost. Who had been responsible? Amalek”.


It is for this reason that God will have a war with Amalek in every generation.

 Today we are in the midst of a war with Hamas (even though the newspapers say that the war is over). According to Arutz 7, Gaza terrorists, including those affiliated with the ruling Hamas, have fired more than 100 rockets at civilians in southern Israel since Israel unilaterally ended the Cast Lead operation in January. 

The war with Amalek continues…