This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Vol. 23 No. 50
Menuchah bas Boruch Zvi Mordechai a"h
on her twenty-first Yohrzeit (13th Elul)
Parshas Ki Seitzei
(Adapted from the Sh'loh)
"Remember what Amalek did to you on the way when you left Egypt." (25:17) …"Don't forget" (25:19).
Chazal explain the double expression - "Don't forget" 'in the mind'; "Remember" - 'verbally'.
This explains the reading of Parshas Zachor (the current Parshah) the week before Purim (in order to connect it with the story of Haman, who was a direct descendant of Amalek) annually, because it takes a year for things to slip one's mind, as we find in connection with the Dinim of mourning.
The Sh'loh ha'Kodosh writes that one fulfils an important Mitzvah by reciting this Parshah every day, since it leads to the destruction of the forces of evil and the establishment of G-d's dominion in this world.
We do not find such a strange Mitzvah in connection with any nation other than Amalek, observes the Sh'loh, and unfortunately, this cannot be ascribed to a shortage of evil nations in the world. Why, he asks, will the Mitzvah to destroy Amalek not suffice - like that of destroying the Cana'anim. Moreover, if Amalek is so inherently wicked, why does G-d Himself not annihilate him, as he annihilated Par'oh and his army at the Yam-Suf?
To answer the questions, the Sh'loah points out that Amalek is like no other nation. Every nation - with the exception of Yisrael - has a guardian angel in heaven, and no nation can be destroyed before its angel has been toppled, and that the guardian angel of Eisav and Amalek (he equates the two in this regard) Samael, is equivalent to the Satan (alias the Yeitzer ha'Ra). His strength, he explains, lies in the sins of Yisrael - when Yisrael sin, he rises, and when they perform Mitzvos and do Teshuvah, he falls. This conforms to G-d's message to Rivkah, comparing the struggle between Eisav & Ya'akov to a seesaw - when Ya'akov rises, Eisav drops and vice-versa.
And that explains why the Torah writes, at the end of Beshalach, in connection with the first time Amalek attacked Yisrael in the desert, "And you were tired … and did not fear G-d" - It is because you did not fear G-d (See following article).
Yisrael's lack of Yir'as Shamayim (the root of sin) empowered Amalek to attack them.
What emerges is that the destinies of Yisrael and Edom/Amalek are intertwined, and the outcome of their ongoing struggle lies firmly in the hands of Yisrael. What's more, their physical superiority is consummate with their spiritual level.
It is important, at this juncture, to recall the well-known vort that the Mitzvah to erase Amalek applies to the internal Amalek, the Yeitzer-ha'Ra, no less than to the external one. When Yisrael fight the Yeitzer-ha'Ra, they create the possibility of defeating Amalek, inasmuch as they acquire the power to overcome him and to wipe him out, thereby reinstating the Kingdom of Heaven in this world. And to the point that they fail in that objective, they empower Amalek to defeat us.
With this explanation, the Sh'loh has answered his initial questions. If Amalek is still around it means that we are sustaining him with our sins.
Consequently, the onus lies on us to keep the memory of his wickedness alive and to take steps to eliminate him. To be sure, if we do, G-d will assist us in achieving that goal, as the Torah writes at the end of Beshalach "I will erase the memory of Amalek", but the initiative must come from us. We give him life, and it is up to us to eradicate him - from within and from without.
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Who Did Not Fear Hashem
" … and you were tired and weary and (he - Amalek) did not fear Hashem)" 25:18.
This is how Rashi explains the Pasuk. It was Yisrael who was tired and weary but Amalek who did not fear Hashem.
Other commentaries, including the Sh'lah, whom we mentioned in the previous article, attribute the lack of Yir'as Shamayim to Yisrael. At first glance, the sequence of the Pasuk bears out this latter opinion, seeing as both of the above phrases seem to pertain to the same subject, namely Yisrael.
So what prompts Rashi to split them up, that one pertains to Yisrael, the other, to Amalek?
It seems to me that Rashi based his explanation on the Esnachta (the Neginah) underneath the word "ve'yoge'a" (and weary), which indicates that "and did not fear Hashem" does not refer to the same person as "tired and weary".
The Great Battle
The Gemara in Kidushin (Daf 30) teaches us that the Yeiter ha'Ra (an angel) puts all his efforts into overpowering a person each and every day, and that, were it not for Divine Assistance, it would be impossible to defeat him.
The Toras Moshe explains that this is hinted in the opening Pasuk of this week's Parshah - "When you go to war against your enemy (as long as you fight him) then G-d will give him into your hands".
The key lies in the effort that we place in fighting him to the best of our ability. If we do, then the Torah assures us that G-d will join the battle and we will win.
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The Seven Haftarahs
(Adapted from the Avudraham)
Following 'the Sheloshah de'Pur'anusa' (the three Haftarahs of punishment) which we Lein during the three weeks, we Lein 'the Shiv'ah de'Nechemta' (the seven Haftarahs of consolation - from Va'eschanan till Ha'azinu [till Vayeilech, when Nitzavim & Vayeilech are Leined separately, as it is this year]) says the Avudraham citing the Pesikta. And he adds that that in turn, is followed by the 'Tarti di'Teyuvta' (the two Haftarahs of Teshuvah). We do in fact, Lein "Shuvah Yisrael" on Shabbos Shuvah, but when Ha'azinu falls between Yom Kipur and Succos, we Lein "Vayedaber David", and not a Haftarah of Teshuvah.
It is easy to understand why the three Haftarahs of punishment require seven of consolation, just as one falls quickly but needs a long time to recover. But why, asks the Avudraham, do the latter - which are all taken from Yeshayah - not follow the order in which the Navi recorded them?
Before presenting the answer that he gives citing the Medrash (tongue in cheek, as he specifically writes), here are the seven Haftarahs under discussion and their sources:
"Nachamu nachamu ami" (40:1 - 26) … Va'eschanan.
"Vatomer Tziyon Azovani Hashem … " (49:14 - 51:3) … Eikev.
"Aniyah so'aroh lo nuchomoh" (54:11 - 55:5) … Re'ei.
"Onochi Onochi Hu menachemchem" (51:12 - 52:12) … Shoftim.
"Roni akoroh lo yolodoh …" (54:1 - 10) … Ki Seitzei.
"Uri Uri livshi ozzero'a Hashem uri ki'yemei kedem" (51:9) (or "Kumi ori ki vo orech" [60:1 - 22]) … Ki Sovo.
"Sos osis ba'Hashem" (61:10 - 63:9).
Based on these Pesukim, the Avudraham recounts the following dialogue, involving Hashem, Yeshayah (and the prophets) and Yisrael …
1. Hakadosh-Baruch Hu instructed Yirmiyah and the other prophets to comfort Yisrael …
2. Yisrael however refused to be comforted, because, they claimed, G-d had forsaken them by not consoling them personally.
3. The Nevi'im reported to G-d that 'the poor storm-tossed one will not be comforted'.
4. G-d responds that He will then console them Himself.
5. The Navi tells Yisrael to exult because, in the name of G-d, he tells them, they will bear many children and …
6. that they should arise and shine, because … the glory of Hashem shines upon them, as in bygone days.
7. Yisrael rejoices because G-d Himself has taken up their cause.
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