Purim and Destroying Amaleik by Yosef Solomon


In the Maftir of this week’s Sidrah, we will be reading the Mitzvah Deoraita of Parashat Zachor. The Torah stresses that Amaleik’s main action was “Asher Karecha BaDerech,” “that he met you by the way” (Devarim 25:18). Rashi (ad loc. s.v. Asher Karecha BaDerech) explains that the word “Karecha” is a Lashon of Mikreh (by chance). Amaleik’s essence represents the belief that everything happens merely by chance. Klal Yisrael is expected to believe in the exact opposite and understand that everything in our lives is ordained by Hashem. Klal Yisrael is even expected to completely wipe out any semblance of the heretical belief that our lives are full of coincidences, a belief that represents a lack of belief in Hashem’s control and involvement in the world.

Throughout the Galut, Klal Yisrael must constantly remember that although it may not appear that things are going well, Hashem is always positively involved in our lives. Therefore, we must constantly remember what Amaleik did to us and that we have a Mitzvah to kill and destroy them. The importance of this lesson is the motivating factor that causes us to read Parashat Zachor. Because Ameleik – which represents a group of people that argues that everything occurs by chance – is still alive today, we need an annual reminder to destroy this.

In the Yotzerot (special Tefillot) for Parashat Zachor, we say regarding Amaleik, “Yimach Shemo VeZichro, VeNimach Shemo MiLehazkiro,” meaning that Amaleik’s name and remembrance will be destroyed, and Amaleik’s name will no longer be mentioned. Based on this phrase, some explain that when Mashiach comes, we will completely obliterate Amaleik and there will no longer be a Mitzvah of Zechirat Ma’aseh Amaleik. In that time, Hashem’s complete rule over the world and His involvement in every action will be so clear, so we will no longer need a reminder of the evil belief that Amaleik represents, the belief that our lives are full of coincidences. In the times of Mashiach, Hashem’s rule will be so abundantly clear that it will even seem silly to us to remember such a misguided nation that believed in such foolishness.

The importance of recognizing Hashem’s involvement in our lives is also the central idea of Purim, which takes places the week after we read Parashat Zachor. Even when we cannot see Hashem’s hand in every aspect of our lives, we know and believe that Hashem guides the world behind the scenes. Even in the story of Megillat Esther, which does not contain Hashem’s name, we realize that Hashem’s involvement caused all of the events to happen. This also explains why we drink on Purim until we do not know the difference between “Arur Haman” and “Baruch Mordechai.” We drink, because even though we sometimes see only the “Arur Haman” in our lives – Resha’im who succeed, terrible nations and people who flourish, and Tzaddikim, Talmidei Chachamim, and good people who suffer – we are reminded on Purim that underneath all of the “Arur Haman” and “Baruch Mordechai,” everything is from Hashem. We drink on Purim to forget such a seemingly unfair truth. We remember that even the unexplainable is from Hashem.

May we all merit to see a day when Amaleik’s remembrance, which includes the falsehood of Mikreh, will be utterly destroyed, and Hashem’s kingdom will rule and be recognized, thereby fulfilling our daily request in Aleinu of “Letakein Olam BeMalchut Shakai.”

“Kiyemu VeKibelu” by Eli Schloss

Zechirat Amaleik before Purim by Rabbi Joel Grossman