75 words for 75 years of Israel – Zachor/Remember

In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!

Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available now!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.

Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!

זָכוֹר

ZACHOR

ZAH-CHOR

REMEMBER

Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 25:17)

זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק בדרך בצאתכם ממצרים.

Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, how You swore to them by Yourself and said to them: I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and I will give to your offspring this whole land of which I spoke, to possess forever.” (Exodus 32:13)

זכר לאברהם ליצחק ולישראל עבדיך אשר נשבעת להם בך ותדבר אלהם ארבה את זרעכם ככוכבי השמים וכל הארץ הזאת אשר אמרתי אתן לזרעכם ונחלו לעלם.

God commonly uses the word zachor, Hebrew for “remember,” when instructing the children of Israel to remain aware of something of great importance. When God commands us to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:7), it means that the holiness of the Sabbath is meant to permeate our entire week as we anticipate and yearn for the opportunity to draw closer to God on His holy day of rest.

Moses commands us to “Remember this day, when you came out from Egypt” (Exodus 13:3). By remembering the Exodus, we recall God’s incredible love for the Israelites in freeing them from their bondage as well as our responsibility to care for the oppressed and downtrodden of the world. 

“Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey…” (Deuteronomy 25:17). This remembrance is accompanied by a commandment to destroy Amalek, as the prophet Samuel ordered Saul to do, but which Saul failed to do completely, allowing the seed of Amalek to continue.

In Jewish liturgy, we ask God to remember that we are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in order to invoke the merit of the patriarchs chosen by God to bring His word into the world. Moses asks God to remember this merit after God grew angry at His people and threatened to destroy them.

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is referred to as Yom Ha’Zikaron, “The Day of Remembrance,” for Adam, the first human being, was created on this day. Fittingly, we dedicate this day to remember God’s purpose in creating us and how we are meant to live our lives. 

The Israel Bible Team

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