Amalek Remembered

Aug 23, 2015

זָכוֹר אֵת אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם׃

Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt

Deuteronomy 25:17

וְהָיָה בְּהָנִיחַ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְךָ מִכָּל־אֹיְבֶיךָ מִסָּבִיב בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה־אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ תִּמְחֶה אֶת־זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם לֹא תִּשְׁכָּח׃

Therefore, when Hashem your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that Hashem your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!

v'-ha-YAH b'-ha-NEE-akh a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha l'-KHA mi-kol O-y'-VE-kha mi-sa-VEEV ba-A-retz a-sher a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha no-TAYN l'-KHA na-kha-LAH l'-rish-TAH tim-KHEH et ZAY-kher a-ma-LAYK mi-TA-khat ha-sh-MA-yim LO tish-KAKH

Deuteronomy 25:19

The portion ends with a reminder of the battle with Amalek before the giving of the Torah, recorded initially in Exodus 17. The people are commanded to remember what they did to the nation, attacking them from behind when they were weak and tired, showing no fear of God. Moses instructs the people that when God has given them respite from their surrounding enemies and they have settled in the land, they must wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. Yet, he exhorts them, they must not ever forget.


The Israel Bible reminds us that this is one of three commandments which the Israelites are meant to fulfill only after successfully conquering the Land of Israel. Amalek, the Israel Bible explains, is more than a nation; it represents an ideology which is antithetical to that of the nation of Israel. Therefore, once they are settled, the people are to wage war against Amalek and their belief system. It is during Saul’s time, in 1 Samuel 15, that God calls up the young king to fulfill this obligation. Unfortunately, Saul does not follow God’s command to the letter and is subsequently removed from the throne by God, clearing the way for David to become king.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Based on the text (here and in Exodus 17), what do you think is the antithetical belief system which Amalek represents?

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