Parshas Tetzaveh
 March 7, 2009 - 11 Adar 5769

Voices From the Ezras Nashim

The theme for today’s writing is probably so many voices so little time. Where to start? Moshe Rabbeinu’s birth and death on 7 Adar? The 90th birthday celebration I observed when my sisters and I took my Mom out for lunch? Purim? Seudas? The vort we will attend Motzei Shabbos? The bris we will attend on Sunday? The Kavanah I promised to return to?

In the end it seems that I am most motivated to explore the concept of Zachor. As we conclude this week’s parsha we will turn to the section of the Torah that commands us to remember Amalek. Zachor, remember Amalek and what he did to you. We were commanded not just to remember Amalek, but to completely destroy the nation that attacked us from behind. It is a harsh concept to completely destroy something. At the same time if we look at Amalek and others who would hurt us I am reminded of a virus or bacteria that infects our bodies. We would not want to be cured of half of it. We would not want a tiny bit to remain to grow again into a destructive force and yet throughout history we have opted for something less than the complete destruction of those who have done our people enormous damage. In the days of the giving of the Torah HaShem’s commandments were clear and the identification of Amalek sure. The commandment was not carried out at the time it was given. We did not do it.

So where are we now? Can we pick up at the point where we did not follow HaShem’s commandment regarding Amalek? Who is Amalek today? We are told there is Amalek in every generation, but how do we identify Amalek? Would we as individuals and as a Jewish nation tolerate the destruction of all aspects of an enemy?

I have no answers for the rhetorical questions above. It does seem, however, that each of us has met Amalek at some point in our lives. Amalek is the friend who disappears when you need help. Amalek is the lender who exploited your desire for a home. Amalek is the one who allows missiles to be lobbed into settlements. Amalek is the driver of a big rig who plows it into a bus filled with civilians on a busy street. Amalek is those who pervert justice.

Zachor. This is the commandment—remember. Having remembered is there something to be done? The world and our own sensibilities no longer allow us to take HaShem’s commandment to destroy the nation of Amalek literally.

Each day in the morning prayers we ask HaShem to guard us from an evil man and an evil neighbor. To protect us from an arrogant man and an arrogant neighbor. Most mornings I ask HaShem to guard me from my own arrogance. To prevent me from being completely sure. But I also ask HaShem to let me recognize Amalek so that I can distance myself from those who would do evil. Zachor—so that I do not behave like them.

Elk’s Menu
Parshas Tetzaveh
Parshas Zachor
March 7, 2009—11 Adar 5769

   Whole Wheat Challah
Baked in the merit of a child for a childless couple. To participate in this mitzvah please call Yehudis Halberstam—718-972-4793 for this week’s names.
Fresh Strawberries and Bananas
Split Pea Soup
Salmon en Croute with Caramelized Onions
Pasta with Vegetarian Sausages
Brussels Sprouts with Pecans
Brown Rice with Mushrooms
Quinoa Salad with Peppers and Parsley
Lettuce Salad with Fine Herbs and Homemade Dressing
Orange Frosted Banana Cake

Kiddush Menu

Egg Salad
Tuna Salad
Gefilte Fish
Matjes Herring
Dilled Cucumber Salad

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