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Thought for the Day: Don't Forget to Erase the Memory of Amaleik

My youngest chavrusa asked a great question this shabbos; in fact, two great questions.  first, since we have a whole holiday/ceremony about talking about y'tzi'as mitzrayim, why do we need a mitzvah to remember y'tzi'as mitzrayim every day?  Second, since we have a whole holiday/ceremony about wiping out Ameleik, why do we need a mitzvah every day to remember Ameleik?  This from a young man who was having trouble in a regular classroom setting when he we was in third grade and so transferred to Gesher HaTorah Day School.  He is now (just this year) mainstreamed back to a regular limudei kosdesh program and made honor roll his first semester.  A beautiful example of why Gesher HaTorah is such an important addition to the chinuch in our community.

Of course I (and everyone else as the Shabbos table) let him know what great questions those are.  Then I told him that the Beis haLeivi asks his first question and explained there is a difference between "z'chira" (remembering) and "hagada" (retelling) the events of y'tzi'as mitzrayim.  We talked about that for a few minutes and then it was time for dessert.  Good thing, because I didn't have a great answer for his second question.  I got off easy; whew!

The next morning, his grandmother asked basically the same (second) question; though she asked a little differently.  She is amazed that the media never picks up on the fact that every year we all go to our respective synagogues to make an announcement that we are never to forget to destroy the nation of Amaleik -- man, woman, and child; showing no mercy.  As if that isn't bad enough, she continued, we have an obligation to remember that every single day.  What did they do that is so bad that requires such a public and continuous reminder?  A beautiful example of what the Beis Yaakov movement did for our Nashim Tzidkanios.  She, of course, was not satisfied with "great question" and dessert.  Fortunately, I had been fortunate enough to (quite by happenstance, of course) run across a chidush that I think answers the question quite well.

When Haman approached Achashverosh to wipe out the Jews, he offered a huge sum of money to fund the project.  The Malbim notes that it is a very low thing to take money to kill people, especially an entire people who haven't done anything wrong other than keeping their own customs.  Moreover,
Achashverosh certainly knew the entire contents of the M'gilas Esther, being as Esther was his queen and Mordechai his prime minister.  How in the world would Achashverosh permit such a damning statement to be made about him and publicly repeated in all the Jewish communities year after year? The Malbim answers that Haman chose his words carefully.  He presented his idea as a plan of assimilation; to mainstream the Jews, as it were, into Persian culture.  That takes funding, of course.  Offers of support to schools, for example; but then requiring teaching about the surrounding culture or clubs that invite ideas of the surrounding culture.  All very friendly.  Let's just erase barriers and learn to accept one another.  You know, like America and pre-Nazi Germany.

We certainly do not need a mitzvah to remember that the Nazis are evil.  We certainly do need mitzvah to remember that a friendly seeming Amaleiki is only -- always only -- trying to get close enough to kill you; every man, woman, and child.

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