Ki Teitzei 5779 – Amalek in Our Times

By: Dr. Jeffrey Buch

This Parsha contains 74 of the Torah’s 613 mitzvot.  These include a wide array of laws including how to deal with the beautiful captive, inheritance rights of the first-born, how to deal with the wayward and rebellious son, burial and dignity of the dead, returning of a lost object, and the obligation to send away the mother bird before taking her young, as well as many others.  But the most striking in my mind is the last commandment of the Parsha.

“Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you were coming out of Egypt.  How he met you by the way, and smote the stragglers at your rear, when you were faint and weary;   and he feared not G-d.  Therefore it shall be, when the L-rd your G-d has given you rest from all your enemies round about, in the land which the L-rd your G-d gives you for an inheritance to possess it, that you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek form under the heavens; you shall not forget.”

Amalek epitomizes the most dastardly, most cowardly of evil doers- someone who shoots or stabs you in the back, when you least expect it, and when and whom is most vulnerable to prey upon.  This is animal behavior and not compatible with Humanity.  More respect is due when an adversary confronts you face-to-face and when you are at full strength.  Such is the nature of a worthy adversary rather than the predatory, buzzard-like nature of Amalekite evil.  In this last and most striking mitzvah, we are cautioned and commanded therefore, to protect the most vulnerable members of our community and to “wipe out the memory from under the Heavens” of the sons of Amalek who would prey upon them and us.

Symbolic and Historical sons of Amalek include Haman in ancient Persia, Roman emperor Titus who destroyed and sacked the Second Temple, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tze Dong, Al Qaeda, Isis and others.  We must stay ever vigilant.  These are the power-hungry products of abnormal society in our times who speak glowing platitudes of generosity, equality and justice, yet they are the ones who really seek to destroy Western Society and recreate it in their own tyrannical image.  Right now, think of the plight of the people of Hong Kong who seek to stave off the Communist Chinese Dictatorship.  Think of what Al Qaeda did to Manhattan and the Pentagon as we commemorate and remember the 18th anniversary of 9/11 just this past week.

In order to protect ourselves from Amalek in our times, we need to protect Free Speech and not succumb to evil group think that simmers in our midst, even in our great country.  We must recognize Amalek in those who shout down the free speech of those who have differing views from their own ideology by calling those with differing views by vicious names such as racist, misogynist, homophobe, etc., when these labels are so undeserved.  Truth ultimately wins out when logic and rationality overrule emotional self-righteous outbursts of “group think” unsupported by fact.  Be Bold.  Speak out.  Protect those who lack a voice or who are afraid to speak out.  Remember Amalek as he appears in our times…

As Hashem reminds us, we will be at war with Amalek until we blot out his memory from under the Heavens.  We can only do so when our hearts and minds are linked to let the truth shine through and freedom ring by protecting free speech and justice under the rule of law.  Speak out.  Be bold.  Listen to all points of view.  Let freedom ring!

Shabbat Shalom