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Friday, March 14

The Weekly Shtikle - Parshas Zachor

This past Sunday, 2 Adar, was the second Yahrtzeit of my Zadie, R' Yaakov Bulka. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Chaim Yaakov ben Yitzchak.
    We are instructed to remember the dastardly acts of the nation of Amaleik in attacking us abruptly upon our exit of Egypt. We are given two instructions, "zachor" and "lo tishkach." To remember and not to forget would certainly seem, at first glance, like superfluous commands. But certainly that cannot be the case. Our requirement to lain Parshas Zachor once a year is actually part of the "lo tishkach" component. The gemara (Berachos 58b) indicates that the memory of someone who has passed on lingers for only 12 months. We must make a special reading of this commandment to make sure we do not forget. What, then, is entailed in the commandment of "zachor?"
    The simplest translation of the word "zachor" is to remember. But it seems that the word can take on an even greater meaning. This is evident in the fourth commandment, "Zachor es Yom HaShabbos." Is it really possible to forget Shabbos? It happens once a week. The Torah is certainly not telling us to simply make sure we don't forget about Shabbos. Rather, as Rashi states there (Shemos 20:8), the word "zachor" clearly indicates an ongoing action. As we are taught in the Mechilta, when we happen upon a nice fruit or other object we should save it for Shabbos. Therefore, "zachor" is a commandment to be constantly mindful. It is not enough to remind ourselves of Amaleik's treachery once a year through this special reading. We must constantly be mindful of the exceptional evil that Amaleik represents. We must study their ways and understand how they are in direct opposition to our belief system and way of life. This is necessary to allow us to be cognizant of the manifestation of Amaleik in current times. Whenever the Torah tells us "zachor," it is demanding of us far more than to simply remember.
Good Shabbos.
Mishenichnas Adar Marbim beSimchah!
Eliezer Bulka


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