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September 04, 1987 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-09-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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ARRIVING
DAILY

Complaisant

Confronting Amalek
In Olden Days, Now

RABBI MORTON F. YOLKUT

Special to The Jewish News

Remember what
Amalek did unto you
one the way, as you
came forth from Egypt.
How he met you on
the way, attacked you
from the rear when
you were weak and
weary . . . Therefore,
you shall blot out the
remembrance of
Amalek from under
the heavens; you shall
not forget."
Deut. 25:17-19
t the very end of this
week's 'Ibrah portion
we read the com-
mandment to always
remember the vile act of
Amalek of yesteryear, when
that nation attempted to
destroy Israel in its infancy.
"You shall blot out the
remembrance of Amalek" is
the eternal command of the
Torah to our people.
And it is a most perplexing
commandment indeed! Many
of us are disturbed at the
thought that the Torah,
which teaches us love and
mercy, kindness and
forgiveness, should also com-
mand us for all eternity to

A

Shabbat Ki Teze:
Deuteronomy
21:10-25:19.
Isaiah 60:1-22.

destroy and avenge. How can
we possibly reconcile love of
man with destruction and
vengeance, particularly a
vengeance which is to be
eternal?
To understand this
enigmatic commandment we
must first understand who
Amalek was and what he
represented. Amalek was the
nation that traveled hundreds
of miles from its own terrori-
ty to launch an unwarranted
and vicious attack against
the Jewish people. Here were
our ancestors, weak and
weary after centuries of
slavery, just escaping from
Egypt. Here was an in-
nocuous band of nomads
wandering through the desert
on their way to nationhood
when suddenly Amalek came
and attacked them from the
rear.
Amalek was not in any
danger from an Israelite at-
tack. It was not situated in

Morton Yolkut is rabbi at Cong.
B'nai David.

the line of march which Israel
was taking to reach their
destination. Nevertheless, it
launched this unprovoked
abortive attack. Why? Simp-
ly because Amalek wanted to
prove to the world that Israel
and its God, that liberty and
human dignity, were inconse-
quential; they could be
destroyed. It was thus a clash
of two Weltanschauungen; of
two distinct philosophies of
life.
Israel represented the
forces of freedom and decen-
cy, of dedication to divine
ideals and observance of
divine commandments.
Amalek represented evil and
brutality, force and slavery. It
was dedicated to the
diabolical principle that
might makes right, that there
is no divine ethic and that no
matter how evil, anything is
acceptable, if you can get
away with it and it suits your
purpose. Amalek was pure
and unadulterated evil per-
sonified in a nation.
And this is why the Torah
asks us to wage an eternal
struggle against Amalek and
its ideology. You can not tem-
porize evil. You can not turn
the other cheek. Evil must be
fought. It is an eternal strug-
gle because evil appears in
many guises and in all
periods of time.
From the days of Haman to
the era of Hitler, from the
dawn of history to our present
day, this ubiquitous struggle
has confronted mankind.
Judaism teaches us to be
eternally vigilant and to be
an active participant against
the forces of evil in this world.
"You shall blot out the
memory of Amalek," is ad-
dressed to all of us. Everyone
must be involved. Loving
one's neighbor does not in-
volve tolerating evil and
genocide. Evil must be fought
until it is destroyed. Unfor-
tunately, there is no other
way. Would that there were.
Judaism has never sanc-
tioned unwarranted violence
or confrontation. But there
are select times that we are
called upon, as Jews and as
humans, to confront the
status quo, the evil, and the
forces of darkness with a
direct response.

For a long time, until 1948,
Jews shied away from such
confrontations. But when our
consciences and our tradition
tell us that we must make our
stand then we shall do so in
spite of the moralistic
criticism of our antagonists.

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Rabbi Meyerowitz will Eulogize
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PROVIDING A FOUNDATION ON WHICH ISRAEL BUILDS

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Robert P. Roth

Vice President
Milton Resnick

Board of Directors

Supporters
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Mr. & Mrs. Paul Broder
Dr. & Mrs. Samuel Broder
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 37

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