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August 31, 1990 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-08-31

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

There's a place
for you with us
at Beth Shalom

Evil Must Be Fought
Until It Is Destroyed

RABBI MORTON YOLKUT

Come for Shabbat . . . stay
for the holidays . . . by
Simchat Torah you'll
never want to leave.

THE METROPOLITAN AREA'S NEWEST
SYNAGOGUE SANCTUARY

Established, strong and staying in
centrally-located Oak Park

DAVID A. NELSON

SAMUEL L. GREENBAUM

Rabbi

y

Cantor

PHONE: 547-7970

I

A Progressive Conservative Synagogue

CONGREGATION BETH SHALOM

14601 West Lincoln Road Q Oak Park, Michigan 48237 G (313) 547.7970

ATTENTION:
Metro Area College Students!
1739-1 MetroHillel

is having

FREE LUNCH

PLEASE FILL OUT AND MAIL THIS FORM TO:

MetroHillel, BBHF, 667 Charles Grosberg Religious Center,
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202

NAME

ADDRESS

CITY

STATE

ZIP

PHONE

SCHOOL

For more information call 577-3459 and ask
for the Rabbi, Sandy or Carol.

50 FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 1990

Special to The Jewish News

A

t the end of this
week's Torah portion,
we read the command-
ment Zachor, to always
remember the vile act of
Amalek, which 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.
It is a most difficult com-
mandment to understand and
apply. Many are disturbed at
the thought that the Torah,
which teaches love and mer-
cy and preaches kindness and
forgiveness, could also com-
mand us for all eternity to
destroy and avenge. How can
we reconcile love of neighbor
with an eternal vengeance
against another people?
To understand this perplex-
ing commandment we must
first understand who Amalek
was and what he represented
in Jewish ideology. Amalek
was the nation that traveled
hundreds of miles from its
own borders to launch an un-
provoked, vicious and coward-
ly attack against the Jewish
people.
Amalek was never in
danger from an Israelite at-
tack. It was not even situated
in the line of march which
Israel was taking to reach the
Promised Land. Nevertheless,
it launched this cruel and
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; that they could be
destroyed.
It was thus a clash of
two distinct philosophies of
life. Israel represented the
forces of freedom and decen-
cy, of dedication to divine
ideals and observance of di-
vine commandments. Amalek
represented evil and brutali-
ty, brute force and slavery. It
personified the diabolical
principal that might makes
right that there is no divine
ethic and that no matter how
evil, anything goes, if you can
get away with it and it suits
your purpose. Amalek was
pure and unadulterated evil
personified in a nation.
This is why the Torah asks
us to wage an eternal battle
against Amalek and its
ideology. You cannot appease
the forces of evil. You cannot
pretend that it does not exist.

Morton Yolkut is rabbi of
Congregation B'nai David.

You cannot turn the other
cheek. Evil must be fought. It
is an eternal struggle because
evil appears in many guises
and in every period of time.
From the days of Haman to
the era of Hitler, from
Amalek of yesteryear to Sad-
dam Hussein of today, this
ubiquitous struggle has con-
fronted mankind. Judaism
teaches us to be eternally
vigilant and to fight 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

Shabbat Ki Teze
Deuteronomy
21:10-25:19
Isaiah 54:1-10.

one's neighbor does not in-
volve tolerating evil or accep-
ting genocide. Evil must be
fought until it is destroyed.
Unfortunately, there is no
other way.
The words of the
philosopher Edmund Burke
have a special urgency for our
time. "All that is necessary
for evil to triumph," he wrote,
"is for good men to do
nothing." Indeed, there are
select moments in history
that we are called upon as
Jews, and as members of the
human fraternity, to confront
the forces of evil and darkness
in this world with a direct
response. For a long time, un-
til the establishment of Israel
in 1948, Jews by and large
shied away from such confron-
tations. The results were
devastating and demoralizing
to our people.
Today, however, we will not
permit history to repeat itself.
And when our tradition and
our humanity tell us that we
must make our stand then we
shall do so in spite of the
moralistic criticism of our an-
tagonists. And then, like our
teacher, Moses, we shall con-
front the modern version of
the ancient Amalekites and
help transform this world in-
to one worthy of God's
redemption.



SYNAGOGUES 1"'"

SZ Hosts
Starlight Shabbat

Congregation Shaarey
Zedek will hold its annual
"Starlight Kabbalat Shabbat
Service" 7 p.m. Sept. 7 in the
synagogue courtyard.
Rabbis Irwin Groner,
William Gershon and Chuck

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