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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tetzei 5781

Parashat Hashavua: Two Levels of Struggle

Harav Yosef Carmel

The war against Amalek can take place on two planes – a maximalistic plane and a minimalistic plane. 

The maximalistic plan is to destroy Amalek “from beneath the heavens.” This is a war to the end against the international foundation of Amalek, an actual battle with the power of the sword and the fist. This battle ends when the coveted world peace has been obtained, when we get to the end of days, and “no nation will lift up its sword against the other nation nor will they learn anymore to wage war” (Yeshayahu 2:4). But this was a battle that could not be waged right away. As the gemara (Sanhedrin 20b) said, Bnei Yisrael were commanded three mitzvot upon their entry into the Land: appointing a king, uprooting Amalek, and building the Beit Hamikdash. So the first condition for erasing the memory of Amalek was having a monarchy in Israel.

But even in the times of exile, when the dominion is in the hands of foreign nations, there is a minimalistic form of erasing the memory of Amalek, in the form of fighting the elements of Amalek that are in our own midst. The main ability of Amalek to be a dangerous enemy of ours was related by the Torah before its account of the episode of Amalek’s attack. Our nation asked: “Is Hashem in our midst or is He not?” (Shemot 17:7). After all, in all times, just as there is an external Amalek that rises up, there is a seed of Amalek in our midst which causes us to question whether Hashem is in our midst. Overcoming that doubt is an important feat. The salvation of sorts that it brings, even if it is subtle, is considered a miracle that is fit for the times of exile. That is how the Rabbis viewed the holiday of Purim, which was celebrated even when we were still servants of Achashveirosh and were given to the whims of the ruler. But that too is something that is of value and leads to a final great goal.

We still commemorate Purim, whereas there is no holiday for Yehoshua’s victorious battle against Amalek or for Shaul’s victory against them. The commemoration of the victory against Amalek is for the one that took place in exile. This was a partial redemption, which serves as the nucleus of the future redemption. It gives us great power to destroy the element of Amalek in our own midst. “Just as when the month of Av enters, we reduce joy, so too when Adar enters, we increase joy” (Ta’anit 29a).

That is what happened with the miracle of Purim. No Jewish king was installed. But there was a central figure around whom people rallied. Even those who took part in Achashveirosh’s feast and those who bowed down to idols rallied around him. They saw the power of the Torah and the power of its leaders to lead and bring “the tossed ship of Israel” to safety.      
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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Yisrael ben Rivka

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther

Together with all cholei Yisrael

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland

 

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

 

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771

 

Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9 ,5776

 

Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20

 

Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781

 

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776

 

Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774

 

Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

RMeir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l

&

Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780

 

RYaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l

 

Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778

 

Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779

&

Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

Av 4

 

R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les z"l  &
Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
& Louis and Lillian Klein z”l

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