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By: Ms. Miriam Polinsky

This week, in addition to the weekly Parsha, Parashat Tzav, we read Parshat Zachor, the passage taken from Parshat Ki Teitze in Sefer Devarim in which Hashem commands us to forever remember what Amalek did to us in the midbar and to wipe out their name.

Chazal say that “to remember of Amalek” means to never forget in your heart, and to always remember with your mouth.  This means that just as we put effort, with our speech and mouths, into reading this passage from the Torah, we must also put as much effort into forever keeping this memory alive in our hearts.

The Netivot Shalom, written by the Slonimer Rebbe, Harav Sholom Noach Berezovsky, points out that many times in the torah we are commanded to remember something “kol yimay chayecha”, all the days of our lives.  For example, regarding the story of yitziyat mitzrayim, we are told to always remember, as it says: lima'an tizkor et yom tzetcha me'erteretz mitzrayim kol yimay chayecha.  Furthermore, we see the concept of remembering regarding Shabbat and Matan Torah as well.  Just as we are supposed to remember all the good things like yitziyat mitzrayim, Shabbat and Matan Torah, so too, it is equally important to remember the bad, like Amalek.

But  why? Why is it so important for us to remember and live with all these memories everyday of our lives? What is so crucial about remembering? 

The Netivot Shalom explains that the concept of remembering for the Jewish nation is what makes us eternal as a people.  This is what makes Am Yisrael different from all other nations of the world.  We are the only ones who give such great significance to our past and our future, as opposed to only focusing on the present.

Other nations don't have a past to lean on and learn from, and have nothing to look forward to, or to strive for, in the future.  

Am Yisrael, on the other hand, has an amazing history of being the Am Segulah, the chosen nation.  We are the nation that is nurtured from our past.  Our forefathers, our ancestors, their stories and the lessons we learn from them, comprise our history, and it is our history that give us the strength to keep growing and moving forward, to always hope and yearn for the Geula which is our future, no matter what the world around us thinks. 

This is why we have mitzvot to remember.  This is why Hashem wants us to remember our history, both the good history like Matan Torah, and the bad, like Amalek. Because remembering always reminds us who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.

May we always remember our past, as we work on the present, to build our future. 

Shabbat Shalom!







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