Thursday, November 4, 2010

Turning the other cheek to Amaleq- POSITIVE RESENTMENT

27th of Cheshvan, 5771

Last week we explained the prohibition of hatred, and the ways to free our hearts from resentment by communicating our feelings to our offender and finally, forgive him.

There is one instance, however, in which we are not allowed to forgive/forget.

Let me explain:

The Torah explicitly indicates to not forgive/forget Amaleq (LO TISHKACH...)

The Torah mentions many enemies of the Jewish people. For example, the old Egyptians, who enslaved us for centuries! In an incredibly display of emotional magnanimity, the Tora instructs us to harbor no resentments toward them: "Do not abhor an Egyptian, because you lived as an alien in his country".

But Amaleq was a different kind of enemy altogether. Amaleq were nomads. There was no land the Jewish people could take from them. Amaleq had no reason to feel threatened by the Hebrews. Israel never sought to attack Amaleq. Amaleq was not defending itself, as Moab was. Amaleq attacked the Jewish people for 'no reason'.

Amaleq is not the conventional enemy who is after your land or your possessions. Amaleq goes after your life, just because he can't tolerate your existence. He uses the excuse of the 'land', but he aims to destroy you.

Amaleq represents a very special kind of enemy, which, as far as I know, it is the Jewish people exclusive 'fate' to have: an existential or national enemy.

In this case the Tora says: do not forgive, do not forget.

Obviously,it is a practical reason of self-preservation what triggers this rule.

But there is more.

B'H next Thursday I will explain the moral reason behind LO TISHKACH.

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC 130 Steamboat Rd. Great Neck NY 11024

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