Tomorrow, the Shabbat that precedes Purim, is called Shabbat Zakhor (=Remember!). Two Torah scrolls are taken out, one for the regular Parasha and one for a special Maftir in Debarim 25:17. "Remember what Amaleq did to you when you were leaving Egypt... he attacked all those defenseless...and did not fear God".
When we departed from Egypt, the people of Amaleq attacked the Jews. Unprovoked. Without a reason or a motive. Amaleq and its ideological (not necessarily ethnical!) descendants can be identified by the following characteristics:
1. Amaleq's hatred toward the Jews is not motivated by territorial claims, revenge or fear. It is pure hatred.
2. Amaleq will attack and try to kill defenseless Jews, civilians, women and children.
3. Amaleq would preach and would be willing to practice martyrdom just to eliminate a Jew. Amaleq's hatred for the Jews supersedes the love for their people, even for their own children.
4. Amaleq might hate other people temporarily, but his relentless obsession is against the Jews. (In modern days called "zionists")
5. The most important point, and the unfortunate reality is that it is not possible to negotiate with Amaleq. Because Amaleq will not be satisfied with land or even with us changing our religion. Amaleq wants us to disappear.
6. Amaleq, unfortunately, won't go away. For many Jews, especially those who are not familiar with the concept of Amaleq it is extremely difficult to accept, recognize and acknowledge the true nature of Amaleq. And because Amaleq's behavior is beyond rationality, educated but naive people will always think that something "rational" must be motivating them. They would believe, therefore, that there must be something wrong the Jews are doing, for which they deserve Amaleq's animosity. The Tora urges us not to forget Amaleq and its true nature.
And our Chakhamim prescribed that the public reading of the text of Amaleq should take place on the Shabbat preceding Purim. Haman was the first descendent of Amaleq who sought to wipe the people of Israel off the map. Thus, they hinted that our very survival as a nation depends on our awareness of Amaleq's true nature.
Perashat Zakhor, has the special status of being the only Biblical text which reading is a direct Tora commandment. Women, therefore, are also obligated to attend Synagogue and listen to Parashat Zakhor.
Candle Lighting in NYC: 5:19 PM
Shabbat Ends in NYC : 6:20 PM
The reader can watch in the following links some contemporary examples (most of them just at the level of incitement) of Amaleq's ideology.
The main source of information could be found here
MEGILA READING will take place this Saturday, February 23th, at night. And Sunday, February 24th, during the day.
The other Misvot of Purim are mishloah manot, matanot laebiyonim , and se'udat Purim.