Thursday, March 13, 2008

Table Talk for Parshat Zachor 5768 - Amalek's Descendants

We all know the story of Amalek as we read about it every year. But the story itself leaves us with a very important question: how does Amalek's attack succeed? After all, didn't the ענני הכבוד (clouds of glory) protect the Children of Israel from all attackers? How does a weak roving band of marauders penetrate the protective clouds when the powerful Egyptian army could not? Simply put, they couldn't. What then, does Amalek attack?
When the Torah tells us regarding Amalek אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, וַיְזַנֵּב בְּךָ כָּל-הַנֶּחֱשָׁלִים אַחֲרֶיךָ, "how he met you on the way, and struck the hindmost of you, all that were weakened in the rear," the Midrash explains that in fact, the people in the rear are those expelled from the camp due to their sinful ways. The clouds only protect those deserving of Divine defense; all other find themselves outside the camp in the rear. Because Amalek cannot get inside the Jewish camp, they attack those who cannot protect themselves.
In reality then, Amalek has no chance to actually defeat the Jews. Why then do they attack? What's the point of attacking unarmed and unprotected civilians unable to defend themselves? We might ask that very same question of our enemies today - as we watch ancient history repeat itself on almost a daily basis. The nation of Amalek carries the dubious distinction of being the worlds first terrorists.