Shabbat Tetzaveh, Shabbat Zachor

Candles Friday 27th 5:25pm
Havdalah 28th 6:21pm
Megillah Wednesday Night 6:45pm at Park East

The Shabbat before Purim is always called Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat of Remembrance when we recall the unprovokeed irrational and cruel assault of Amalek on defenseless stragglers on their way out of Egypt. Amalek no longer exists. But Amalek signifies to us irrational hatred, prejudice, anti- Semitism.

We have suffered from it for thousands of years. The story of Esther and Haman’s desire to kill the Jews simply because they were different, dates back tothe Persian Empire in the century after Cyrus the Great.

But the fact is that ever since, whether under Christianity, Islam or Marxism, anti-Semitism has flourished. We have always had to fight for our survival except for afew exceptional centuries in between. Since the Second World War in Europeand America, as caring people reacted to the crimes of the Nazis we haveexperienced unprecedented freedom from discrimination although not fromsecret or covert anti-Semitism.

The revival of Jew hatred we are now witnessing in many areas of the Westernworld of course Islam makes the previous seventy years seem like a Golden Era.

But we will survive primarily because we remember who we are and what ourhistory is. The obligation to remember is an obligation not only to recall but alsoto ensure that we do not capitulate. That is why it is necessary to go on cryingfrom the rooftops about the dangers and the challenges of our opponents. Keeping quiet is never a solution.

That is what Purim reminds us of. Mordechai thought that if he told Esther not toreveal her Jewish background this would help. But in the end he came to realizethat being Jewish was not something to turn away from but something to beproud of.