“Remember what Amalek did to you, erase their memory, and don’t forget”

This week, the one preceding Purim as it begins outside of Jerusalem right after Shabbat, we read a special portion called זכור – “Remember”. Rabbi Sacks z”l brings down that in the Torah, we find no word to describe “history”, but when we speak about a historical moment, it uses the word זכור. This signifies that our collective memory is our history.

Purim is connected to Amalek directly since Haman who sought to destroy us was a descendant of Amalek. And as we know, in each generation, Amalek rises in an attempt to finish the job they repeatedly fail at. Today, we continue to feel that. What’s our mission when they rise?

Amalek represents doubt (in Hebrew ספק and אמלק have the same numerical value), it represents coolness, it brings down chaos and disunity. An attempt to distract us and convince us that our fate is left up to the stars.

This is where Esther and Mordechai come in to answer this age old question the Jewish people have faced since the earliest of days. In Hebrew, אסתר is defined as “hidden”.

In Dvarim 31:18, HaShem repeats “הסתר” twice. “I will surely hide my face twice”. In Megillat Esther, it’s not repeated back to back to signify a balance in our relationship to HaShem when the miracles aren’t out in the open as they used to be.

Depending on our ability to Recognize and Know HaShem, He will “hide himself” from us. Removing all sense of Knowing HaShem and therefore, invite the pure chaos of Amalek. We are left to our own demise and failures. The secret of Purim is the pure free will in Returning to HaShem in love that we see when in the face of the sword, they turn to the only real Salvation we’ve ever had.

Esther is the key to the balance. Within the chaos of Purim – the day being filled with an abundance of mitzvot and activities – we find the balance of recognizing HaShem in the mundane and everyday. Not out in the open, but hiding in plain sight in the costume of reality.

Pause and realize that the real power of the day is being calm in the day itself. That with all that we know, we still don’t truly know.

Shabbat shalom u’mevorach & Purim Sameach 🎭🍷