To forget Amalek is to forget our history


We often forget the bad things that happened to our people, either because it is hurtful to recall such facts or because we prefer to expunge from our minds that which made us suffer. Older people often prefer not to speak of such pain, for they have already endured much and now wish to be free of the marks afflicting their hearts and souls. The young, on the other hand, attach less importance to those sad passages for they believe that remembering such facts will not help them progress. Besides, the young fear being viewed as victimist and melancholic for focusing on a past of pain. In one way or another, we can understand such reactions for, in the end, we all wish to focus on the positive and distance ourselves from what generates pain. This indeed is part of the survival mode our brain uses to feel more protected.

Feelings will never change but facts can change feelings and rightly so. The reason is that when we remember what our enemies did, like Amalek who swore eternal hatred of the Jewish people for no reason, in practice we are becoming aware of the evils that are out there. That awareness takes us to one of the highest levels of Jewish spirituality, that of being prepared to distinguish good from evil, as King Solomon himself asked H´shem when he was given the right to request what he wanted (Kings 1, 3:9). King Solomon, the wisest of men, knew that distinguishing evil and being alert would make him a great leader and a great human being.

To remember Amalek is to remember that it does not matter how good things are for you now, the fact that you recognise evil will allow you to avoid more pain and suffering for the world and for our people in particular. As our wise men teach: Who is a wise man? The person who sees the consequence of their action (Talmud; Tamid 32A). Through wisdom and awareness, we can see the future of history, the repetitions that occur in each generation, and conclude that: ''There is nothing new beneath the sun'' (Kohelet 1:9).