By Rabbi Reuven Grodner
The 74 Mitzvot contained in this week’s Sidrah are book ended by themes of war. “When
you go out to war against your enemies” opens the Sidrah and “Blot out the memory of
Amalek” closes the Sidrah. War has been the lot of the Jewish people from the time of
our father Avraham who rescued Lot in battle to our modern day young men and women
who risk their lives daily in order to protect nation and homeland.
“In every generation there are those who rise up to destroy us, however, Hakadosh
Baruch Hu saves us from their hands” (Haggadah). Who are they who rise to destroy
us? In Biblical days it was the genetic Amalek. In the post Biblical era it was, and is,
the generic Amalek. Who then is Amalek? Said Rabbi Y. D. Soloveitchik ztz”l in the
name of his father: Amalek is he whose motto is “Come, let us cut them off from being a
nation that the name of Yisrael may be no more a remembrance” (Tehillim 83:5). Amalek
cannot tolerate the existence of a Jewish nation nor can he tolerate the name “Yisrael”
that carries within it the Name of Hashem. Thus, Hashem’s throne and His Name are
incomplete until Amalek is blotted out.
How then shall we defend ourselves from the Amaleks of today? Yes, we need a strong
army with the most sophisticated technological weaponry. We need, however, something
more, something more powerful than bombs and bullets. Our Sidrah reveals to us a secret
weapon that will vanquish our enemies, and that weapon is Hashem Almighty Himself!
“For the Lord thy God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you, and to give up
your enemies before you; therefore shall your camp be holy that He sees no unclean thing
in you, and turn away from you” (Dvarim 23:15).
The greatest protection for the State of Israel from its enemies is being a “holy camp”.
We shall become a holy camp when we strengthen our love for Hashem and His Torah,
when we eliminate gratuitous enmity and hatred from our midst and enhance gratuitous
love for our fellow Jew, when our holy brothers and sisters living in exile will cast their
lots and those of their children with Am Ysrael in Eretz Yisrael. When we accomplish
this, we will have no fear of our enemies for Hashem’s Presence will be manifest in our