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כי יד על כס קה מלחמה לד' עם בעמלק מדר דר

For a hand is raised on the Throne of Hashem an eternal battle of G-d with Amalek from generation to generation. (17:16)

The last pasuk in this parshah underscores the eternal battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Hashem will not rest until Amalek is eradicated along with its physical and spiritual successors. Wherein lay the evil that Amalek wrought against us? Indeed, in the end of Parashas Ki Seitzei (Devarim 25:18), the Torah exhorts us to remember what Amalek did to us. The immediate question that glares at us upon reading this pasuk is: What did Amalek really do to us? He attacked us and was wiped out by Yehoshua and the Jewish army. For all intents…

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כי מחה אמחה את זכר עמלק מתחת השמים

That I shall surely erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. (17:14)

The most powerful tool against the yetzer hora, evil-inclination, is pride. When one maintains a sense of pride, when one believes in himself, the yetzer hora will have great difficulty in undermining his self-esteem. While on the surface this may seem counterintuitive to the middah, character trait, of humility, it is anything but. A truly humble person is well aware of who he is and of what he is capable of achieving. He just does not allow it to go to his head. He has been blessed with specific talents as part of his mission on this world. He is…

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למען אנסנו

So that I can test them. (16:4)

A prospective teacher usually prepares and gives a sample class in order to showcase his/her style and abilities, so that the employer can discern whether the teacher is a good fit for the class and the school. This is especially important if the school caters to students from diverse backgrounds, difficult family situations, and emotional and physical learning disabilities. The teacher’s ability to engage and motivate the students, generate their interest in the subject and build their trust are his greatest assets. In such a daunting situation the teacher’s skill is crucial. In addition, his ability to tolerate behavior which…

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ד' ימלך לעולם ועד

Hashem shall reign for all eternity. (15:18)

Horav Aryeh Leib Heyman, zl, observes that, from Adam HaRishon to Noach and on to the Avos, Patriarchs and the Shevatim, Tribes, never does the Torah use the term melech, king. The first time we “meet” Hashem as Melech is at the end of Shiras HaYam, when Bnei Yisrael declare: Hashem Yimloch l’olam va’ed, “Hashem shall reign for all eternity.” An unwritten rule is that the first time a term appears in Tanach, it becomes the source that defines that term. We see this idea in a number of places. Chazal (Berachos 7b), “From the time of Creation until Avraham…

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ואהרן וחור תמכו בידיו

And Aharon and Chur supported his hands. (17:12)

When Moshe Rabbeinu raised his hands, Klal Yisrael became stronger. However, his hands were becoming heavy. To prevent his hands from descending, Aharon and Chur placed a stone beneath him, so that he could sit, and they supported his hands – one on each side. Horav Moshe Shternbuch, Shlita, observes that Moshe’s two supporters in the war against the evil Amalek were two individuals – his brother, Aharon, and his nephew, Chur, who had disparate natures and approaches toward serving Hashem. Aharon was the consummate ohaiv shalom, v’rodef shalom, loved peace and pursued peace. He was a pacifist who sought…

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והיה כאשר ירים משה ידו וגבר ישראל

It happened when Moshe raised his hand Yisrael was stronger. (17:11)

Chazal (Rosh Hashanah 29a) ask: “Was it Moshe’s hands that won the battle or lost the battle? Rather (the Torah) teaches you: As long as Klal Yisrael mistaklin k’lapei Maalah, looked Heavenward and subjected their heart to their Father in Heaven – they would prevail. When they did not, however, they would fall.” Horav Yosef Nechemiah Kornitzer, zl, renders Chazal’s statement homiletically. He focuses on one of the most important verities that plays a major role in Klal Yisrael’s merit to achieve success: achdus, unity, harmony among Jews. As long as we are united, fused together with the common goal…

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ויאמר משה אליהם איש אל יותר ממנו עד בקר

Moshe said to them, “No man may leave over from it until morning.” (16:19)

Chazal (Yoma 76a) teach that enormous amounts of manna descended each day – more than the nation required for a day’s sustenance. By midday, it was all gone. This was part of a Heavenly lesson to the people: Hashem provides for our daily needs – daily. To worry about tomorrow is a shortcoming in our emunah and bitachon, faith and trust, in Hashem. This is the gold standard for which a Jew should aspire. The amount of hishtadlus, endeavoring, that one should expend is correlated with his level and trust in Hashem. The Gaon, zl, m’Vilna, did not go to…

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הנני ממטיר לכם לחם מן השמים... למען אנסנו הילך בתורתי אם לא

Behold! I shall rain down for you food from Heaven… so that I can test them, whether they will follow My teaching or not. (16:4)

Heavenly bread, or sustenance from Heaven, was to be the test that determined the faith and trust of the Jew. Would he listen by observing Shabbos, trusting that the amount of food necessary to feed his family would arrive in a timely manner? Would he follow Hashem even if, at the end of the day, he had no food available for the next day? Last, would he now devote all his free time to matters of the spirit – Torah study and mitzvah observance? The test continues to this very day. Some individuals contend that they trust in Hashem; He…

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כי מחה אמחה את זכר עמלק

I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek. (17:14)

As Horav S. R. Hirsch, zl, observes from the Torah’s use of zeicher, remembrance (of Amalek), it is not Amalek who is so pernicious for the future of mankind, but his remembrance. The glorifying of Amalek’s memory, exalting in his achievements, presents an imminent danger to the moral mindset of G-d-fearing people. Violence, force, living by the sword, dominating the weak, murder and plunder at will, just to show one’s power and prowess, is anathema to the moral rectitude of humanity. Glorifying the deeds of murderers and terrorists, venerating their memory, catalyzes the weak-minded to emulate them. Thus, their memory…

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הנני ממטיר לכם לחם מן השמים

Behold! I shall rain down for you food from Heaven. (16:4)

The underlying motif of being sustained by the daily portion of manna that descended from Heaven is faith and trust in the Almighty. I think, in the end, everyone believes in Hashem and even places his trust in Him. The question is when. Do we wait until every last option for salvation has been exhausted before we finally accede to the verity that everything comes from Hashem? The daily gift of manna – survival from Heaven – was a lesson in faith. Hashem provides for those who believe in Him. A person of little faith worries about what tomorrow will…

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