Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Mitzvah To Remember

Every year on the Shabbos before Purim we read Parshas Zachor. The Torah commands us never to forget the evils of Amaleik and the atrocities it attempted to inflict upon the Jews as they departed from Egypt. It does seem a bit unusual to be commanded to remember an event. Isn't this event noteworthy in our story as a people that it wouldn't be forgotten, irrespective if there is a mitzvah to remember?
One of the blessings of Jewish life for the last few decades particularly here in the United States has been the relative peace that we have been privileged to enjoy. As with many privileges and blessings in life, there is one glaring downside. That is the feeling of complacency that has crept into our lives. With complacency comes a tendency to forget some of the difficult memories of the past. We have been rudely reminded of that in recent times with the Polish Government outlawing any mention of Polish involvement in the Holocaust. It has been disturbing to watch some of the indifference in reaction to this new law. It is not just the memory of the past that needs to be remembered, but as we say in the Haggadah “in every generation, there is a group that seeks to annihilate us.” The first step in not letting the ugly past repeat itself is by ensuring that our history is not forgotten. Let us be particularly mindful of the mitzvah of Zachor this Shabbos.

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