Parshas Zachor1

הפטורה: כֹּה אָמַר ה'. אוֹמְרִים אָב הָרַחֲמִים, אֵין אוֹמְרִים צִדְקָתְךָ.

[On the Shabbos before Purim,] the haftarah begins Ko amar Ado-nai (I Shmuel 15:2-34).

[After the Torah Reading,] the passage beginning Av HaRachamim is recited.2

[In the Afternoon Service,] the passage beginning Tzidkas’cha3 is omitted.4

וַיָּבוֹא עֲמָלֵק וַיִּלָּחֶם עִם יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּרְפִידִים, שֶׁרָפוּ יְדֵיהֶם מִדִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה. אַז מְ'וועֶרט שְׁוואַך אִין תּוֹרָה, וואָס דעֶר לִמּוּד הַתּוֹרָה אִיז דאָךְ עַל מְנָת לַעֲשׂוֹת וּלְקַיֵּם, קוּמְט עֲמָלֵק אוּן קִיהלְט אָפּ דעֶם אִידעֶן, וַיִּלָּחֶם עִם יִשְׂרָאֵל, רָאשֵׁי תֵּיבוֹת יֵשׁ שִׁשִּׁים רִבּוֹא אוֹתִיּוֹת לַתּוֹרָה, — דְּכָל אֶחָד מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ לוֹ אוֹת אַחַת בַּתּוֹרָה, וְלָכֵן נָהֲגוּ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לִכְתּוֹב אוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה, — אוּן עֲמָלֵק מאַכט קאַלט קְדוּשַּׁת הַתּוֹרָה. וְהָעֵצָה לָזֶה בְּחַר לָנוּ‏‏ אֲנָשִׁים, אַנְשֵׁי מֹשֶׁה, וְאִתְפַּשְׁטוּתָא דְמֹשֶׁה בְּכָל דָּרָא, שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר יֵשׁ רָאשֵׁי אַלְפֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְצֵא הִלָּחֵם בַּעֲמָלֵק לְשׁוֹן יָחִיד, לְפִי שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה הִיא נִצְחִית בְּכָל דּוֹר וּבְכָל זְמַן וּבְכָל מָקוֹם בְּשָׁוֶה.

It is written:5 “And Amalek came and fought with Israel at Refidim,” [i.e., the Jews had] “weakened their involvement in the words of the Torah.”6

When a Jew weakens his hold on Torah study, which should be pursued in order to be observed in practice,7 along comes Amalek and cools him down.8

[The above verse continues to relate that Amalek] “fought with Israel.” Israel (ישראל) is an acronym for the phrase, יש ששים ריבוא אותיות לתורה — “There are 600,000 letters in the Torah.”9 (For every Jew has a letter in the Torah, which is why it is customary for every Jew to write a letter in a Torah scroll.10 ) [When Amalek “fought with Israel,” it was Israel’s roots in the Torah that Amalek fought with:] Amalek cools off [a Jew’s sensitivity to] the holiness of the Torah.

[The following verse gives] the solution:11 “Choose men for us, [and go out and do battle with Amalek].” [These must be] Moshe’s men12 — and “there is an extension of Moshe in every generation,”13 for every generation has its “leaders of the thousands of Israel.”14

[Significantly, the directive to] “go out and do battle with Amalek” appears in the singular, because the Torah is eternal, applying equally to [every individual in] every generation, at every time, and in every place.15

A Faithful Shepherd

The Sages describe Nimrod as16 “one who knows his Master, but intentionally rebels against Him.” The same is said of Amalek.17 And since the teachings of Chabad Chassidus enable one to truly “know” one’s Master, it is wryly said among Chabad chassidim that “only a chassid can truly be an Amalekite….”18 This is merely an original way of saying that an abstract, academic knowledge of one’s Master will not necessarily preclude the influence of the Evil Inclination, which seeks to rebel against Him.

How can one avoid becoming an Amalekite? By becoming one of “Moshe’s men.” This means bonding oneself to the Rebbe, who is “the extension of Moshe.” And not merely with one’s mind, but with the totality of one’s being.