28 Aug 2015 The Weapon of Friendship
This week’s Dvar Torah is dedicated to my dear son, Yitzchak Yonatan, who came up with the title for the post: “The Weapon of Friendship.”
At the end of this week’s Parsha, Parshas Ki Seitzei, the Torah records that Amalek attacked us when we were leaving Egypt. We were faint and exhausted and they chanced upon us. Who, specifically, did they strike? The weak ones amongst us; those who were lacking in strength, and who had been ejected from the Israelite camp by the Clouds of Glory.
We are commanded to remember what they did to us and to erase their name from under the heavens; we must not forget (Devarim 25:17-19 w/ Rashi to v.18).
R’ Simcha Bunim of Peshischa notes that the commands to remember the attack and to destroy Amalek are written in lashon yachid, the singular: זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק; תִּמְחֶה אֶת-זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק
R’ Simcha Bunim explains that we learn an important lesson from here. Amalek was able to attack the individual Israelites who had been separated from the Klal, the group, as the Clouds had ejected them from within. However, those from the Bnei Yisrael who stuck together, who remained together with the nation with achva and ray’us, brotherhood and friendship, were protected by the Clouds of Glory and did not fall into the hands of Amalek.
This is a lesson, says R’ Simcha Bunim, to us and to our children after us. All the while that Israel is together with unity, Amalek – our enemies who rise up to destroy us in each and every generation – will not prevail. But when we are not united, when we are separated from one another, woe unto us. For Amalek, who is always poised and ready to attack, may just then rise up to destroy us, sensing our weakness and disunity.
This lesson relates very beautifully to the month of Elul and the upcoming Yomim Noraim, the awesome Days of Judgement. During this powerful time of year, we daven for ourselves, for our families, and for those closest to us. We daven for a year of health and simcha, a year of parnassah and bracha, a year of nachas and menucha. However, in addition to our personal prayers, we must always remember to daven for the well-being of the klal, for we are part of a beautiful nation.
Every Rosh HaShanah, the Mirrer Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt’l, would speak in each of the three batei medrash where the Mir Yeshiva held minyanim, addressing thousands of people between the three locations.
On the last Rosh HaShanah of his life, Rav Nosson Tzvi rose to the podium in each beis medrash and said, “People want to know what kavanos (thoughts) they should have during tekiyas shofar. You want to know what you should think about during tekiyos? Think about someone else.”
When we think of our fellow Jews, when we daven for their well-being as we daven for ours, when we come together with brotherhood and unity, we are protected by Hashem’s Clouds of Glory. And when we are protected, Amalek cannot, and will not, prevail.
As we approach the Yom Ha’din, we must remember the lesson of Amalek. Our strength is in our achdus, our unity. We began our national destiny as twelve tribes, but those twelve make up one nation. And we are all banim la’Makom, the children of Hashem.
During this month of introspection and repentance, let us strive to return to a state of unity and oneness. In the merit of our efforts, may we all – as individuals and as a nation – be inscribed in the Book of Life, זכרינו לחיים מלך חפץ בחיים. Amen v’amen.
בברכת שבת שלום,