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A Revealing Connection

By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim

The Shabbat before Purim, we read Parshat Zachor, remembering how Amalek savagely attacked the Jewish people when they left Egypt. This special reading (Deuteronomy Chapter 25, Verses 17-19) is immediately proceeded by the verses commanding our use of honest weights and measures in business transactions. Rashi, quoting the Midrash Tanchuma, explains: “If you use false measures and weights, you should fear the attack of enemies.” Similarly, the Da’at Zkeinim explains that when the Torah states “…and you did not fear God,” it refers to the Jewish people not being honest with measures and weights, resulting in an attack from Amalek.

The nature of the causality between cheating with false weights and Amalek attacking seems perplexing. Additionally, the nation had just left Egypt. What business dealings could they have been involved in?

The Netziv explains that cheating on weights involves a cunning deception of others for financial gain. It shows a lack of belief that God exists and is aware of this miniscule deception. It represents the belief that God is not involved in the mundane natural affairs of human beings. This is the Amalekite philosophy – everything is happenstance (a coincidence). Amalek declares that while God may help you in a supernatural world, He is not involved in the natural course of life. While the Jewish people witnessed revealed miracles, they still had doubts about God’s involvement in the natural day-to-day world. When the Jewish people lack faith that God is involved in the natural world, they become vulnerable, God forbid, to an attack by Amalek that affirms this view.

Purim is the only holiday that celebrates God’s deliverance of the Jewish people through His hidden involvement in natural everyday events. The force that opposes this realization is Amalek, represented by Haman. For this reason, we fulfill the Mitzvah of remembering what Amalek did to the Jewish people before Purim. Let us work on our faith that, while hidden, God is indeed present and involved in our day-to-day natural life.