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Parashat Vayikra and Shabbat Zachor - 5776

My friends,

This Shabbat is called Shabbat Zachor. On the Shabbat before Purim, we take out two Sifrei Torah. From the first we read the portion of the week, which this week is Vayikra, the first portion from the third book of the Torah called Vayikra.

From the second we read a very short reading from the Book of Deuteronomy called Zachor, where we are commanded to REMEMBER what Amalek did to the Jewish people when they came out of Egypt. For no apparent reason, Amalek came and attacked the people of Israel, shortly after they had gained their freedom from Egyptian slavery. Amalek targeted the stragglers, the vulnerable who could not defend themselves.

Joshua assembles some men and they fight back and he is able to weaken Amalek. The Torah commands us to 'Remember' and to 'Never Forget'.

We who had witnessed the Holocaust have also made a promise to never forget. Why are we commanded, Remember and Do Not Forget? Because there is a tendency to say that the world has learned a lesson and will never allow such atrocities to take place again. How naive and wrong we can be!

Just yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asked for ISIS to be condemned for committing Genocide. Think of the time it has taken to come to such a conclusion - and it is not sure that the rest of the world will accept it and what will then be done about it?

Iran has indicated repeatedly that they would like to annihilate Israel. Whenever the Ayatollah makes such threats, his listeners agree by screaming "Death to Israel" and "Death to America".

This past week an Iman in Israel was arrested for preaching from the Al Aksa mosque that Allah wants all the Jews dead, and he wants the Palestinians to do it. So many young Palestinians take the incitement to heart and go around stabbing innocent Israelis.

As we celebrate Purim, we remind ourselves how we were saved from Haman and hope that G-d will protect us from today's enemies. But it is our duty to 'Never Forget': Zachor!

Shabbat Shalom and a Happy and Frailich Purim!

Avram