Why the Torah Commands “Blotting Out the Memory of Amalek” but Forbids “Despising the Egyptian”

This week’s Torah reading of Ki Teytsey concludes with a command never to forget the nefarious deeds of the Amalekites—who attacked the Israelites from behind as they were coming out of Egypt—and to “blot out the memory of Amalek from underneath the heavens.” By contrast, the same Torah reading also commands, “Do not despise an Egyptian, because you were strangers in his land.” Why, asks Jonathan Sacks, are the Amalekites so singled out? After all, the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites for centuries, and attempted genocide by the slaying of the male children. Sacks finds the answer in the Talmud’s teaching that only love that is not dependent on any one specific thing can endure:

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Jonathan Sacks

More about: Amalek, Anti-Semitism, Deuteronomy, Hebrew Bible, Jonathan Sacks, Religion & Holidays

Thoughts on Yitzhak Rabin’s Assassination, a Quarter-Century On

On the Jewish calendar, today is the 25th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin’s assassination at the hands of a fellow Jewish Israeli. Rabin, after a long and impressive career in the military and in politics, had not long beforehand signed the Oslo Accords, and was murdered by a zealous opponent of that decision. Reflecting on the occasion, David Horovitz writes:

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli politics, Oslo Accords, Yitzhak Rabin