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Rabbi's Blog: Yisro & Amalek

01/19/2022 05:32:29 PM


Dear OZ family,


The juxtaposition of Amalek’s attack at the end of last week’s Parsha and the appearance of Yitro at the beginning of this week’s Parsha is no coincidence. They lived side by side in the desert. (Yitro’s descendants appear in the Haftara of Parshat Zachor as well). Amalek and Yitro saw and heard the same things. They read the same newspapers, were exposed to the same social media, and saw the same newscasts. But what Yitro heard that made him shiver with excitement at what his son-in-law accomplished, and the seismic shift in the geopolitical arena created in the Divine might that ran through Moshe’s hand, made no impression on Amalek. They may have gotten their news from a different source, or simply ignored it.  There are none so blind as those who will not see and Amalek was willfully blind.


A similar story can be told of the reaction of 2 nations to David rising to the throne of all of Israel in Shmuel Bet chapter 5. The king of Tzor, Hiram recognized that David would need building materials for a palace and a Temple. Tzor had the finest materials and craftsmen for such endeavors, and Hiram sent emissaries to vouchsafe peace with the new king. A friendship flowered that continued for many years, and Hiram did indeed supply the materials and expertise in helping King David’s son, Shlomo, build the Temple. At the same time that Hiram built bridges with David, the Philistines reacted with bellicose violence in battle. David’s victory was so decisive that we hardly hear from the Philistines again in the entire Bible from then on. Two nations reacting to the same thing, one to the great improvement of his country’s economy and one to total ruination.


Tomorrow I will send a news report of what Amalek might have heard if he were listening to the type of coverage today’s newscasters would give to Yetziat Mitzrayim. Blindness comes for many reasons.


Stay safe. Be healthy. Be excellent.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz  


Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635





Thu, June 8 2023 19 Sivan 5783