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Friday, Adar 10, 5783 (Hakhel Year) / March 3, 2023


This Shabbat we read from two Torahs. In the first Torah we read the Parsha of the week, Tetzaveh.  The Parsha tells us about the special clothing which the High Priest and the regular priests wore when performing the service in the Holy Temple.


In the second Torah we read Parshat Zachor (Deuteronomy 25:17), which commands us to remember the war which Amalek waged against the Jewish people when they came out of Egypt.  Parshat Zachor is always read on the Shabbat before Purim


The festive holiday of Purim will be celebrated next week, Monday night, March 6 and Tuesday, March 7. 


Q.   Why is Parshat Zachor and the story of Amalek read on the Shabbat before Purim?


A.   Parshat Zachor states, "Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt; He met you on the way and cut down all the weak trailing behind you, while you were weary and exhausted.  He did not fear G-d.  Therefore, when the L-rd your G-d will relieve you of all your enemies around you, in the land which the L-rd your G-d gives you as a heritage, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from beneath the heaven.  Do not forget!"


Amalek was the first nation to wage war against the Jewish people after the Exodus. All subsequent wars and incitement against the Jewish people are rooted and a continuation of the war which Amalek began. The reason we read Parshat Zachor before Purim is because Haman, who tried to destroy the Jewish people, was a direct descendant of Amalek.


There is also a positive lesson in the reading of Parshat Zachor.  It serves as a reminder that just as G-d saved us from Amalek and Haman in their time, so too, He will protect us against those who, openly or through various disguises, in every generation, threaten and spread hate against the Jewish people.


Q.  Why do we read from a Megilah which is folded in layers, rather than a Megilah rolled like a Torah?"


A.  Esther and Mordechai refer to The Megilah as "Igeret" - "letter". Thus, we fold the Megilah to look like a "letter".


On the lighter side: A notorious antisemite goes to consult a Jewish psychic about the exact date of his death. Closing her eyes and silently reaching into the realm of the future she finds the answer: "You will die on a Jewish holiday."


"Which one?" he asks nervously.


"It doesn't matter," replied the psychic. "Whenever you die, it will be a Jewish holiday!!




Montreal candle lighting time: 5:25 / Shabbat ends: 6:30