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Friday, Adar2- 12, 5784 / March 22, 2024


This Shabbat two Torahs are taken out of the ark.  In the first Torah we read the portion of the week, Parshat Vayikra. With this Parsha we begin the third book of the Torah, Leviticus. In the second Torah we read the special Torah reading for the Shabbat before Purim, Parshat Zachor. It is a special mitzvah to hear this Torah reading this Shabbat.


Q.Why do we read Parshat Zachor on the Shabbat before Purim?


A.In Parshat Zachor the Torah states, "Remember what Amalek did to you on the way, as you departed from Egypt.  How he encountered you on the way and cut down the weaklings trailing behind you, while you were faint and exhausted and he did not fear G-d.. You are to erase the memory of Amalek.. Do not forget."


Although the people of Israel have suffered at the hands of many nations, the nation of Amalek stands out, for theywere the first to attack the nation of Israel after their Exodus.


Although, Amalek was defeated, he managed to instill fear in the people of Israel. He dispelled the fear that the other nations had of the Jewish people after the Exodus. Amalek's act had a great everlasting damaging effect.  As a result, we are commanded to remember his treachery every day.


Our sages explain this with a parable: A tub of water was boiling hot and everyone was afraid to get into it, out of fear of getting burned. One person was stupid enough to jump into the water. Although he got burnt, it diminished everyone's fear and eventually they, too, tried to enter the tub. 


The same was with Amalek. The Torah tells us that when G-d took the children of Israel out of Egypt, "The nations heard it and trembled; pangs of fear gripped the inhabitants of Phlishtim; the chieftains of Edom were terrified; the mighty men of Moab were panic-stricken…" (Exodus 15).


Amalek, like the man who jumped into the hot tub, minimizing its blistering effect, did exactly the same. His action caused the other nations to eventually wage war against Israel. Haman was a direct descendant of Amalek. Thus, we read Parshat Zachor and the commandment to erase the memory of Amalek on the Shabbat before Purim, because it applies also to Haman.


Purim is Saturday night and Sunday. Remember to perform the 5 mitzvot associated with Purim.


1) Listening to the Megillah reading Saturday night & Sunday morning.

2) Reciting the Al HaNisim in the prayers and in the Grace-after-meal.

3) Mishloach Manot – Sending gifts on Purim day of two ready-to-eat foods to a friend.

4) Matanot LaEvyonim – Sending gifts or charity on Purim day, to at least two needy people.

5) Seudat Purim - Purim meal. On Purim day we eat a festive meal befitting the celebration of Purim.



Montreal candle lighting time: 6:52 / Shabbat ends: 7:56