Shabbat Parashat Terumah Shabbat Zakhor A Work in Progress

Dear Friends,

It’s the Shabbat before Purim! I hope you join us for our online Megillah reading this coming Thursday evening and join in the fun! There will be costumes, a Purim Shpiel and, of course, the reading of the Megillah!

Thanks to all the volunteers who are working so hard to make all of this happen and thanks in advance to you all for coming to our Purim Megillah reading! And, if you can come to our Purim Megillah Zoom in costume, please do! It will just increase the fun for yourself and for everyone else. Whether you come to the Purim Megillah Zoom in costume, or not, I look forward to seeing you all online on Thursday night.

This Shabbat, the Shabbat before Purim, Shabbat Zakhor, is also the 2nd of 4 special Shabbatot that precede Passover. It is the time when we read the special maftir reading of Shabbat Zakhor (Deuteronomy 25:17-19). In this special reading, we recall the cowardly attack of the Amalekites on our people’s weakest stragglers as we traveled through the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. We are commanded to remember the story of Amalek and to blot out the memory of Amalek’s name.

How can we both remember and blot out the memory?

It seems that what we are to blot out is not the memory of the Amalek story but, rather, the phenomenon of human beings attacking, preying on, or taking advantage of the weak and the “stragglers” in society.

On Purim, we read about Haman, a descendant of Amalek, and we “blot out his name” by sounding our groggers when his name is pronounced during the Megillah reading. But, what we are really doing is reminding ourselves that the tendency to take advantage of the weakest elements of society is still within us, individually, and as a society. We are reminding ourselves that we still have work to do. We are all a work in progress.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror