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Remembering why we are Jewish - the joyous, the tragic and the sad

02/03/2023 08:35:56 AM


This Shabbat, the Sabbath preceding Purim, is called "Shabbat Zachor - the Sabbath of Remembrance." We are commanded to remember Amalek, the paradigmatic enemy of the Jewish people, who attacked the Children of Israel from the rear upon the Exodus from Egypt. Haman, the enemy of the Purim story, was a descendant of the Amalekites.

In Judaism, we are commanded to remember many things. The most famous commandment to remember is "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Perhaps it is no accident that this coming Shabbat, our shul will join many others in North America hosting a Shabbat dinner or luncheon, celebrating "Shabbat across North America," enriching the joyous remembrance of Shabbat through candle lighting, Kiddush, Motzi, singing, and more.

In our personal lives, "Zachor-Remember" also connotes remembering loved ones of blessed memories, remembering the Shoah and countless other acts of hatred perpetrated against the Jewish people over the ages.

In my estimation, Judaism is a joyous meaningful way of life. This is the centerpiece of Judaism. Nevertheless, we must also remember the sad and the tragic which have accompanied our four thousand years of remembrance and heritage.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Howard Morrison

Wed, 29 May 2024 21 Iyyar 5784