Dvar for Ki Tetzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)
Parshat Ki Tetzei contains many laws, including the one to erase the memory of Amalek because of what they did to the Jews on our way out of Egypt (25:17-19). Because Amalek no longer exists as a nation, the only reason we even speak of them now is that the Torah memorializes this law. If we are to forget them, why would the Torah list it as a law, ensuring that we never forget the law?
Ami Silver (alephbeta.org) suggests that while the Jews have been attacked many times, Amalek specifically targeted the helpless and weak, while the nation was tired and weary of all their travels. This directive is for us to remember to never target the weak, a lesson that should never be forgotten. It’s not Amalek that we need to forget, it’s the memory of Amalek – the concept of attacking the vulnerable.
This concept is even more evident at the battle of Amalek itself. While the Jews fought Amalek, Moshe stood on a mountain and lifted his arms to the heavens. When his arms got weak, Aaron and Chur helped him by holding up his arms. As a contrast, while Amalek was attacking the weak, Aaron and Chur were supporting the weak Moshe.
It’s clear from our understanding that the law of erasing Amalek is more of a moral directive relating to the vulnerable, helping those that are weak rather than taking advantage of their weaknesses. This theme is a common thread among many of the laws and highlights the beauty of the Torah and its guided sensitivities meant to enrich all our lives.