Please enter your username and password below.


  • September 6, 2013

    Ki Teitzei, Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19

    By Rabbi Shira Milgrom for

    We Are What We Remember

    The last paragraph of Ki Teitzei is the maftir reading in non-Reform congregations on the Shabbat before Purim. Its opening word, zachor, "remember," names that Shabbat.

    "Zachor, Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt—how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. Therefore, when the Eternal your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Eternal your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!" (Deuteronomy 25:17–19).

    I was present on a Yom Kippur morning many years ago when Rabbi Harold Schulweis asked his congregation if they could name members of Hitler's SS. And the names came pouring out from all corners of the sanctuary: Himmler, Eichmann, Goering, and on. And then Rabbi Schulweis asked the community to name the people who tried to save Anne Frank and her family. Silence.

    Blot out the memory of Amalek, of all those who have tried to destroy us. But, he asked, whose names have we blotted out, and whose names have we remembered? In focusing on our suffering, we have chosen to see ourselves as victims, to see in others the potential hater.

    Continue reading.

    Follow us on    page.