Chaim Ingram

Timely reflections for Shabbat Zakhor 5784

I share these reflections as we approach another Shabbat Zakhor. The annual formal remembrance of who Amalek was and is has sadly been made especially real this year.

No one reading this will harbor any doubt that the war Israel is pursuing against Hamas is an existential war for its very survival.

Not so the world, not even our supposed chief ally, the USA, whose president now issues Israel with ever less veiled, ever more open threats that we must “cool it” against our murderous enemy.

But not this alone. The Torah states that when Israel crossed the Reed Sea miraculously upon dry land, the surrounding nations were gripped with fear (Exodus 15:14-15). All except Amalek who attacked without any hope of overall victory yet succeeded in striking at the weak and the vulnerable (Deut 25:18). The verse (ibid) states asher korkha “he chilled you” which our Sages interpret as meaning “he made you less ‘hot to handle,’ less feared in the eyes of the surrounding enemy nations.” In other words he struck a heavy propaganda blow.

This is what Hamas, Amalek’s contemporary heirs, have been doing successfully ever since this present war started. Not only Hamas but the Palestinian Arab leadership in general lose no opportunity to present themselves as the innocent victims by referring to our homeland, Erets Yisrael, and in particular the liberated territories, as “stolen land.”

President Biden has been well and truly sucked in. He has issued harsher words against the Israeli settlements than any of his predecessors. He has called the settlements in Judea and Samaria “illegal.” In other words, Jews have no right, in his view, to reside in the heartlands of Erets Yisrael. Presumably he includes Jerusalem suburbs like Ramat Eshkol and Sanhedria Murchevet. Certainly he includes Efrat and Modi’in Illit.

No Jew can safely reside in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and a whole host of other Arab lands, and now the leader of the free world would like to bar Jews from parts of their own historic homeland too!

Why is there nary an outcry, scarcely an expression of outrage from our mainstream Jewish diaspora leaders? Have they been “cooled” or perhaps intimidated by the tsunami of unjust opprobrium leveled at Israel from quarters we had never thought possible.

HaShem ya’azor!

About the Author
Rabbi Chaim Ingram is the author of five books on Judaism. He is a senior tutor for the Sydney Beth Din and the non-resident rabbi of the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation. He can be reached at