Beshalach - Amalek and his nation
Chananya Weissman


עמלק ואת עמו


(ח) וַיָּבֹא עֲמָלֵק וַיִּלָּחֶם עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּרְפִידִֽם: (ט) וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בְּחַר־לָנוּ אֲנָשִׁים וְצֵא הִלָּחֵם בַּֽעֲמָלֵק מָחָר אָֽנֹכִי נִצָּב עַל־רֹאשׁ הַגִּבְעָה וּמַטֵּה הָֽאֱלֹהִים בְּיָדִֽי: (י) וַיַּעַשׂ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ כַּֽאֲשֶׁר אָֽמַר־לוֹ מֹשֶׁה לְהִלָּחֵם בַּֽעֲמָלֵק וּמֹשֶׁה אַֽהֲרֹן וְחוּר עָלוּ רֹאשׁ הַגִּבְעָֽה: (יא) וְהָיָה כַּֽאֲשֶׁר יָרִים מֹשֶׁה יָדוֹ וְגָבַר יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכַֽאֲשֶׁר יָנִיחַ יָדוֹ וְגָבַר עֲמָלֵֽק: (יב) וִידֵי מֹשֶׁה כְּבֵדִים וַיִּקְחוּ־אֶבֶן וַיָּשִׂימוּ תַחְתָּיו וַיֵּשֶׁב עָלֶיהָ וְאַֽהֲרֹן וְחוּר תָּֽמְכוּ בְיָדָיו מִזֶּה אֶחָד וּמִזֶּה אֶחָד וַיְהִי יָדָיו אֱמוּנָה עַד־בֹּא הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ: (יג) וַיַּֽחֲלשׁ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־עֲמָלֵק וְאֶת־עַמּוֹ לְפִי־חָֽרֶב:

Throughout this narrative the nation of Amalek is referred to just as that – yet in the concluding pasuk we have the unique reference to “Amalek and his nation”, something the meforshim seem to have not taken notice of. If Amalek means “the nation of Amalek”, being that the namesake of this nation was long deceased, then “and his nation” must be coming to include something not otherwise understood.

I believe the Torah is hinting at a very important idea, especially important for modern times. The Jews were in the desert, and obviously the entire nation of Amalek did not pursue them to do battle. The Jews had no prior engagements with Amalek and posed them no future threat. This battle was unprovoked aggression on the part of Amalek due to plain hatred for the Jews and the God we represent. Therefore, one could easily have been led to believe that the attackers were simply a renegade group of “extremists” with no ties to mainstream Amalekite society.

The Torah informs us that these were in fact representatives and proxies of the entire nation of Amalek, and were fighting this battle with the approval and support of those at home. Their defeat was in fact a defeat of the entire nation: men, women, and children, old and young, leaders and common citizens alike. It was the entire nation of Amalek that rose up in war against the Jews and our God. Hence, it is the entire nation of Amalek that was defeated in this battle, and which must be utterly vanquished.

This concept is only for the strong of heart and clear of mind, who allow the Torah to speak to them instead of imposing their personal agendas, idiosyncrasies, and foreign ideas on God’s pure words. May our nation once again soon be led by those who possess this strength of heart and clarity of mind so that we can witness our ultimate national triumph and, thereby, the restoration of God’s complete throne.