Labor day, back to school, the leaves are already turning orange - it's been quite a busy week! It can be quite exciting to start afresh, it gives us new energy. Yet sometimes we get caught up with life, and find ourselves just bobbing along like a bottle in an ocean. Who has not stopped to ponder 'what am I doing here, what are my goals, am I moving forward or just going with the flow'?


In this weeks Torah portion we encounter a, well, somewhat strange Mitzva. 'Remember what Amalek did to you... you shall not forget'! Who was Amalek? Some 3,000 years ago, the ancient nation of Amalek attacked the Jewish people in the desert, just after they had left Egypt. But to incessantly recall their crime for 3,000 years?! Talk about bearing a grudge!


The medieval Sephardic bible commentator Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar of Morocco offers a very meaningful explanation. When Amalek attacked the Jews, the Jews were on an absolute ecstatic high. They were just miraculously freed from Egypt and were full of excitement and hope for the future. Then came Amalek and dashed their happiness. Though Amalek lost the battle, they did succeed in 'cooling off' the Jews' enthusiasm they had had towards life, the Torah and the Mitzvot. In short, Amalek was about curbing enthusiasm.


Says the Torah: 'never forget what Amalek did'. Never forget the importance of being enthusiastic and motivated in what you do. The Torah and Mitzvot are not just meant as old rituals, but are packed with meaning and inspiration as relevant to a 17 year old in 2014 as to a Talmudic scholar in ancient Jerusalem.

Rabbi Avrohom