Rabbis Weigh In: Who Is Amalek Today?

August 14, 2018

6 min read

Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, a prominent Israeli mystic, gave a sermon that was published on Sunday. In it, he referred to Hamas as “the seed of Amalek.”

Amalek was the grandson of Esau whose descendants became a nation infamous for attacking the Hebrews after they came out of Egypt. The archetypal enemies of Israel, Torah commands the Jews to wipe out the memory of Amalek.

Therefore, when Hashem your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that Hashem your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget! Deuteronomy 25:19

This commandment requires killing all the men, women, and children, anywhere and at any time.

Rabbi Ben Artzi stated that, as the “seed of Amalek,” this commandment applied to Hamas.

A pro-Hamas rally in Ramallah. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“When they cry ‘ceasefire,’ it is just like in the Ten Plagues when Pharaoh was stubborn until he got a plague, relented, and then returned to being stubborn until the next plague. This continued until the plague of the death of the firstborn and finished him completely.”

Like Ben Artzi, many rabbis throughout Jewish history have conjectured as to the identity of Amalek with the title frequently being placed on the worst enemies of the Jews. Breaking Israel News asked several rabbis their opinion:


Liberalism: Amalek’s Rejection of Life

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific author and end-of-days expert, has written several books on the subject of Amalek.

“There is no real purebred Amalek today since, according to the Talmud, King Sennacherib mixed up the nations,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. “This means that we cannot point at any one nation and say that they are Amalek. It also means that Amalek has gotten mixed into the other nations and a little bit of Amalek is in everyone.”

“Amalek is more than a physical people. It is also a concept and a spiritual reality. Different people can embody that concept. First and foremost, Amalek is doubt in divine providence. According to the midrash (homiletic teachings), after killing Jewish men, Amalek cut off the brit milah (circumcision) of the male Jewish casualties and threw them up at heaven. They were saying that there is no room in this world for a covenant with God.”

“Atheism is an extreme form of Amalek. The second thing that Amalek does is that they are willing to kill themselves in order to bring that about. The Nazis clearly did this. Much of liberalism today is like that. They are killing themselves spiritually, politically, and even physically. When a person says that they are not going to speak to members of their own family because they disagree with their ideology, that is a form of spiritual suicide, saying that the ideology trumps all. That does not make them from Amalek but it is a trait of Amalek.”

“Amalek wants life to be forfeit. Liberalism is the focus of Amalek today. This is why they will say that abortion and homosexuality, actions that detract from life, are moral imperatives. It is not a coincidence that liberals are atheists. Liberalism is what happens when you take God and meaning out of life. Ultimately, liberalism is idolatry. It is making God in the image of man, making man the ultimate authority, freeing him to do what he wants. The Golden calf is the liberal movement in action. They made a god, imbued him with powers, so that under his rule, they could do what they want.”

“They don’t hate life; they have no idea what life is. They are leading a meaningless existence. They need to tempt death to confirm that they are living. When a person gets to this point, Amalek has won.”

“People who acknowledge a covenant with God, his existence and presence in this world, they appreciate life as a gift. They also have meaningful things to do with their lives. We are hardwired to want eternity and to seek meaning.”

“Liberalism claims to be the avenger of justice and truth. They reject discussion and other opinions. That is because Amalek in gematria (Hebrew numerology) is 240, equal to the word safek (doubt); they want you to doubt what you know is clearly the word of God.”

“Amalek puts emotions over the intellect. ‘I want it’ becomes more important than anything. Abraham was given the strength to conquer Amalek through the test of offering up Isaac, by putting aside his emotions to do the will of God. Judaism, which is based on the chesed (loving kindness) of Abraham, is intellect over emotions.”

Amalek: Leading the Nations to Hate Israel

Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, believes that Amalek exists in the world today, in individuals and also in nations.

“Without direct divine guidance, it is impossible to say with certainty who is Amalek,” Berger told Breaking Israel News. “Therefore, it is forbidden to perform the commandment. But each person must ask himself if he has the traits of Amalek.”

“Amalek is a symbol, it is a character trait. Amalek came to kill Israel after they saw all the wonders Hashem did for us when we came out of Egypt.”

“The Torah says they came upon us by happenstance.”

How, undeterred by fear of Hashem, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. Deuteronomy 25:18

Rabbi Berger quoted Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, an 11th century French Torah scholar who is known by the acronym “ Rashi”, who explained the verse.

“An expression denoting heat and cold (קוֹר). He cooled you off and made you appear tepid, after you were boiling hot, for the nations were afraid to fight with you, just as people are afraid to touch something boiling hot. But this one,came forward and started and showed the way to others. This can be compared to a bathtub of boiling water into which no living creature could descend. Along came an irresponsible man and jumped headlong into it! Although he scalded himself, he succeeded to make others think that it was cooler than it really was.

“Amalek was burned but he wanted so much to harm Israel that he didn’t care, even though Israel hadn’t done anything to them. The other nations followed and were burned but they didn’t want to look bad in front of the others now that Amalek had jumped in.”

“We see this happening today. Iran is willing to destroy their economy, they are willing to destroy their own country, just to convince the other Arab nations to attack Israel. Erdogan is the same way. His economy is crashing but he doesn’t care. Hamas is clearly this way. They want the IDF to attack, as long as it means bad for Israel. Anyone who acts this way today is from the seed of Amalek.”

“The commandment isn’t to conquer Amalek. It is to wipe him out from the world because as long as there is a memory of Amalek in the world, the Moshiach (Messiah) cannot come.”

“Obama was not satisfied in setting his country’s policy against Israel. He organized Europe in order to give Iran nuclear weapons, even though Iran was calling for ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America.’ He used the United Nations against Israel. These are the traits of Amalek.”

“Trump has done precisely the opposite. He has come up against all the countries that have shown the traits of Amalek.”

“The evil that Amalek planted is still in the world and every person has to ask himself if he has taken on these traits. God promised that Amalek will be wiped out. Whoever goes in the ways of Amalek will most certainly be wiped out.”

Amalek: Preventing the Jews From Settling Israel

Rabbi Yosef Dayan, a member of the nascent Sanhedrin, is unafraid to make difficult  judgments with dire consequences. Rabbi Dayan played a central role in so-called “death curse” ceremonies, or Pulsa diNura, aimed at Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon as a punishment for their giving up portions of Israel and dealing with murderers of Jews.

BDS rally (Credit: Odemirense via Wikipedia)

“Amalek didn’t just do random evil,” Rabbi Dayan told Breaking Israel News. “They came to stop the Jews from entering Israel. Anyone who does the same, who tries to stop the Jews from doing God’s will, from settling Israel, is Amalek. This can be Jews or non-Jews. This is certainly countries and leaders like Iran. This can be the United Nations or even movements like BDS (Boycott Divest Sanctions). This can even be left-wing Jews in Israel.”

Rabbi Dayan paraphrased Rabbi Moshe Charlap, a leader in the religious Zionist movement of the first half of the 20th century.

“A major trait of Amalek is the rejection of any rule, in particular the rule of heaven. Amalek wants to rule himself and everyone else. Israel is, quite simply, visual and undeniable proof that God rules the world. That is why Amalek and those who go in his way simply cannot bear the sight of Israel.”

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