Tetzaveh 5772

This week's article discusses the halachos of Parashas Zachor, which is read this week in advance of Purim. Is the reading of Zachor a Torah mitzvah, or a rabbinic enactment? Does the mitzvah require a kosher Sefer Torah, and a reading among a quorum of men? Are women obligated in the mitzvah? These questions, and more, are discussed this week. This week's Q & A addresses the question of inviting others to a bris (and responding to an invitation).


Dear Reader! In this week's article we discuss the halachos of remembering Amalek, which is achieved by means of reading Parashas Zachor. What, however, is the defining nature of Amalek, whose evil we are commanded to obliterate from the world? Beyond the deeds themselves, what is the conception of evil that we recall? It appears that the underlying nature of Amalek is latent in the Torah's emphasis of their coming "on the way." Each time that Amalek appeared, the nation of Israel was on its way to achieving a particular national destiny. The first encounter with Amalek was on the way to Sinai to receive the Torah, and from there to the

Remembering Amalek: Halachos of Parashas Zachor
This week, in addition to the reading of the weekly parashah, we read Parashas Zachor. In so doing, we fulfill the Torah obligation of remembering at least once a year what Amalek did to us on our way from Egypt, as the pasuk teaches: "Remember that which Amalek did to you on the way, as you went forth from Egypt" (Devarim 25:17). In this week's article we will focus on the halachic details of this obligation. Does the reading of Parashas Zachor involve a Torah or rabbinic obligation? Must the reading be from a Sefer Torah, and with a congregation of ten? Are women obligated to hear the annual reading? We will deal with these questions, and others, by investigating the mitzvah from its primary sources.

A Torah Mitzvah
As noted above, there is a Biblical commandment to recall (in our minds and verbally) what Amalek did to the Jewish People upon leaving Egypt. Does this mean that there is a Torah obligation to read the Torah reading of Parashas Zachor? According to Tosafos, the answer is yes. Discussing a teaching in the Gemara (Berachos 13a) which appears to imply ØØ

Land of Israel to implement it. Amalek's ambush of the nation sought to prevent the people from achieving the purpose to which they were heading. The next assault of Amalek against Israel came as the nation was on its way back to the Land, following the seventy years of exile in Babylon. With the seventy years almost up, Amalek once again sought to intercept the nation on its way to reestablishing itself in the holy Land and rebuilding the holy Temple. Amalek's evil prevents the destiny from being reached. In the words of the Gemara, as long as the evil of Amalek remains in the world, the Divine throne, and even the Divine Name, cannot be complete. The revelation of Hashem in the world, which is the ultimate destiny for which the world was created, cannot be reached while Amalek exists. How do we overcome the evil of Amalek? In both instances of Amalek's assault against Israel, the key to victory—or at least a crucial factor therein—is the

that there is some Torah-mandated Torah reading, Tosafos explains: "One can answer that this refers to sections that must be read by Torah injunction, such as Parashas Zachor." Thus, according to Tosafos it appears that remembering Amalek requires reading from the Sefer Torah. Citing Tosafos, the Beis Yosef (Orach Chaim 685) mentions this opinion, and it is likewise cited in the Shulchan Aruch (686:7; see also 146:2). The Rosh (Berachos 7:20), moreover, implies that not only is reading the Sefer Torah a Biblical command, but even reading it with a minyan (a congregation of ten men) is a Torah mandated stipulation (see also Shaar Hatzion 685:5). This requires analysis: Since the Torah makes no mention of an obligation to read the chapter with a quorum, how can this detail be included in the Torah injunction? The Keren Orah (Berachos 5a) explains that the mitzvah of remembering is associated with the mitzvah of waging war against and wiping out the people of Amalek. Just as the obligation to obliterate Amalek falls on the entire congregation, so the mitzvah to recall Amalek falls on the congregation, and therefore it must be fulfilled amid a congregation of at least ten men.

Recalling Amalek by Any Means
According to other opinions, it appears that the Torah obligation of recalling Amalek does not require a Torah reading, and can be fulfilled by any verbal expression. The Torah reading fulfills a rabbinic mitzvah, upholding the directive of the Sages to fulfill the mitzvah in this specific way. (It is possible that after the Rabbis directed us to fulfill the mitzvo in a specific way, one can no longer fulfill the Torah command in a different manner.) A similar understanding emerges from the explanation given by the Rambam to the obligation to "remember the day of the Sabbath, to sanctify it." The Rambam writes (Shabbos 29:5; Sefer Ha-Mitzvos 155; Chinuch 31) that there is no specific statement that must be used to fulfill the Torah obligation. Each person can fulfill that mitzvah with his own words. The instruction to fulfill the mitzvah specifically with the Kiddush liturgy, is of rabbinic origin. The Rambam does not elaborate on how the mitzvah of recalling Amalek must be fulfilled (see Sefer Ha-Mitzvos

Questions in all areas of halacha can be submitted to the rabbanim of our Beis Horaah at www.dinonline.org

189; Hilchos Melachim 5:5; Chinuch 603), suggesting that there is likewise no specific wording that must be used to fulfill the Torah obligation. There is a rabbinic obligation to read Parashas Zachor The Ramban (Ki Teitzei) expresses doubt over this matter, and concludes that "the correct way in my opinion" is that there is no obligation (of Torah origin) to use the specific wording of the Torah chapter: "The correct way, in my opinion, is that the instruction is not to forget that which Amalek did to us, until we obliterate his name from beneath the Heavens. This we must tell our children and our generations, informing them of the wickedness that was done to us, and that therefore we are commanded to obliterate his name." The Shulchan Aruch (685:7) quotes the opinion (writing that "some say") that the Torah reading of Parashas Zachor is a Torah obligation: "Some say that the readings of Parashas Zachor and Parashas Parah are Torah obligations, and therefore those who dwell in places where there is no minyan must ensure they go to a town where there is a minyan on these Shabbasos" (see also Shulchan Aruch 146:2).

Fulfilling the Mitzvah with Other Readings
The wording of the Rambam suggests a close connection between the mitzvah of remembering Amalek, and this mitzvah of wiping out the evil nation: "We are instructed to remember that which Amalek did to us […] and to awaken the spirits with our words to fight him, and to inspire the nation to hate him, so that we will not forget the mitzvah and we will not weaken." The mitzvah, according to the Rambam, is to remember the evil that Amalek did to us, and therefore to awaken ourselves to hate Amalek and to destroy it. The Rambam likewise writes that the mitzvah is to remember Amalek until we obliterate it from beneath the heavens. This connection will possibly help us in understanding the dispute between the Magen Avraham and the Mishnah Berurah concerning fulfilling the mitzvah with other Torah readings. The Magen Avraham (685:1) writes that one fulfills his requirement with the reading of Purim morning, which is taken from Parshas Beshalach and recounts the war in the

Torah. Dwelling on the place name Refidim, which is where Amalek launched their attack against Israel, Chazal teach that Amalek came on account of the people's weakness from Torah. The path to Sinai was cleared by victory over the evil assailer. On Purim, Chazal teach that the miraculous salvation involved a new acceptance of the Torah. With the Torah, we move forwards, ever nearing the destiny for which we are created. Without the Torah, we are stopped in our tracks by the evil of Amalek. The third coming of Amalek against our nation—perhaps—was the unprecedented onslaught of Nazi Germany against the Jewish people. By the grace of G-d, the nation was saved. Yet if we are to continue on to reach the final destiny, a destiny so close, it can only be with the Torah. In the merit of the Torah we live by, may Hashem protect us from our enemies, and bring us speedily to the final redemption we so await.

Questions in all areas of halacha can be submitted to the rabbanim of our Beis Horaah at www.dinonline.org

desert against Amalek. Yet, both the Mishnah Berurah (686:16) and the Aruch Hashulchan take issue with this ruling, explaining that part of the mitzvah to remember is also to wage war and take revenge against Amalek, an obligation exclusively delineated in Parshas Zachor (of Devarim). The connection between remembering and destroying, as implied by the Rambam, is the foundation for this opinion. According to the Magen Avraham, it may be that although the mitzvos of remembering and obliterating are closely related, this does not mean that in fulfilling the mitzvah of remembering we must explicitly mention wiping out Amalek. It suffices, according to the Magen Avraham, to mention Amalek and its evil, which will automatically lead us to hate the nation and seek its destruction.

or bow). The Minchas Elazar writes that the congregants erred in so doing, for Parashas Zachor can even be read from a chumash, and all the more so from a disqualified Sefer Torah. There was therefore no need to fix the Sefer Torah before reading Parashas Zachor. (As a result of these opinions while one must make every effort to attend shul services for Parshas Zochor if one simply can't it is advisable to read Parshas Zochor at home from a Chumash.) A similar ruling is also given by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l (Shulchan Shlomo 685), who explains that if a flaw is found in the Sefer Torah after Parashas Zachor was already read, there is no need to read the chapter again.

The Time of the Mitzvah
The Chasam Sofer (Even Ha-Ezer 1:119) elaborates on the timing of reading Parashas Zachor, explaining that the principle Torah obligation is to recall Amalek and its wicked deeds at least once yearly. This halachah is derived from the laws of aveilus (mourning), where we find that the twelvemonth mourning period (over parents) reflects the time it takes for a matter to be forgotten from one's heart. To ensure that we do not forget the matter of Amalek, we must therefore read the passage of Amalek once yearly. Based on the Torah obligation, the Sages thus enacted the annual reading of Parashas Zachor, by which we fulfill the mitzvah. Even in a leap year of thirteen months, the Chasam Sofer explains that the annual reading suffices. The reason for this is that human nature of forgetting after a year does not depend solely on the elapsed time, but also on the passage of the seasonal events of the year. Only after a complete yearly cycle does the human weakness of forgetting take effect. Nonetheless, the Maharam Schick (Mitzvos, no. 604) writes that the Chasam Sofer told ØØ

Using a Kosher Sefer Torah
On account of the obligation to read Parashas Zachor from a Sefer Torah, the Peri Megadim (M.Z. 143:1) rules that it is obvious that a kosher Sefer Torah must be used for the reading. However, Shut Shoel U-Meishiv (III, vol. 1, no. 390) writes that there is no need to use a kosher Sefer Torah, and explains that the entire obligation (for regular Torah readings) to read from a kosher Sefer Torah is because "matters that are written may not be recited by heart." Therefore, the principle mitzvah of recalling Amalek is fulfilled even without a kosher Sefer Torah. This ruling is also given by Shut Maharam Schick (Yoreh De'ah, end of book). Shut Minchas Elazar (Vol. 2, no. 1) elaborates on an actual case in which two sections of a Sefer Torah came apart before the reading of Parashas Zachor. To ensure that the Sefer Torah should not be disqualified, the congregants tied the section together—even though it was Shabbos—by means of an anivah (a slip knot

Questions in all areas of halacha can be submitted to the rabbanim of our Beis Horaah at www.dinonline.org

his own disciples in leap years to also have intention to fulfill the mitzvah of remembering Amalek with the Torah reading of Ki Teitzei. This ensures that a twelve-month period will not elapse without a reading of the chapter. In contrast with this opinion, the Rambam implies that there is no specific time for the fulfillment of the mitzvah, as he writes: "To remember that which Amalek did to us… and to mention it at all times." This is likewise implied by the Rambam's wording in the Laws of Kings (5:5): "It is incumbent on us to always remember his evil deeds and his ambush." We are thus obligated to mention the deeds of Amalek from time to time, ensuring that it not be forgotten from our hearts. A similar understanding emerges from the wording of the Chinuch, who writes that we must recall Amalek "once a year, or two, or three." The general principle is that we must remember the matter of Amalek always, but setting periodical reminders, so that we do not forget the matter.

Are Women Obligated?
The Chinuch (loc. cit.) writes that the mitzvah to remember Amalek is only applicable to men, because they are the ones who are commanded to fight Amalek. This ruling is derived from the connection, as noted above, between the mitzvah of remembering Amalek, and the mitzvah of wiping it out. The Minchas Chinuch questions this on several counts, noting that there is no apparent basis for the connection between recalling Amalek and destroying it. Another objection he raises is that even women are obligated to fight a milchemes mitzvah (a Torah-mandated war), thereby including them in the obligation to destroy Amalek. He therefore rules that women are biblically commanded to remember Amalek. However, several authorities testify that the ancient custom was that women did not go to

shul to hear the reading of Parashas Zachor, as noted by Shut Toras Chesed (37). Kovetz Kol HaTorah (Nisan 5763) likewise cites Rav Moshe Feinstein that there is no custom for women to go to hear the reading, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky has stated in the name of the Chazon Ish that there is no obligation for women to hear the reading (cited in Taama DiKra). Concerning the observation of the Minchas Chinuch that even women are obligated to fight a Torah mandated war, the Radvaz (Melachim 7:4) explains that this does not mean that women must fight as combatants, but rather that they must participate in the general war effort in a supportive role such as supplying the soldiers' provisions. Since women don't participate in the actual physical destruction of Amalek, the reasoning of the Chinuch will stand. In a similar light, Rav Moshe Shternbuch (Moadim U-Zmanim 2:168) writes that women need not read Parshas Zachor with the tzibur, and can rely on their own reading from a chumash to fulfill the mitzvah. Yet, many authorities do obligate woman to hear Parashas Zachor, as the Minchas Chinuch writes. The Binyan Tzion (2:8) relates that Rav Nosson Adler was very stringent in ensuring that everyone in his household, both men and women, would go to shul and hear the reading. The Avnei Nezer (509) also questions the ruling of the Chinuch, and the Minchas Yitzchak (9:68) writes that "the majority of poskim" rule that even women are obligated. In Jerusalem (and in many other places), many women attend the reading of Parashas Zachor, perhaps on account of the Maharil Diskin, who was among the leading scholars of Jerusalem and who advocated that women hear the reading. It is noteworthy that Rav Ovadia Yosef, (Yechave Da'as 1, 84) also encourages women to listen to Parshas Zochor in shul since many authorities require them to do so.

Questions in all areas of halacha can be submitted to the rabbanim of our Beis Horaah at www.dinonline.org

c Halachic Responsa d to Questions that have been asked on our website dinonline.org
Question: If one is invited to bris, is it a halacha he have to go? Where is the source? Does the same principle apply to any se'udas mitzvah? Answer: If invited to a bris, one should make an effort to go. If there is a good reason not to go, one need not be too concerned about this. The special matter of "heeding" the invitation applies only to a bris. Sources:
The Rema writes (Yoreh De’ah 265:12) that whoever does not participate in the festive meal that accompanies a Bris is viewed as if he is “excommunicated from Heaven.” He adds that if offensive people are participating in such a meal, one is not obligated to join them. Because of this ruling, some are careful not to directly invite people to a bris (“You are invited to the Bris”), but rather inform their friends and community of the bris (“The Bris will take place on such-and-such a day, at such-and-such an hour”). This is done so that if the guest is unable to participate in the ceremony, his declining the invitation will not be interpreted as a refusal to take part in the festive meal, thereby sparing him the risk of “excommunication from Heaven” (Pischei Teshuvah, 265:18). However, there are opinions that dispute this ruling, and argue that there is no problem of inviting people to a bris, because the statement of the Rema applies only to guests who are present at the bris — at the meal itself — and refuse to take part. By so doing, they show disdain for the mitzvah, which cannot be said for somebody who is absent from the entire affair. Shut Sho’el Ve-Nish’al (Vol. 7, Yoreh De’ah 209) writes that this (lenient) ruling emerges from the wording of the Rema itself, who writes that somebody who does not participate in the bris is considered as though excommunicated from Heaven. The next sentence, stating that where offensive people are present one need not join the meal, implies that the reference is to somebody actually present at the meal. Note also that the Kaf Ha-Chaim (Sofer, 90:67) writes that even when formally invited to a meal, one who needs to daven with the tzibbur (congregation) should not pass up on his obligation, and he is not looked upon as one who refuses to take part in the commandment. There are also opinions that if there is already a quorum of ten adult Jewish males at the meal, the guest is not obligated to take part, for the commandment will at any rate be fulfilled without him (see Otzar Ha-Bris, p. 163). For some, the lack of a formal straightforward invitation can be misinterpreted, and liable to make him feel unwanted. In such cases, it is certainly better to invite him in a clear and unmistakable manner.
Questions in all areas of halacha can be submitted to the rabbanim of our Beis Horaah at www.dinonline.org

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