Parshas Ki Setzei
“Remember that which Amalek did to you!” (Devarim 24:20)
It is a positive commandment to remember that which Amalek did to Klal Yisrael when they started to attack us when we came out of Egypt before any nation or kingdom had dared to raise their hand against Klal Yisrael as everyone was afraid of us after they heard about the strong hand which Hashem had used to punish the Egyptians and the Amalekites in their evil hearts and terrible natures took no notice of all this and attacked Klal Yisrael and because of this they removed the great fear which all of the other nations had for Klal Yisrael. Chazal said a parable about this of a person who had a pot which was boiling hot to the extent that nobody could go down into it and when one person came and jumped into it even though he was scalded he made it feel less hot in other people’s eyes. About remembering all of this it says “Remember that which Amalek did to you on the way when you came out of Egypt!”.
Amongst the roots of this commandment are that we must take to heart that anyone who attacks Klal Yisrael is hated by the Creator of the world and that in direct proportion to his evil and the damage caused by his plots will be his downfall and punishment as we find with Amalek who, because he committed a terrible evil against Klal Yisrael, in that he started to damage them, Hashem commanded us to annihilate his remembrance from the earth and to uproot it until it is completely destroyed.
Amongst the laws of this commandment are that Chazal said that the obligation to remember this thing is both in one’s mind and with one’s tongue so that it will not be forgotten, as otherwise the hatred might become weaker and be forgotten from the heart as time goes on.
Perhaps one can say that the custom of Klal Yisrael to read this paragraph on a fixed Shabbos every year is part of the Torah and it is because of this commandment that they do this and they chose the Shabbos before Purim to do it because the wicked Haman was a descendant of Amalek.
This commandment applies in all places and at all times to men (and not women) for it is their responsibility to make war and take revenge on an enemy. One who never remembers or mentions with his mouth that which Amalek did to Klal Yisrael, as transgressed this commandment and has also transgressed a negative commandment as the verse says “You may not forget!”.