Bye Bye, Amalek!
Nowadays, we don’t know who Amalek is. But this Mitzvah is still a part of our lives. Here are a few ways:
- A Sofer (Torah scribe) tests his feather quill and ink by writing the Hebrew word “Amalek” and then crossing it out.
- Every year, we read the section of this week’s Parsha (called Parshas Zachor) in synagogue on the Shabbos before Purim. That’s because Haman is a descendent of Amalek. So, before we read the Megillah about how Haman wanted to wipe out the Jews, we recall HaShem’s commandment never to forget the danger posed by Haman’s ancestors, Amalek.
- On Purim itself, when the Megilah reader reads the word “Haman,” the usually-quiet synagogue is filled with noise for Gragger-Time (a.k.a. Jewish-Spinning-Noisemaker-Device-Time)!
Speaking of Graggers, where do you get one?
You can buy a ready-made at your local Jewish bookstore, or DIY (Do It Yourself) … Fill a can or plastic cup with beans, glue down a cover, decorate it, and presto! You have your very own Gragger.
And if you don’t have a Gragger handy, or if you feel too “grown up” to hold one, just boo, hiss, stamp, hoot, or roar.
Why all that? We are actively “wiping out” Amalek, represented by the evil Haman.
Bye, bye, Haman. Bye, bye, Amalek.
Bottom line: We Jews have interesting customs. But the lesson is clear – It’s dangerous to remain silent in the face of someone who seeks to destroy us.