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The Haftarah for Shabbat Parashat Zachor 5762
King Saul Fails to Fulfill the Command of Exterminating Amalek
This week is Shabbat Parashat Zachor, the second of the Four Parshiyot. The Torah reading is from the Parasha of Tetzaveh. For the Maftir we read from a 2nd torah scroll the section against the Amalekites. It is taken from Devarim 25:17-19 "Remember how Amalek treated you on the road from Egypt. How he harassed you on the way, weak and weary as you were". The Sephardim read the Haftarah from Shmuel 1 Chapter 15:1-34 The Ashkenazim read the Haftorah from Shmuel 1 Chapter 15:2-34
The Story Line of This Week's Haftorah: 15:1-3 The prophet Shmuel commands King Saul to wipe out the Amalekite Nation and to destroy all of it's possessions. King Saul fails to fulfill the command of exterminating Amalek. Saul has his doubts, and decides not to do the job completely. We are reminded about the mitzvah to decimate Amalek. 15:4-9 Saul's neglects to fully execute many of the animals and King Agag of the Amalekites. Saul also saves the Kainim from destruction. These turn out to be Saul's big blunders. Hashem decrees that Saul is to die.15:10-26 Shmuel reproves Saul. Shmuel asks Saul why didn't he finish the job completely? The Prophet Samuel indicates symbolically that Saul's Kingship will be torn from him forever. 15:32-34 Shmuel kills the Amalek King Agag.
The Haftorah's Connection between the Parasha and Haftorah: This week is Shabbat Zachor. On the Shabbat before Purim we read from the Torah about the commandment to destroy the memory of the Nation of Amalek. Why? Because Haman was from the Nation of Amalek. At the time of the Exodus all the nations of the world had heard of the miracles that Hashem had performed for the Hebrews to the Egyptians. Everyone got out of our way except the Amalekites. They have nothing to gain by attacking us. They just wanted to ruin it for us. "Winners" are fighting to gain something, but "Losers" just try to ruin it for others. They can't stand to see other people succeed. It's important to notice what motivates the people around you.
Haftorahman's Lesson of the week: The "Frank Sinatra" mitzvah is the one that you say, "I'll do it my way". It is of the utmost importance for every person to follow Torah's directions exactly. Saul was a great man, however he did not complete Hashem's request to kill off Amalek completely. Look at what happened to him. He was dethroned and led a miserable life. Was it worth it? Most Jews will do many mitzvahs correctly, however there is usually one mitzvah that each person says "Hey! Wait a minute, everything else I'll go along with, but this one "I'll do it my way ". What is your Frank Sinatra of Mitzvahs? Lashon Hara? Kosher food? Driving in a car on Shabbat? Whatever it is, tell the truth to yourself, and then begin to modify your behavior a little bit at a time. Hashem will take notice of your outstanding behavior and respond positively to your actions.
The Biographies of Samuel and Saul: His name means "The Lord heard her". Samuel was the 16th and final of the Shoftim (Judges). Eli the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) raised him. His book covers 120 years. He was a prophet. His term of prophecy lasted about 100 years, from 1070 - 970 b.c.e. Samuel was strong and unwavering. Hannah was his mother. Samuel was 50 years old at the time of this Haftarah. He was known as the reluctant kingmaker. Samuel was born in Ramat-Tsofim in the hill country of the tribe of Ephraim. With the help of his scribes Shmuel wrote his own book. Hashem spoke directly to him.
Saul was the first King of Israel. He failed at this job. Saul was a great Tzadik (righteous person). He was a military hero. Saul heard that Goliath had captured the Tablets, so he marched 60 miles from Shiloh, and took them back in one day with the help of an Angel. He was very handsome, modest, and innocent. He was a Prophet.
Timeline: This Haftorah took place approximately 2870 years ago.
Map: The Haftorah takes place in the "City of Amalek". Recent excavations have led archaeologists to believe that it is located at Tel Masos, in the Negev, a few miles east of Beersheba.
Written by: The Haftorahman - Reuven Gavriel ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5762-2002
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