Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Amalek today?


"If any people seeks to destroy us, we are commanded to do battle against it when it rises up against us, and this battle of ours is an obligatory war on the basis of the verse from Exodus (17:16), 'The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.'"

(Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, Fate and Destiny, footnote 25)

Have a great day,


  1. The tribe of Amaleiq was defined by birth, leading to the dilemma of having to kill babies in order to fulfill the mitzvah. Or even one of the chassidei umos ha'olam ("righteous among the nations", as Yad Vashem puts it), an Amaleiqite who risked himself to save Jews, would still be subject to this fate. (Assuming there had been one.)

    Do you think RYBS (and if I recall correctly, he attributed this position to Rav Chaim) was speaking of a national punishment, that a nation that sets its sights on killing the Jewish people is subject to the same obligation? Or, do you think he was limiting his comments to those specific people who were out to get us, leaving that nation's objectors and infants out of it?

    More centrally: is this actually meant lehalakhah, or as aggadita?

  2. R' Micha-
    In that footnote, Rav Soloveitchik did make the national/non-national distinction; עיין שם. And he cited it from his father Rav Moshe Soloveitchik there.