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Let’s Get Topical

Reading through this week’s Torah portion, Chukat, I was struck by these verses:

“The Canaanite king of Arad, who dwelled in the south, heard that Israel had come by the route of the spies, and he warred against Israel and took a captive from it. Israel made a vow to G-d and said : “If He will deliver this people into my hand, I will consecrate their cities. G-d heard the voice of Israel, and He delivered the Canaanite, and it consecrated them and their cities…” (Numbers 21:1-3)

The Jewish commentator Rashi explains that the king was an Amalekite, but he ordered his soldiers to use the Canaanite language, so as to prevent the Jews from correctly identifying his people in their prayers for G-d’s assistance.

Amalek are mentioned elsewhere in the Torah, including the portion Ki Tetze:

Remember what Amalek did to you as you were leaving Egypt. He happened upon you, and struck the weakest people trailing behind, when you were exhausted. And he did not fear God. (Deut. 25:17-18)

The Hebrew word for “happened upon you” is karcha, which is related to the word kar (“cold”). The Talmud explains that Amalek “cooled the Jews off.” After we were taken out of Egypt by G-d, after the 10 plagues and splitting of the Red Sea, all the nations were afraid of us. But then along came Amalek and did battle with us. Although we defeated them, they paved the way for others. Here’s a nice analogy I found:

..it is as if the Jewish people were a boiling hot bath that nobody was able to enter. Then along came a stranger and jumped in. Even though he suffered bad burns, he cooled it off (“kar”) for others to follow.

If you think about it, this is what the palestinian terrorists have done. After the Six Day War, the other Arab nations were afraid of us after our decisive victory.  But in the early 70s (before the Yom Kippur War), the PLO’s terror campaign really took off with some plane hijackings. And they haven’t stopped since. And while the palestinians have gotten burned in the process (especially in the case of suicide bombings), they have “cooled us off” in the eyes of the other Arab countries. The image of Israel is no longer as it was.

Now I am by no means comparing palestinians to Amalek, but I certainly am comparing their terrorists to Amalek.

So if you now read again the verses I cited above from Numbers, you will see that the Amalekites (palestinian terrorists?) in the South of Israel (Gaza?) took a captive (Gilad Shalit?). And Israel was victorious against them.

Here’s hoping history repeats itself.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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