Trust Your Gut Feeling



Insight into: Ki Teitzei 

Zachor! Remember! This word is well-known from all the Holocaust Remembrance Days and countless Holocaust memorials where we are warned not to forget the evils that our enemies inflicted upon us. “Zachor” reminds us to make sure to do everything in our power to prevent the Holocaust from happening ever again.


The origin of the expression “Zachor” is this week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitzei. In this parsha, G‑d cautions the Jewish people to Zachor Amalek! Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey out of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 25:17) 

The Amelekites, a tribe of anti Semites, attacked the Jewish people just as they left Egypt. This was at a time when all the nations of the world were in awe of the Hebrews and their mighty G‑d! Coming right after the miracles of the 10 plagues, the splitting of the Red Sea, and the giving of the Ten Commandments, it was no wonder that the nations were afraid to start a fight with G‑d’s chosen people. 

Then, along came Amalek, who attacked. For no reason n other than to show that it could be done! The tribe of Amalek cooled down the fear that the nations of the world had for the Children of Israel; it also made it easier for others to follow suit and attack.




And so, G‑d warns us in the Torah, Zachor n always remember what the Amalekites did to you! 

We are always reminded that the Torah is not just a history book; each law and each story is a lesson on how to live our lives. 

How are we supposed to remember Amalek today? There is no group of people whom we can identify as descendants of the Biblical Amalekite n although many call the Nazis by that name! 

This is where Chasidic teachings step in with a deeper meaning and a different way of understanding the verse. 

Just as Amalek “cooled off” the awe and fear of all the nations, so all of us, at times, confront an Amalek attitude.


An Amalek attitude tries to cool you off from reaching out to G‑d. It comes at a time when you are attempting or considering the possibility of doing a mitzvah, and suddenly the little Amalek within you comes along and tries to tamp down the excitement. 

For example, there are times you have a desire to go help a friend, and then another voice within you says, “He’s being taken care of n don’t worry about it.” 

Perhaps you get inspired to give charity to a certain organization, and suddenly you hear another voice that says, “They are okay they don’t need your money.” This is not exclusively an inside voice; at times an outsider tries to temper your enthusiasm to Judaism. 

The Torah comes to remind you n Zachor, don’t give in to this voice of “logic” that is trying to divert you from doing a mitzvah. Go after your gut feeling; if you have an instinct to do a mitzvah, go for it!