Monday, August 19, 2013

amalek and weights and measures

There is a lot of derush on the connection between the last two sections of the parsha (in general one can ask whether there is any order to the mitzvos in the parsha and what the order might be): the law of not keeping unfair weights and measures and the command to remember Amalek.  What does one thing have to do with the other?

I thought one could explain the relationship based on the Seforno, who comments that the Torah here not only prohibits using unfair weights and measures, which would amount to out-and-out theft, but prohibits even possessing such weights, as ownership of these items prevents the hashra’as haShechina.  In other words, our concern is not just justice – even in secular society, there has to be fair and standard weights and measures used in commerce or cheating would be rampant and business could not be transacted.  However, in secular law, if you keep a faulty weight locked in your cabinet and no one knows about it and you never use it, nothing happens.  In Torah, you cause the Shechina to not want to be near you.

The Torah gives us a reminder of what happens when there is no Shechina protecting us.  Amalek attacked those members of Klal Yisrael who for whatever reason found themselves outside the camp and without the protection of the ananei hakavod.  Had they been inside the camp, under the “iron dome” of the ananim and hashra'as haShechina, Amalek would have had no power. 


  1. I think the targum translated it the standard way.

  2. Rav Chaim, can you explain what leads you to think the Targum renders "mi-saviv" as a verb "wandering around", and not as just meaning "all around"? I am puzzled.

    The standard Targum of saviv is schor schor, and standard for mi-saviv is mi-schor schor, just as here.

  3. You are right -- I was reading too much into it. I will delete it from the post.