Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Who is Amalek?

In Jerusalem, everyone had been awaiting the arrival of His Royal Majesty, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and when he and his vast entourage finally came everyone went out to see the mighty ruler. The holy residents of Jerusalem were not mere curiosity-seekers—they were avidly awaiting the opportunity to recite the blessing over a non-Jewish king. People prepared themselves by studying the relevant halachos from the source in the gemara, and when the time came, everyone turned out for the extravagant reception in honor of the visiting monarch.
Those who were close to Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, zt”l, noticed that he was not preparing himself to join in the gala event. This was strange, especially since the Rav was always the first to join in any mitzvah. And how much more confusing it was in this case, when the opportunity to fulfill this particular mitzvah might never present itself again. When those close to him questioned his unusual behavior—unusual in the sense of being too usual—the Rav answered, “You are correct. I am not planning to attend the reception at all.”
When asked why, he explained, “I have received a tradition from my teachers that some Germans are descendants of Amalek. There is no mitvah to make a blessing on a king from the line of Amalek!”
Those present did not comprehend how such a thing could be so, since the Germans were universally considered the most civilized and cultured people in all of Europe. After the Holocaust they understood all too well the truth of Rav Yosef Chaim’s prescient words!


Neil Harris said...

Amazing story.

Micha said...

Thank you for the chizuk yet again.