The Shabbat before Purim, such as this coming weekend, includes an additional Torah portion in anticipation of the holiday itself. It is a paragraph asking us to remember what the Amalekites did to us when we were traveling through the wilderness after the period of Egyptian slavery. This is chosen because Haman is considered a descendent of Amalek.
The people of Amalek attacked the rear of the Israelite column targeting those least able to defend themselves–the old, the weak, the sick, children. The stragglers.
But why were those at the back so defenseless? Why weren’t they protected by capable Israelites?
We learn an important lesson from this lapse: We must never abandon those least capable of caring for themselves–the widows, orphans, children, the elderly, the poor and those at risk. Fortunately, there are umbrella charitable organizations such as the Jewish Federation that support those “at the end of the line.”
Who are the stragglers in our lives who need protection?
-Rabbi David Vorspan, Rabbi-in-Residence.