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    The last mitzvah – Ki Tetzei

    Many of the Torah’s 613 commandments are found in this week’s sidra. The final law in the sidra is to remember Amalek and his threat to Israel.

    It sounds very vengeful – “Remember what Amalek did to you”. It embarrasses some people. “Can’t you forgive and forget?”, they say.

    Forgiving does not necessarily go with forgetting.

    Who got hurt by the enemy? The victims – and they are long since dead. No-one can expect us to forgive on their behalf. If they showed any interest in forgiving their persecutors, that is their business, not ours. They did not ask or authorise us to exercise forgiveness on their behalf.

    We cannot be asked to forgive, and if we are asked we cannot give an answer.

    What about forgetting? Impossible when God has given us the capacity of remembrance.

    Those who want us to forget want us to eradicate history. We cannot be asked to sever ourselves from history or to sever history from human psychology.

    Sometimes an event fades a bit over time, but the basic duty of remembering is the acknowledgment of facts.

    That is perhaps why the Torah tells us two things – “Remember” and “Don’t forget.”

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