Sunday, February 18, 2007

Daf Yomi - Megillah 11 - DEFEAT AMALEK WITH TORAH

Rabbi Elozar introduced his lecture on Megillas Esther with the following interpretation: It is written [Koheles 10:18]: Through laziness the ceiling collapses and with idleness of hands the house leaks. Because the Jewish people were lazy regarding the study of Torah, the enemy of Hashem (referring to Hashem Himself) became poor.

The Maharal comments that it is evident from this Gemora that the only merit that can save Klal Yisroel from the hands of Amalek is the studying of Torah. Klal Yisroel can become elevated through the study of Torah and only then can we overcome Amalek.

The Riaf explains that this is why the salvation of Purim came after Mordechai gathered the twenty-two thousand young children and studied Torah with them. The Gemara later on (16b) expounds on the verse that states: (Esther 8:16) layehudim haysa orah visimcha visasson vikar, the Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. Light is referring to Torah; Gladness is referring to the festivals; Joy is referring to bris milah; Glory is referring to tefillin. Torah is mentioned first because that is the method to prevail over Amalek.


Anonymous said...

Can Amalek Convert?

There are conflicting opinions among Torah authorities regarding the question of Amalekite conversion to Judaism. In the Mechilta, Rabbi Eliezer teaches that God swore by his Throne of Glory that if an Amalekite should come to convert, he would not be accepted.

Yet, the Rambam appears to hold that it is permissible to receive a convert from the nation of Amalek, for, as the he explains in Mishneh Torah, any nation which converts, taking upon itself all of the Mitzvoth of the Torah, becomes just like Israel... except for four nations: Ammon, Moab, Mitzrayim, and Edom. These nations are an exception, for though they can convert, restrictions are placed upon them when it comes to marrying Jewish women. At any rate, as far as our inquiry is concerned we see that there are no conversion restrictions upon Amalekites.

Perhaps we could say that all agree that it is preferable not to receive converts from Amalek, as is written in the Mechilta, yet, if a Torah court has already gone ahead and converted an Amalekite, the conversion is valid, and he is undeniably Jewish, as indicated by Rambam.

In this light, it is important to take note of the words of the Talmud where it is told that "the grandchildren of Haman the wicked taught Torah in [the city of] Bnei-Brak" (Gittin 57b). It appears that the grandchildren of Haman converted and even became leading disseminators of the Torah. There are those who explain that, indeed, this was a case in which the Torah court, not in keeping with the law, went ahead and accepted these Amalekite converts; once they were accepted, their conversion became completely valid, they became Jewish, and from them came leading disseminators of Torah . Another possibility is that an Amalekite raped a Jewish woman, and she gave birth to a child who, because his mother was Jewish, was, according to Jewish law, also considered Jewish. This opinion does not view the story of Haman's grandchildren as proof that Amalekites may convert. Another possibility is that what we are dealing with here is an Amalekite who took upon himself the Seven Mitzvoth of Noah's sons, leaving his people and joining another. After becoming integrated into this other nation, one of his child decided to convert to Judaism, and from him came leading disseminators of Torah