Parshas Ki Seitzei contains one of the most famous passages in the entire Torah, the commandment to never forget how the nation of Amalek attacked the Jewish people as they left Mitzrayim, and to eradicate Amalek from the face of the Earth. Immediately preceding this passage is the commandment to be honest and use proper scales and weights for business. The commentaries attempt to explain the connection between these two mitzvos to understand why they would be placed together.
Rashi explains that the pasuk is teaching us that if you cheat with your measurements and weights, you should worry about enemies coming to attack you. He learns is out from a pasuk in Mishlei, “מאזני מרמה תועבת ה'… בא זדון ויבא קלון” “Deceitful scales are an abomination to Hashem…When willful wickedness comes, then comes disgrace” (11:1-2). But what is the connection between these two things? Did Amalek attack Bnei Yisrael because they lied about their weights? And what is the explanation of the pasuk that Rashi brings as a proof?
The Kli Yakar explains that when a person is using an improper weight, you can’t tell that the weight is not the correct one. The pasuk uses the word “מרמה” that refers to someone who cheats but it can’t be proven they are cheating. Therefore, the proper punishment for this person must come publicly so the fact that he sinned is revealed to everyone. When an enemy comes to attack, there purpose is to be as open and public as possible about their conquest (even if their approach may be in secret); therefore, it is the perfect punishment for someone who uses improper weights.
So what did the Bnei Yisrael do in order to deserve being attacked by Amalek? According to the Kli Yakar, in Parshas Beshalach right before Amalek attacks Bnei Yisrael, the pasuk tells us that the nation displayed a lack of faith in Hashem by doubting that He could provide for them in the desert. Says the Kli Yakar, in order to support themselves, some of the nation may have taken to cheating others out of provision, but they only would have used ways that were not obvious; a nation just out of Mitzrayim wouldn’t have stood for open theft. Therefore, Hashem brought Amalek to bring out the sin in public.
Amalek was and continues to be our worst enemy. They represent not only the physical confrontations we face, but the spiritual ones as well. As we continue through Elul and approach Rosh Hashanah, let us work on ourselves to be the same inside and out, and conquer the spirit of Amalek that moves around us.
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