Parasha Ki Tesse
“Remember what Amalek did to you” (Debarim 25:17)
The first nation that attacked us was the nation of Amalek. Amalek was especially wicked because they attacked us right after the great miracles of the Exodus from Egypt and the splitting of the Red Sea. Amalek was not impressed by these miracles and attacked us anyway. It is interesting to note that Rashi connects the story of Amalek and the law mentioned previously in the perashah. Just before mentioning Amalek the Torah forbids the Jews to have dishonest scales and measuring utensils to use in business. A Jew that has a false scale is stealing. Rashi says, “If you were untruthful about measures and about weights, be worried about provocation by the enemy.” What is the connection? R’ Moshe Feinstein explains that one who uses dishonest scales denies the presence of Hashem. Ever since Hashem spoke to us at Mount Sinai we are obligated to believe that Hashem will provide us with our livelihood in a permitted manner. If a man believes this he won’t use a dishonest scale.
Using a dishonest scale is not like a person who happened to do an act of thievery. It can happen that a person can be confronted with a test to steal and was unable to withstand the test. That doesn’t make him a person who denies Hashem. However, a person who uses a dishonest scale shows that he is planning to steal and shows that he denies Hashem’s supervision of his affairs. Amalek did not believe Hashem was watching over the Israelites and supervising their affairs. It is now understood why using dishonest scales brings Amalek. One who denies Hashem’s supervision will be confronted by an enemy that denies Hashem’s supervision of Israel.
Rabbi Isaac Farhi