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Entries in Timna (1)

Sunday
Feb242013

Think before rejecting

One of the most incredible paragraphs in the Talmud explains that Amalek came into being due to Jewish rejection of a prospective convert:


And Lotan's sister was Timna... Timna was a royal princess... Desiring to become a proselyte, she went to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they did not accept her. So she went and became a concubine to Eliphaz the son of Esau, saying, 'I had rather be a servant to this people than a mistress of another nation.' From her Amalek was descended who afflicted Israel. Why so? — Because they should not have repulsed her.
(Sanhedrin 99b)

We are not told why she was rejected. Since the mission of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was to spread monotheism, why did they not want to accept her? Was there something about her that made them feel uncomfortable? Whether that was true or not, this courageous section of Talmud makes no bones about its message. It was our own fault that we ended up plagued by Amalek, our arch-nemesis. Evil begets evil.

So next parshat Zachor, let's wipe out not only Amalek but also, in general, acts of rejection we commit due to insularity, snobbery, fear or hatred. Let's try harder to embrace and welcome people with open arms, even those who make us feel uncomfortable, and remember the words of Bob Marley in his song "Corner Stone":

Cause the things people refuse

Are the things they should choose