Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 and Amelek

The Book of Exodus, 17: 8-10, describes Amelekites as attacking the Israelites as they crossed the Sinai on their way to the Promised Land. After crossing the sea to freedom, after achieving liberation from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were filled with a spirit of energy, optimism, idealism, and exultation.

That optimism was suddenly crushed by the world’s first recorded terrorist attack. The Amelekites, seeming to show up out of nowhere and without the slightest provocation, attacked the Israelite caravan from behind. The Amelekites attacked the back of the Israelite caravan, the part of the caravan where the women, children, elderly, and infirm were gathered. A slaughter of innocents ensued.

From that time and ever since, the optimism of the Israelites has been tempered by the realistic recognition that evil exists in the world. As a result of the terror of Amelek, the Israelites became more aware of the primary importance of protecting and defending the most vulnerable members of their society. Another byproduct of the terror of Amelek was the development of rules of war, rules of military engagement between nations at war, and the eventual development of concepts of international law and custom based upon the moral precepts of respect for the individual and for sovereign rights.

Amelek would come to mean not a particular ethnic group or religion, but rather an evil murderous action by an individual against an innocent person or group of innocent people or an evil murderous action on innocents resulting from a conspiracy by a group of people. In every generation, Amelek takes advantage of innocent people when they are most vulnerable and Amelek acts in secret. Amelek is the quintessence of immorality, cowardice, and dishonesty.

America was attacked by Amelek on September 11, 2001. The unprovoked and evil attack on thousands of innocent people as they worked in their offices at the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon, and as they flew on passenger planes, has ever since tempered the natural optimism and exultation that had been an inherent part of our American culture and lives. We will never forget the evil that was wrought against our heartland in that dastardly attack on innocent Americans. Our own innocence, and our own sense of optimism, will forevermore be guided and tempered by the leveling awareness that evil exists and has existed in every generation since the biblical days of the first cowardly attack by Amelek on innocent people.

An integral and unforgettable part of the event of 9/11 was the response by the brave and heroic firefighters, police officers, and other responders. Those men went fearlessly toward the danger zone thus jeopardizing, and in hundreds of cases sacrificing their own lives to save the lives of others. Their goodness, and their placement of the value of good over evil even at the risk of their own lives, will forever stand as an inspiration and in stark contrast to the evil legacy of Amelek.

May the memory of the innocent people who died on September 11, 2001 lead our nation on the path of eternal vigilance against the evil danger that confronts all good people. May the memory of the lost lives of our innocent neighbors, and of the heroism of the firefighters, remain exemplars of all that is best about America. May our nation have the will and moral strength to defeat and utterly destroy Amelek however long it takes.  May the memory of the heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty on September 11, working in the service of saving their fellow man, become an everlasting inspiration and call to action in the eternal war against Amelek.

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