tells us “
Timcheh es zecher amalek
explains that this is an obligation to obliterate the memory of Amalek and even to forbid the mere mention of
also includes destroying their animals, lest someone says “this animal belongs to
”, and it will have caused the forbidden mention of
Shaul Hamelech tragically fell from grace when he mistakenly rationalized and overrode this
. He argued that the animals did not sin and therefore should not be destroyed.
tell us that this was a grave mistake. When
commands there is no room for one’s own human calculations. No mortal can begin to fathom Divine intention
apply the proverb “
” to Shaul. The will of
must be enforced sans
An awesome story, involving the Abarbanel, is told. Rav Yitzchok Abarbanel served in the highest echelons of the Spanish government as the Treasury minister. The king greatly admired him for his intelligence, integrity and efficient management of his department. As is common in such situations, the other ministers envied him and plotted his downfall. They convinced the king to test the Abarbanel’s trustworthiness and the king acquiesced to their plot. The Abarbanel was ordered to document an exact accounting of all his possessions. After three days, the Abarbanel presented a total calculation of his net worth, amounting to seven hundred thousand rubles. Upon review, the ministers scoffed at this outrageous document full of lies and inaccuracies. The Abarbanel’s house, alone, was worth double the amount listed, and his properties, including fields and vineyards, were worth huge amounts of money that were not even accounted for. To verify their suspicions they hired an assessor to calculate the worth of his entire portfolio and based upon his findings, the Abarbanel was found guilty of falsifying the tally of assets. The king was infuriated.
To add to the king’s ire, a trusted, personal attendant of the Abarbanel was bribed to steal classified documents from the Abarbanel’s house and hand them over to the foreign minister. The foreign minister in turn lied to the king that the Abarbanel divulged to him classified information. Upon this revelation, the king resolved to have the Abarbanel punished by death. In order to avoid a public outcry, the king concocted a plan how to discreetly carry out the death sentence.
There was a brick factory several kilometers away whose fiery furnace remained lit day and night. It was decided that there in the fiery furnace the Aabarbanel would meet his deserved end. The king summoned the Abarbanel and handed him a sealed letter with the royal signet and ordered him to deliver it immediately to the operator of the brick factory. In the letter it stated that the operator of the factory should throw the bearer of the letter into the furnace and it should remain a state secret. The king was highly confident that with this ingenious plan the matter would be resolved without highlighting any suspicion of his own involvement in the disappearance of the highly acclaimed treasury minister.
The Abarbanel hastily departed to the factory to fulfill the will of the king accompanied by his “loyal” attendant. As they were exiting the city they encountered a
standing in the crossroads signaling to them to halt. As they stopped, the
approached them and pleaded with the Abarbanel, explaining that eight days ago his wife had given birth to a baby boy and the appointed
had taken ill. They were, now, desperately searching for a replacement to perform this
and he was asking if the Abarbanel himself would oblige them and come to perform the
The Abarbanel quickly made a
that he was already commanded by the king to fulfill his command but the will of
supersedes everybody and anything. “How can I forego
and instead fulfill the will of a mere mortal?” Without delay, he sent his attendant to deliver the letter, and instructed him to wait by the factory until he returns from performing the
. He then proceeded to accompany the father of the newborn.
When the Abarbanel finished his mission, he continued on to the factory and to his chagrin he was told that by decree of the king, his attendant was thrown into the furnace. The factory owner added that before he was cast into the fire, he confessed to his betrayal of the Abarbanel, and, that the attendant had stolen the classified documents, and framed his boss. The Abarbanel was awestruck, at what was really designed to happen to him, when he was to personally submit the royal letter to the factory owner.
The Abarbanel professed endless thanks to
for this miraculous salvation from certain death. Clearly this was a fulfillment of the
Possuk,”Shomer mitzvah lo yada davar ra
”- “he who guards a mitzvah shall not know any bad”.
The next day, upon his arrival at the king’s palace, the king was obviously taken aback, and chastised him for not fulfilling the king’s command to deliver the royal letter. At this point, the Abarbanel informed the king of what took place and of the admission of the attendant.
The king, after gaining his composure, said, “I have just one question; why did you underreport your assets in your accounting? “The Abarbanel answered, “I reported my true worth! The seven hundred thousand rubles that I reported are a calculation of the amount of
that I distributed; that amount is mine eternally. The rest of my assets can and may be confiscated from me any moment!”
What a valuable message! Following the word of
with precision, without personal
is the path to success and greatness. His
are our guardians and protection.