This Shabbes is one of four in which have an additional reading, and it is called Shabbes Zochor because the reading relates to the commandment to remember Amalek, and what he did to the Jews during and after the Exodus from Egypt. It’s a Torah obligation to hear this reading and to remember Amalek, so make sure you arrive at shul in time for the Torah service.
This week, I don’t just want to remember Amalek. I want to remember G-d’s miracles, and all the things I have to be grateful for. In this generation- and probably others, too- it’s easy to forget what we have and to take things for granted. I am blessed. I am one of G-d’s Chosen People; I have a (largely) wonderful family and a number of close friends; an amazing kehillas and Rabbi; and above all, I have Shabbes, the unique gift bestowed upon me by G-d. What better time to remember this than Shabbes Zochor?
In London, Shabbes candles should be lit at 5:39 PM, and Shabbes ends tomorrow, at 6:48 PM. When lighting your Shabbes candles, please remember Chaim Elozor ben Baila, Yehuda Yitzchok ben Pessa, Shai bas Odeya and Leah bas Malpah for a refuah shleimah. After Shabbes ends, Purim begins. I hope to make a proper Purim post on motzei Shabbes, but in case I can’t, I’d like to remind everyone of the four mitzvos of Purim.
Firstly, we must hear the megillah reading twice- both during the evening and the daytime. Contact your local Chabad house to arrange this. Secondly, send shlochmonos- gifts of food and drink. To fulfil the mitzvah, send two different (kosher!) food/drink items to at least one person. Thirdly, there’s matanos loevyonim- gifts to the poor. Make sure you give to charity, and ideally spend more than you did on shlochmonos. And finally, there’s the seudah- the commandment to enjoy a festive meal!
Gut shabbes and freilichen Purim!