Remember 9-11/Forget 9-11

For many there is no statement so redundant as “remember 9-11”. Which American - proud, confident, secure - can forget the day hatred penetrated our security, hurt our pride and forever marred our confidence?

And yet, it’s a statement that we repeat, repost and reiterate, because the concept of ‘remembering’ goes beyond recollection - it is an act of bearing on our consciousness and one that ensures that what we experienced becomes what we are.

This past Shabbat in the Torah portion that we read, was included a vital detail of human guidance which according to many authorities is the only portion that we are biblically required to attend synagogue to hear. It includes two commandments seemingly contradictory; to remember the terrorist acts of the nation of Amalek, who attacked our weak stragglers as we traveled in the desert, and the commandment to eradicate any memory of the nation of Amalek. How is this possible? A commandment that applies every day, through all generations, to remember to forget something?

The answer to this seeming contradiction is a lesson for today. What Amelek did was not just attack - Amalek defused the pride and diminished the esteem of a nation full-steam ahead on a path to positive global improvement. As the Jews bull-dozed across a region rife with cannibalism, idolatry and torment, teaching purpose, respect and selflessness, Amalek saw its lifestyle threatened and threw in a wrench.

America is founded on the idea that our Creator endows every human being; man, woman, child, able-bodied or disabled, with inalienable rights, and as our message spreads, there are those who wish to add static to the line, to distract from the positive and empowering attitude which is the American culture.

To this act, the message spans millennia and hemispheres: remember each and every day and never forget, that this distraction, this viral attack on the mission of positive change, cannot be allowed to affect our consciousness in any way. We need to retain our pride, maintain our confidence and continue full-speed ahead - not despite our opponents, nor because of them – but as though they don’t exist.

There is a time for peace and there is a time for war, but more important then either is an awareness of truth, and a passionate desire to share it with all who can benefit.

So let us remember the events, and memorialize the victims, and most importantly, let us forget the pause that may have crept into the lighthouse of good that is the foundation of American pride.

With hopes for a true and everlasting peace,

Rabbi Zalman