Throughout history many enemies have stood up to attack and destroy the Jewish people, (most recently the Crusades, Holocaust etc) and they are colloquially referred to as "Amalek".

Seemingly Amalek refers to a specific family lineage. When did it become common for all of our enemies to be termed "Amalek"?

All answers are welcome, please provide link to cited sources (if possible).

2 Answers 2


One fairly recent popularizer of this notion was R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, quoting his father R. Moshe Soloveichik.

Kol Dodi Dofek (ch. 11):

At a ‎meeting ‎of Mizrachi (the Religious Zionists of America), I repeated, in the name of my father (of ‎blessed ‎memory), that the notion of “the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation ‎to ‎generation” (Exodus 17:16) is not confined to a certain race, but includes a necessary attack ‎against ‎any nation or group infused with mad hatred that directs its enmity against the community ‎of ‎Israel.

When a nation emblazons on its standard, “Come, let us cut them off from being a nation ‎so ‎that the name of Israel shall no longer be remembered” (Psalms 83:5), it becomes Amalek. In ‎the ‎‎1930’s and 1940’s the Nazis, with Hitler at their helm, filled this role. In this most recent period ‎they ‎were the Amalekites, the representatives of insane hate. Today, the throngs of Nasser and ‎the ‎Mufti have taken their place.

(translation by David Z. Gordon, hosted at sefaria.org; emphasis mine)

  • Thank you, i had come across this as well.
    – The Targum
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 13:37

Nowhere in the Torah does it say to remember Amalek. What it says is to remember what Amalek DID (Deut.25:17-18).
So it is very much as relevant today as it was in the time of Moshe (Moses). The next question that we must answer then is, what did they do? They allowed the Israelites to pass and then ambushed them from the rear. Who would be in the front? Who would be in the rear? In the front, you'd have strong and able bodied individuals who could protect the Israelites. In the rear, very old, very young, ill, and weak, or those unable to defend themselves or others. So as you look through history, do you find this behavior? The Torah is very clear. When we see the actions of Amalek, we shall blot them from existence.

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