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It seems from its placement in Chumash that the (first) war with Amalek occurred between the exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah at Sinai. (Is that the case, or did it occur at another time?) On what date(s) did it occur?

  • Related: mi.yodeya.com/q/56912 – msh210 Mar 30 '15 at 17:00
  • @Al The OP asked about when it was, not whether there's any significance to this date. A better idea, maybe you should be editing your question to focus on the significance of whatever the answer to this question is, rather than editing it to conflict with the author's intent. – DonielF Apr 2 at 16:48
  • @DonielF So why was my question deleted? Please decide, either reopen mine as a different one or include that part in this question. – Al Berko Apr 2 at 16:58
  • @AlBerko I wasn't a part of that decision, but I think it's because your question needs to de-emphasize the when and emphasize the why. Since it was merged, rather than closed, I can't vote to reopen or undelete, so maybe you should take this to Meta. – DonielF Apr 2 at 17:06
  • @AlBerko, I merged the answer to your question hither so all the answers would be in one place ad yould edit your question, if desired, to ask only the other part of it: I forgot that merging questions locks one of them to edits. Sorry about that. I've unlocked it now and you should be able to edit it. – msh210 Apr 3 at 5:52
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According to the Seder Olam Rabbah (Chapter 5) - it was during the week which started on the 23rd of Iyyar. There are other Rabbinic sources which indicate that the battle was on a Friday. Since the Torah describes a battle of two days (Exodus 17:9) - that would make it Thursday and Friday 27th and 28th of Iyyar. 3.

סדר עולם רבה (ליינר) פרק ה

שנאמר ויסעו מאילם ויבאו כל עדת בני ישראל אל מדבר סין (שמות טז א) (והוא אלוש) בחמשה עשר יום לחדש השני לצאתם מארץ מצרים (שם /שמות ט"ז, א/), ואחד בשבת היה, הא למדנו שראש חדש אייר באחד בשבת היה, ועוד למדנו שהיו ישראל אוכלין מעוגה שהוציאו בידם ממצרים כל שלשים יום, ובו ביום כלתה, ולערב אכלו את השליו ולמשכים לקטו את המן, ובאלוש נתנה להם השבת, ושם עשו שבת ראשונה, שנאמר וישבתו העם ביום השבעי (שם /שמות/ טז ל), באחד בשבת בכ"ג באייר נסעו מאלוש ובאו להם לרפידים, ושם נתנה להם הבאר ונלחמו עם עמלק ושם עשו שבת שניה, נסעו מרפידים ובאו להן למדבר סיני ומצאו עליו ענני כבוד. כל חמשת הימים היה משה עולה לראש ההר ויורד ומגיד לעם את דברי המקום, ומשיב דבריהם לפני המקום, בשלישי בששה לחדש נתנו להם עשרת הדברות, ויום השבת היה.

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    What sources do you know of which place the war on a Friday? – DonielF Apr 2 at 0:53
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Yes, it did occur between the Exodus and Matan Torah. First, the transitional language between scenes tells us this; and second, Numbers 33:15:

וַיִּסְע֖וּ מֵרְפִידִ֑ם וַֽיַּחֲנ֖וּ בְּמִדְבַּ֥ר סִינָֽי׃

And they journeyed from Rephidim (the location of the Amalekite attack), and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai (the site of Har Sinai).

As for dates, I do not know exactly; however, I do know that it is past the 15th of Iyar, because that date was already mentioned at a prior rest stop*.

*With the mann. Side point: Yetziat Mitzrayim is said to be on a Thursday; the mann started falling 31 days later, on the 16th of Iyar, a Sunday. In the words of Rabbi Menachem Liebtag: the first Mann-day was a Sunday.

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We see that the war occured after the miracle of water coming from the stone when Bnai Yisrael complained abot the lack of water in Rephidim.

Rav Hirsch points out that the Bnai Yisrael complained about the lack of water in Rephidim. Had they just waited one more day, they would have reached Chorev (Sinai) and received the water there. As it says in 17:6, Hashem had Moshe Rabbeinu go to Chorev (one stage further along) in order to hit the rock and cause the water to gush forth. The meforshim point out that they did have water, but panicked when they did not see a new source of water at Rephidim. The Bnai Yisrael lost control and rushed helter skelter from Rephidim to Chorev instead of marching in the proper order or waiting for the river that gushed from the rock to reach the camp.

Amalek saw this and took advantage to attack those who wound up being in the rear of the rush (still at Rephidim).

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