The Amalekites were an ancient biblical nation of Amalek's offspring. They are regarded as the classic enemy of the Jews since they were the first country to attack the Jewish people following the Exodus from Egypt. Although Amalek as a nation is long gone, they are the representation of the internal battles that we wage every day.
Samuel the prophet, ordered Saul, the first Jewish king, to permanently destroy Amalek. While Saul defeated the Amalekites, he spared the best of their flocks. Unbeknownst to him, the Amalekite king, Agag, had transformed himself into a sheep, and his life was spared.
We read this extra Torah portion the week before Purim, as Haman is a descendant of Amalek.
Saul acted from his own understanding. He wanted to sacrifice the choicest of the booty, and totally disregarded what he was commanded.
There is much of Torah and Mitzvot that we are given explanation to. But there is much that we are not, and we still need to do it, because we were commanded to by G-d.
This is an appropriate introduction to the holiday of Purim, where Jews were prepared to give up their lives to follow what G-d told them, putting their rationales aside.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim!!
Shabbat candle lighting is at 5:31 PM in NYC.
Visit VirtualPurim.org for more about Purim, which begins Monday evening.