King Solomon teaches us that there's nothing new under the sun; what was in the past is what will be in the future. If someone says something's new, don't listen – it has already happened in former generations (see Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).
How can King Solomon, the wisest of all men that ever walked the face of the earth, make the above statements? Was there Google Search in his time? What does he mean, “nothing's new”?
King Solomon didn't need Google Search. Google Search is a mega-source of information, but it can't decide which of two warring women is the real mother of a baby that each claims to be hers. Google Search is a tremendous cyber pack mule, but when it comes to wisdom and insight, it can't compete with King Solomon. Not only that, but like his father King David, King Solomon could understand the language of all four levels of creation – mineral, plant, animal, and of course man. He could understand the birds' chatter about the approaching rain clouds and the lament of a soul reincarnated in a tree. With neither high-powered telescopes or satellite probes, he knew the exact time required for the moon to circle the earth even better than NASA does now.
In all fairness, when King Solomon said there's nothing new, he wasn't referring to technology but to human nature. Even though you take a Harvard MBA, dress him in a three-piece suit, give him an attaché case with a Mac-Book Air and an IPod inside, put a wad of credit cards and a Blackberry in his vest pocket and deposit him on Wall Street in lower Manhattan, he still has the same drives and bodily urges that his counterpart twenty-five centuries ago had. Both he and his ancient predecessor chased money, prestige, and attractive members of the opposite sex. They both enveloped personal interests in lofty-sounding ideals that couldn't withstand the test of truth. Both justified cut-throat competition, and in the finest tradition of Sparta, never had qualms about trampling a competitor, whether by sword or in a court of law.
Having retained everything he ever learned, King Solomon could truly say there's nothing new. He made a point to remember. His father, King David, taught him to remember and never forget.
The Torah commands us specifically to remember six particular remembrances: the Shabbat, the exodus from Egypt, receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai, the sin of the Golden Calf, and what Amalek did to us.
Amalek? That was 3,324 years ago!
Yes, Amalek. Hashem knew when He wrote the Torah that if we forget our past, we have no future.
People are upset today. In Israel, you can see and hear jet aircraft flying overhead all day long. Everyone seems to know what they're dress-rehearsing. Meanwhile, barely a day goes by without Ayetolla Humeini or some general in Iran's Revolutionary guards threatening to wipe Israel off the map. Say hello to Haman's great grandchildren, the Amalek's of 2012. Nothing is new under the sun.
Just a few short years ago, the ruthless tyrant Sadaam Hussein also threatened to wipe us off the face of the earth. He ended up hiding in a rat's hole. And what about the tyrants before him? The Passover Haggada reminds us that in each generation, an enemy rises in attempt to destroy us. That's what remembering Amalek is all about.
All over the world, not only in the Islamic countries but in Europe and North America as well, there are demagogues who claimed the Holocaust never happened with all types of smooth-sounding ersatz proofs to support their claim. For anyone who remembers Amalek, in addition to those who survived Amalek's great grandson Hitler, the Holocaust deniers are not only fools but soldiers in this generation's evil army of Amalekites.
As believers and as people with long memories, we're not upset by another Nasrallah or Achmedinejad. So many of them have come and gone in the last fifty years. Names like Gamal Abdul Nasser, Idi Amin, Haffez Assad, and Muammar Qadaffi are names that today's teenagers barely know. Bin Laden has bit the dust too. So will all the tyrants and oppressors.
Maybe you're thinking "Sure – I agree that we're an eternal people. But can we afford another Holocaust, G-d forbid? And a nuclear one at that? Sure, I remember Amalek but I remember the six million too. What kind of encouragement is remembering Amalek when we're also reminded of the price we pay in the pogroms, Inquisitions and Holocausts of every generation?" Good question…
Yes, there's nothing new under the sun. But here's the good news. The sun is a star, and a small one at that even though it's a million times bigger than our planet earth. The Gemara (tractate Shabbat 156a) says that the stars have no power over the Jewish people. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev further elaborates that since emuna is above the stars, a person with emuna is above the stars. That means he's above the sun, which is a star.
Sure, King Solomon said that nothing is new under the sun. Things do look bleak. But above the sun, with emuna, there's plenty new – a final victory over Amalek, the end of exile and Diaspora, and the full redemption of our people with the coming of Moshiach and our rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem, speedy and in our days, amen!