The Six Remembrances

There are six things that the Torah commands us to remember. Optimally, these verses should be recited out loud each day and their meanings should be considered.

1. The Exodus from Egypt
Remember the day when you left Egypt all the days of your life. (Deuteronomy 16:3)
Hashem’s redeeming us from slavery in Egypt was the pivotal moment in Jewish history, when He took us from being Pharaoh’s servants to serving Him. Accordingly, we remember it in many ways. Every morning and evening, it is recited as part of kriyas Shema. The Passover Seder commemorates this important event. Kiddush on Shabbos is “in remembrance of leaving Egypt.”

2. Receiving the Torah at Sinai
Be careful and guard yourself so that you do not forget the things that your eyes have seen, so that they will not leave your hearts all the days of your life. Teach them to your children and your children’s children: the day you stood before Hashem your God in Horeb (Sinai). (Deuteronomy 4:9-10)
The giving of the Torah is the pinnacle of human history, the reason for which Hashem created the world. Recognizing that the Torah was given by God Himself is an integral part of its observance.

3. Amalek’s Evil Attack
Remember what Amalek did to you on the journey when you left Egypt. They met you on the way and ambushed those who were lagging behind. You were tired and exhausted, but they did not fear God. Therefore, when Hashem your God relieves you from your enemies in the land that He will give you to possess, you must erase the memory of Amalek from beneath heaven. Do not forget. (Devarim 25:17-19)
Amalek is different from other nations that attacked Israel in that we are commanded to eradicate them. Why should they be punished more harshly than Egypt, which oppressed the Jews for hundreds of years? One reason is because Amalek “did not fear God.” They dared to make war not just with the Jews, but with God Himself!

4. The Making of the Golden Calf
Remember and do not forget how you angered Hashem your God in the desert. (Deuteronomy 9:7)
After the lofty events at Sinai, when the Jews proclaimed “na’aseh v’nishmah” (“we unconditionally accept God’s commandments”), the Jews committed a grievous sin by building an idol in a misguided attempt to serve Hashem. We must always have faith in Hashem and never deviate from the path He has set for us.

5. Miriam’s Punishment
Remember what Hashem your God did to Miriam on the journey when you left Egypt. (Deuteronomy 24:9)
Miriam was a great and holy woman, who saved Moshe as a baby and led the Jewish women in songs of praise to Hashem at the Red Sea. She loved her brother Moshe and spoke against him for what she thought was a constructive purpose. Nevertheless, she failed to judge her brother favorably and was punished by Hashem.

6. Shabbos
Remember Shabbos (the Sabbath) to make it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
The commandment to remember Shabbos is the reason we recite Kiddush on Shabbos. We should also remember Shabbos throughout the week, by purchasing nice items, such as special foods, and preparing things, in honor of Shabbos.