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No Resemblance

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I never quite figured out how to do it. These savvy people pick up an archaic piece of furniture in a second-hand shop, dab some paint on it and change the drawer handles, and the remodeled piece is fondly dubbed “vintage.” The stylish piece really does have no resemblance to the chunk of wood it once was.

There is a command in the Torah to “erase the memory of the nation of Amalek1—the nation that haughtily started up with the Jews just days after they left Egypt. Now, the Torah records the story in detail and mentions Amalek in other places as well, so how can one erase the memory of the nation of Amalek?

The Rebbe explains that the Torah is asking us to erase anything that has a resemblance to Amalek. Anything that a rings a bell and reminds one of the evil that Amalek was capable of performing must be eradicated from our lives.

For example, many years after Amalek attacked the Jews, his descendant, Haman, devised a wicked plot to destroy the Jews. His plot failed—hence the holiday of Purim. After the war, King Ahasuerus granted his Jewish wife Esther, heroine of the Purim story, the very mansion that Haman once lived in. The home itself did not need to be destroyed, but what it represented did. Esther did a “gut renovation” in a spiritual sense, rendering the home unrecognizable, altering it from the house of Haman to a house of G‑d.

It was the same home, but it took on a whole new meaning, bearing no resemblance to the “chunk of wood” it once was. She thus literally erased the memory of Amalek.

Thoughtstream: Today, I will dedicate an item of mine to the service of G‑d, giving it a new purpose that completely redefines it.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichot, vol. 14, pg. 86.)

Footnotes
Sara Blau is a teacher and extracurricular director at Beth Rivkah High School. She is a wife, mother, and author of several children“s books.
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