Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
On Shabbat, Shabbat Zachor, we are going to hear the Torah reading that mentions the mitzvah of wiping out the memory of Amalek. Haman was an Amalekite. At the beginning of Megilat Esther, he is found on top of the world, in a most elevated position, but he is not satisfied. He is second in rank only to the king, an important and influential man. He has a family and many children and despite this: “But all this is worth nothing to me each time I see Mordechai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” In other words, Haman has oceans of honor but he is lacking one drop. Everyone bows down to him, but he needs Morechai to bow down, too. If not, all the honor he has received means nothing.
When we speak about the war with Amalek, we also speak about the war with this tendency – focusing on the one drop we don’t have and not on the cup that is half full. In our addiction to pursuing honor, without honoring what we have and finding joy in it, we demonstrate Amalekite qualities. When we make noise with the graggers upon hearing “Haman,” we mean to erase this egoistic perfectionism as well.