This Shabbos we read Parshas Tzav. It is also Parshas Zachor, which is the only time of the year that the Torah reading is a Torah obligation,(not just a Rabbinical one). In Parshas Zachor we read the mitzvah that is incumbent on us to wipe out Amalek. Amalek is the first nation that attacked the Jews when they left Egypt, seeking to wipe out the Jews and to destroy our belief in monotheism.

The Parshah tells us of the mitzvah to have an aish tamid – a constant fire on the alter in the Temple. The Talmud derives from this that the light of the menorah, which is called an aish tamid, should be kindled from the alter.

The Sfas Emes explains the connection of these two fires in a most beautiful way: Fire has two properties. It provides light, a positive action, and it destroys, a negative action. The fire on the alter represents a fire of destruction – burning the sacrifice. The fire of the menorah represents a fire that gives light – a fire doing good things. The Torah teaches us that we must use both, a fire to destroy bad, and a fire to do good – with a passion and feeling.

When we talk about destroying Amalek, it is not only the obvious Amalek. We don’t only look at the barbaric savages who can do such horrific murders as was done to the Fogel family last week in the village of Itamar. Nor is it the animals who celebrated this terror, or the world who ignored it and remained silent. We also have to find the Amalek within – the Amalek that resides somewhere in our hearts.

In our life, we must focus on two distinct directions. We have to destroy evil, eradicate bad character traits and emotions that we have. This includes doing mitzvohs with laziness, without happiness, or without focus. This is alluded to in eradicating Amalek. This is the job we have as we read Parshas Zachor, to use the fire we kindle in the alter in our hearts and to eradicate Amalek. We also have to kindle the fire of the menorah within ourselves, to acquire joy, excitement, and passion as we do the mitzvohs and come closer to Hashem.