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In this week's parashah it says, "Hashem said to Moshe, 'Write this as a remembrance in the Book and recite it in the ears of Yehoshua, that I shall surely erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens'" (Shemos 17:14).

However, later in the Torah we are commanded as follows: "It shall be that when Hashem, your G-d, gives you rest from all your enemies all around, in the Land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you as an inheritance to possess it, you shall wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heaven -- you shall not forget" (Devarim 25:19).

Some people see these two passages as contradictory since in the first one Hashem promises to eradicate the name of Amalek while in the latter one, He clearly instructs us to do it. The following amazing story may serve as an answer to this question. (Note: some questioned the authenticity of this story, which apparently appeared in a Jewish newspaper. However, my nephew, Shrage Schorr, knows the person involved and verified that the story is true, albeit, with some slight variances.)

A young man in Lakewood, NJ, was involved in a fatal car accident which killed a non-Jewish man and his wife R.l. Although it was not his fault, he felt terrible that such a tragedy had occurred through him. So, he sent a question to the great Gaon, Harav Chaim Kanievsky shlita, asking him what he should do as a tikun (reparation; rectification) for what he had caused. Strangely, the Rav, who is known to give very short answers, replied by saying (or writing - it is not clear) the word "Amalek" (or "Amalekim"). The young man had no idea what the sage was telling him to do and was quite baffled by the response.

A few months later, this same fellow went to see a house for sale. The agent told him that it was a real bargain because, although the house was worth a lot more than the price being asked, the owners had recently been killed in a car accident and the children wanted to sell it at any price. A chill ran up and down the young man's spine as he recalled what he had experienced at about the same time and he wondered if there might be some strange connection.

As he continued to inspect the premises, the fellow went down to a lower floor and was startled to see a picture of the owners. Sure enough, he easily identified them as the unfortunate couple who had died because of him. But, as he looked around some more, he was totally shocked to see a picture of the husband saluting Nazi style! He then realized that Rav Kanievsky had told him not to be concerned since he had killed descendents of Amalek.

This story might explain the above mentioned question. Sometimes Hashem kills Amalekim through us; without our conscious knowledge. In that way, both passages are correct. It is we who performed the mitzvah to eradicate their memory, but it is actually Hashem who did the act through us.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel