Chabad says that

We find a range of opinions concerning how often the mitzvah of remembering Amalek...

My rabbi (an Aish graduate) told me that wiping out Amalek's name is the mitzvah. Which is true?

1 Answer 1


R Eliezer Melamed (Peninei Halakha here) answers as follows

Three mitzvot in the Torah relate to Amalek.

The first is a positive commandment to remember what Amalek did to us, as the Torah says: “Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, as you left Egypt” (Devarim 25:17).

The second is a negative commandment not to forget what Amalek did to us, as the Torah says: “Do not forget” (ibid. 19).

The third is a positive commandment to eradicate Amalek’s offspring from the world, as the Torah says: “Therefore, when the Lord your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven” (ibid.).

See also mitzvot #188/#189 of the 248 positive mitzvot and #59 of the 365 negative mitzvot in the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot and #76/#77 of the 77 positive mitzvot that can be observed today as listed in the Chofetz Chaim’s Sefer HaMitzvot HaKatzar as well as #194 of the negative.

  • I would suggest that according to what we find in Torah ( meaning all areas of Torah that discuss this subject) that the 3rd mitzvah is not to eradicate the offspring of Amalek, an act of genocide. But rather, in keeping with the precise language of the Torah you quote, to erase the ‘memory of Amalek’ by forgetting the ‘לא’ of the paragraph. That means that the correct mitzvah as taught by Moshe is to cause Amalek to fear G-d. And in that way, G-d’s kingship, His throne, is revealed. Aug 19, 2018 at 7:23
  • What you write is certainly in line with the Rambam (Hilkhot Melakhim 6:1-4) who writes that one should try and make peace even with Amalek (a chidush that not everyone agrees with) and get them to accept the seven mitzvot
    – mbloch
    Aug 19, 2018 at 8:22
  • More than Rambam, if you look at the examples of Moshe Rabbeinu together with Yehoshuah, and also Dovid HaMelech, they certainly had the opportunity, but did not kill everyone. It suggests that the problem with Shaul HaMelech was something different and more specific. Food for thought... Aug 19, 2018 at 17:23

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