Q. I know Haman was a descendant of Amalek. When we make a noise at the reading of Haman’s name does this fulfil the mitzvah to “wipe out the name of Amalek”?
A. It helps. Amalek and Haman are bullies who attack the faint and weary; eradicating Amalek-like traits makes a contribution towards cleaning up the environment. However there is a problem with the Biblical command to eradicate the memory of Amalek: in Deut. 25:19 it says, “You (Israel) shall erase the memory of Amalek”, whilst Ex. 17:14 says, “I (God) will erase the memory of Amalek”. A Midrashic passage explains, “When Israel has complete sovereignty, they will erase Amalek’s memory; when it does not, then God will carry out the task”.
What this seems to mean is that in the messianic age Israel will be strong enough to eradicate evil; until then, the task has to be left to God. But that does not mean that in the meantime we have to sit passively and do nothing. We can help God along by working on as much of the evil of the world as we can.