#538 (s5768-27 / 4 Adar II 5768)

Ultimate Justice

Although the courts found the Jewish man not guilty, he could not bearthe guilt that he killed an old man, even accidently. He wrote to the sage, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, of Bnei Brak for advice.

Ultimate Justice


An Orthodox Jew from New Jersey was involved in a car accident in which he accidentally killed an old non-Jewish man. Although the courts found the Jewish man not guilty, he could not carry the pains of the guilt that he killed an old man. It gave him no peace and caused him to lose his appetite. He was unable to sleep for weeks.

He decided to seek counsel from the internationally known sage, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky of Bnei Brak. He wrote him a letter asking for a tikun - plan for soul-rectification -- because he had accidentally killed a non-Jew.
The Rabbi wrote back to him. His response consisted of one word: "Amalek" ** The Jew was disappointed. He could not understand this answer and continued suffering with sleepless nights.
** [The original Amalek was a grandson of Esau. He and his descendents hate the Jews and what we stand for so much that they constantly attack us. On the Shabbat preceding Purim, called "Zachor," we read the biblical passage (Deut 25:17-19) commanding us to remember their evil and to obliterate them. Haman, the villain of the Book of Esther, was a descendant of Amalek. Hitler may have been another. -ed.]

At some point he decided to move away from his town to begin a new life. Maybe then he could stop thinking about the incident. He began searching for a new location and found a house in a nearby town that appealed to him. The owners told him that they were eager to get rid of this house which they inherited from their dead father who had been killed in a car accident.

Could it possibly be? After a short investigation, the Jew discovered that the residence belonged to the old man whom he had accidentally killed! Soon after that, in the basement of the house he found materials belonging to the deceased non-Jewish man. He was shocked to find a photograph of the old man from when he was a young man, proudly wearing an SS uniform, standing next to evil Hitler, may his name be eternally blotted out.

It turned out that this old man had been an SS officer in the Nazi army during the Holocaust years. After the war, he made his escape to the United States and hid his past. Other documents he had been preserving included a list of the names of all the Jews he personally murdered, May G-d Al-Mighty avenge their blood.

When the Jew read the names of the martyrs that were murdered, he found both of his parent's names on the list!

The Al-mighty had indeed allotted to him to be the instrument to avenge his parents' blood! It was then that he understood Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky's one word answer.

Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from an anonymous translation of the scan of a Hebrew newspaper article that appeared on bp0.blogger.com . Submitted by Jody Eisenman.

Biographical notes (based on Wikipedia.org):

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (15 Tevet, 5688 [Jan.8, 1928] - 5 Adar II, 5782 [march 18, 2022])was a world-renowned Torah scholar and decisor of Jewish law, living in Bnei Brak, Israel. He is the author of several important works of Jewish law, such as Derech Emunoh (on agricultural laws) and Shoneh Halachos, a systematic presentation of the popular code of laws, Mishnah Berurah. He was the son of Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky ("the Steipler"), the son-in-law of Rabbi Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, a leading rabbinical authority in Jerusalem, and nephew of Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz , a leading Torah scholar in Israel in the mid 20th century known as the "Chazon Ish". Rabbi Kanievsky was known to refrain from engaging in politics. Thousands of people visited the holy rabbi yearly, seeking Torah oriented advice on various topics.

Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages.

A 48 page soft-covered booklet containing eleven of his most popular stories may be ordered on our store site.

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