Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Irony of Haman's Fall (Conclusion)

(Continued from here.)

IV. The Way of the Evil Shall Perish

When Haman is finally outed by Esther as a wicked enemy of her nation the king has more than one reason to dispose of Haman. The coup de grâce comes when Haman spreads himself out on Esther's bed to petition for his life. This is all Ahasuerus needs to see – Haman in this compromising position only reinforces the king’s suspicions against him.

And the king returned from the palace garden to the chamber of the wine drinking banquet, and Haman was fallen upon the bed that Esther was on. And the king said, “Would he also conquer the queen with me in the house?”… (7:8)

Haman’s foolishness flowed from his arrogance and ultimately led to his downfall. Haman is the ultimate example of the evil man. Evil is rooted in the conviction that one’s desire is paramount – the belief that if I desire it then it is good. Destruction is the ultimate end for the wicked; their fantasies can not be sustained. Only the one that submits to G’s dominion can have success.

לֹא-כֵן הָרְשָׁעִים: כִּי אִם-כַּמֹּץ, אֲשֶׁר-תִּדְּפֶנּוּ רוּחַ.
עַל-כֵּן, לֹא-יָקֻמוּ רְשָׁעִים--בַּמִּשְׁפָּט; וְחַטָּאִים, בַּעֲדַת צַדִּיקִים.
כִּי-יוֹדֵעַ יְהוָה, דֶּרֶךְ צַדִּיקִים; וְדֶרֶךְ רְשָׁעִים תֹּאבֵד.

Not so the evil; but as chaff blown in the wind.

And so the evil shall not stand up in judgment; and sinners in the council of the righteous.

For God knows the way of the righteous; and the way of the evil shall perish.

(Tehillim 1:4-6)

V. Conclusion - "All the Evil Ones Shall be Destroyed"

The Megilla is the story of the danger the Jewish people faced in exile. However, I believe there is an often overlooked message: the lesson the Jewish people can learn from Haman. The Jews were in exile because of their desire for independence from G’s sovereignty, to be “…like gods/judges, knowing good and bad.”(B’reishit 3:5). They arrogantly violated G's covenant and had to face the consequences: “And if you do not pay heed to the voice of Hashem, your G, to keep, to do all his commandments and ordinances that I command you this day – and all these curses shall come upon you and take hold of you.” (D’varim 32:15) To put it simply because the Jews were haughty they were in exile.

In the Persian period of their exile the Jews encountered the tyrant Haman. This encounter served as a catalyst for their teshuva. However, it was not only Haman's plot to destroy the people that propelled them to do teshuva. He was also the ultimate personification of their own sin – haughtiness. The tyrant is a haughty man with power and because he is haughty he is cruel. Why is he cruel? Not just because he denies each individual’s sovereignty but because he denies G’s sovereignty by appropriating it to himself. The toppling of Haman not only revealed G’s absolute orchestration of all events but how absolutely pathetic are the tyrant and his schemes. And by extension how pathetic and destructive (to one's self and others) haughtiness truly is.

שׁוֹמֵר יְהוָה, אֶת-כָּל-אֹהֲבָיו; וְאֵת כָּל-הָרְשָׁעִים יַשְׁמִיד.

God protects all who love him; and all the evil ones shall be destroyed.

(Tehillim 145:20)

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