Was Achashverosh an Anti-Semite?

I remember being taught and discussing many times the fact that Achashverosh was as big a Sonei Yehudim as Haman.

Given as evidence for this claim, his readiness to allow Haman to decree our destruction, his allowance of Haman to keep the 10,000 talents of silver that Haman offered as a bribe and the midrash that teaches that they party Achashverosh was throwing was to celebrate the passing of 70 years from the destruction of the first temple, thus ensuring that the prophecy of return would not come true (based on an erroneous calculation).

Unfortunately, there is no support in the text for this position. Allow me to elaborate.

First of all, if you will note, the money Haman offers is not for a bribe, but rather to finance the project. “Eshkol al yedai osei hamelacha” “I will use to pay the workers.” Haman comes to Achashverosh with a plan for his “pet project.” He offers to pay for it himself, he just needs royal sanction. Achashverosh says to him, “keep your money. You are my senior advisor, your pet project should be a state project. There is no need to pay out of your own pocket for this.”

Second, note that Haman never tells Achashverosh which group of people he intends to target with this plan. There is no indication that Haman tells Achashverosh he wants to annihilate the Jews. In fact, as I’ll show you later, revelaing this part of the plan would probably have resulted in it’s being scuttled. (“Scuttle the ship? You’ll receive the Order of Lenin for this, sir.”)

Finally, there’s simply no indication in the text that the party was anything more than a celebration of Achashverosh’s continued reign. There’s no doubt the man liked to party. Why does this one need an independent reason. Everything was done to show off, including the volume of drink, the opulence of design and the calling of Vashti to appear. Why can’t “showing off” be the entire motivation for the party?

What there does seem to be support in the text for, in fact, looks like quite the opposite. Achashverosh valued the Jews in his kingdom quite highly, and would never have wittingly allowed their destruction. That’s right. Far from being an anti-semite, Achashverosh was an Ohev-Yehidum.

When Esther does her “big reveal” about Haman’s plan, Achashverosh is immediately incensed. There’s no hemming or hawing. There’s no “crap, looks like we have a toughie, here.” Achashverosh’s reaction is “What?! Your plan is to kill the JEWS?!? You never told me THAT PART!” Why else does the megillah tell us that “ki chalta ha’ra’a mipnei hamelech”? Haman KNEW that he was done for. Falling on Esther’s bed was icing. Haman was pleading with Esther because he knew Achashverosh was going to kill him for deceiving him, and plotting to kill the Jews, which Achashverosh would never otherwise have allowed.

More support for this approach? If Achashverosh hated Jews, why was he so receptive to Mordechai’s warning about Bigtan and Teresh? Why was he so concerned with making sure Mordechai was rewarded for it? If he hated Jews as much as Haman, he would have removed Mordechai from the courtyard, ignored his warning, and if survived that, would haev buried the record deep in the annals (or had it expunged) and ignored it. He does none of these things.

More? How about after the whole story? Once Haman is killed, why is Mordechai promoted? It doesn’t make sense that just because he is Esther’s cousin, he’s suddenly the second most powerful man in the kingdom. In fact, for a power hungry man like Achashverosh, the queen’s cousin could be seen as a threat. No. Rather, Mordechai was an important man already. He was valued, and one of the top advisors. That’s why the idea to hang Mordechai was so new and novel to Haman. Mordechai was to important to even consider it. In fact, the whole plan to kill all the Jews was just to eliminate Mordechai. The plan was to start a war against the Jews, and hope that Mordechai was collateral damage. If Mordechai wasn’t anything, he could have been eliminated. No, the evidence and the text suggest that he was a senior advisor, perhaps second only to Haman. When was Haman was dispatched, Mordechai was his natural successor.

But, you might argue, what about the text saying that Achashverosh only did it because he loved Esther. Well, I say to you, it doesn’t. The text doesn’t tell us that Achashverosh loved Esther any more than any other queen. If necessary, like he did with Vashti, he would have removed her and replaced her. So what that her offered her “ad chatzi hamalchut.” That’s his way of saying “whatever you want.” She’s the QUEEN. Of course he’ll give her what she asks for. He’s probably expecting something like, “I want my Eunuchs to wear white on Friday instead of yellow.” Furthermore, her first “big request” is “Can you and Haman come to my party?” Achashverosh isn’t giving things away because he’s smitten. He’s humoring the little lasy. In fact, he really only starts to really pay attention to her when he finds out SHE’S JEWISH! Does that sound like the course of action of an Anti-Semite? Quite the opposite, I think.

Finally, if Achashverosh was such a Jew lover, then why was Esther’s relationship with Mordechai and her “Moledet” so important to be kept secret? Two reasons. First of all, Mordechai was a descendant of the Royal house of Shaul. His Royal blood would be seen as a threat to the king, as a possible usurper. If that was found out, it would be the end of Mordechai’s time as an advisor. Esther, by being Mordechai’s cousin, shared that royal blood. Second, Achashverosh may have valued the Jews highly, but that doesn’t mean he saw them as fit to marry. He likely knew that the Jews were ultimately looking to return to Israel. Someone without loyalty to crown and country isn’t someone you want as Queen. So, then why not make it known, and get out of the whole Queen Pageant completely? Well, marrying Achashverosh was something Mordechai and Esther wanted. They needed the power to ultimately preserve the dream of rebuilding the Bait Hamikdash. Someone like Achashverosh would likely be reluctant to allow the reconstruction (in fact, according to Chazal, he halted it. While this may seem like the work of an anti-semite, it’s more likely politically motivated.) He would need to be motivated. That was Esther’s job. Haman intercedeing and causing this whole stir was a side point. According to Chazal, this is what ultimately happened. It was Darius, purported to be the son of Achashverosh and Esther, who allowed to Jews to finish contruction of Bayit Sheini.


37 responses to “Was Achashverosh an Anti-Semite?

  1. I completely agree with you, and I have had this discussion with my father several times. I always think of Aladdin, and my Dad has frequently commented that clearly the Disney animators look to tanach for character depth. But, look at megillah 14a, top line and rashi there. Normally, I would be more dismissive of gemara as coming across with an agenda, but in this case the gemara has more credibility considering its writing was relatively close in proximity to the canonization of esther. Granted it was several hundred years later, but all of the stories typically found in midrashic texts appear in the gemara. Therefore, there is clearly a reason why the gemara interprets Ahashverosh’s character as evil, not just apathetic, or stupid as I indicated above. This leads me to believe that our tradition that the party was in fact celebrating the destruction of the mikdash, that in fact Ahashverosh was an accomplice is somehow based on fact, and therefore the text must be interrupted as such. Granted that creates a problem with Mordechai’s appointment, but one could argue that true love prevailed and Ahashverosh really loved Esther and took care of her entourage. A Disney story indeed.

  2. i guess Mordechia did not wear a yarmulka to work.

  3. I’m not sure the Gemara’s mashal even works, let alone is authoritative. If one argues that Achashverosh was a sonei yehudim, then Ach and Haman had a common problem, not complimentary problems solved by cooperation.

    And if Ach was willingly compliant in the plot to kill the Jews, why his sudden and fierce reaction to the news? If he knew about the plot, his reaction should have been, “Oh, you’re Jewish. Yeah, we kinda did want to kill you. Problems? Remember Vashti?”

    So Esther was a nice girl, probably good looking. People liked her. She was still a woman, easily dispatched. Love wasn’t a strong enough thing to sway such a powerful hatred that quickly. It just doesn’t add up.

    I just don’t think the idea that he was complicit fits the text. Certainly, it’s played up midrashically. But my argument remains that there’s no textual basis for it.

  4. I do not think that the gemara is arguing that he is a rabid anti-Semite. I think more appropriately, he is an evil man with equal opportunity hatred. His quick change of heart was because he really loved Esther, perhaps because she represented a sense of legitimacy to his throne. This legitimacy, however, was only relevant once she caught his fancy. My point is that the gemara seems in this case to be relaying historical facts, not a lesson. Therefore, to me it seems plausible that the details fleshed out in the gemara are continued representation of the facts. Tonight, if I can I am going to review the gemara… more to come

  5. Noyam, this is one of those situations to which I had thought to avoid responding. But you did not want me to take that route, so here goes.
    Also, I have never learned Masechet megilla in its entirety, so I cannot rightly address Benzi’s comments.
    It seems to me though, this another case of ‘your’ interpretation vs the ‘sages’. We are all taught that Megillat Esther is a ‘concealed’ work. That is, there is much going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about, most specifically with regard to Hashem’s involvment. Hidden miracles, hidden activities, (i.e. what happened to Hatach?) So, while your interpretations of events, motives, feelings, from the actual text are quite interesting, and in fact make alot of sense, I wonder if they are pertinent at all.
    Yes, we start with the text as a basis. But, Megillah is accepted as part of Torah, and hence, the oral tradition applies to it as well. So rather than asking why the story should not be as described in the text itself, we should be asking why Chazal descibe it as they did, and what can we learn from this.
    Noyam, I would add that many of your questions have crossed my mind, more insistently every year. I finally have a Chavrusa, and I hope to learn these things. Let me know what you learn.

  6. Oh, come on. You’ve missed the point, almost entirely.

    The post was an understanding of pshat in the text. Any deeper you want to get, and you’re in drash, and critiques from Drash are not relevant.

    I am not saying Chazal were wrong. I am not saying that our entire tradition is wrong.

    In this particular instance I was writing a textual analysis of the words in the text.

    The whole “hidden meanings” and “nes nistar” understandings are separate and different understandings. I was just giving my understanding of the pshat.

    Very often, as part of our elementary and high school education, we learn pshat and drash together as one. I think that’s wrong. We have to be able to separate the simple understanding of the text and the “deeper meanings”

    I still don’t understand why you get so bothered when I assert my understanding of pshat, sometimes in opposition to drash. Very often, pshat stands in opposition to drash. They are separate. Why can’t I attempt to understand the text?

    Do you dispute my textual analysis? If you do, I would love to have torah discussions about the words and meanings in the text. If you want to argue with my pshat analysis by using drash, then there’s nothing to argue about.

    For instance, I just don’t see the basis in the text for the assertion that Achashverosh was complicit in the plot to kill the Jews. Given that Haman never mentions the Jews, and given Achashverosh’s incensed and surprised reaction when he hears about it from Esther, just says to me that he wasn’t in on the plan.

  7. My only problem with the “loving Esther” answer is that she DID trick him. Once she comes clean and says she’s a Jew, wouldn’t that in turn piss off Achashverosh to a point where he would kill her AND the Jews?
    Almost like justification to Haman’s plan. Haman could turn to Ach and say – “Look King, these people are tricky scumbags, even your Queen isn’t loyal to you.”

    There has to have been some other emotion or logic at play here besides just his “love for his queen” that allows him to make this decision so quickly. I have always had a hard time with how quickly Ach’s opinion of Haman changes because of Esther. Think about it, she drags him to these two parties just to ask one favor after she came to him ILLEGALLY under the possible threat of death. Ach must have been waiting for something huge to be asked, which indeed it was. Now, if he had any negative feelings for the Jews, my opinion is that his finding out that his Queen led him on like this would have triggered a reverse reaction of having been tricked and played, but it doesn’t. Like Noyam says, it’s almost as if he is shocked by what Haman planned to do and to whom he planned to do it. Ach showed previously he could get rid of a queen and find a new one instantly, if he was anti-semitic, this would have been an easy opportunity to do so yet again.

  8. The Hunt for Red Febtober

  9. I think Gilad’s point was that this particular megillah was written cryptically; it isn’t meant to be understood without the “decoder ring” that is chazal.

  10. That’s circular. We only know it’s cryptic and needs “decoding” because Chazal say so.

    There is nothing inherently contradictory about what’s going on in the story, so there’s nothing there that requires a deeper decoding. It’s only because Chazal were uneasy about not attributing certain miracles and seemingly coincidental events to God. And I understand. But Megillat Esther can be read in many ways, including a pshat way. Everything has a pshat level of textual understanding, including Esther.

    For instance, the idea that “God had to be involved somehow” isn’t necessary for understanding the story. It can be read (and I do, in fact, read it this way) as a story of human endeavor.

    Wondering whether a textual understanding is pertinent at all (in light of the admission that it’s interesting and makes a lot of sense) is just being stubbornly ingrained to accept Chazal and midrashim as literal truth at every turn. And that’s wrong, because they aren’t.

  11. It’s not just about the hidden miracles; it’s possible that they needed to show discretion in other ways, too. For starters, perhaps, Ach was still the king – maybe Mordechai shouldn’t be sending out a letter telling his entire kingdom that their king is an anti-Semite?

    Maybe the political realities of the time forced them to write cryptically lest they face reprisals? And maybe people of the day understood what it meant because they were living under the same reign. The oral tradition for the megillah began at a time when it was still close enough in time to the actual events that they understood the meaning behind the literal words.


  12. Certainly possible, and my opinions expressed here shouldn’t be seen as a rejection of that possibility.

    But isn’t my understanding of the megillah entirely plausible as well?

  13. Well I think that the two interpretations are mutually exclusive, no?

  14. Well, actually, I don’t think your interpretation is necessarily plausible, although I won’t go so far as to say it’s impossible. You make a good point that most of what Chazal tells us that happened is not supported by the text. You then give alternate possibilities, but your explanation is also not supported by the text. Statements like, “Why can’t “showing off” be the entire motivation for the party?,” and your alternate explanation for what Haman’s deception was, are also not affirmatively supported in the text. Perhaps the text does not contradict your interpretation, but it does not affirmatively substantiate it, either. And, in order to make your interpretation work, you kinda have to disregard the interpretation of our sages, who not only presumably knew this stuff much better but also were closer in time to the actual events. So, to me, it makes your interpretation implausible.

  15. Please do that again with the Artscroll translation instead of the Soncino (sp?) translation and maybe we can begin to talk

  16. Adam Said: “Statements like, “Why can’t “showing off” be the entire motivation for the party?,” and your alternate explanation for what Haman’s deception was, are also not affirmatively supported in the text.”

    Yes they are: Esther 1:4 “when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty.” Esther 1:11 “to show the peoples and the princes her beauty.” The Megillah says that he was showing off. It doesn’t say he was celebrating the destruction of the Temple.

    As for Haman’s motivation? Esther 3:6 “But it seemed contemptible in his eyes to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had made known to him the people of Mordecai; wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.” Why is it contemptible. If Mordechai is a lowly Jew, what’s so bad about having him disptached? Notice that this idea, of dispatching Mordechai, while seemingly so simple to us, never even occurred to Haman until it was broached by his wife: Esther 5:14 “Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him: ‘Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and in the morning speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon; then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet.’ And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.”

    I hate to repeat myself, but if you insist that Achashverosh was indeed complicit in Haman’s plot, then answer my central point: why does he act surprised to hear about it?

    And how else do you explain Mordechai’s sudden rise to prominence if he wasn’t already a respected minister? And wouldn’t Achashverosh continued to hate the Jews after Haman was killed? Why promote Mordechai then? Esther 6:4 “Now Haman was come into the outer court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.” Killing Mordechai was something that Haman needed special royal approval for. Clearly, Mordechai wasn’t just a joe-shmo, unless you’re going to argue that Achashverosh micro-managed every hanging in the nation, which is just implausible.

    And if Haman wanted to kill all Jews because he was peeved at Mordechai, why does the Megillah tell us that killing Mordechai alone wasn’t an option?

    My explanations are based on the text. Don’t say I make baseless assertions. Read through my argument again. Read through the megillah again, carefully, without relying on explanations we learned in grade school. Read it critically.

    I am not saying Chazal are wrong. But with regard to midrashim we often don’t take them literally. Why the insistence here?

    How about this for plausibility? Textually, I am right. However, Chazal interpreted the events the way they did to impart a lesson about trusting non-Jewish rulers, even ones who seemingly like us like Achashverosh?

  17. Noam, where does it say in the text:

    Achashverosh says to him, “keep your money. You are my senior advisor, your pet project should be a state project. There is no need to pay out of your own pocket for this.”

  18. Wow, that’s such an ignorant comment.

    First of all, the translation is from mechon-mamre: http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt3301.htm

    Second, I wouldn’t rely on Artscroll’s skewed, yeshivish-slanted, non-literal translation for anything?

  19. Esther 3:11 – And yes I embellished a little. This is what’s left? My argument works without it.

  20. Besides, all you’ve really proven is that he liked Mordechai, despite the fact that he was a Jew. He might still have had an irrational hatred of Jews in general

  21. Honestly, I think you are reading into the text as well, assigning motivations or explanations that seem plausible to you. But why should someone like me — an Am HaAretz, an outsider who is viewing this objectively and deciding which interpretation makes more sense to me — go with your interpretation over that of the sages who are more knowledgeable and closer in time to the actual events?

  22. “Might still have…”

    Again, an assertion with no basis. I’ve laid out several textual argument to suggest that Achasverosh wasn’t an anti-semite, and you’re left with “well, he might still have been.”

    What else am I supposed to say? You want a quote from the Megillah that says, “and Achashverosh loved the Jews very much”? OK, you’re right that isn’t there. But come on!

  23. No, that’s not what you have. You have a textual basis that demonstrates some possible ambiguities. I don’t think you have disproved Chazal’s interpretation. You simply have suggested a different context and demonstrated that the text might fit into that context also.

  24. But you aren’t approaching this as an Am Ha’Aretz, you’re approaching it with a bias for what you’ve learned through grade school.

    And stop saying that I am making this up. How many times do I need to quote the Megillah to get you to stop saying that I am “reading into it.” I am not reading INTO it. I am READING IT.

  25. First of all, I never set out to disprove Chazal. I set out to lay out a reading of the text.

    But I’m not left with ambiguities. I don’t think my reading is ambiguous at all. It’s straitforward, doesn’t assign anti-semitic motivations that aren’t there and follows the text.

    Why is this approach so averse?

  26. Well, since your interpretation is mutually exclusive from Chazal’s, I think that in order for your argument to be convincing you also need to demonstrate why Chazal’s interpretation should be disregarded. In my terms, think of Chazal as the incumbent.

  27. There are some other things I don’t understand. Do you think that Ach never knew that the plan was to kill Jews? You use political practicalities in your original post, assuming that Ach had all his faculties and made well-reasoned decisions – would he just allow thousands of people to be killed in his kingdom without knowing the details?

  28. If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t the text give a reason for Ach’s anger during the “big reveal?”

    I don’t know, I’m asking. I’m in class.

  29. 1. If Chazal is the incumbent from your perspective, then you aren’t approaching this objectively, as you’ve stated.

    2. Yes, I think Ach didn’t know which people Haman wanted to kill, and that Haman intentionally deceived him. I think he trusted Haman, probably didn’t know every clan and group that existed. Yes, that’s what I think.

    3. No. Esther 7:6-7 “And Esther said: ‘An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman.’ Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen. And the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman remained to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.”

    Haman was a dead man before he fell on the Queen’s bed, and he knew it. That just doesn’t jive with Achashverosh being party to the plan.

  30. Point A
    1. No, because as the objective outsider one of the things I do is weigh the credibility of the two sources (Chazal vs. Noy G). It’s perfectly objective to set a higher burden for you.
    2. OK – I think that’s somewhat inconsistent with some of your other views of Ach as a political animal, but OK.
    3. The “big reveal” anger doesn’t give disprove your theory, but it really doesn’t prove it, either. This is an example of the text not contradicting your theory but not affirmatively supporting it, either. (Your depiction of the scene – “What?! Your plan is to kill the JEWS?!? You never told me THAT PART!”)

    Point B
    You say “What there does seem to be support in the text for, in fact, looks like quite the opposite. Achashverosh valued the Jews in his kingdom quite highly, and would never have wittingly allowed their destruction.” As the reader, all I think you have really proven is that he valued Mordechai, not that he valued the Jews in general.

    Point C
    I think that you use conjecture in a lot of your post. Some examples:

    – If Achashverosh hated Jews, why was he so receptive to Mordechai’s warning about Bigtan and Teresh?
    – Once Haman is killed, why is Mordechai promoted? It doesn’t make sense that just because he is Esther’s cousin, he’s suddenly the second most powerful man in the kingdom.
    – While this may seem like the work of an anti-semite, it’s more likely politically motivated.
    – Achashverosh’s reaction is “What?! Your plan is to kill the JEWS?!? You never told me THAT PART!”
    – The text doesn’t tell us that Achashverosh loved Esther any more than any other queen. If necessary, like he did with Vashti, he would have removed her and replaced her. (You’re right about the first part, a fact; but speculating on the second part. You can’t prove that he would have removed Esther anymore than I can prove that he wouldn’t.)

    While your points in your original post and subsequent comments are all consistent with one-another, and they definitely fit into your context, I still fail to see where the text affirmatively supports those positions. They are your 21st century ideas and values superimposed on a set of events that happened 2000 years ago. And you can call it my second-grade way of looking at things all you want (or whatever language you used), but that second-grade interpretation was not invented by second-graders. It is a (cliffs’ notes, perhaps) version of 2000 years of scholarship. And the scholars were not only very knowledgeable, but more proximate in time, as well. Their interpretation is not only taught to elementary school kids but also studied in yeshivas.

  31. And, yes, Esther was worried about Ach killing her for coming to him uninvited. But the bottom line is he didn’t do it. In fact, he was incredibly friendly, something that you pass off as “she’s probably just going to ask for a wardrobe change.”

  32. “”For instance, the idea that “God had to be involved somehow” isn’t necessary for understanding the story. It can be read (and I do, in fact, read it this way) as a story of human endeavor.””

    Noyam and Adam, very interesting debate. I don’t think some of the deragotory or exasperated comments are necessary.
    Anyway, I don’t have the time or knowledge to address all your varied points. But I copied one of Noam’s comments above, which I think drives to the heart of the matter.

    Noam, I did NOT miss the point entirely, pardon me. As I said, your textual interpretation is very interesting, it sure is. Makes a great story, maybe a movie one day. BUT THIS IS TORAH! Of course Hashem must be involved. And because it is canon, it is NOT simply a story. We can argue all day long what each of us thinks the text really means. So you think Achashverosh was not in on the plan, per your understanding? Good. So what. If that’s the simple meaning Mordechai and Esther imparted to you, ok, now what? Are you done?

    Its seems like your done. If you are done then that’s what I get so upset about. So maybe let’s hear from you what the drash is, and why it may actually may make more sense than a simple textual interpretation. Or not. And if not, then why do Chazal teach us that way. What were Mordechai and Esther’s intentions in writing something so seemingly simple and yet so complex?

  33. Some interesting points raised. Allow me to address them respectfully and without acrimony.

    First of all, Megillat Esther is not Torah. It’s Tanach, but it’s not Torah. Perhaps this may seem like nitpicking semantics, but there is an extremely relevant difference. Nobody makes any claim of divine authorship with regard to Megillat Esther.

    Which brings me to my next point. This is a story, written by people. There is no claim of nevuah (maybe of ruach hakodesh for Mordechai while he was writing, but that hinges on your belief in ruach hakodesh.) And so, since this is a story told by mere mortals (which, some dispute even happened. I happen to like the rebuking parody theory of Megillat Esther, but that’s not for now), you have to read it like a story written and enacted by mere mortals. Certainly, I believe Hashem was involved. In the same way that I believe Hashem is involved in my life. I don’t want to get into a long debate on Hashgacha and Hashkafa, but suffice it to say this is not black and white. I see nothing wrong with ascribing to the idea that Mordechai and Esther saved the Jews. And I also see nothing wrong with understanding the story the way it was written.

    Understanding the text is but the most surperficial level of understanding. Certainly, there are arguments to be made, some better some worse, for ascribing to a deeper understanding (that Chazal are “Chazal” is weak. That they were closer in time, eh. That there is an argument that the “whole story” couldn’t be written for the Jews still lived under Achashverosh, I can accept that.) Keep in mind, there was a long debate about Canonizing Megillat Esther. In fact, the fact that God doesn’t explcitly appear worked against it. Can you (anyone) perhaps see the argument that Chazal’s deeper interpretation is perhaps motivated by a desire to justify canonizing the book?

    Nevertheless, as for being “done,” I’m not. There are lessons to be learned (even today) from the stories in the book. For instance, the biggest take-away, for me, is “B’Chol Dor Vador omdin aleinu l’chaloteinu.”

    Does it matter to me that Chazal say that “v’cheilim mikeilim shonim” refers to the keilim of the Beit Hamikdash? No. I can understand and learn grand lessons from the story without that.

    And as for my central thesis: that Achasverosh was not an anti-semite; despite my textual assertion, and understanding of the story that he in fact, was not, I can even still learn the lesson of chazal in their assertion that he was. What is that lesson? Despite all appearances to the contrary, never trust a ruler who isn’t Jewish. You never know when he might be swayed to destroy us. Is this relevant nowadays? Absolutely. And I think the lesson is strengthened even you accept that Mordechai was a minister. No matter who we think can protect us, the ruler may decide against us. Infinitely more important than the keilim of the Beit Hamikdash, especially in a time when we all live so “securely” under rulers who are not Jewish, and with “ministers” who are. We should always be wary.

  34. Ahh, now Noyam, that was well written. I take your points, they are well made. I am glad to see that key aspects of Megillah we agree on.
    The discussion about Hasem’s role, and the mere mortals who wrote the Megillah, now we can talk. B/c we agree on the basis on which to discuss. Too bad it took 34 posts to get there 🙂 Also, too bad I am out of steam to write it….its so much easier to talk.

  35. Pingback: The Non-Sequitur That Changes Everything « The Noy G Show

  36. Pingback: Megillah « The Noy G Show

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