Don’t Let Haman Destroy You

The Talmud Chullin 139B asks “Where is Haman indicated in the Torah?”

According to the Talmud, the reference to Haman is Bereishit 3:11

וַיֹּאמֶר–מִי הִגִּיד לְךָ, כִּי עֵירֹם אָתָּה; הֲמִן-הָעֵץ, אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִיךָ לְבִלְתִּי אֲכָל מִמֶּנּוּ אָכָלְתָּ.

After Adam sinned by eating from the Etz Hadaat Tov V’era, G-d came to him and asked him “where are you?” Adam said he heard G-d in the garden and was afraid because he was naked so he hid. G-d replied “Who told you that are you are naked? Have you eaten of the tree (“הֲמִן-הָעֵץ”) from which I commanded you not to eat?” Hamin…”הֲמִן” and Haman are comprised of the same letters. At first glance, this seems to be unrelated, but there is a connection between the essence of Haman and the reason Chava initially ate from the tree.

The snake, or evil inclination, advised Chava that eating from this tree would make one like G-d. She succumbed to this desire despite an explicit prohibition. We see in the Megilat Esther Haman’s efforts to be treated as a deity. Haman wanted everyone to bow and prostrate themselves to him. His ego had him fancy himself as a supreme being and he needed constant confirmation. Mordechai’s refusal to bow before him was a direct challenge to this godlike self-image. This enraged Haman because although ultimately he knew that he wasn’t G-d, he couldn’t bear to be challenged. It wasn’t enough that he had great wealth, respect and power. He needed to destroy any opposition in order to uphold his image. Haman’s obsessive desire to live this lie led him to target Mordechai and all his Jewish brethren so he would not have to be reminded of the truth. Ultimately, this preoccupation consumed him and led to his demise. He was hanged on the very same tree he had prepared for Mordechai.

We all have an ego, or image, that we make of ourselves. We expect everyone to buy into it and our surroundings to support our self-perception. If it doesn’t it can lead to frustration and irrational behavior that can eventually lead us to self-destruct. We need to be as honest as we can in analyzing who we are and what our true purpose is if we want to live a long and successful life in harmony with others.

About the Author
Aliza Lipkin is a firm lover and believer in her country, her people and her G-d. She moved from the land of the free (America) to the home of the brave (Israel) 10 years ago and now resides with her family in Maaleh Adumim.
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