Was not Haman simply advocating a policy in his country’s self-interest, just as all groups seek their self-interest? Why would a homogeneous nation with just one religion benefit from importing diversity and conflict?
According to the Rambam, non-Jews cannot be citizens in a Torah state, at best they can a ger toshav (resident stranger). So why should Persia want a bunch of strangers who can never be Persians? Would a Jewish state of Israel want to import an alien people with their own customs and separate allegiances?
R. Meir Kahane’s proposals for Israel (getting rid of Arabs, prohibiting sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews) come straight out of Torah, particularly the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah.
Wikipedia: “Kahane’s legislative proposals focused on transferring the Arab population out from the Land of Israel, revoking Israeli citizenship from non-Jews, and banning Jewish-Gentile marriages and sexual relations, based on the Code of Jewish Law compiled by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah.”
Now, if this same situation came up today, I would devote myself completely to helping my group, the Jews, but I would want to understand what was going on (how are the group interests of my enemies clashing with my group’s interests) and not just conceive of my enemies as either enemies of God or irrational.
I understand, for instance, why Iran would desperately want nuclear weapons to protect their country (seeing what America did to Iraq in 2003, and why would you want your enemy of Israel to be the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons). Nuclear weapons are clearly in Iran’s self-interest. And this interest clashes with my group interest (the survival and prosperity of the Jewish state of Israel). I don’t see Iran as crazy or evil or bizarre. I see Iran as a rational actor, like Haman and like the Pharoah who enslaved the Hebrews in Egypt 3300 years ago.
3:8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them.
3:9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.”
I can’t think of any examples where importing diversity is a good idea for a nation. I hope Jews are the exception to this rule and that wherever Jews go, they shine the light of Torah and enhance the well-being of their host nation.
Let’s be honest for a sec.
He’s called “Haman Ha’Agagi”, right? That’s because he was a descendant of Agag, the king of the Amalekites who Shaul let live after conducting a genocide in which he attempted to kill all Amalekite men, women, and children. Still with me? Good.
Here’s the thing. Every single day in our prayers, Jews reaffirm our biblical obligation to “Wipe out Amalek from under the heavens”.
Every. Single. Day.
It’s clear that Haman was merely acting in self defense against an aggressor who’d already almost succeeded in killing off his entire ancestral people and stated publicly, every single day without fail for centuries, their intent to do it again and succeed. Right?
Haman was a liar. The Jews were not a threat to the kingdom of Persia. According to Halacha, we must not violate the laws of the country in which we live, unless they’re in direct conflict with the Torah. That was not the case in Persia. Haman’s hatred of the Jews, like so many before and since, was irrational.
Jews have always contributed positively to the countries in which they lived. That is why the PM of France is trying to convince the Jews to stay, and why EU leaders are angry with BIbi for trying to entice Jews to move to Israel. They realize that a Jewish mass emigration from their countries will harm them economically, as well as remove the buffer between themselves and the Islamists in their midst. Hatred of Jews has always defied logic. Throughout history, it was the hatred that came first, followed by the excuses for it. For example, works of fiction like “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.
Regarding Iran, their desire is not to protect their country but threaten others. One only needs to listen to what they’re saying to know this to be true.
Jacob: “Daniel, one is allowed to lie in self defense.”
Alex: “If what Yaakov says is true about the Amalekite prayer, I don’t think Haman’s hatred was irrational. Like a Jewish playwright once said ‘The God of the Old Testament wasn’t good or just, but he was on our side’.”
Daniel: Amalek attacked the Jews first. Had they not, we would not have been ordered to kill them. Had Haman not tried to kill all the Jews, neither he, nor the Persian empire, would have been in any danger. Haman’s demise was the result of his own actions.
Alex Trivunovic So being attacked justifies total genocide? Not sure most people would view that as a just response.
Jacob: Yeah, Amalek attacked over 1000 years before Haman was born. And they lost!
…and, he was simply in a position to take care of his avowed enemy, an enemy who wanted to murder his entire family and race, so he took it. You can’t really blame him for that. Right?
Daniel de Porto Alex, I would trust God’s wisdom to that of “most people” any day.
Jacob: Why? Have you met God?
Alex Trivunovic Fair enough, but i still think you should be able to admit that Haman’s feelings weren’t irrational. From his perspective it was a logical response.
Daniel de Porto And, again, Haman was not in danger. He would not have been killed had he not tried to kill the Jews first. It was his choice and he made the wrong one.
Alex Trivunovic If the Torah is correct and Haman was a descendant of the Amalekites he would have reason to dislike Jews even without being in any danger himself. I know Jews who aren’t in any danger of being pogromed, yet still hate Russia and Russians.
Jacob: He may not have been in danger at that very moment but his progeny certainly were (and are).
Anyways, he didn’t try to kill the Jews first. Shaul had attempted genocide against his entire race long before.
Daniel de Porto Hating in your heart and acting on that hate with physical violence are two different things.
And the Jews had every reason to hate Haman since his people, the Amalekites, attacked the Israelites first.
Also, the reason Haman existed in the first place was because King Saul disobeyed God by sparing the life of Haman’s ancestor, the King of Amalek. That would be a reason to not feel hatred toward the Jews. But, like I said, his hatred was not based on anything logical. It was just his nature to hate Jews.
Jacob: Attacked them hundreds of years before Shaul tried to massacre them and frikkin LOST anyways.
And then, as if that weren’t enough, they publicly reaffirmed their intent to commit genocide against his people, not once a year, not once a month, but EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. FOR. CENTURIES.
If that isn’t a reason for him to think that maybe, just maybe, they actually really meant it, then I can’t imagine what would be.
Alex Trivunovic I see. So because his people were killed but his ancestor was spared, he should feel grateful?
Yaakov Markel So we should be thanking the Nazi’s, right? Lol
Daniel: Omg, how many times do I have to repeat myself?! It only became open season on Amalek AFTER they attacked the Israelites for no reason.
Haman had been on the scene in Persia well before the moment he convinced Achashverosh to annihilate the Jews. All of the Jews, with the exception of Mordechai, bowed down to Haman as he rode by. He did not fear for his life from the Jews, who were living in exile after the Temple had been destroyed.
Jacob: Are you currently in fear for your life from Amalek?
I’ll tell you one thing, they don’t reaffirm every single day that they want to murder you and you’re entire race.
Alex Trivunovic Like i said, he didn’t need to feel endangered personally in order to dislike them. Hatreds between ethnic groups can fester for centuries based on old conflicts.
Daniel: Haman should have learned from his ancestor’s mistake of attacking the Jewish people for no other reason than an irrational hatred. But he didn’t, and went about trying to do the exact same thing. He got what he deserved. End of story!
Daniel: I’m not going to keep repeating myself. If you want to continue bringing up the same arguments I’ve already disproved, just to get the last word, go ahead. I’m signing off. Goodnight!
Alex Trivunovic Repeating yourself isn’t the same as disproving.
Jacob: “Haman should have learned from his ancestor’s mistake of attacking the Jewish people for no other reason than an irrational hatred. But he didn’t, and went about trying to do the exact same thing. He got what he deserved. End of story!”
You could say the same exact words but replace “Haman” with “Jews” and replace the people you’re talking about with “Nazis”, and the content/context of what you’re saying almost wouldn’t even change one iota!
For example, “the Jews should have learned from their ancestors mistakes and not messed with Amalek*, threatening to kill them every day”.
*Note: Many Jewish thinkers consider the Nazis to be an extension of Amalek.
For the record, I’m just playing “Devil’s Advocate”.
Chaim Amalek There is no evidence that any of these people – Esther, Mordechai, Haman – ever existed. Someone took a short story and used it to build up a religion by declaring it to be part of the bible.
Daniel: You can’t twist around the characters of a biblical story with those from a modern day event, the Nazis, to prove how the morality behind the biblical event was wrong. Saying that “the Jews should have learned from their ancestors and not messed with Amalek” is a ridiculous statement. You’re not playing devil’s advocate. You’re playing a fool’s advocate!
It was God’s commandment to wipe out Amalek. It wasn’t a human decision. The Amalekites were a people with a character trait ingrained at birth. They hated God and, therefore, his representatives on Earth. Nazism is only a philosophy that one chooses to follow. The recent story of the grandson of a high ranking Nazi official who converted to Judaism and moved to Israel is proof of that. Amalek represents doubt in God. That was why they were the only people that attacked the Israelites after witnessing the miracles God performed for them while pulling them out of slavery in Egypt and toward Him. This was an attack against God Himself. Not just His representatives.
The Jews during Haman’s time were spiritually weak with very low morale. They had just been defeated by the Babylonians and had their country, Israel, pulled from under them. Their Holy Temple, the symbol of their connection with God, was destroyed. They were forced to live under the rule of a non Jewish king for the first time since they left Egypt. They were NOT daily reciting the verse about destroying Amalek. As I stated earlier, they were, in fact, bowing down to Haman out of fear. Haman had no reason to fear an attack by these Jews. But he took his hatred of Mordechai, who was the only Jew that didn’t bow to him, and spread it to the rest of the Jews who did, and tried to massacre all of them. This was the irrational hatred of holiness by Amalek, which was ingrained into the DNA of Haman. Haman’s attempted genocide proved King Saul’s mistake in showing mercy to the King of Amalek.
Even though the Amalekites are no longer a people and we cannot recognize any of their descendants, we still recite that verse to destroy Amalek. Why? In order to destroy them in a spiritual sense. To destroy the doubt of God, the Amalek, in ourselves and reaffirm our faith that, even if we can’t always understand the reason why things happen, He is pulling the strings for our ultimate good.
When Haman was defeated, it wasn’t just a physical defeat, but a spiritual victory. It was only then that the Jewish people were able to rebuild the Temple.