9. “And the clothes and the horse should be given through a man from the officers of the king. And the man whom the king desires to honor should be dressed. And they should ride him on the horse in the street of the city. And they should call out before him, ‘Like such is done to the man whom the king desires to honor.’”
Rav Arama writes that Haman advises the need for a proclamation because he anticipated that Achashverosh might otherwise become jealous. He therefore wanted it to be clear that this honor was coming from the king, who had the power to give honor.
The Ben Ish Chai writes that Haman stressed that these be “brought” because he wanted a great amount of people to be involved with fetching the items, and then handed over by Achashverosh. This is because the more individuals involved in bringing something, the more honor there is inherent in it. This is why many people are involved in carrying the Olympic torch to begin those ceremonies. In Halacha, too, there is great honor in being one of the people who bring a baby boy in for his circumcision (see Rema on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 265:11). This was Haman’s plan to increase the honor he felt was due to him.
According to Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer (50) Haman intended for Achashverosh to provide the clothing he wore at his coronation. As can be seen in museums around the world, the clothes worn at a coronation or even presidential inauguration are important, and become part of the culture.
The Yosef Lekach explains that these could not just be any clothes, but had to be special and were likely kept in storage for important occasions like this.
R’ Avraham Chadidah writes enigmatically that Haman meant to imply to Achashverosh that his providing the clothes would show that he is a kind, generous man.
R’ Dovid Holtzer explains that the logic behind this depends on how the king defines himself. Achashverosh, from his original invitation of the rich and poor to his party (Esther 1:5), defines himself as a nice, generous person. Similarly, the nuance of clothing defines oneself. The clothing one wears defines one’s political beliefs, religious concerns, cultural status, etc. Therefore, dressing like Achashverosh can make you like Achashverosh in character.
On a more mystical level, R’ David Valle writes that the idea of a king’s clothing refers to the King above rewarding the righteous below. He writes that such rewards come from the forty-five letter Name of H-Shem. Forty-five is also the gematria of the word kacha (“like so”) referring to this reward in the next verse (Esther 6:9) and the gematria of adam (“man”), meaning that H-Shem always rewards the righteous, even when it is not manifestly apparent to us with our limited vision.
8. “Bring clothes of kingship that the king wears and the horse upon which rides the king and that which the crown of kingship is placed on his/its head.
According to Rashi and Alshich, Haman does not repeat the request for the crown after he first mentions it because he astutely noticed that Achashverosh’s demeanor indicated displeasure with the original mention of his crown.
R’ Dovid Feinstein writes that Haman was deliberately vague about the crown because he didn’t want it to appear that he wanted it.
7. And Haman said to the king, “The man whom the king desires in glorifying him…
The Malbim writes that Haman wants to emphasize that the highest possible honor is to be the man whom the king wishes to honor.
R’ Jonathan Taub explains that the verse does not say bi’ish, (“in the man” as in the previous verse) but just ish (“man”) because that man who deserves the king’s favor needs nothing else.
Maharitz Dushinsky notes that Haman repeated this phrase because he wanted to see if Achashverosh would object to the word “desires.” The king should honor Mordechai for saving his life.
The Sfas Emes points out that one of the messages of Purim is that the King desires us. Yehoshua and Calev (Bamidbar 14:8) similarly tried to convince the Jewish people that if H-Shem desires us, nothing stands in our way.
R’ Shlomo Kluger writes in Ma’amar Mordechai that Haman uses the word “mimeni” (“from me”) because, he thought Achashverosh would honor someone Haman likes, too. After all, haughty people believe that everyone thinks like they do.
M’nos HaLevi writes that Haman thinks that Achashverosh is referring to him because Achashverosh would only want to honor someone who already has money, so it had to be Haman.
The Iturrei Torah gives a more drush explanation. Haman focused on the fact that Achashverosh used the word “ish” (“man”). Since the Talmud (Megillah 12a) notes that Haman is called an ish, he assumed the king was referring to him. It happens to be that the same source calls the actual deserving honoree, Mordechai, an ish, as well.
Perhaps Haman also considered that the mispar katan of ish (1+1+3=5) happens to be the same as that of Haman (5+4+5=14=1+4=5).
The Sfas Emes writes that Haman was thinking that even if Achashverosh were referring to someone else, he will still do this for him later, as well.
The Ibn Ezra quotes the opinion in the Talmud (Megillah 15b) of Rebbe Eliezer that the verse’s use of the phrase “in his heart” is proof that Megillas Estherwas written with Ruach HaKodesh, Divine Inspiration, (see Introduction). After all, if Haman said something to himself, how did the authors of this book know what he was thinking privately?
The Sfas Emes, however, asks why this would prove that the entire book is written with Divine Inspiration. It should only prove that its authors, Esther and Mordechai, had Divine Inspiration. He answers that people with Ruach HaKodesh would not have written that they have it in such an obvious way. They would not show it off.
A story is told of the Rubshitzer Rav that somebody came to visit him for a bracha, but arrived at a time at which the Rav did not accept visitors. The visitor told the attending gabbai, who happened to be the Rav’s son, that he was a very important person. After the gabbai persisted in explaining that this was not the time for the Rav to receive visitors, this guest asked for a glass of water. When the gabbai gave him the water, the man said he could not drink from the cup because he could tell that it had not yet be toveled (submerged) in a mikvah since he could feel the Name of H-Shem on it. Indeed, upon investigation, the Rav’s son learned that the cup he had given the man came from a box of vessels awaiting mikvah immersion. Impressed with the man’s obvious holiness, he rushed him in to see his father, the Rubshitzer Rav. After the visit, the Rav asked the gabbai why he allowed the guest at a time when the Rav did not see visitors. His son told him then what had transpired earlier, and concluded, “I pray that one day, I am on the level to see if a cup has been toveled merely by holding it.” The Rav responded, “When you become that great, I pray you are the type of person who will not tell that to the person who gave you the glass.”
The Midrash (Esther Rabba 10:3) writes that evil people are controlled by their hearts, and brings several proofs from TaNaCh of this. Righteous people, on the contrary, are in control of their hearts.
Rebbetzin Heller explains that righteous people are are rational, and evil people are emotional. The Maharal adds that an evil person’s whole being is focused on the temporary, terrestrial world, whereas the righteous are focused on the permanent, the holy – not controlled by the momentary whims and passions of their hearts.
Parenthetically, it is amazing to note that Haman who had arrived with the plan to kill Mordechai, could switch gears without missing a beat, from murder to honoring himself. Perhaps this is because both come from the same negative inclination/characteristic.
The Vilna Gaon writes that Achashverosh uses the word “yikaro” (“his glory”) because if Achashverosh were to have said “gedula” (“greatness”) as in Esther 6:3, Haman would have known that he was not referring to him because he was already made great (Esther 3:1).