Esther 5:9, Question 2. Why does the verse describe Haman’s joy in two ways?

  • The Alshich notes that, for someone who should be planning the details of his newly-signed decree to annihilate the Jews, Haman’s reaction is inappropriate, and is therefore another example of H-Shem guiding the behavior of people. H-Shem calmed Haman, giving him the opportunity to make mistakes only blasé, overly confident people make. H-Shem does not control our actions, but He can control our attitudes by removing our worries.
  • The Vilna Gaon writes that joy refers to physical joy, and a good heart is an internal pleasure.
  • The M’nos HaLevi writes that the two adjectives refer to two different attitudes simultaneously occurring in Haman’s mind. The first happiness came with his taking pride in the fact that only he was invited to private, royal feast. The other feeling was satisfaction from his meal. This was no mundane emotion, as we know that food has a powerful affect on behavior.
  • The Kedushas Levi notes that Scripture usually reserves this kind of phraseology of being satisfied for the righteous. Its use here for Haman seems unusual. The Tiferes Shlomo answers with a spiritual answer that the Talmud (Gitin 57b) says that Haman’s descendants learn Torah in Bnei Brak. Considering that Amalek cannot convert, and that Haman’s sons all die, this is indeed strange. Firstly, it is possible Haman’s sons had children before they were killed. As evil as he was, some of the holiness from the meal prepared by Esther rubbed off on him. Holiness never goes away. It can be mishandled, as potential can be ignored.

Esther 5:8, Question 2. Why does Esther say the party is “lahem” (“for them”) in the plural?

  • The M’nos HaLevi writes that Esther uses the plural form of lahem (“for them”) in order to equate Haman and Achashverosh. The affect of this would be Achashverosh’s famous jealousy would be aroused.
  • Also, according to the Vilna Gaon, Haman would become more prideful and arrogant (see next verse, Esther 5:9), the most important ingredients of a person’s downfall.

Esther 5:5, Question 2. Why does Achashverosh specify that his attendance is from Esther’s command?

  • R’ Elisha Galico and the Malbim explain that Achashverosh specified Haman’s attendance was mandatory. This slapped Haman’s pride, which was one of Esther’s intentions.
  • The Dena Pishra writes that although Esther commanded his being there, Haman went for his own reasons – pride and bragging rights.

Esther 3:4, Question 4. Why are the servants reporting to Haman?

  • The Vilna Gaon points out that, had Haman seen Mordechai not bowing to him, the servants would have no need to report this information to him. However, filled with self -love and pride, with his chin in the air, Haman never even bothered to see this phenomenon for himself!
  • Megillas Sefer says that the king’s servants were acting out of a sense of curiosity. In the Book of Daniel (3:19-23), Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya all survived the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnetzer. These servants wanted to see if the same would hold true for Mordechai, as well.
  • Me’am Loez notes that it is interesting that they reported Mordechai’s conduct to Haman rather than to the king who issued the decree Mordechai is ignoring. Had they told the king, Mordechai would have been summarily executed. Informing Haman allowed the possibility that Mordechai would have been tortured until he submitted. Psychologically, these servants could then feel better about themselves and their behavior. This, coupled with preserving the status quo, is a powerful motivator. From their selfish perspective, it would certainly be better than turning Mordechai into a martyr.