Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Daf Yomi - Megillah 14 - THE MOUND AND THE PIT

Rabbi Abba said: The parable of Achashverosh and Haman resembles two men, one of whom had a pile of dirt in his field and the other had a ditch. The one who had the ditch said: I wish that the owner of the pile would sell me the dirt so that I can fill up my ditch. The one who had the pile said: I wish that the owner of the ditch would sell me the right to use his ditch so that I can dump my dirt into it. One day, they happened to meet and the owner of the ditch said to the owner of the pile: Sell me your pile. The owner of the pile replied: Take it for nothing. Achashverosh and Haman both wished to destroy the Jewish people; when Haman offered to buy the right to kill them, Achashverosh was ecstatic and he agreed without demanding any payment at all.

The commentators ask: If Achashverosh hated the Jews as much as Haman and also wished to annihilate Klal Yisroel, why did he remain in power after the miracle of Purim? Why was Haman hung on the gallows and not Achashverosh?

The Ben Ish Chai explains this with the following parable: A son of a certain King was taken captive and he fell into the hands of two enemies (of the king) that intended to kill the prince. They both resolved to delay the killing, but for two different reasons. One said that he did not feel that it was becoming to kill a prince with a sword and have his blood flowing on the ground like an animal; he would rather wait and place poison in a goblet of wine and have the prince drink it. This way, he would die on his couch; a pleasant death and one that is fitting for a prince. The other one felt that killing the prince by sword would not be painful enough. He would rather wait, light a fire and burn him to death; this would cause tremendous embarrassment to his father the king and the prince would suffer tremendously.

Due to their procrastination in carrying out the execution, the king was able to locate their hideaway and rescued his son from the captors. The king released the one who wanted the prince to die in an honorable manner because it was due to the delay that the king was able to rescue his son. The other fellow was not so fortunate and the king burned him at the stake in the same manner that he intended to kill the prince.

Achashverosh was like the first captor. He wanted to destroy the Jews but he didn’t want to degrade them. He didn’t want them sold like cattle and that is why he refused to accept the money which Haman offered. He told Haman: Choose a decent death for them, one that you would be comfortable yourself to die with. Haman, on the other hand, had no such compunction. He wanted to humiliate the Jews. His plan was that they should initially be sold like animals in a market place and then there should be a decree to cut their heads off like donkeys. He wanted that Mordechai should be hung on the gallows and remain there. This is why Achasverosh was vindicated and Haman was punished measure for measure.


Anonymous said...


David said...

"Biderech efsher" - maybe Achashverseh's death was suspended becuse he was the father of Koresh, who would evnetually allow the Jews back to build the Beis Hamikdash. After all, we learn in Sotah that having good children will delay the death of the Sotah. Could be the same here.

Shema Tomar, lest you ask, the gemra also tells us that Haman's own descendants learned Torah in Bnei Brak, and hence he too should have had a delayed death? Reabbi Reven margolios already has proven that the proper text of that gemara is that the descendants of Na'aman, not Haman, learned in Bnei Brak.

Anonymous said...

David that opinion is NOT widely accepted.