BS"D Tzav - Purim 5768
As with most episodes in TaNaCh, the real story of Purim is not in the written verses, rather it is between the lines, and the entrance to the wonderland of these episodes is via the difficulties which arise in the text.
There are, among many other questions in the Megilla , three which I would bring to your attention:
1) The Megilla records Mordechai's genealogy for three generations back: Mordechai ben Ya'ir ben Shim'ee ben Kish, father of King Shaul; when it is customary to cite the person and his father only. Why?
2) The Megila states that Mordechai did not bow to Haman, implying that the other rabbis found a heter (dispensation) to bow before him . Why did Mordechai act differently than his rabbinical colleagues?
3) The last verse in the Megilla informs us that Mordechai was highly respected in the eyes of the Jewish people; but only in the eyes of "most of his brothers" (rabbinic colleagues), Why not by all of them?
What's happening here are the undercurrents of the Megilla .
The Midrash relates that Mordechai and Haman did not meet for the first time in Shushan, They had a long ongoing relationship. Mordechai first came upon Haman when Haman was a badly wounded soldier, obviously of Amalek descent. Mordechai nursed him back to health, and as an act of reciprocity Haman volunteered to become an eved ke'na'any (a halachic gentile servant) of Mordechai.
Now it came about that Haman discovered a huge treasure and fled from Mordechai, and arrived in Shushan, the capital, as a very wealthy man. The King, who appreciated men of wealth, drew Haman close to him and appointed him as a principal minister.
At this point in the story, Mordechai arrived in Shushan, where his very presence presented a dire threat to Haman and his new life. Mordechai knew that in view of Haman's prestige, any claim that Mordechai would make against him would be summarily dismissed and would even present a threat to Mordechai's life.
When examining the evolving events, Mordechai realized that, like his ancestor Shaul, son of Kish who spared the life of Agag, King of --- Amalek, Mordechai too was responsible for saving the life of this Amalekite , permitting this evil man to live . Hence the necessity of the Megilla to trace Mordechai's family relationship to Kish, father of Shaul. With this recognition, Mordechai would not accept any halachic dispensation to bow before Haman; but felt a personal challenge to bring about the destruction of this evil Amalekite.
The story unfolds , as we all know, until the end of the Megilla when Achashverosh appoints Mordechai to the position previously held by Haman, including the possession of Haman's stately mansion.
Here Mordechai again trips up. He accepts the home of Haman, contrary to the halacha which requires the eradication of any and every article which the name of Amalek is associated with, including the house of Haman. Hence, the ambivolous attitude of the rabbis towards Mordechai when he obtained his high position within the King's court.
Mordechai, as Shaul before him, failed to "pull the trigger" on the individual Amalekite with whom he came in contact. It conflicted with both of their perception of the Torah, which induces love and understanding between human beings. How could Shaul pass a sword across Agag's neck when he was totally powerless and chained? How could Mordechai not extend medical attention to the suffering human being twisting in pain before his very eyes?
Both Shaul and Mordechai, from the same tribal family, just generations apart, did not internalize a simple idea. The war between Jews and Amalekites is not as individuals. It is not Moshe vs. Musa, or Avraham vs. Ibrahim or Yosef vs. Yusef; it is a war between the Jewish NATION and the Amalek NATION .
In this war we do not ask, aren't there good Amalekites? Certainly there are! They have their doctors, social workers and charity organizations; they have their churches and cathedrals, their mosques and their temples. But it is a war between NATIONS .
When the United States carpet bombed Drezden, killing over 200,000 people in one night, did they ask are there no good Germans? When they bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, did President Truman order the separation of the good Japanese who opposed the war from the bad Japs who were for the war? It was a war between all those who identified with the United States against all who identified with Germany or Japan.
To identify with Amalek, even if you oppose their policies, is to bear their historic national guilt.
A German born today, who will never know the grandfather who served in the SS, bears the guilt for all the crimes of the Holocaust, because he identifies with the German nation.
Chazal say that every generation suffers for the sin of the Golden Calf, even though succeeding generations were not culpable, simply because we identify with the Jewish nation.
The lessons of Shaul and Mordechai are yet to be internalized by our political leadership and even many religious leaders. Collective punishment on the poor people of Azza or Bet Lechem or Shechem? It is immoral! It is not Jewish!
No! What is un-Jewish is to allow one hair on the head of a Jewish child to fall if it can be prevented by the destruction of ten thousand of the enemy - men, women and children.
It is un-Jewish to let the family of an Arab who killed eight yeshiva students to remain at peace in their home, while --- families and the nation is in mourning for the eight holy souls.
It is un-Jewish to let over 4000 missiles fall on Jewish cities and do nothing, except of course to supply the enemy with the electric power to produce those missiles.
It seems that when one leaves the Torah, he also leaves behind common sense and love for fellow Jews . Leaving the Torah includes denial of the mitzvot given to us by HaShem at Mount Sinai; as well as recognizing the sanctity of the mitzvoth; but turning one's back on the struggle going on today in Eretz Yisrael.
Had we acted in 1948, or in 1967 or in 1973 as Jews should have , we would not be threatened today with a huge enemy minority within us, just waiting for the opportunity to drive us out of the land or kill us.
Harav Chaim Kanefsky shlita, ordered this week, that no yeshiva may hire Arab employees because they are the enemy.
Here is the first ray of sanity to appear in the chareidee world.
May it grow and engulf every fibre in our public and private lives, until a man like Shmuel, the prophet, will appear and show us again how he dealt with Agag, so we shall know how to deal with the many Agags who abound around us.
Shabbat Shalom and Purim Samayach.