[Avodah] In defense of Haman -- NOT Purim Torah

Akiva Miller akivagmiller at gmail.com
Thu Mar 21 03:05:15 PDT 2019

R' Micha Berger asked:

> So, okay, Haman was indeed a rasha. But he wasn't simply attempting
> to exterminate an entire nation -- he was attempting to exterminate
> an entire nation that was out to exterminate his own people.
> And yet Chazal portray him as some unfathomable monster. "Harasha"
> puts him in a pretty select group.

Your question is a good one, but I don't think it is new. I think it
is just a new variation on an old theme, and it is usually phrased in
terms like: "But what about the children?! How evil can Amalek's
babies be?!"

To me, the answer is that if an individual Amaleki appears to be
innocent [whether we are talking about babies, or about an Amaleki
whose motivation is no more evil than genuine self-defense], we must
still do our mitzvah, but we must remember to do it very lishmah. A
Gezeras Hakasuv requires us to do certain acts, and feelings like
nekamah or victory or joy are out of place.

(This does not contradict how we should feel on Purim. Haman and his
gang *were* reshaim, and when evil is put in its place, that *is*
something to celebrate.)

Akiva Miller

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