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Purim- the Haman syndrome

Haman min haTorah minayin? The Gemara asks where we find an allusion to Haman in the Torah. What kind of question is this?  Why should Haman, who appeared on the scene thousands of years after the giving of the Torah, be mentioned in the Torah? The answer given is from the verse in Genesis (3:11):

 

HAMIN HA’ETZ ASHER TZIVITICHA L’VILTI ACHAL MIMENU ACHALTA;

G-d asks Adam if he ate from the tree that He had had forbidden.  What does G-d’s question to Adam about his having eaten the forbidden fruit have to do with Purim or Haman?

Haman is spelled with the same letters as HA-MIN – only the vowels are different.

Ostensibly, the connection between the question and the answer is in the word HA-MN which can be read as Haman or HA-MIN.Is that all there is to the question and answer of the Talmud  – a play of words?

.

Is that it? Definitely not. One commentary explains that Adam’s eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil pointed to a serious personality flaw: He was given everything imaginable by G-d. He had one restriction only: he Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam could have enjoyed the fruit of any tree in the garden but he decided he must have the forbidden one, and this decision was his downfall.  By eating from the Tree, he was saying: No matter what I have, nothing matters if I can’t have this too.

Similarly, Haman had the honor and reverence of all of the subjects in the Kingdom except for Mordechai.  Haman had wealth and power. As viceroy to Achashveirosh, all had to kneel and prostrate themselves before him. He was favored, not only by the king, but by the queen as well. And yet he sees Mordechai and proclaims:

V’KOL ZEH EI’NENU SHAVE LI.” “All this is worth nothing when I see Mordechai the Jew sitting in the king’s court.”

His obsession with the one thing he couldn’t have, led to his downfall.

 

 

 

The Gemara asks HAMAN MIN HA- TORAH MINAYIN? meaning where do we find this character trait this personality fault in the Torah. Is there a precedent for such obsessive behavior as shown by Haman?  Indeed, the Gemara answers it is the same trait found in the first man, Adam.   It is a personality fault that we must beware of – never being satisfied. We must be aware of the Haman syndrome and always count our blessings.

 



One Response to “Purim- the Haman syndrome”

  1. Guest says:

    I’ve heard that gemara many times and never till now saw a satisfactory explanation! Thank you!

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