Megillas Esther, Part 2

In his brilliant final piece in his commentary on Megillas Esther, the Maggid brings out a message that underlies the entire Megillah. He tells us that Hashem has His own special way of dealing with antagonists, different from that of mortal men. Suppose a person wishes to foil the plans of enemies who are plotting against him, or wants to rescue an oppressed neighbor from his oppressor. He then must make plans and take steps that directly oppose the actions of those who are making trouble for him or his neighbor. He must totally demolish the evil plans of the enemies, and stand up against them with force until they disperse and flee. But when the Holy One Blessed Be He wishes to take revenge on evildoers who plot against His faithful servants, He does not take any steps to oppose their actions. He does not disrupt their plans at all. He simply leads them to form a foolish plan, which they are allowed to carry out as they please, and this plan itself ensnares them and lowers them down into the well of destruction. Not only will their actions fail to harm their intended victim as they had imagined, but these very actions will bring about their own resounding downfall and lead to their utter doom. Thus Shlomo HaMelech declares (Mishlei 5:22): “A wicked man’s iniquities will ensnare him, and with the ropes of his sins he will be hanged.” That is, with the same ropes that he relied on to support his nefarious plans, he will end up hanging his own self.
Thus it was with the wicked Haman. He never stopped ruminating over how he would bring down the righteous Mordechai, and the whole People of Israel along with him. In the end he decided, on the advice of his wise men and his wife Zeresh, to make a fifty cubit high gallows on which to hang Mordechai. His friends told him if the gallows were not ready, he could not be sure to achieve his goal. Even if Ahashveirosh would agree to hang Mordechai, there was always the chance that he would change his mind while the gallows was being built. After all, Ahashveirosh was known to be a fickle character (Megillah 15b). Haman did not realize that Hashem was the one who had put the idea into his head, and that the building of the gallows would itself lead to his own downfall and the Jewish People’s salvation. Had the gallows not been ready, Ahashveirosh’s anger at Haman could easily have died down before his order to hang Haman could be carried out. But since the gallows was already built, Haman was hanged right away. The Megillah states (Esther 6:4): “Haman came to the outer courtyard of the king’s palace to tell the king to hang Mordechai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.” On this the Midrash comments (Esther Rabbah 10:2):
“To hang Mordechai on the gallows that he had prepared for him.” It is taught: “For him [i.e. himself] he prepared it.” About him it is written (Tehillim 7:14, 7:16): “Then he shall have prepared for himself the weapons of death; his arrows which he wanted to turn into swift pursuers. … He has dug a pit and hollowed it, and then he fell into the abyss that he wanted to prepare.”
Similarly, on the verse that tells of how Haman built the gallows, the Midrash comments (Esther Rabbah 9:2): “A Heavenly voice retorted: ‘The gallows is fitting for you. The gallows has been prepared for you since the Six Days of Creation.’” It is precisely as we have just explained.
PS: The mode of operation where God ensures that all of man’s actions ultimately serve His plan is known as hanhagas ha-yichud, and is expounded upon in depth in Ramchal’s Daas Tevunos.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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