Tuesday, March 14, 2006

14 'Adhar 5766 * 16 March 2006: Purim/Pi Day/National Potato Chip Day


In honor of today’s holiday (Purim, not Pi Day or National Potato Chip Day), I feel like sermonizing, which, since this is my blog and can thus do anything I want, I will.

This is something I came up with in 1998 on the Book of ’Esther:

Why did Haman bother rolling lots to determine when to destroy the Jews? Why bother waiting? One notable thing has occurred to me: God determines the roll of the dice. (He/She did create the laws of physics, which more directly determine the outcome.) Haman may have been trying to push the responsibility of his genocidal plan onto God.

The scenario that I have devised is this: Haman wanted to kill Mordokhay and his people (apparently even wanting to outdo gangsters in not only killing the defier and his/her family, but his/her whole people as well). However, to do so he needed a rationalization. So he used Puritan reasoning and said to himself, “If Mordokhay is right, then his god will create a outright miracle to save him and his people, and I will have not harmed innocent people and will not be guilty of anything. On the other hand, if I am right, Mordokhay and his people must be guilty of some horrendous crime and I am perfectly justified in destroying them, for otherwise my god would not allow me to do so.” However, God does not do outright miracles on a regular basis, certainly not for non-prophets, and never just because a loony assumes He/She will. Therefore God resorted to His/Her usual behind-the-scenes approach. The Jews were saved by an alternative which Haman had not considered, that is, outwardly natural means. Furthermore, Haman had not expected that he would be personally affected no matter which alternative happened, but he had no idea that God had arranged that the Queen just happen to be of the same nation as Mordokhay, a situation which naturally lent itself to blowing up in Haman’s face. Thus were some of the assumptions underpinning Haman’s rationalization shown to be incorrect.

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