Why Did Mordecai Not Bow to Haman? | Aleph Beta

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Why Did Mordecai Not Bow To Haman? (Part 1 of 2)

The Story of Haman & Mordecai In The Book Of Esther

One of the big questions in Mordecai's story – the point when we lean forward in anticipation – is why Mordecai refused to bow to Haman? We read in the Megillah how the palace servants approached Mordecai with this very question – but he doesn’t reply. He keeps it a mystery.

It’s easy to assume that Mordecai doesn’t bow to Haman, the viceroy who demands fealty, to avoid being idolatrous, or because Mordecai was a Jew. But the Megillah doesn’t actually confirm these details – and that raises the question: What is Mordecai’s side of the story really about?

In this video, Rabbi Fohrman suggests that Mordecai’s actions had less to do with idolatry than objecting to Haman’s power grab in loyalty to the king. Rabbi Fohrman dispels common explanations by showing that bowing, itself, isn’t idolatrous, that the story of Haman’s wearing an idol is not actually in Biblical text, and connecting the narrative to that involving Potiphar’s wife. Follow his journey through the story of Mordecai as he uncovers the answers.

Learn more about Purim at Aleph Beta by checking out some of our other videos including Taanit Esther, The Queen You Thought You Knew, and Matanot La'evyonim.

Rabbi David Fohrman

Founder and Lead Scholar






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