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If I recall correctly, there's a Midrash that, consistent with the "rule of conservation of Biblical personalities", identifies Haman with one of the people who shows up in the first two chapters of Megilat Esther, in which he's not mentioned by the name "Haman." Again, if memory serves1, that person is Mordechai.

It seems to me, though, that this Midrash creates the following minor but glaring apparent narrative difficulties:

  • It makes sense that Mordechai wouldn't bow to himself (3:2), this being physically impossible (unless using a mirror counts), but why did he then get angry about this (3:5)? Was he really so conceited that he couldn't stand the thought of himself not bowing to himself?

  • How could Esther invite Mordechai to a party (5:4), if she knew (4:4) that he was in mourning (4:1)? How could he attend (5:5)?

  • Why did Achashveirosh give Mordechai the royal signet ring that he had taken from him back directly (8:2), but give his house to Esther first (8:1), for her to have Mordechai manage (8:2 again)? Did Achashveirosh trust Mordechai to manage stuff, but, for some reason, didn't want him to have his property anymore?

Could you please help me resolve these difficulties? If I can just get past these, I'll be able to read the whole Megila in the light of this Midrash with no problem.


1. Which, I admit, it doesn't always, this time of year.


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closed as too localized by msh210 Feb 28 '13 at 18:44

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@Monica d'oh! Thanks. –  Isaac Moses Feb 17 '13 at 4:42
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I blame footnote 1. :-) –  Monica Cellio Feb 17 '13 at 4:43
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@MonicaCellio Would that all people in a state of footnote 1 had kindly moderators around to clean up their mistakes. :) –  Isaac Moses Feb 17 '13 at 4:46
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Don't feel bad. I still trying to prove that 502 ≠ 502, and I'm getting nowhere. –  Fred Feb 17 '13 at 7:11

1 Answer 1

Clearly the only explanation is that Mordechai/Haman suffered from dissociative identity disorder. One, a megalomaniacal psychopath, was very unstable and prone to violence. The king and Esther finally realizing this, thought it best not to anger him by not inviting him to their parties.

How was Haman was angered by Mordechai not bowing, if he couldn't see it? Well the Megillah says that Haman only heard this from others, presumably people who didn't know that Haman and Mordechai were really one and the same. After all, we know that their mannerisms were different, and their clothing too, Haman wearing fancy clothes and three-cornered hats, while Mordechai preferred sackcloth as a garment, and for headgear, ashes. One can only imagine how angry Haman was, hearing about this defiant person but never being able to personally verify it.

Eventually, once Haman's violence became dangerous the king was forced to restrain Mordechai/Haman during his Haman episodes, usually by tying him up. Thus the king removed Mordechai/Haman's property and ring and gave it to Esther. However Mordechai was still capable of managing it, whenever his mazal was gover (i.e., whenever his personality was in control).

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