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In Esther 2:5, it says

אִישׁ יְהוּדִי, הָיָה בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה; וּשְׁמוֹ מָרְדֳּכַי, בֶּן יָאִיר בֶּן-שִׁמְעִי בֶּן-קִישׁ--אִישׁ יְמִינִי

There was a certain Jew in Shushan the castle, whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair the son of Shimei the son of Kish, a right-handed man.

Why does it matter for the purpose of the megillah that Mordechai was right-handed? Why does the megillah bother to tell us that?

Or is this saying that Mordechai was right-leaning politically? Perhaps he would vote for Yisrael Beiteinu were he alive today.


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closed as too localized by msh210 Feb 28 '13 at 18:35

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@DoubleAA, I guess Yemini must mean politically-right. Unless it means from Yemen... –  Daniel Feb 25 '13 at 5:29
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@CharlesKoppelman, it is, but maybe Mordechai spoke English. –  Daniel Feb 25 '13 at 17:14
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@Daniel of course he did, it is well known that Mordechai spoke all the 70 languages, including English. –  yoel Feb 25 '13 at 18:05
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

No offense, but you are obviously an 'Am HaAretz Gamur MiDeoraitha.

Mordechai was not right-handed. He was left-handed. This is evident two Pesukim later, where he is referred to as אֹמֵן אֶת-הֲדַסָּה, הִיא אֶסְתֵּר. He was Hadassah's personal artisan, which implies not that he was her caretaker (I scoff at your naivete, sir, for thinking so - no offense), but that he was her personal makeup artist.

As the Midrash teaches us (Bab. Meg. 13a), Esther had green skin, and, as the name Esther implies, Mordechai hid this with his artistic skillz. In fact, he had such mad skillz that he was able, as in the aforementioned Pasuk, to totally conceal her identity of Hadassah, allowing her to assume a new identity as "Esther". As is well documented1, most artists are left-handed (including artisans of this type2).

The Pasuk in the question is, of course, referencing Mordechai's status as G-d's right-hand-man, the person who would bring about the salvation of the Jewish people (remember, it was a hidden miracle, which is why HaShem's name doesn't appear in the text). Further evidence of this is the fact that the right-hand is not supposed to know what the left-hand is doing, which is why Esther grew weary of Mordechai's repeated attempts to contact her inside the royal palace and stopped speaking to him directly.

Again, no offense.


1 It's not.
2 This is almost certainly false.

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+1 for the footnotes alone. –  Isaac Moses Feb 25 '13 at 18:16
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I (humbly) feel that you misunderstand pshat. After the exile, there were a number of different groups and Mordechai was being associated with one group: ימיני

the other groups, which he was not a part of were

איני, מַינִי, מוֹ

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איש ימיני means that he belongs to Shevet Binyamin. Actually his father was from Shevet Binyamin, but his mother from Shevet Yehuda and that's the reason he was also named Mordachai Hayehudi (מרדכי היהודי) to accent that he belonged also to Yehuda's kings' dynasty (Talmud - Megilah 12b).

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Gideon, welcome to Mi Yodeya, where, this time of year, some of our questions are marked with a big, bold notice that reads, in part, "This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously". This is one such question. –  msh210 Feb 25 '13 at 15:50
    
Thanx, good 2 know :-) –  Gideon Feb 25 '13 at 16:37
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