The verse in Esther 6:11 describing Haman's pulling Mordochai on the streets says:

כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ
So shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour.

The verse in Devarim 25:9 states regarding someone who perfoms Chalitza with his brother's widow:

כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִבְנֶה אֶת-בֵּית אָחִיו
So shall it be done unto the man that doth not build up his brother's house.

Both phrases start with the same four-word phrase which is found nowhere else in Tanach. Additionally, they have the same cantallation notes associated with them.

These seem very parallel. Does anyone know of a good connection between the two situations, or any classical (loosely defined) commentators who address the issue?


3 Answers 3



Just thinking out-loud. Chalitza is publicly shaming the brother-in-law.

Haman was hoping to have himself publicly praised, but instead got himself publicly shamed.

There's another strong parallel between the chalitza verses and the Shushan-ride verses -- the word "chafetz", or "desire." "Who the king desires to honor" (in Esther), "I don't desire to marry her" (chalitza).

The Gemara talks about how a king rides atop a horse; a common businessman atop a donkey, and any human atop shoes. Malbim says this is about free will and control. A king has control over many other people (especially as he can send them off to war); a businessman control over enterprise; and any human being has free will and control over his own actions, thus his shoes represent the separation between the earth that formed him -- i.e. between his stimulus and response.

Malbim goes further: normally what G-d "wants", so to speak, is that a man not marry his sister-in-law. But if his brother died childless, G-d overrides His "want", so the name can be carried on. This recalcitrant brother who says "but I don't want to marry her!" is shamed -- okay so you want or don't want whatever; can't you exercise some self-control and overcome your wants? You don't deserve to wear shoes. Phooey to you.

So it's actually quite the contrast. Achashverosh had his every whim turned into reality, even at the expense of killing people. Whereas the Torah expects us, to honor the memory of the dead, to do things even when we don't want to.


Per http://tora.us.fm/tnk1/kma/qjrim1/kka_yase_laij_ajr.html Mordechai when he was on the horse felt as if he was being spat at.

  • Actually that page says the author of the m'gila equated the ride with being spat at, not that the rider did.
    – msh210
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 20:24

The simple understanding (פשט) is that it's the call of a town crier. Like saying, "Hear ye, hear ye" or "Extra, extra, read all about it".

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