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Is there a meaning behind the names of the ten sons of Haman who were killed and hung (Esther 9:7-9)? They are:

פַּרְשַׁנְדָּתָא Parshandasa

דַּלְפוֹן Dalphon

אַסְפָּתָא Aspasa

פּוֹרָתָא Porasa

אֲדַלְיָא Adalia

אֲרִידָתָא Aridasa

פַּרְמַשְׁתָּא Parmashta

אֲרִיסַי Arisai

אֲרִידַי Aridai

וַיְזָתָא Vaizasa

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2 Answers 2

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R. Mordechai Sasson, in his sefer דבר בעתו in the section called "רמזי מגלה", explains that Haman symbolizes the Yetzer Harah (evil inclination), and his ten sons allude to its ten bad character traits. Their death, brought about by Mordechai and Esther, represents the nullification of such evil traits by being overpowered by the Yetzer Tov (good inclination). He goes through the ten sons, and explains the meaning of each name and how each corresponds to a particular type of evil:

  • פרשנדתא (Parshandasa) — the Yetzer Harah distances (מפריש) a person from the Torah (דתא).
  • דלפון (Dalphon) — it is a דלת (door) to פניות רעות (bad intentions): it makes a person who is performing a Mitzvah do so with wrong intentions.
  • אספתא (Aspasa) — means "gathering" — the Yetzer Harah gives a person the desire to gather piles of money so that he will have no time for Torah study and performing Mitzvos.
  • פורתא (Porasa) — פורת spelt backwards is תורף, a word used by the Talmud to indicate a woman's private parts — the Yetzer Harah makes a person desire to gaze at uncovered women.
  • אדליא (Adalia) — from lifted up (דלה) — feelings of haughtiness and arrogance.
  • ארידתא (Aridasa) — the Yetzer Harah appears to a person praying like a lion (ארי) to distract him.
  • פרמשתא (Parmashta) — it rips apart (פורם) the strong connection (שתי, literally criss-cross of a garment) that exists between fellow Jews.
  • אריסי (Arisai) — it continuously poisons a person with the venom (ארס) of the snake.
  • ארידי (Aridai) — the evil that subjugates (רודה) a righteous person with suffering and worries about his livelihood.
  • ויזתא (Vaizasa) — the bitterness of the olive (זית) — symbolizing bitter and strong judgement.
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Rabbi Ahron Marcus brought the meanings of most of the names in Ancient Persian (Barzilai, pg. 321):

Dalfon - the proud
Aspata - the soldier
Porata - the elder
Adalya - the brave
Aridata - a creature/creation of the lord
Parmashta - a title for a high-ranking person
Arisai - the shadow of an Aryan
Vaizata - a creation of "the great one" (=Ahura Mazda)

The meanings of Parshandata and Aridai were unknown to him. However, presumably they went along with the themes of the rest of the sons' names, which are: Strong Persian heritage1 and a feeling of superiority, which go well with the character of Haman as presented in Esther.


1 Recently I saw an idea by Prof. Yehoshua Grintz (מוצאי דורות, pg. 95-96; can also be found on JSTOR) that when examining etymological, Tanachic and archeological information, it seems quite possible that the Amalekites were not descendants of Esav but descendants of Elam, AKA Persia. One point of evidence is that the names Amalek and Agag have Elamite characteristics and not Semitic ones, as one would expect from a descendant of the Semitic Esav (the Edomite language was a Hebrew dialect). That Esav had a son named Amalek does not necessarily prove they're his descendants because many of the descendants of Avraham shared names with other ethnic groups or had names that originated in foreign languages.

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  • Interesting but wrong. We know that Amalek is from Esav.
    – Dude
    Mar 9, 2023 at 8:00
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    @Dude what a cleverly crafted counter-argument...
    – Harel13
    Mar 9, 2023 at 9:47
  • Respecting correct mesorah is more important than being "clever"
    – Dude
    Mar 9, 2023 at 14:47
  • @Dude I'm pretty sure there isn't anything in the paper - which I'm guessing you never bothered to read - that disrespects "correct mesorah". Your allegation is unsubstantiated. Perhaps I'd be insulted, but I recall that you have made similar allegations here on MY against some of our gedolim of generations past. I suppose I'm in good company.
    – Harel13
    Mar 9, 2023 at 14:58
  • No idea what you are talking about. This contradicts chumash. See b'reshis ch 36 versus 15 and 16
    – Dude
    Mar 9, 2023 at 15:25

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