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In Esther 3:6, it states that Haman was embarrassed to harm Mordechai alone, so he casts lots to decide which date to kill the entire Jewish people.

In 5:14, Haman builds a special gallows for Mordechai.

My questions:

  • What happened to the initial embarrassment? Did Mordechai do something specific that set off Haman, now?
  • There was already a decree in place to kill all the Jews, which included Mordechai (and Esther, if we assume that by that time someone would discover that she was Jewish). Why not wait until that date?
  • If there had to be a special killing for Mordechai, why didn't Haman cast a special lot to decide when to do this?
  • Related, inverse question: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/56161/5323 – Shokhet Mar 6 '15 at 20:00
  • Yes! I was just thinking about this during the day reading! – Isaac Kotlicky Mar 8 '15 at 20:47
  • @GershonGold - If you move the link to an answer and can excerpt and translate the essence of what he says, that would be great, and make it eligible for the bounty, as well. I got the gist of what he says, and this seems to answer my question. Thanks! – DanF Mar 10 '15 at 16:25
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Sefer Ginzei Margoliyos in his Ginzei Nistaros on Megilas Esther ponders this and explains as follows. Haman could not control himself until the time of killing all the Jews as he was incensed by Mordechai's refusal to stand up for him. Haman's plan was to get other's to hang Mordechai thus it will remain a secret that he was the one behind this plot.

My own thoughts are that perhaps Haman feared that Mordechai will convince the Jews to pray and do Teshuva and thus the decree would be annulled. By planning on killing Mordechai, Haman was hopeful that the Jews would not come to repent.

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The following is my own "theory" based loosely on, and mostly inspired by, some comments of the Vilna Gaon.

Haman (and Achashverosh) did not know Esther's nationality, but did know that she was raised by Mordechai (the Vilna Gaon makes this point in several places throughout the Megillah. Commentary to 6:1 is one example). Therefore, there was reason for Haman to assume that if he directly assaulted Mordechai, this would raise the ire of Esther and, in turn, the king. Esther had already been made queen before Haman was raised to his position (Esther 3:1), so by the time Mordechai was refusing to bow down to him, Esther was already in her position of influence. Haman would have killed Mordechai immediately, sans any lots, but he was afraid of Esther's reaction.

When Esther invited Haman to the party, Haman concluded that Esther felt more fondly towards him than she did towards Mordechai (Vilna Gaon commentary to 5:9). When, upon his departure from the party he saw Mordechai and was reminded of his hatred for him, he no longer had any barriers preventing him from directly taking action against Mordechai, and went to arrange for his immediate hanging.

I realize this does not fit well with the Vilna Gaon's commentary to Esther 3:6 (which is why I called it my theory inspired by the Vilna Gaon, and not what I think he would say), but, borrowing the explanation of the Malbim to Esther 3:4-6, it could be understood as follows: Haman understood Mordechai's failure to bow as an expression of Mordechai's personal hatred towards Haman (Malbim to 3:5), and even so he decided to destroy the Jews as a whole out of spite for a belief system which could have led to not bowing to him (Malbim to 3:6).

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it says it was embarrassing for people to see that hes so petty to want to kill a rival. Once it becomes a national issue,which is what he turned it into, your killing the jews "with mordechai", that does not look petty at all

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