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Q & A: The Ten Sons Of Haman


QUESTION: 1) Why were the ten sons of Haman hung with their father on the same gallows?
2) The listing of the ten names of the sons of Haman has three Hebrew letters printed in smaller size. What does that indicate? These two questions have been bothering me for some time.
Yitzchak Green
(via e-mail)
ANSWER: I believe you are the one who submitted this question once before, but due to its timeliness we will repeat the answers.The Yalkut Me’am Loez (Megillat Esther, ch. 14) states: Haman’s ten sons led the Hamanite attack and were therefore among the first to be killed. While the other dead were allowed to remain at the site where they were killed, Haman’s sons were removed so they could be hung as an example (to those who murder and who oppose the king.)

Esther appealed to the king, ‘I request that Haman’s sons be hanged upon the same gallows on which Haman was hanged. You yourself left his body hanging, and now it would be fitting to hang his sons next to him’ (Megillat Setarim, as cited by Me’am Loez ad loc.).

Rashi states that Seder Olam (chapt 29) explains that the ten sons of Haman were the ones who wrote a false accusation against Judea and Jerusalem, as it is written in Ezra (4:6): ‘And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the dwellers of Judea and Jerusalem.’ What was the accusation? The Cutheans had slandered those who ascended from the exile during the days of Cyrus and had started to build the Temple. The construction was stopped. When Haman was promoted during the reign of Ahasuerus, he feared that those in Jerusalem would renew the construction; so the sons wrote, in the name of Ahasuerus, to the governors beyond the river to stop the Jews in Judea from building.

Among the sons who were hung were:

PARSHANDAtA (spelled with a small tav ?). He tried to destroy the Torah by stopping the reading and the learning of the Torah. The Torah is spelled with a ?.

PARMAshTA (a small shin ?). He tried to destroy the observance of Shabbos.

VAYzATA (a small zayin ?). He tried to destroy the observance of the major Jewish holidays which are celebrated on seven days.

The vav of Vayzata is very long. It is compared to the pole of a boat which the helmsman uses to push his boat away from the shore. The vav is elongated because all ten sons were hung up on this pole (Megilla 16b).

Haman and his sons and all the people killed were descended from Amalek, the ancient enemy of the Jews.

The letters of the word Purim ????? represent the following: The peh ? stands for Pesach; the vav – for ‘and Sukkot’; the reish – for Rosh Hashana; the yud – for Yom Kippur and the mem – for Mattan Torah, Shavuot. The miracle of Purim was performed for Israel in the merit of their observance of these holidays (Ta’amei Haminhagim, siman 878, Inyenei Megilla).

NOTE: Next week we will resume and conclude the discussion about Joshua and Rahab.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

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