Haman: The Role of the Villian

Young girl holding up gifts she received for Purim.

The book of Esther reads almost like a fairy tale — there’s a king and a beautiful queen, an awful villain, and a hero. And yes, the good guys ultimately conquer the bad guys. No wonder the holiday of Purim, which commemorates the events recounted in the scroll of Esther, is a favorite among children. However, as we grow older it’s important to take a deeper look at the story and the many teachings beneath the surface.

In this month’s Limmud, we will study the curious character of Haman — the villain in the story of Esther. Nothing riles up the synagogue more than the mere mention of Haman’s name! As the scroll is read on Purim, every time his name is mentioned, the crowd makes a great racket, either with special noise-makers called gragers or anything at hand that’s loud. The idea is to blot out the memory of this evil man. Some people write Haman’s name on their shoe and stomp on it at the sound of his name. Others write the name on a piece of wax and melt it. Haman is clearly an enemy of the Jews, yet we have had so many throughout history.

Our study will focus on the character of Haman and help us understand why the Jewish people never forget to stomp out his memory. We will explore the role of the villain in the Purim story and in every story. And we will examine the roots of Haman’s archetype and discover how Haman manifests himself even today. Join us as we venture into the very origins of evil and learn how goodness will ultimately wipe wickedness from the face of the earth.

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