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Would Israel's Courts Hang Haman?

Rabbi Mordechai Nagari tells Arutz Sheva the Supreme Court would 'strike down' the hanging of the Book of Esther's genocidal arch-villain.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 3/7/2012, 10:07 PM

R' Mordechai Negari
R' Mordechai Negari
Arutz Sheva

Rabbi Mordechai Nagari of Maaleh Adumim said on Purim that the Book of Esther teaches us that Israel must act decisively when lives are on the line.

The Book of Esther recounts the tale of the Jewish people's salvation from the genocidal aims of the wicked Haman during the reign of Ahasuerus, who ruled the Persian empire during the latter years of the Babylonian exile. Iran is the site of ancient Persia.

"Mordecai and Esther stopped to fast for three days to avert the evil decree," Rabbi Nagari recounted. "According to the Sages it was Passover. This means that Esther had canceled the Seder and did not celebrate Passover. Why?"

Rabbi Nagari explains, "Hashem was monitoring each nation's soul - and our very fate hung in the balance - this goes beyond ordinary rules and judgment."

He told Arutz Sheva he did not believe the Book of Esther would pass judicial review by Israel's Supreme Court, and that the justices would have refused to hang the genocidal Haman.

"The Book of Esther would not survive the Supreme Court," Negari said. "There are things in the Megillah that would not stand the test of [modern] law. It would be struck down"

"Esther called for a banquet with wine to uncover the [wicked] soul of Haman," Rabbi Nagari explained, retelling the famous scene in the Megillah where Queen Esther reveals to Ahasuerus she is a member of the doomed Jewish people who had been sold into Haman's genocidal hands.

Discomfited, Ahasuerus agrees to her pleas for her life and the lives of her people, but removes himself upon hearing that his advisor Haman is behind the plot.

In Ahasuerus' absence Haman falls on on Esther's couch begging for her mercy, but when Ahasuerus returns he misconstrues Haman's posture as a seduction attempt. "And the king orders Haman to hang."

"If it were today, people would say it was a lynching," Rabbi Negari said. "How do you execute a man without a careful hearing to determine the truth?"

"But, if your people are being grabbed by Nazi murderers, do you stop to hold a trial? It would never happen. When people's lives are on the line, you don't stop to split hairs. You act."

The Book of Esther teeaches us that "you cannot examine justice strictly according to the rules, but also according to the context of events," Rabbi Nagari said.

Rabbi Nagari said justice does not allow one to be merciful to the cruel. "We saw in this week's haftarah, King Saul defied Hashem and showed compassion for Agag the Amalekite, the ancestor of Haman, who later sought Israel’s destruction.”

“There are times not to feel sorry for the wicked,” he said. “Not when it comes to Israel's very survival. There are times when we cannot go according to legalistic rules. "