Before we say goodbye to Purim and go on to the next holiday, please welcome this guest post by Susie of New Day New Lesson.
Susie from New Day New Lesson
I am big on learning lessons from everything and everyone. So while listening to the megilla (scroll of Esther), I started making a mental list of all the things I could learn from the villain Haman. Here’s what I discovered.
What We Can Learn From Haman
—¢ You can’t make anyone like or respect you. Haman tried to force Mordechai to bow down to him like everyone else. Even if Mordechai had complied (which he didn’t), Haman still would not have gained Mordechai’s respect. You will not win anyone over by force.
—¢ Be careful of where you get your advice. Haman sought counsel from his wife and sons—a narrow set of people who knew him and who thought like him. When making important decisions, it pays to get advice from someone outside of your immediate circle, someone with a different perspective.
—¢ It’s not always about you. People are egocentric by nature. I don’t mean selfish, rather that we tend to think of ourselves first. How many times do we mistakenly think someone is talking about us? Haman assumed Achashverosh wanted to reward him and told the king all the things that he would like to have done to himself. Well as you all know, the king was talking about Mordechai. We’re not as important as we like to think.
—¢ Your actions may be used against you. I bet the megilla was the inspiration for the Miranda Warning: Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. I spotted two goof-ups by Haman. First, he built the tree to hang Mordechai. You know, the tree Haman himself was eventually hung on. The second time was when he fell down and begged Esther’s forgiveness. His actions were misconstrued by Esther’s jealous husband. Haman is a good warning as to why it’s important to be careful with our words and actions.
—¢ Pride cometh before a fall. I think this one is self evident. Haman’s pride couldn’t handle Mordechai’s disobedience. Haman’s pride blinded him to the possibility that Acheshverosh wanted to reward someone other than himself. He was proud when Esther invited him to her party. Pride, pride, pride. And then he was hung.
—¢ Hate doesn’t pay. Haman had tremendous hate for Mordechai and the Jews. Look where that got him. Sometimes it is hard to see or hear about evil and not to hate in return. I believe hate lowers us. We don’t understand all of Hashem’s ways. Sometimes we just have to practice tolerance and love, and believe that Hashem knows what he is doing.
The story of the megilla happened over the course of 9 years. For those living during that time, the chain of events was not evident. The same is true in our time—we don’t know the bigger picture.
Were they any more lessons from Haman that I missed?
Susie is a happily married mother of five. Originally from NY, she has been living in Israel for 20 years. She works as an oncology nurse (after having given up ER nursing) and is studying to be a life coach. Susie writes regularly about positive thinking on her blog New Day New Lesson.