Zeresh’s Advice

Zeresh, Haman’s wife is one of the lesser know characters of the Purim story.


In Chapter 5 of the Megillat Ester, Haman is angry that Mordechai will not bow down to him.  In sentence 14 we read: “And Zeresh his wife and all his friends said, “Let them make a gallows fifty cubits high and in the morning say to the king that they should hang Mordechai on it and go to the king to the banquet joyfully.” The matter pleased Haman, and he mad the gallows.”


In Chapter 6, sentence 13 we see Zeresh once again with Haman’s friends and this time Zeresh and the wise men said: “If Mordechai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish stock, you will not prevail against him, but you will surely fall before him.”


The following question was asked in the Midrash in Ester Rabba 9:2: Why did Zeresh suggest that Haman make a gallows to hang Mordechai on?


Zeresh said to Haman: If Mordechai is of Jewish lineage, the only way to overcome him is through wisdom. There is no point in throwing him into the fiery furnace as Chananya and his friends were saved from that punishment. The lions den is also a waste of time since Daniel was saved from there. If he goes to jail he will end up getting out like Yosef did. Sending him to the desert doesn’t make sense since the Jewish people survived there. Making him blind won’t help since Shimshon killed all kinds of people even after he was blind. Let’s tie him on a gallows since we have never heard of a Jewish person being saved from that punishment.


Zeresh was a smart and logical woman who had the power to convince Haman to take her advice. It says in Ester Raba that Haman had 365 advisors but none of them could give advice like Zeresh his wife. Unfortunately she used this power in a negative way.


Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim from Yerushalayim!

Sharona Margolin Halickman