Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

In Defense Of A Nation

Rabbi Yehuda Heimowitz

When it was ordained for Haman to be hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordechai, eleven species of trees, all of which are compared to Klal Yisrael in Scripture, volunteered to be the one to do away with this terrible foe. In honor of Tu B’Shvat, we examine the links between five of those species — those that are among the shivas haminim — and Klal Yisrael, and how they were used in the Beis HaMikdash.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Commenting on the verse, “Vayislu es Haman al ha’eitz — they hanged Haman on the gallows” (Megillas Esther 7:10), the Midrash teaches that when Haman set out to prepare the gallows on which to hang Mordechai, a fierce competition erupted in Heaven. Hashem asked which tree would volunteer to be “graced” with the deposed foe of the Jews, who would eventually hang on the very gallows he prepared for Mordechai. Te’einah (fig), gefen (grape), rimon (pomegranate), egoz (nut), esrog (citron), hadas (myrtle), zayis (olive), tapu’ach (apple), dekel (date), aravah (willow), and erez (cedar) all clamored for the privilege, staking their claim by citing verses in Tanach in which Klal Yisrael is compared to them.

In honor of Tu B’Shvat, we’ll examine the link between some of those trees and Klal Yisrael, narrowing our focus to the te’einah, gefen, rimon, zayis, and dekel (following the order of the Midrash), which have the additional distinction of being the fruit species of the shivas haminim. Specifically, we will find that each corresponds to an attribute of Klal Yisrael, and are also linked to the avodah in the Beis HaMikdash, each in a unique way.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"