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A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Highlighted words lead to other posts almost all in my blog. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. INDEX OF POSTS SEE MAY 2017 or click link above.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Proof of God from Purim Fest 1946 or Prophecy of Nazis in Megillah

In the Megillah (Book of Esther) we have the Purim story involving a plot by Haman and Jewish enemies to have the Jews killed. The plot fails and Haman with the Jewish enemies are vanquished. Haman’s 10 sons are killed and hung.  

Preamble

Before discussing the ‘proof’‘ I should have written another post documenting the following facts which have bearing on the ‘proof’.

1) The Purim festival has pagan parallels.

2) Humman / Homman was a principal God of the Elamite pantheon. An obvious similarity to the name Haman. 
 
Mashti (with an M not a V) , was a goddess in Elam , who is replaced by Ishtar- See Page 338 Goddesses in World Mythology 1993 by Ann and Imel). Recall Vashti is the King of Persia’s  wife in the Megillah.

There was the  Babylonian god Morodach=Marduk and goddess Ishtar. In the Megillah story the Jewish pair Mordachai and Esther usurp Haman and Vashti.

There was  a Babylonian Festival where the Babylonian gods usurp the Elamite gods. How is that for a coincidence ?

This is also suggests Jews were naming their children using the names of Babylonian pagan deities. Are there hidden secrets found in the Jewish use of the names Ishtar and Marduk ?

3) Many academic scholars, if not the vast consensus consider the Purim story non historical, and for good reasons.  Nevertheless, just like fictional novels may have factual statements so too the  Megillah may have some factual elements. Moreover,  the possibility of a planned pogrom while the Jews were in exile is certainly possible. 

The  ‘proof’ can be repudiated  without recourse to any of the above.

The ‘Proof’ or ‘Argument’

It is argued there is a prophecy of the Nazis in the Megillah based on a special (I would say a seriously mistaken convoluted) reading of the Megillah together with 'amazing' Nazi parallels.

(Some add to the ‘proof’ letter skips in the Bible or Megillah finding ‘amazing’ connections between Haman, Nazis, certain dates etc:.  None of those Bible Code findings have been published in peer reviewed journals. I briefly discuss Bible Codes in Proof of God from Gematria and I suggest reading that post.)

I will argue the Nazi parallels are extremely suspect, suffer from logical fallacies and historical errors. Also the argument of a Megillah prophecy is based on misconstruing Rashi, and misconstruing the Megillah. It will be demonstrated that Rashi nor the Megillah intend a Megillah prophecy.

{The following posts are also related to this sort of proof:

Proof of God from Gematria

Proof of God from Prophecy

Proof of God from Prophecy of Nazis in Talmud

For a very limited example we have in the post Proof of God from Prophecy the requirement clear intent the person or text is making a prophecy. It will be shown this requirement is lacking in the Megillah. } 

With those preliminaries out of the way we may discuss the details of proof/argument.

I will use a very limited amount of Hebrew, but the discussion may be fully understood without any knowledge of Hebrew by the reader. So read on. 

Here are the relevant verses from the book of Esther Chapter 9

1 Now in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have rule over them; whereas it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them; 2 the Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt; and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them was fallen upon all the peoples. 3 And all the princes of the provinces, and the satraps, and the governors, and they that did the king's business, helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai was fallen upon them. 4 For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and his fame went forth throughout all the provinces; for the man Mordecai waxed greater and greater. 5 And the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and with slaughter and destruction, and did what they would unto them that hated them. 6 And in Shushan the castle the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. {S} 7 And [ואת - pronounced v'et] {S} Parshandatha, and {S} Dalphon, and {S} Aspatha, 8 and {S} Poratha, and {S} Adalia, and {S} Aridatha, 9 and {S} Parmashta, and {S} Arisai, and {S} Aridai, and {S} Vaizatha, {S} 10 the ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Jews' enemy, slew they; but on the spoil they laid not their hand. 11 On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the castle was brought before the king. 12 And the king said unto Esther the queen: 'The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the castle, and the ten sons of Haman; what then have they done in the rest of the king's provinces! Now whatever thy petition, it shall be granted thee; and whatever thy request further, it shall be done.' 13 Then said Esther: 'If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews that are in Shushan to do to-morrow [מחר ]   also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.' 14 And the king commanded it so to be done; and a decree was given out in Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons. 15 And the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men in Shushan; but on the spoil they laid not their hand. 16 And the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of them that hated them seventy and five thousand--but on the spoil they laid not their hand.

Lets see how some argue there is a prophecy embedded in the above versus.

P1) The claim is made when a word is written differently there is a hidden meaning. Although not visible in the English above there are Books of Esther written with Hebrew letters that have small letters within the names of Haman sons starting in verse seven. In one tradition the letters are Shin, Taf, Zayin.

The English letter ‘A’ can be called number one. In Hebrew Numerology (Gematria) the 3 Hebrew letters can correspond to 300,7, 400 respectively. Adding them up gives 707. Now the Hebrew calendar has the year 5707 being 1946. In 1946, 10 Nazis are hung per the Nuremberg Trial. Amazing ?

Response: 

The claim is made when a word is written differently there is a hidden meaning. This tradition may apply to the Torah, but I can not source it for the Megillah. Nor do any of the ‘proofs’ I have seen source it. 

Adding the three Hebrew letters can give 707. But why add the letters ? The calculation is ad- hoc in order to back into the desired result. (Also see my post on Gematria). 

But there are other problems.

 First, 707, is not the same as 5707. The 707 could refer to 707, 1707, ...6707, 9707...100707 (if we are still around)... etc: 

(Some argue there is also a large Megillah letter ‘vav’, but this is no help since ‘vav’ corresponds to 6. A large letter ‘hey’ which corresponds to 5 would be better, but that is non existent. So they argue the six ‘really’ means the  sixth millennium. And why should a large letter correspond to millennium ? And why did not the Megillah give the exact number 5707 with the proper small letters or at least a large ‘hey’ ? )

The second other problem is there are different valid Jewish traditions which letters should be small. To the best of my knowledge no mention is made in the Talmud about small letters in the Megillah. The original version may not have had them,  and small letters may have been added at a much later date for one reason or another. Recall, the sons names were most likely foreign and had uncertain spelling - (See appendix below for uncertainty of the actual names of Haman sons and perhaps even their number.)  The Yemenite Megillah has only two small letters taf, shin. The Soncino Megillah has four small letters  taf, shin, taf, zayin. So, if you are to read the addition of small letters to give dates, these other editions would give significantly different dates. None matching 5707.

Finally, the odd sized letters in the Megillah could have been written to provide 1946. Or at least  5707. It did not. 

When you know the target, all sort of ad hoc calculations and speculations can be used to back into it.

P2) The claim is made that the repeated use of the Hebrew word v’et [ואת ], meaning ‘and’ in verse 7-9  has special exegesis significance . In particular it means to replicate.  So the 10 sons listed in verse 7-9 imply there are 10 more.  (See P3 below how this will be used.)

Response: 

None of the proofs I have seen  source the ‘replication’ nor do I know if would apply to the Megillah.

The best I could do is source it to several of the 32 exegesis rules of Eliezer.

Rule one. Rubbui -  increase / include applies when the Hebrew  words for ‘also’, ‘and’. But the rule does not specify how much to increase for each v’et.  Should we increase by one ? By two etc: 

Rule three. Rubbui ahar rubbui - inclusion after inclusion when the Hebrew  words for ‘also’, ‘and’ are repeatedly used. This rule seems to apply very well to the Megillah Haman sons verses. The problem is it would supply way more than 10 additional people. 

Rule 10 Repetition of numbers or holy book sentences or certain words. This could give an increase of Haman sons. The problem is I don’t think the rule applies to v’et (‘and’).  For the word v’et,  Rule one or three apply. If we apply Rule 10 to v’et, then we may apply Rule 10 to other Torah versus with that word. This would lead to conflicts and contradictions with older and ancient Rabbinic exegesis. 

So the people making the proof need to source their assertion, and demonstrate their use is consistent with older rabbinic exegesis, and that it would give exactly 10 more. 

Even if they can do that, it would only mean more than 10 people are hung. Meaning hung at around the time Haman’s sons are hung. It need not refer to way in the future hangings like at the time of the Nazis. See P3 for more on this.  


From Talmud Megillah 15b “And Haman recounted unto them the glory of his riches and the multitude of his children. How many are indicated by ‘the multitude of his children’ [Chapter 5 verse 11] ? — Rab said: Thirty. Ten died, ten were hung, and ten were reduced to beggary. The Rabbis, however, said: Those who were reduced to beggary numbered seventy, as it says, They that were full [Hebrew sheve'im] have hired themselves out for bread. Read not sheve'im, but shiv'im [seventy]. Rami b. Abba said: In all they were two hundred and eight, as it says, And the multitude [v’rov] of his sons. But v’rov in gematria  is two hundred and fourteen? R. Nahman b. Isaac said: The word is written defectively.”

[To digress and  clarify about the Sheveim discussion - this is a play on words. The Hebrew root word  שבע shin-bes-aiyin can mean seven or satiated] 

We see from this Talmud citation some Rabbis thought Haman had more than 10 sons, but they did not agree on  how many. 

P3) In verse 13 Esther requests from the King 10 Haman sons be hung, even though they were already dead !  The claim is then made Esther is requesting 10 sons (meaning Nazis) to be hung in the future. [Never mind the request is to the King of Persia.  I suppose the argument would say Esther request is ‘ really’ being made to God - the king of all kings and the Universe. More on this later.] To buttress their interpretation they will interpret the hebrew word [מחר] meaning tomorrow,  to mean way in the future.  Lets see how this is done.

Exodus13: 14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee  in time to come [מחר], saying: What is this? that thou shalt say unto him: By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage;

[The Hebrew word מחר being translated as ‘in time to come’ , may also be translated as tomorrow, future]

Rashi writing about Exodus 13:14 explains regarding ‘if your son asks you in the time to come’ -  Hebrew מחר sometimes means “now” [as in say Tuesday following Monday] and מחר  sometimes means “at a later time,” such as it does here and such as “In time to come [מחר], your children might say to our children” (Josh. 22:24), which refers to the children of Gad and the children of Reuben.


Response:

Verse 1 - 11 it is clear Haman’s sons and others are killed on the 13th of Adar.   Verse 12 - 13 The King asks Esther what she desires. She responds wanting Haman sons hung as well the  slaughtering to continue on the next day.  And indeed verse 14 the King commands it and Haman sons are hung. It is obvious from the entire Megillah text no reference to Nazis, Hitler etc: or any future hanging of Nazis are remotely implied.

It is obvious the context of  מחר in the Megillah verses imply literally the next day and is different than the context of מחר in Exodus 13:14, which implies the future. And indeed Rashi’s commentary on  Esther chap 9: 13 writes the sons to be hung  refer those that were slain !  Rashi did not interpret the verses as a prophecy or a request for hangings way in the future.

Why would Esther want Haman’s already dead sons to be also hung tomorrow  ?

There are very valid natural reasons and we have no need to resort to mystical explanations.

Possibilities include:

 - To degrade Haman sons and name. This  makes sense within the context of the Megillah story. 

 - As a warning. This  makes sense within the context of the Megillah story. 

- Hanging after execution  would be consistent with Rabbinic Law that executed people be hung up.

-  There is potentially another reason that would perhaps apply in those ancient times and it is better to remain silent. Just like the Torah was ‘edited’ the same applies to the Megillah. 

P4) The 10 Nazi executions took place October 16, 1946 . This fell on the Jewish holiday of Hoshana Rabbah - a day of sealing judgment. Is not that amazing ?

Response 

The Megillah has the 13th of the month of  Adar as the day  Haman sons are killed. Esther requests they are also to be hung 14th of Adar. This would not even be close to 21st of the month of  Tishrei which is the day of Hoshana Rabbah. A better match to Purim would be Nazis hung near the 14th of Adar.

Also regarding Hoshana Rabbah, “There was a very widespread belief that he who did not see the shadow of his head on the night of Hoshana Rabbah would die during that year, for Hoshana Rabbah was the day of the "seal," wherein the verdict of man (passed on the *Day of Atonement) is "sealed," or the day on which the "notices" of the verdict were sent out.” From http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0009_0_09257.html

So, although Hoshana Rabbah may be a day of sealing the verdict, that does not mean punishment will  occur that day. Since punishment comes after the seal of the verdict,  we would expect punishment to occur after October 16, 1946,  not on it. This is confirmed in the following discussion by Prof. Yosef Tavori where a person has a last chance to repent on Hoshana Rabbah. 

{From  http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/sukot/tab.html

Hoshana Rabbah as a Day of Judgment by Prof. Yosef Tavori
Department of Talmud Bar-Ilan University's Parashat Hashavua Study Center Sukkot 5761/ 14-21 October 2000

“Hoshana Rabbah, the last day of the festival of Sukkot, is considered a day of judgment. According to the Zohar, although one is judged on the Day of Atonement [which occurs prior to Sukkot], that verdict is not delivered until the last day of Sukkot, and until then a person may still repent (Zohar, Va-Yehi 120a; Terumah 142a). However, according to the Zohar the day on which the verdict is delivered is actually Shemini Atzeret, the final day of the festival, and not Hoshana Rabbah (the day before). Hesed le-Avraham explains away the contradiction as follows-- the last chance to change one's judgment is actually Hoshana Rabbah; whoever has not yet repented by then has his verdict handed down on Shemini Atzeret.”

“In the works of the Sages (Mishna, Midrash, Talmud) there is no mention of Hoshana Rabbah as a day of judgment.” }

And in Talmud Rosh Hashana 16b

“Three books are opened [in heaven] on New Year,
one for the thoroughly wicked, one for the thoroughly righteous, and one for the intermediate. The thoroughly righteous are forthwith inscribed definitively in the book of life; the thoroughly wicked are forthwith inscribed definitively in the book of death; the doom of the intermediate is suspended from New Year till the Day of Atonement; if they deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of life; if they do not deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of death.”

We see from the above material there are many days that the Nazi criminals could have been executed - say from Jewish New Years thru October 17,1946. Also Hoshana Rabbah is probably a non entity since it is not even mentioned in the Talmud. Moreover, assuming the Nazi criminals would not fall into the good or intermediate category, they should have been executed prior to October 16, 1946, meaning prior to Hoshana Rabbah.

Finally, from the several different Nazi trials, many Nazis executions occur on random days over a many years. Some of those days may turn out to occur on one of the many Jewish judgement periods/days or holidays by chance alone.

Consider - 

Adolph Eichmann hung May 31 or June 1, 1962.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belsen_trial Belsen Trial 1945 - Nazi criminals hung December 13, 1945. Some were imprisoned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_trial Auschwitz trial 1947 Some Nazi criminal hung January 28, 1948 , some imprisoned.

There were other trials. In at least one, execution was by shooting.  


Nazi Parallels


NP1) Haman is descended from the Agagite (Amalek) (Chapter 3:1). The Nazis are Amalek.

Response: 

We do not know the Identity of Amalek today. Some isolated Rabbis may claim the Germans or some other group are part of Amalek. But Germany was not likely considered Amalek back in the times of the Talmud. See Proof of God from Nazis in the Talmud. 

NP2) Ten Haman sons are hung. 10 Nazis are hung in 1946. Also see discussion of P3 and P4 above. Is not this an amazing coincidence or Prophecy ?

Response: 

There were several  war crime/crimes against humanity trials held after WWII. More than 10 convicted Nazis  were hung after the completion of  the trials. For just two of the other trials  see  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_trial ,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belsen_trial

Also see response to P3 and P4 above.

Many of  convicted Nazis were imprisoned. And unfortunately nowhere near the actual number of Nazi criminals were ever brought to justice. Even many of those who went to trial, unfortunately and as an utter disgrace to humanity got only a slap on the wrist. 

NP3) Julias Streicher shouted  Purim Fest 1946

Response: 

Lets assume he shouted that. Some Nazi leaders were familiar with Jewish traditions and festivals. Streicher (and many other Nazis) most likely knew about Purim and Haman sons being hung, and saw a parallel to the trials of some Nazis. 

NP4) The Nazis were hung not shot, electrocuted, beheaded...i.e just like Esther’s request Haman sons be hung. Is not that amazing ? 

Response: 

Hanging was a mode of execution of criminals in the USA even up to 1972 see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging_in_the_United_States

For the most part the Nazis were considered criminals and not deserving of a soldiers firing squad.

“The executioner was John C. Woods. Woods had hanged 34 U.S. soldiers during the war [WWII], botching several of them.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_trials#Executions

So hanging was an execution method used for Nazi and non Nazi criminals. 

In at least one Nazi trial (perhaps others as I have not studied them all), the firing squad method of execution was used.

Conclusion 

The argument that the Megillah was intending a prophecy is not supportable based on the Megillah text or any Rashi commentary. Nor have proponents of the proof provided any other basis for a prophecy embedded in the Megillah. 

Although there are some very limited parallels of the Purim story and the Nazis, the disparities and gaps are so much greater. This makes the comparison or analogy ludicrous !  What differences ?There are over 6 million differences ! In Purim  the target is solely the Jews and is unsuccessful. For the Nazis the Jews are a very important target, but any ‘inferior race’ was also targeted. The Nazis also partially succeeded in their goals.  The knowledgeable reader will find myriads of other differences.

Recall the ‘proof’ could include the notion Esther requesting from the King of the Universe that 10 Nazis be hung.  She had the opportunity to request all Nazi criminals be hung. She had the opportunity to somehow mitigate the entire Holocaust.  And the King of the Universe and Esther settle for 10 Nazis being hung. (More than 10 Nazis are hung, but only an insignificant number of Nazi criminals are ever brought to justice. And only a fraction of those are actually executed.)

Speaking of trials, an important trial of Yahweh took place in WWII. Yahweh was found guilty, sentenced to death and went sent up in smoke.

Appendix


From the Anchor Bible Esther by Carey M. Moore 1971 we find:

Page 87 The names of Haman sons are uncertain.

And on page XLII-XLIII we find the following variations for Haman son names. Notice in the Lucianic edition there only 6 sons. {ETA - Although the chart has for the Lucianic Edition 6 sons listed, I am not sure the Lucianic Edition had exactly 6 sons.  But it does have less than 10 sons. Second note my typo - mispelled Septugint, should be spelled Septuagint.}

Also, of these text the Masoretic is not the earliest.