Not to Bow

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Not to Bow


“And all the servants of the King that were in the gate of the King kneeled and bowed to Haman but Mordechai would not kneel nor would he bow” (Esther 3:2)

Mordechai’s refusal to bow infuriated Haman. It infuriated him to the degree that he was moved to destroy all of Mordechai’s people.

It seems that the Jewish refusal to bow does not sit well with God’s enemies. These people see the Jewish refusal to bow as legalistic, arrogant, and self-centered. Why can’t you be like everyone else? Everyone else is inspired by the wealth of Haman, by the power of Caesar or by the mystery of Jesus. Why does the Jew have to stand apart?

This is the question that fueled the fires of hate for generations. This question was in the mind of the Crusaders, the Inquisitors and the propagandists who inspired their crimes…

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3 Responses to Not to Bow

  1. Concerned Reader says:

    Reading this got me to thinking about a major sore spot with Christianity. Jesus often scolds those who do not immediately comply with his wishes, or even scolds those he likes who fail to see the point in his thought. (For example when Peter has reservations about Jesus’ death, or Jesus’ chat with Nicademus.) By way of contrast, the generation lead by Moses was always questioning his authority, complaining about their plight, their lack of food and water, doubting Moses’ leadership skills etc. Moses even says to Hashem “yeah, Hashem, they are going to kill me, they won’t like me.” Moses handles these trials with 100% composure all things considered. He goes to G-d saying, “straighten them out G-d,” but he doesn’t call the people idiots, Satans, etc. he just does his task for G-d, no more, no less.

    • CR, great point. And in one instance that Moses got worked up about complaining Jews and called out to them in anger “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10), he got into some major hot water with G-d for losing his composure and failing to glorify G-d in the sight of people.

  2. Concerned Reader says:

    Not to mention Moses was not anywhere near perfect. He killed the Egyptian, he was raised by Pharoah, etc. he was not sinless, but he spoke to G-d face to face.

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