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. They see the Jewish refusal to bend to the allures of finite existence as a smug disdain for the rest of humanity. Everyone else sees the reason that we need to bend and kneel to Jesus, why can’t the Jew just join us?
But nothing could be further from the truth. The Jews refusal to bend is not rooted in a disdain for humanity, it is rooted in a deep belief in humanity. You see the Jew believes that no human should bend to the beauty, the wealth, the mystery, the righteousness or the power that is contained in finite existence. The Jew believes that humans have a greater calling than submitting themselves to servants. The Jew looks forward to the day when all of mankind will bend to the One Creator of all (Isaiah 2:17).
While God’s absolute sovereignty is hidden from the hearts of men the Jew is called to be God’s witness (Isaiah 43:10). It is our duty toward God and man not to kneel and not to bow. It is our duty to testify that every last man woman and child can approach the Father without the services of another subject of God. Our testimony is that the happiness of man will be found when we recognize that we are all recipients of God’s love and that our deepest joy is to acknowledge this simple truth with every breath of life.
The Jew’s refusal to bow is not a reflection of arrogance or disdain; it is a reflection of love and reverence. It is an invitation to see every facet of finite existence as a recipient of God’s love. And it is a declaration of God’s absolute mastery over all.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal