A Hebrew language search for Haman the Agagi on Google produces an unexpected yet appropriate result: an image of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran notorious for his extreme hatred of Israel. Though this may be unintentional, the glitch serves to emphasize that Biblical difficulties often return under a different guise, and the ancient solution may still be appropriate.
Purim, a joyous holiday children anticipate with joy all year long, is only a few weeks away. As part of the holiday theme, many parents are searching on the internet for costume ideas. Google searches for other characters from the Book of Esther read on Purim produce the expected results: Mordechai the righteous, Esther the beautiful and brave, Vashti, Ahashverosh, etc., dressed in period costume. But a Hebrew language search for Haman the Agagi brings up in the Wikipedia pane on the right, a photo of the former Iranian president tucked in among the expected era-accurate depictions of the ancient Persian hater of Israel.
Haman was the chief adviser to Babylonian King Ahashverosh, and conspired to kill all the Jews in the kingdom. Agagi refers to Haman being descended from the Macedonian King Agag, indicating that he was an Amalekite, the eternal enemy of the Jews.
The glitch (if it was one) was discovered by Uri Breitman on his The Freedom of Search blog on Monday. It has since been fixed and the connection between Ahminajad and Haman is no longer available online. Though the high-tech blogger wrote this off as a glitch in Google’s algorithms, the more spiritually minded might be inclined to see a deeper wisdom in the logical conclusion of the artificial intelligence.
The story of Purim describes Esther, an assimilated Jew, reasserting her connection to the Jewish people, and her uncle, Mordecai, being recognized as an asset to the kingdom. The threat to the Jewish people is averted when the Jews rise up to physically defend themselves, killing their enemies. According to Jewish tradition, God’s name is not mentioned in the entire Book of Esther because his influence is hidden within the mundane and political events.