Pharaoh’s palace has been recorded in Jewish history as a place of infamy. Sarah Imeinu was taken there. Years later, her great- grandson, Yosef Ha’tzaddik, was taken there. Moshe Rabbeinu was raised there. This home was a source of much weeping by Jewish leaders. For a kadosh v’tahor, holy and pure individual to be brought into the home of a heathen, a home which was a center of idol worship and immorality, was a tragedy. How do Chazal perceive this experience? Do they view it as negatively as we do?
To respond to this question, let us go back in time to another great Jewish leader, Mordechai HaYehudi, to examine how he reacted to a similar situation. We know that after Haman’s diabolical plan to destroy the Jews was thwarted, and he was unmasked, Achashveirosh gave Haman’s mansion to Mordechai, who proceeded to move in. It later became a bais ha’medrash. Now, imagine, if you will, the government decides to give away the home of the country’s greatest villain, a person whose cruelty is matched only by his evil: Would we expect a gadol ha’dor, Torah giant and preeminent spiritual leader, to accept the offer and move in? The average person would probably spit or throw stones at the house when he walks by. This was a home that was the source of terror and murder against the Jews. How could a tzaddik live there?
Horav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Shlita, asks this question, and consequently, derives from here that apparently the Torah’s perspective is different than ours. The Torah teaches us that specifically such a home, which was the source of so much anguish for the Jewish People, should be the place where a tzaddik should now live. The tears that it catalyzed, the pain that it caused, the persecution that it instigated, eventually brought Klal Yisrael closer to Avinu sh’ba’Shomayim, our Father in Heaven. It brought home the realization that we have no one to rely on but Hashem. He is our only Savior.
Indeed, Chazal teach us that, Gedolah hasoras tabaas, “Greater is the removal of the ring” – a reference to the moment Achashveirosh removed his ring and gave it to Haman, signifying his agreement to kill out all the Jews – “than the admonition of forty-eight prophets,” who reproached the Jewish People in an attempt to bring them back to teshuvah, repentance. Yes, Haman’s house was a house of evil, but it catalyzed much good. It brought about the return of the Jewish People to Hashem. Pharaoh’s palace was the cause for shedding many a tear, but it also was the house that brought Klal Yisrael to look up to Hashem and the consequent Exodus. The Torah looks at the end, the positive results. Perhaps, we should take our cue from the Torah and view life from a different perspective.