|Tomb of Mordechai and Esther today in Shushan, Iran|
How did Mordechai reach his high station ultimately to achieve the role of second in command to the King of Persia? By his conduct of not lowering himself or bowing down. Even before telling us of his humble station that he sat by the gateway of the king, the book of Esther first describes Mordechai as a Jew - one who denies the idol worship [of the times] and seen as such by all with whom he came into contact.
More: what brought about his meteoric rise from the gates of the king to occupy the most powerful position in the kingdom second only to King Achasverosh? By his conduct which ran diametrically contrary to the custom of the country. At a time when all ministers bowed down to Haman [as commanded by the king himself], Mordechai refuses to do so!
Thereafter there came about the most amazing results; not only did his refusal to bow down not reduce his stature in the eyes of Achashverosh, but to the contrary. Initially the intense hatred for the Jewish people by Achashverosh was equal to that of Haman. Yet, immediately when Queen Esther informed the King that it was Mordechai who stood at the head of the Jewish Nation, King Achashverosh saw Mordechai as a man who could be trusted, in whose hands he could place the affairs of the Kingdom, a man of truth standing by his values regardless of adverse circumstance, fearful of no one.
When however a gentile perceives that a Jew is running after him, the gentile loses all value and respect for him saying: “since this Jew has cheated on his own personal Jewishness, he will also cheat on me…..”.
Public talk, Purim 1969