by Zvi Akiva FleisherBack to Purim Homepage
MEGILAS ESTHER - COMPILATION OF INSIGHTS - ZVI AKIVA FLEISHER - BS”D
L’ILUY NISHMOS R’ CHAIM B”R SIMCHOH - 27 SIVON, HORAV SHOLO-M B”R YECHEZKEL SHRAGA - 10 ADOR 1, HO’ISHOH CHAVOH BAS ZVI - 6 ADOR
A SUGGESTION: THESE DIVREI TORAH ARE FORMATTED INTO 15 SHEETS WHEN PRINTED ON BOTH SIDES. THEY ARE A MEANINGFUL ADDITION TO YOUR MISHLOACH MONOS. THERE IS A MINIMUM OF ONE DVAR TORAH ON EACH VERSE OF THE MEGILOH.
The Avnei Neizer says that the uniqueness of the miracle of Purim lies in successfully combatting Amoleik, even though the bnei Yisroel were living in the Diaspora without a king. The gemara Sanhedrin 20b says that the bnei Yisroel were commanded to fulfill three mitzvos upon their entry to Eretz Yisroel: First, to appoint a king; second, to eradicate the descendants of Amoleik; third, to build the Beis Hamikdosh. How did they successfully overpower the descendants of Amoleik if they had no king? The Avnei Neizer answers that the need for a king is to UNITE the nation. With this power they can overcome Amoleik. When Homon sent an edict to ch”v destroy ALL the Y’hudim, they assembled as ONE and repented, subordinating themselves to the will of the King of all kings. This unity was even greater than that brought about by appointing a human king. Perhaps this concept of the Avnei Neizer can be expanded. Haman’s evil decrees actually brought the bnei Yisroel to unify themselves, and this self-same unification brought about Haman’s downfall, hangup. In the Hagodoh Shel Pesach we say, “V’hi she’omdoh ...... shelo echod bilvad omad oleinu l’chaloseinu, v’haKodosh Boruch Hu motzileinu MI’YODOM.” Our not being “echod,” united, has been the cause for their standing up against us, in an attempt to annihilate us, but HKB”H saves us FROM THEIR HANDS, through that which their hands have wrought, as is the case with Homon. His decree of annihilation has brought us together; we are again ECHOD.
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Va’y’hi” – This first word of the Megiloh and the last word (10:3) “zaro” equal “Mordechai ha’Y’hudi.” (Rokei’ach) Perhaps we can add another insight into the first and last words of the Megiloh. We know that Hashem kept a low profile in the Megiloh, orchestrating every event, but not having His Name mentioned even once. Hashem’s Name, which embodies this concept of constriction, “tzimtzum,” is Shin-Dalet-Yud, “Ani she’omarti l’olomi dai” (M.R. on Breishis 17:1). The first and last words of the Megiloh equal 314, the numerical value of the name Shin-Dalet-Yud, to indicate that from the first word until the last word, everything that happened was controlled behind the scenes by Hashem in the constricted form of natural occurrences.
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Hu Achashveirosh” – He is Achashveirosh – These words seem to be totally superfluous. The gemara Megiloh 11a therefore derives from these words that he was the same evil person from the beginning until the end. Simply, this means that we should not mistakenly think that he was evil in the earlier episodes of this story, as evidenced by his agreeing to give Homon free-reign over the bnei Yisroel to do with them as he wished, but later he bettered his ways and wanted to save them. Rather, he was evil throughout, and it was only through Hashem’s clandestine intervention that the bnei Yisroel were saved. Alternatively, the medrash says that he originally reigned over 240 countries, and Targum Sheini says that he now reigned over 127 lands, which are about half of his original kingdom. It is very understandable that when one has mastery over as vast a number of countries as 240 or 254, and has not experienced any rebellion or defection, he likely would rule with an iron fist, and also would not be reluctant to destroy any group, as he still has many other countries under his rule. As well, this would put any thoughts of rebellion out of the minds of any other ethnic group or country. However, once he has already experienced the loss of half the countries he once ruled, he should have been exceedingly reluctant to have any other group destroyed. Harshness would be unlikely to stem the tide, as so many others have already shaken off his yoke, and he would want to retain all remaining countries and peoples. In spite of these logical reasons, with no major persuasion, he acquiesced to Homon’s wishes and sold the bnei Yisroel down-river. This is what is meant by, “He was the same evil person from the beginning until the end.” The beginning refers to when he ruled over either 254 or 240 countries, and the end refers to our verse, when he was left with only 127 countries. (Chidushim Y’korim - Rabbi Yaakov Tenenbaum Baal responsa Naha’rei Afarsimon)
Ch. 1, v. 1: “Hamoleich” – Who rules – The verse should have said “ha’melech.” The gemara Megiloh 11a derives from this that Achashveirosh was not of royal lineage and took the position for himself. Why is this relevant to the Purim story? This accentuates the awesomeness of our being saved from his diabolical schemes. A king who was heir to the throne is more apt to be tough with his people, as they accept him, since he inherited his position, a king the son of a king. It is less likely for them to revolt even if he issues tough edicts. One who is not of royal lineage who ascends to the throne, normally is kind to his subjects as he fears that they might otherwise revolt. This is the intention of the verse in T’hilim 72:1, “LiShlomo Elokim mishpo’techo l’melech tein v’tzidkos’cho l’ven melech.” A king needs to have the ability to be tough when required and to be benevolent at other times. Kind Dovid was the first king from the lineage of Yehudoh. He therefore had the tendency to be soft and yielding. Therefore we have the prayer to Hashem to give the king (Dovid) the characteristic of “mishpot,” the ability to carry out just ruling even when it is harsh. King Shlomo, on the other hand, was a “ben melech.” He more readily had the nature to be tough with his subjects as he ascended to the throne as an heir of royalty. His prayer was therefore for “tzidkos’cho l’ven melech,” Your charity and kindness. In spite of Achashveirosh’s ascending the throne on his own, he did not display the normal character of benevolence, which usually accompanies such a situation. He killed his wife, who had royal blood in her veins, and also handed over the bnei Yisroel to Homon gratis. Being saved from such a nasty despotic ruler deserves our greatest praises. (Droshos Rabbeinu Yoseif Nechemioh Rov of Cracow) Perhaps this gives us another explanation of Achashveirosh’s being evil from the beginning until the end. He was not only evil after being the king for many years, when he felt comfortable and secure in his position, but even in the beginning, when he ascended the throne lacking the merit of being royalty, he nevertheless was also wicked.
Ch. 1, v. 2: “Ba’yomim ho’heim k’she’ves ha’melech” – In those days as the king sat – Why the generality “in those days,” and why “K’sheves,” and not “B’sheves”? The gemara Megiloh 11b says that Achashveirosh miscalculated when the end of the 70 year exile for the bnei Yisroel ended (as did Balshetzar and l’havdil Doniel). He thought that it came and went and as the bnei Yisroel were not yet redeemed from their exile he felt his kingship was secure, “nisyashvoh malchuso.” We can thus explain our verse as “ba’yomim ho’heim,” in the calculation of those years (70 years), “K’sheves,” LIKE the settling of his reign, but not accurately so. (M’lo Ho’omer)
Ch. 1, v. 2: “K’she’ves ha’melech Achashveirosh al kisei malchuso asher b’Shushan” – With the king Achashveirosh’s sitting upon his royal throne that was in Shushan – This is a most unusual way of orientating us with the situation, to say that he sat upon his royal throne, which was located in Shushan. Targum Sheini tells in great detail that Achashveirosh attempted to transport King Shlomo’s royal throne, which was very large and heavy, which had many, many “whistles and bells,” to the capital, which was actually located in Babylonia. On the way, in Shushan, it broke and it was impossible to carry it any further. Artisans were hired to make a replica, and it too, was too cumbersome to move any further. So eager was he to sit upon such an outstanding royal throne that he relocated the capital to Shushan. We now understand why the verse stresses that he sat upon the royal throne that “was in Shushan.”
Ch. 1, v. 3: “Ossoh mishteh” – He made a feast – The reason for prefacing the Purim story with the feast Achashveirosh threw for his county-men is that it is surely germane to understanding why the evil decrees came about in the first place. The gemara Megiloh 12a says that the decree of annihilation was a result of the bnei Yisroel’s enjoying their involvement in the party. But there is also a lesson in fully appreciating the miracle that took place. Don’t think that the development of events was in the realm of the norm, that it is normal for a king to issue edicts and readily agree to rescind or counter them at the request of his wife, thus minimizing the miracle of Achashveirosh’s hearkening to Esther’s request. It is not so! If Vashti, who was a true daughter of royalty, who also brought him to the position of king, yet when he was displeased with her, she was disposed as quickly as a used paper plate, surely if Esther suggested something that would displease him, and as far as he knew, she was but a waif from the street with no royal blood, he would certainly replicate the Vashti scenario. (Alshich)
Ch. 1, v. 4: “B’haroso es osher k’vode malchuso v’es y’kor tiferes g’duloso” – With his displaying the wealth of honour of his kingship and the dear grandeur of his greatness – Medrash Esther relates that he inherited this great wealth from Koresh. It was a 1,080 storage houses volume of wealth. He threw a 180 day party. Every day he displayed 6 storage houses, as indicated by the 6 words, “osher k’vode malchuso y’kor tiferes g’duloso.” Six storage houses a day, and 1080 storage houses takes 180 days.
Ch. 1, v. 4: “Yomim rabim shmonim um’as yom” – Many days one-hundred-eighty days – Once the verse clearly states that it lasted for 180 days, what need is there to state “yomim rabim”? We might have misunderstood that he threw his party over the period of 180 days, so by adding “yomim rabim” we now understand that the party lasted for 180 days straight. (Mahara”l in Ohr Chodosh)
Ch. 1, v. 5: “Ossoh hamelech” – The king made – Why is it necessary to add “hamelech?” The sequence of events from verse 2 onwards all refers back to the words “k’shevves hamelech.” The gemara Megiloh 12a cites the opinion that Achashveirosh was a foolish king. Many people probably took note of this, and did not emotionally accept him upon themselves as an authority figure. This is the intention of “K’shevves,” AS he sat upon the royal throne, and not “B’shevves,” which would indicate that he was settled into kingship. However, now at the royal festivities he donned the holy apparel of the Kohein Godol and did not die, as did Balshetzar. The people had a newfound respect for him, and it was only then that “ossoh Hamelech,” the newly universally accepted king. (B’eir Yoseif)
Ch. 1, v. 5: “L’migodol v’ad koton” – From big to small – What was the point of having little children attend? This was done intentionally so that the young children should also imbibe defiled wine and their merit of “tinokos shel beis Rabbon” should not stand in their good stead. (Baal Medrash Shmuel)
Ch. 1, v. 6: “Chur karpas us’chei’les ochuz b’chavlei vutz” – What is the point of elaborating so greatly on the splendour of the party appointments? It is to point out that Achashveirosh wanted to have the bnei Yisroel sin at every turn. “T’cheiles” is made of wool, while “chavlei vutz” are flax. His hope was that they would combine these two and use them in some form of wrapping upon their bodies and thus transgress the prohibition of shaatnez. (Megilas S’sorim) Ch. 1, v. 6: “Karpas” – Coloured cloth – The gemara Shabbos 10b says that the brothers’ sale of Yoseif brought about the bnei Yisroel’s descent to Egypt. They became especially jealous of Yoseif after his father gave him a unique garment, “k’so’nes passim.” This was a multi-coloured garment according to some opinions. On the first night of Pesach, during the Seder, we use a vegetable called “karpas.” One reason this name is used is to remind us that although we left Egypt, we should not forget what brought us there in the first place (see gemara Shabbos 10b), and avoid similar behaviour, i.e. jealousy. “Karpas” is likewise coloured cloth, as per our verse, a reminder of the “k’so’nes passim.” (Rabbi Yaakov Emdin)
Ch. 1, v. 6: “RitzFas” – Flooring of – This is the correct way to read this word, with a letter Fei, and not a Pei. As well, the division of syllables should be “ri-tzfas.” A “ritzpoh” is a burning coal, as in Yeshayohu 6:6. Our word is sourced from “r’tzoFoh,” as in “martzeFes avonim” (M’lochim 2:16:17). Likely, this word has the same etymology as “rotzuf,” continuous. Flooring, at least in years past, was not one solid piece of material, but rather, many tiles, stones, or the like, laid down one immediately next to the other, a continuum of tiles, hence the same word source.
Ch. 1, v. 7: “V’hashkos bichlei zohov” – And drink in golden vessels – Once a goblet was used it was not rinsed and used again. Rather, it was given to the one who used it to keep. (Yalkut Shimoni and Medrash Abba Guryon)
Ch. 1, v. 7: “V’yein malchus rov” – And an abundance of royal wine – The theme of feasts accompanied by wine follow us throughout the Megiloh. When Homon and Achashveirosh concluded their nefarious deal, “V’hamelech v’Homon yoshvu lishtose” (3:15), “Va’yovo hamelech im Homon lishtose im Esther” (7:1), “B’mishtei ha’yayin” (7:2). Since Homon’s downfall came at a wine feast we are to drink wine at our Purim meal. The gemara Megiloh 7b says, “Michayiv inish livsumi b’Fura’yo ad d’lo yoda bein orur Homon l’voruch Mordechai.” The Ram”o in Sh.O. O.Ch. 695:2 says that this requirement is fulfilled by simply drinking a bit more than one usually drinks and then lies down to sleep. When sleeping one is “ad d’lo yoda bein orur Homon l’voruch Mordechai.” The opinion of the Ram”o might lie in the words of the gemara. “Livsumi b’Fura’yo” can be translated as, “To drink, in bed,” as we find “pura’yo” meaning bed in the gemara B.M. 23b. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 8: “V’hash’sioh chados” – And the drinking was according to the law – The gemara Megiloh 12a says that it followed the law of the Torah, that the volume of food exceeded the volume of drink, as per the ruling of sacrifices and libations. The Imrei Emes says that this is why we do “v’nahafoch hu,” the opposite, when we imbibe more drink than we eat at the Purim meal. Ch. 1, v. 8: “V’hash’sioh chados ein oneis” – And the drinking was proper without coercion – Since Achashveirosh wanted the bnei Yisroel to sin why didn’t he force the imbibing of alcoholic beverage? He would rather create the ambiance where drinking came naturally without coercion. When the bnei Yisroel would drink of their own accord they would be sinning willingly and Hashem’s wrath would ch”v pour upon them in abundance. Measure for measure they repented. At the time of receiving the Torah it was forced upon them. They now accepted it willingly. (The Holy Shal”oh)
Ch. 1, v. 8: “Ein oneis” – There was no coercion – The gemara Megiloh 12a says that each person was served wine that was produced in his province. Rashi explains that wine to which a person is accustomed does not result in drunkenness. Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz in Monos haLevi says that this is most crucial in appreciating the turn of events, not as a natural outgrowth of a drunken party, where even ordering one’s wife to be killed even if she slightly displeased him is within reason, but rather, as clearly seeing Hashem’s guiding hand orchestrating the events.
Ch. 1, v. 9: “Gam Vashti” – Also Vashti – The gemara Megiloh 11b says that Vashti’s father, Balshetzar, made a calculation of the 70 year exile of the bnei Yisroel. He miscalculated and assumed that the 70 years had already passed with no redemption in sight. He therefore assumed, incorrectly again, that the bnei Yisroel would no longer be redeemed and he took the priestly garments and Mikdosh vessels and used them. He was then killed by Hashem. Achashveirosh similarly made an incorrect calculation and did the same. The result was once again a death, this time his wife Vashti. Ben Yehoyodo asks why in the earlier instance was it the perpetrator himself who was punished while here it was his wife. He answers that it was Balshetzar’s making the calculation and acting as he did that brought Achashveirosh to follow suit. Balshetzar was therefore considered a partner in crime with Achashveirosh. Vashti’s being put to death was a just punishment for both, as she was the end of the line of progeny for Balshetzar, and as the wife of Achashveirosh, her loss was later keenly felt by her husband. We might have a bit of an allusion (drush) for this insight in the first words of our verse, “Gam Vashti hamalkoh os’soh mishtei noshim.” Although “mishtei” is spelled with a Hei at the end, it phonetically reads as “mishtei,” meaning “of two.” She was two women, the daughter of Balshetzar, and at the same time the wife of Achashveirosh. Her being killed was a just punishment for these two people.
Ch. 1, v. 10: “Shivas hasorisim” – The seven ministers – The Kabalists write that the seven times we wind the tefillin strap around our arm corresponds to these seven “sorisim.” The Shal”oh says that the windings correspond to Esther’s seven maidservants (2:9).
Ch. 1, v. 11: “L’hovi es Vashti” – To bring Vashti – The gemara Megiloh 12b relates that Achashveirosh commanded that Vashti be brought to him in this public gathering in a most immodest manner. She, being of similar mind, readily agreed to this. Hashem punished her by either having leprosy cover her body or by having a tail grow. The Rambam explains that the tail grew from her forehead. Alternatively, he says that the tail is not to be taken literally, but rather, that it is an allusion to her suddenly menstruating heavily. He adds that “zonov,” a tail, has the same mathematical value as “nidoh.”
Ch. 1, v. 11: “Vashti hamalkoh” – Vashti the queen – Note that here and numerous other places we find the title “queen” after the name Vashti, while in some places the name Vashti precedes her title. The Malbim explains that in every instance that she lorded or attempted to lord over Achashveirosh, who was not of royal descent, the title queen comes first. Where Achashveirosh treated her as secondary to him the title comes at the end, such as here, where he was commanding her to do his bidding.
Ch. 1, v. 11: “B’cheser malchus l’haros ho’amim v’hasorim es yofyoh” – With a royal crown to show the nations and the ministers her beauty – The Ibn Ezra (Shmos 20:14) writes that a country bumpkin does not lust the king’s daughter, as he realizes that he is not in her social status. “Amim” are the simple folk. The royal crown was placed on her head to impress the “amim,” while the “sorim,” who are on a closer level to the queen, would be drawn to her beauty. (M’lo Horo’im)
Ch. 1, v. 12: “Vatmo’ein hamalkoh” – And the queen refused – The gemara Megiloh 12b relates that Hashem punished Vashti by either having leprosy cover her body or by having a tail grow. She refused to appear in public and sent a message of derision back to Achashveirosh, saying that her father was capable of imbibing 1,000 glasses of alcoholic beverage, while Achashveirosh, a former horse attendant, lost his head figuratively by drinking just a little of the golden brew. She, in turn, lost her head literally. Why didn’t Vashti simply send a private message that she was “dermatologically challenged”? Achashveirosh surely wouldn’t want her to appear thus in public, and much anger and retribution could have been spared. We can derive from this, the deep-seated weakness of a person who is very haughty. Admitting that she was the source of the problem was so far removed from her mind-set that she wouldn’t admit her shortcoming. Rather, she said that Achashveirosh’s being inebriated was the problem; someone else is at fault, not I. (Rabbi Y.Y.R.)
Ch. 1, v. 12: “Vatmo’ein hamalkoh Vashti lovo” – And the queen Vashti refused to come – The gemara Megiloh 12b says that she refused to come because the angel Gavriel made her grow a tail. Vashti was a granddaughter of Nevuchadnetzar, who was punished to become an animal (see Doniel 4). Since she continued in his bad ways, she too was punished along the same lines, to grow a tail. (Rabbi Pinchos of Piltz) Perhaps we can put a positive spin on this. The tail alludes to her “tikun,” correction. Mei’am Lo’eiz writes that Vashti’s soul transmigrated into a cow. This cow was owned by Rabbi Pinchos ben Yo’ir. He eventually sold it to a gentile. The gentile came back to Rabbi Pinchos ben Yo’ir with the complaint that the cow would do no work on Shabbos. Rabbi Pinchos whispered into the cow’s ear that it was no longer his, and now belonged to a gentile, and therefore it should work on Shabbos. He then advised the gentile that all was in order and it would now work on Shabbos. The gentile was still dissatisfied. He said that if it would still not work on Shabbos the problem was not alleviated, and if it would, and this as a result of Rabbi Pinchos’s whispering something into its ear, he wanted no part of magic. Rabbi Pinchos explained that the cow had never worked on Shabbos in the past as part of the Torah’s requirement that bnei Yisroel not work their animals on Shabbos. He had now told the cow that it was no longer his, and as such, it would now work seven days a week. The gentile left satisfied. He was so impressed with what happened that he eventually converted to Judaism, and took on the name Rabbi Yochonon ben Turta, the son of a cow, as he was so strongly influenced by this cow. This was the “tikun nefesh” for Vashti who worked bnos Yisroel on Shabbos. (Nirreh li) Ch. 1, v. 12: “Asher b’yad hasorisim” – Which was conveyed through the ministers – Had Vashti refused Achashveirosh’s demand with the matter remaining between just the two of them, he likely would not have reacted so harshly. It was because her refusal came through the agency of his ministers, and he was unable to save face, that he reacted so strongly. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 13: “Yodei ho’itim” – Who know the dates – The gemara Megiloh 12a says that Achashveirosh asked the Rabbis of the tribe of Yiso’chor, who knew how to calculate months and years, to judge Vashti. What bearing does this particular knowledge have with judging his rebellious wife? A ben Noach is not punished by an earthly court for acts committed before the age of twenty. Yalkut Shimoni #1,049 says that when her father Balshetzar was killed she was a “naaroh” and was married to Achashveirosh. “Naaroh” status is only until the age of 12½ years (gemara K’subos 39b). The gemara Megiloh 11b says that from the death of Balshetzar until the third year of Achashveirosh’s reign seven years passed. This puts Vashti at 19½ at the maximum. The royal party lasted 180 days, and it was on the seventh day after that that her rebellion took place. This would put her at just over 20 years old. However, this is only true if that year was not a two Ador year. If it was, she was still under 20 years old. Achashveirosh sought their expertise to find out if it was a thirteen or twelve month year to see if she was culpable for punishment. (Yaaros Dvash) N.B. – The gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh 1:5 says that it was a two Ador year, and yet she was put to death.
Ch. 1, v. 14: “M’muchon” – Although the gemara Megiloh 12b says that M’muchon was Homon, Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 says that he was Doniel.
Ch. 1, v. 14: “Shivas …… ro’ei pnei hamelech” – Seven …… seers of the king’s face – The gemara Megiloh 23a says that the seven people who have an “aliyoh” on Shabbos correspond to the “seven seers of the king’s face.” Rashi says that it refers to our verse, and the five “aliyos” on Yom Tov, which the gemara says corresponds to five of the “ro’ei pnei hamelech” are the five most prominent of these seven. However, Tosfos d.h. “Shivoh” does not accept this, saying that it is illogical to have the number of “aliyos” on Shabbos or Yom Tov correspond to matters pertaining to the wicked Achashveirosh. Instead Tosfos offers that the seven refers to Yirmiyohu 52:25, and the five to M’lochim 2:25:19. Rabbi Avrohom Karp zt”l in his recorded Daf Yomi lectures justifies Rashi by saying that since “Malchusa d’ara k’ein malchusa d’rokia” (gemara Brochos 58a), there must be a Celestial “seven seers of the King’s face,” and it is this concept that we emulate.
Ch. 1, v. 15: “K’dos mah laasose bamalkoh Vashti – As is the law regarding what to do with the queen Vashti – As mentioned in verse 13, when the title queen precedes the name Vashti, the verse is stressing that she is of royal lineage. Now that Achashveirosh did not want to have her killed he strongly pointed out to his advisors that she should be dealt with clemency, as she is a queen. (GR”A)
Ch. 1, v. 16: “Va’yomer M’muchon lifnei hamelech” – And M’muchon said in front of the king. The gemara Megiloh 12b says that we derive from these words that the lowly jump in first, meaning that they behave most improperly, being the first to speak up, even when greater and wiser people are present. The GR”A asks how the gemara derives this. Perhaps numerous others gave suggestions, but only M’muchon’s suggestion was recorded in the Megiloh because it was the one that the king favoured. He answers that the gemara derives this from the words “lifnei hamelech,” which are basically superfluous, as it is self understood that he addressed the king. “Lifnei” means ahead of others who should have spoken earlier.
Ch. 1, v. 17: “B’omroM” – With their saying – If this refers to the women saying, the verse should have said, “b’omroN.” Based on the words of the Rebbe Reb Heshel, that when a verse tells of a woman behaving in a masculine way, the verse sometimes expresses the woman in the male tense, this is understood.
Ch. 1, v. 18: “V’ha’yom ha’zeh tomarnoh” – And on this day they will say – The previous verse relates what will happen in the future, that all women will cheapen their husbands, and our verse relates what will happen today. This is understood if we explain that M’muchon told the king that eventually all women will hold their husbands in contempt. If this seems far-fetched or at least only a concern for the far off future, we can take note of an immediate reaction. TODAY the princesses will relate what happened to their husbands, the king’s ministers. The resulting snowballing is clearly not far off. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 19: “Yeitzei dvar malchus milfonov” – The word of the monarchy should emanate from in front of him – The Alshich explains that until now all edicts were placed in front of the cabinet ministers, as stated in verse 13, “Ki chein dvar ha’melech lifnei kol yo’dei dos vodin.” M’muchon suggested that this edict come straight from the king to guarantee its effectiveness.
Ch. 1, v. 19: “Dvar malchus” – The word of monarchy – Compare this with “dvar ha’melech” of verse 13. Perhaps the change of wording reflects the manner in which this new edict was publicized. If it were simply stated that Achashveirosh was mortified by his wife’s disrespect and he therefore (rashly) reacted by enacting this new law of chauvinistic mastery, he would be further disrespected. By stating that he enacted this law not as a response to his own honour, “dvar HAmelech,” but rather as “dvar malchus,” out of respect for his position, the monarchy, he gave it a thinly-veiled veneer of caring for the prestige of the position, and not his own skin. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 19: “Asher lo sovo Vashti” – That Vashti will not come – Why is Vashti’s refusal, something that had already taken place, expressed in the future tense? This is a mild-mannered and respectful way of saying that she would be put to death, hence “that Vashti will never come in front of the king (or anyone else for that matter) again.” (Megilas S’sorim)
Ch. 1, v. 20: “V’nishma pisgam ha’melech” – And the word of the king will be heard – We find the word “v’nishma” in two other places, Shmos 24:7, “Kole asher di’beir Hashem naa’seh V’NISHMO,” and Shmos 28:34, “V’NISHMA kolo b’vo’o el hakodesh.” The Baal Haturim connects the “mesoroh” of these 3 words as follows: The gemara Megiloh 3b states that Raboh says that if a person has the opportunity to learn Torah and at the same time has the responsibility to read Megilas Esther, or to do service in the Beis Hamikdosh and read Megilas Esther, reading Megilas Esther takes precedence. We can thus say that “V’NISHMA pisgam ha’melech,” to hear the word of the King, the miracle of the Purim story, takes precedence over “naa’seh V’NISHMO,” the learning of Torah, and “V’NISHMA kolo,” the service in the Beis Hamikdosh, as the verse in Megilas Esther ends with “ki raboh hee,” – it is greater. Alternatively, he offers that “ki Raboh hee,” means that the statement of Raboh is binding. Another explanation of “ki RABOH hee” is given in the offering on the words “Kimu v’kiblu” (9:27). The Nachal K’dumim offers another insight into this “mesoroh.” The gemara Shabbos 88a derives from the verse “Va’yisyatzvu b’sachtis hohor” (Shmos 19:17), that the bnei Yisroel were coerced into accepting the Torah. The gemara goes on to say that since they were coerced, if one were to ch”v transgress the precepts of the Torah, he could excuse himself by saying that it was accepted through coercion. The gemara adds that in the days of Achashveirosh the bnei Yisroel willingly accepted the Torah, as is written, “kimu v’kibl(u) haYehudim” (Megilas Esther 9:27). Tosfos d.h. “Kofoh” asks why there was a need for coercion, as we see that the bnei Yisroel willingly accepted the Torah, as is indicated by the words “kole asher di’ber Hashem naa’seh v’nishmo” (Shmos 24:7). Tosfos answers that coercion was necessary since there was the fear of the bnei Yisroel’s rescinding their acceptance when they would see the awe inspiring fire present at the time of the giving of the Torah. The medrash Tanchuma on parshas Noach #3 says that coercion was necessary for acceptance of the Oral Torah, and “naa’seh v’nishmo” was a willing acceptance of the Written Torah only. This automatically answers Tosfos’ question, as the willing acceptance in the days of Achashveirosh was necessary for the Oral Torah. Alternatively, the Rashb”o writes that the excuse of being coerced into accepting the Torah only helped until the bnei Yisroel entered the Holy Land. However, upon entering, this excuse fell to the wayside, as the merit to live in Eretz Yisroel was predicated upon the bnei Yisroel’s complying with the Torah’s precepts, as is stated, “Va’yi’tein lo’hem artzose goyim, Baavur yish’m’ru chukov v’Sorosov yintzoru” (T’hilim 105:44,45). We can now explain the “mesoroh” of “v’nishma” as follows. The statement of “naa’seh v’nishmo,” indicating that the bnei Yisroel willingly accepted the Torah, was limited to the Written Torah only, “v’nishma PISGAM haMelech,” the King’s statement as WRITTEN in the Torah only. However, even the Oral Torah became binding, “v’nishma KOLO,” even His voice, Torah “she’b’al peh,” upon entering the Holy Land, “b’vo’o el haKodesh.” (Nachal K’dumim) (n.b. – If your Baal Koreh reads the word “pisgOm” rather than “pisgAm” please don’t correct him based on what you’ve read here. There are two opinions about this matter.)
Ch. 1, v. 20: “V’chol hanoshim yitnu y’kor l’vaa’lei’hen” – And all the wives will give honour to their husbands – The gemara Megiloh derives from the word “y’kor” of our verse that the Megiloh contains Aramaic language, as this word is Aramaic. The gemara goes on to say that if one were to replace a “loshon haKodesh” word with an Aramaic translation, or do the reverse, the Megiloh would not be kosher. The Ritv”a asks that this should be no worse than a small section missing, which does not disqualify the Megiloh, as per the gemara Megiloh 18b. He answers that it is indeed not worse, but the gemara tells us that this is also considered a mistake, which is added to the total of mistakes, which when they reach a certain threshold, invalidate the Megiloh. Tosfos, citing Rashi on the gemara Gitin 60a, explains that a change of language is worse than an omission. Tosfos himself posits that it does not invalidate the Megiloh, and the gemara’s point is simply that it is considered an inaccuracy and requires correction. The Chasam Sofer raises this question: Why doesn’t the gemara derive its point from an earlier verse, as in verse 4 we have “y’kor tiferes malchuso?” He answers that the Ritv”a’s question is the basis for his answer. In the earlier verse, if it were to switch the word “y’kor” for a “loshon haKodesh” translation, although inaccurate, nevertheless, is not worse than a word missing. The Megiloh remains kosher. We realize from the rest of the surrounding text that “y’kor” or its replacement means something along the lines of “beautiful, glorious,” etc. “Y’kor” of our verse, if replaced by another word, if we were to consider it as if missing, would leave us lacking the basic understanding of what the verse is telling us, as we don’t know what the decree was. What is it the women were to give their husbands? Although this is but one inaccurate word, since a lack of comprehension arises, it invalidates the Megiloh. Note that this insight of the Chasam Sofer disagrees with the main body of halachic authorities. The words of the Chasam Sofer seem quite puzzling. He bases his insight and stringent halachic ruling on the gemara’s derivation of Aramaic content in the Megiloh from the gemara citing a later verse. However, “y’kor” of verse 4 is quite different from “y’kor” of our verse. “Y’kor tiferes” is a “nismach” form of the original word “yokor,” = “yokor OF” = “y’kor.” “Yokor” is a well known “loshon haKodesh” word. In our verse, “yitnu y’kor,” has “y’kor” in the “nifrad” form, indeed an Aramaic word. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ch. 1, v. 20: “V’chol hanoshim yitnu y’kor l’vaa’lei’hen” – And all the wives will give honour to their husbands – The word “yitnu” seems to be grammatically incorrect, as plural, female, future conjugation should yield “ti’tenoh.” This might be a proof for the position of the Ibn Ezra, that Tanach, i.e. Hashem’s transmission of the text, is not as concerned for accuracy in the plural form as it is in the singular, although he himself explains that “yitnu” refers to “kol ish” of verse 22. I don’t understand what this means, but he says that the problem is resolved. Based on the insight of the Rebbe Reb Heshel, that when a woman is doing a manly act, the Torah sometimes expresses her action in the male form: examples are “Vataan loheM Miriam” (Shmos15:21), ‘Nosone titen loheM” (Bmidbar27:7), we might say that it was obvious that many woman would not act any differently from before, and in the male dominated society they would continue to be subservient. It was the women who really wanted to dominate over their husbands, but did not do so because it was not socially accepted, that Vashti’s brash behaviour towards Achashveirosh might push over the brink. These “yitnu” women, who would act like men, would now be put into their place through the new edict. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 20: “L’migodol v’ad koton” – From the large to the small – This simply means that women will honour their husbands, from the great men, who are more readily accorded honour, to the simple men, who would otherwise more likely be treaded upon by their wives. The gemara B.M. 12b says that a “godol” is one who is self-sufficient, and a “koton” is one who relies upon others for his sustenance. We can thus say that all women will honour their husbands, from the man who brings in a proper livelihood to the man who doesn’t. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 21: “Va’yaas hamelech kidvar M’muchon – And the king did as the word of M’muchon – Why doesn’t the verse simply say, “va’yaas kein?” This might be misinterpreted to mean that he followed one or more parts of M’muchon’s advice. “Kidvar M’muchon” tells us that he acted upon all four of M’muchon’s suggestions. (Megilas S’sorim)
Ch. 1, v. 22: “M’dinoh um’dinoh kich’sovoh v’el am vo’om kilshono” – Each land and land according to its script and to each nation and nation according to its language – Some men who originally came from one land now lived in the land of their wives. After living there for a bit they likely picked up a rudimentary knowledge of both the local language and its script. However, Achashveirosh did not want the edict to be self-contradictory. Since the new law was that the spoken word in the household would be that of the husband, imagine let us say, receiving a notice to this effect in Italy in Italian, in a home where the husband was Chinese and the wife Italian. For the men of the Chinese nation the edict would be phonetically in his language, “kilshono,” although the lettering would be the same as Italians use, “umdinoh kich’sovoh.” (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 1, v. 22: “Li’h’yos kol ish soreir b’veiso” – That every man should master in his home – This played a crucial role in the future developments. Mordechai now would not be excused by saying that Esther did not want to cooperate. (Chasam Sofer in the name of the Ponim Yofos)
Ch. 1, v. 22: “Umda’beir kilshone amo” – And to speak the language of his nation – Ibn Ezra and Rabbeinu Bachyei both say that this second edict had nothing to do with the disastrous Vashti incident. Rather it was a distraction and obfuscation of Achashveirosh’s very self-centred other law. The Chasam Sofer offers that it was a very direct outgrowth of Vashti’s impertinence. The gemara Megiloh 12b relates that Vashti sent this message back to Achashveirosh. “To the stable-keeper of my father: My father was able to remain sober even after drinking 1,000 glasses of liquor, and you are drunk after just a bit of drinking.” An obvious question arises: How did the king’s ministers have the audacity to repeat her vindictive, impudent, brazen words? The Chasam Sofer answers that his ministers spoke the Sursi language, while Vashti, who was a Kasdaite, spoke the Kasdi language. She stated her response in the Kasdi language and they parroted it to Achashveirosh, assuming that she was excusing herself (and her tail), that she was dermatologically challenged. Since they repeated her words in front of many, many ministers, some of whom understood Kasdi, and no doubt served as translators to the rest of the crowd, Achashveirosh suffered great embarrassment. He therefore issued an edict that from now on all wives should only speak the language of their husbands.
Ch. 2, v. 1: “V’eis asher ososoh v’eis asher nigzar o’lehoh” – And what she did and what was decreed upon her – The medrash relates that Hashem complained about Vashti, “Here I have given you reign over 127 lands and you have desecrated the Shabbos of the bnos Yisroel.” As related in the Megiloh, Achashveirosh reigned for two years and then threw his royal feast for 180 days. After that he made a seven day extension, and it was on this day of the grand finale that Vashti was deposed of her position and her life. A year has 354 days. Two years have 708 days. Add the 180 days of the feast and we have 888 days. Divide this by 7 and we have 126, the number of Shabbosos during the 888 days. Add the final 7th day, which was Shabbos, and we have a total of 127 Shabbosos. She caused the bnos Yisroel to desecrate 127 Shabbosos, and in turn, Hashem removed her from reigning over 127 lands. (Likutei Anshei Shem)
Ch. 2, v. 2: “Va’yomru naa’rei ha’melech” – And the king’s youths said – They had the merit that through their suggestion Esther was chosen the queen. This brought them to another merit later on in this story, that of relating to the king that no reward was given to Mordechai, in keeping with the dictum, “mitzvoh goreres mitzvoh.” (Baal Medrash Shmuel)
Ch. 2, v. 3: “V’yafkeid hamelech p’kidim” – And the king should appoint agents – We find this phrase in one other place in Tanach, in Breishis 41:34, where Yoseif advises Paroh to appoint people to administer the agricultural matters and create storehouses of grain for the upcoming years of famine. The Baal Haturim connects these two verses. Both Achashveirosh and Yoseif set up a collection system, Achashveirosh to collect virgins and Yoseif to collect food. Achashveirosh’s efforts resulted in his becoming somewhat impoverished, as we see at the end of the Megiloh, that he enacted new taxes. Yoseif, who set up a system of collecting food to sustain the people, ended up amassing great wealth.
Ch. 2, v. 4: “Asher titav b’einei hamelech” – Who will be pleasing in his eyes – We normally translate “tov b’einei” or the like, as “pleasing in his eyes,” the intention being that he is agreeable. Here we might translate these words very literally, that the maiden who is “pleasing in his eyes,” i.e. is very beautiful, will replace Vashti.
Ch. 2, v. 5: “Ish Yehudi …… ushmo Mordechai …… ish Yemini” – A man from the tribe of Yehudoh …… and his name is Mordechai …… a man from the tribe of Binyomin – The gemara Megiloh 12b explains that Mordechai was maternally from the tribe of Yehudoh and paternally from the tribe of Binyomin. If so, why was his maternal lineage mentioned first? This is because his ancestor from his father’s side was Shimi, who grievously sinned against King Dovid. (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 2, v. 5: “Mordechai” – Some read Mordechai with a “chataf-kometz” under the letter Dalet, while others with a “shvo na,” Mordchai. In printed vowelized Megilos we find both versions.
Ch. 2, v. 5: “Mordechai” – The gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh 3:2 cites the verse in Iyov 8:7, “V’hoyoh reishis’cho mitzor vaacharis’cho yisgeh m’ode,” – and your beginning will be narrow and your end will greatly broaden – and says that this is the basis for our saying that P’sachyoh is Mordechai. The gemara M’nochos 65a says that there was a person named P’sachyoh, who was really Mordechai, who had the ability to “open up” people’s words, i.e. if they were not understood, he clarified them. In Ezra 2:2 we find Mordechai Bilshon, which is interpreted to mean “baal loshon,” a master of languages. This is because Mordechai had a command of all 70 languages, but also possibly because he knew how to clarify words. Some commentators on the above gemara say that he is not the Mordechai of our Megiloh. How does the verse in Iyov shed light on P’sachyoh being Mordechai? The GR”A says that if we split each word, P’sachyoh and Mordechai, into a three letter and two letter grouping, we will find that the numerical value of Pei-Sof-Ches is letter by letter double that of Mem-Reish-Dalet. Thus, P’shachyoh’s being Mordechai, at its beginning, “reishis’cho,” is “mitzor,” diminished, by being halved. The end of P’sachioh, Yud-Hei, is doubled in the Chof-Yud of Mordechai, and that is “vaacharis’cho yisgeh m’ode,” increased.
Ch. 2, v. 5: “Mordechai” – The gemara Chulin 139b says that Mordechai is alluded to in the Torah in the words “mor dror” in Shmos 30:23. Targum Onkelos translates these 2 words as “meira dachyo,” phonetically very close to the name Mordechai. The Maharsh”o on the gemara Megiloh explains that just as myrrh was a spice that was chosen for the incense, described as “b’somim ROSH,” so too, Mordechai was a leader for the bnei Yisroel, giving them guidance to abstain from the royal feast, etc. As well, he led them in their fight for freedom against the evil plans of Homon, hence the connection to “dror.” In his preface to his Hagodoh Shel Pesach, the Rei’ach Dudo’im explains this with the Rambam hilchos klei hamikdosh 1:3 who says that the incense “mor drore” is derived from the sweat (“musk”) of a non-kosher animal. The Raavad sharply disagrees with the Rambam, stating that an item used in the Mikdosh for the incense burning surely does not come from a non-kosher source. He posits that it is a plant extract. The Kesef Mishneh justifies the Rambam, stating that this sweat is dried and is ground down to a fine powder. It is considered a totally different object in this form, similar to sand, and is therefore totally kosher. See the Mogein Avrohom O.Ch. #216, s.k. 3. The word “drore” is translated as FREE, as per commentators on Vayikra 25:10. FREE, “mutar,” also means permitted, while TIED, “ossur,” means prohibited. Although the “mor” comes from a non-kosher source, nevertheless it is “drore,” permitted, “dachia,” pure, as explained by the Kesef Mishneh. The M.R. Bmidbar 19:1 comments on the words of the verse in Iyov 14:4, “Mi yi’tein tohore mito’mei, - Who can extract a pure object from a defiled one?” that this refers to Mordechai who was pure and holy, although he was the grandson (Megilas Esther 2:5) of the defiled Shimi (Shmuel 2:16:5, M’lochim 1:2:8). The allusion to Mordechai, a holy person who came from an unholy source is appropriately taken from “mor drore,” an object used for the holy incense, also taken from an unholy source. Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld says that although the gemara cites an allusion for Homon from a verse in parshas Breishis, there is likewise an allusion to him in the parsha of incense spices. One of the 11 spices is “chel’b’noh,” the only foul-smelling spice among them. Homon has the same numerical value as “chel’b’noh.”
Ch. 2, v. 5: “Mordechai” – The M.R. on this verse says that Mordechai was equal to Moshe. We find that Mordechai’s name appears in Megilas Esther 58 times, the same numerical value as Noach. The Ari z”l writes that Noach’s soul transmigrated into Moshe. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 6: “Asher hegloh Nevuchadnetzar” – That Nevuchadnetzar sent into exile – The medrash says that when Rabbi Yonoson read this verse (while studying Megilas Esther, but not when reading it to fulfill the mitzvoh, as it is prohibited to interrupt) he would add, “May his bones be pulverized.” When reading his name in the book of Yirmiyohu he would not add these words because the evil king was still alive. The Sfas Emes explains that as long as he was alive, as evil as he was, there was the possibility that he would repent. I don’t grasp this. Although it is true that during the narration of the story in the book of Yirmiyohu he was living, and during the narration of Megilas Esther he wasn’t, but when Rabbi Yonoson read the book of Yirimiyohu, Nevuchadnetzar was already dead.
Ch. 2, v. 7: “Va’y’hi o’mein es Hadasoh” – And he was a caretaker for Hadasoh – Breishis Raboh 30:9 and Yalkut Shimoni relate that one time Mordechai was unable to readily find a wet-nurse for Hadasoh and he himself nursed her.
Ch. 2, v. 7: “Va’y’hi o’mein es Hadasoh” – And he was the caretaker of Hadasoh – He pumped “emunoh,” faith, into Hadasoh. (Likutei Mahara”n)
Ch. 2, v. 8: “Vatilokach Esther el beis hamelech” – And Esther was taken to the king’s house – Note the Divine involvement here, paving the way for a quick decision to take Esther as his wife. In verse 3 we see that the order of things was to first take the maiden to Hei’ge and shower her with cosmetics. Esther was first taken directly to the king and without the cosmetics, etc. It was only afterwards that she was taken to Hei’ge and given these items. (Megilas S’sorim)
Ch. 2, v. 9: “Sheva hanaaros” – The seven maidens – Each of these maidens served her a different day of the week, and this way she kept count of when Shabbos came (gemara Megiloh 13a). This is unusual. What’s so hard about knowing which day of the week it is? Ben Yehoyoho offers that the issue was when nightfall would be. Esther would surely raise eyebrows if she would always go to the window to see if the sun was about to set, even if she covered up and did this daily. She therefore had the “changing of the guard” timed for shortly before nightfall, and this way she wouldn’t accidentally extend Friday into Shabbos. Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz offers that since she did regular activities during the week, it would surely be noticed that she refrained from work on Shabbos. She therefore had a different maidservant every day. The ones who served her during the six weekdays assumed that she likewise continued with the same activities on Shabbos, while the Shabbos maidservant, observing that she did nothing, assumed that she was a real princess all week long and never lifted a finger.
Ch. 2, v. 9: “Sheva hanaaros” – The seven maidens – Each of these maidens served her a different day of the week, as per the gemara Megiloh 13a. Targum Rishon lists their names. Tosfos Brochoh suggests that each name corresponds to what took place on that day during the seven days of creation. “Cholta,” means creation, and the first day was the basis of creation. (As well, Rashi says that all things were created then and put into function on the following days.) “Rokaisa” means firmament, the day of the creation of the heavens. “Ginonisa” means vegetation, as per the verse of the creation of greenery on the third day. “N’horisa” means illumination, corresponding to the sun, moon, and stars, which were placed into service on the fourth day. “Roch’shisa” means crawling creatures, corresponding to the sea and earth creatures of the fifth day. “Chorfisa” means the “before the advent of,” as per the gemara Shabbos 115a. Friday was the eve of Shabbos. “Rogaisa” means calmness, alluding to Shabbos, which is a day of rest. When the gemara says that she used them to keep an accounting of which day of the week it was, it means that through using these names, she actually alluded to the days of creation. The Rokei’ach notes that “hanaaros ha’ru’yos” has the same numerical value as “Zu hoysoh monoh vo’hen Shabbos.”
Ch. 2, v. 10: “Asher lo sagid” – That she should not disclose – Targum says that Mordechai realized that Achashveirosh was easily brought to anger and lashed out with severe punishments. Perhaps if he would be angry with Esther he would take it out not only on her but also upon her nation. The Ibn Ezra offers that if Achashveirosh wouldn’t know her religious affiliation it would be much easier for her to keep Shabbos and kashrus, etc.
Ch. 2, v. 10: “Asher lo sagid” – That she should not disclose – Why did Mordechai command her to keep her nationality and ancestry a secret? 1) Mordechai realized that Achashveirosh was easily brought to anger and lashed out with severe punishments. Perhaps if he would be angry with Esther he would take it out not only on her but also upon her nation. (Targum) 2) If Achashveirosh wouldn’t know her religious affiliation it would be much easier for her to keep Shabbos, kashrus, etc. (Ibn Ezra) 3) To increase the likelihood of her being chosen, as an alien would probably not be his first choice. (Ibn Ezra) 4) Mordechai knew through prophecy that the salvation would come through Esther, and to minimize the miracle he told her to not disclose that she was Jewish, as this would make her a most unlikely candidate for queendom. (Ibn Ezra) 5) It would be disclosed that she was a descendant of the royal family of Sho’ul, and this would give Achashveirosh a great impetus to take her as his wife. (Rashi) 6) If he would find out that she was Jewish he might defile her numerous times, as she was very attractive, but he would not take a Jewess as his queen. (Rishon L’tzion – Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh) 7) This was indeed totally illogical. Had she disclosed that she was Jewish she would never have been in the running. Hashem put this illogical notion into Mordechai’s mind to bring about the salvation. (Megilas S’sorim) 8) Mordechai felt that Esther would likely be Achashveirosh’s choice. If she told him that she was Jewish he might attempt to convince her to change her religion, and she would have to give up her life. If however, he would not know her religion, he would be taking her only for his personal gratification, and she would be allowed to cooperate with him. (Rabbi Moshe Almosnino)
Ch. 2, v. 11: “Uvchol yom voyom …… lodaas es shlome Esther” – And every day …… to know Esther’s welfare – It was between four and five years until Esther was taken to Achashveirosh (see GR”A al derech hapshat). During that time Mordechai went daily to check on Esther’s well-being. This was a key factor in the Purim story, as it was surely in the merit of Mordechai’s total involvement and concern for Esther that he merited to have the Purim miracle took place through his efforts. (Sfas Emes)
Ch. 2, v. 11: “Es shlome Esther” – Esther’s welfare – The Ibn Ezra explains that this simply meant that he checked on her health to see if she needed a doctor’s care.
Ch. 2, v. 12: “Shishoh chodoshim …… v’shishoh chodoshim” – Six months …… and six months – The gemara Megiloh 13a explains that this was a two-stage beauty treatment, the first softens the skin and the second removes excess hair.
Ch. 2, v. 13: “Kol asher tomar yino’sein loh” – All that she says will be given to her – Rashi says that this refers to musical accompaniment when she makes her entry to the king. However, Ibn Ezra seems to say that anything she requested was given to her and that this was an ongoing policy for the year that she was being prepared, to avoid her becoming gaunt.
Ch. 2, v. 14: “El beis hanoshim sheini” – To the house of the women a second TIME – This is Ibn Ezra’s understanding, that the word “paam” is self-understood but left out of the verse. He takes note that the word “paam” is a male-form word, as we would otherwise have “sheiniS.” Although the word “paam” is usually female, he says that this is one of those words that is considered both male and female, and cites “Ach bapaam ha’zeh” (Shoftim 16:28) as a proof.
Ch. 2, v. 15: “Esther bas Avichayil dode Mordechai” – It is most unusual for the verse to tell us her ancestry at this point, once she was already introduced earlier. Why wasn’t her father’s name mentioned there, and why mention here that Mordechai was her relative? Earlier, as Mordechai’s wife, “l’bas = l’bayis,” she was totally removed from her paternal connection. Now that she had to share her wifehood with Achashveirosh as well, and as such, Mordechai’s relationship with her has weakened, she is called her father’s daughter. At the same time, she still remained Mordechai’s wife, so he is also mentioned, albeit as a relative of her father. (Mahara”l of Prague in Ohr Chodosh) He does not explain why she is again called the daughter of Avichayil at the end of the Megiloh (9:29). This is clarified by Taamo Dikro. Since the verse there discusses Esther’s offering the text of the Megiloh to the Rabbi’s to be added to the Holy Scriptures, which hinges upon its being Divinely inspired (this is not the only factor), her upbringing by the holy and scholarly Avichayil (as mentioned by the Rokei’ach that he was Mordechai’s teacher) was influential in her receiving Divine inspiration.
Ch 2, v. 16: “Bishnas sheva l’malchuso” – In the seventh year of his reign – This is mentioned to show us how much effort Esther expended in hiding herself from Achashveirosh’s agents. She lived in Shushan and was able to remain hidden for three years. The gala parties took place in the third year of his reign and after a year of preparation she came in front of Achashveirosh, leaving us with three years. (GR”A)
Ch. 2, v. 17: “Es Esther – The Holy Zohar in Raya M’hemna at the beginning of parshas Ki Seitzei says that Achashveirosh never cohabited with Esther. An impersonator of Esther was taken to him. This is alluded to by the word ES of our verse, meaning “secondary.” (Kosnos Ohr) This might be another source for the custom of disguising ourselves on Purim.
Ch. 2, v. 18: “V’hanochoh lamdinos ossoh” – And a tax exemption for the lands he enacted – We note taxation matters here and later, at the end of the Megiloh, where Achashveirosh reenacted taxes. What bearing does this have on the unfolding of events? We see that although Achashveirosh gave everyone a tax break, the bnei Yisroel were not included. Otherwise, why would Homon offer Achashveirosh a vast amount of money? As well, what need was there to convince him that “it is not worth the king’s trouble to leave them alive” (3:8)? They were not paying taxes anyway. If we say that they did pay taxes, then he had to convince the king of their lack of value, and that the tax loss would be offset by his generous payoff. Once Achashveirosh felt that Homon was his enemy he returned to the outlook of the bnei Yisroel’s being a source for taxes and did not want them ch”v eradicated. When Mordechai and Esther requested permission to kill their enemies, they did not have to offer money to make up the tax loss, as no one was paying taxes anyway, so this was readily agreed upon by Achashveirosh. Once the killing was over and there was no benefit for the bnei Yisroel in having people freed from taxation, Hashem put it into Achashveirosh’s mind to reinstate the taxes, as mentioned in 10:1. (Yoseif Lekach)
Ch. 2, v. 19: “Uvhiko’veitz b’sulos sheinis” – And when there was a gathering of virgins a second time – The gemara Megiloh 13a explains why there was a second assemblage of virgins after Achashveirosh had already taken Esther as his wife. He was unable to find out her origins. Mordechai suggested to him that he make a second round of assembling virgins so Esther would think that he planned to take a co-queen. This, he told Achashveirosh, would surely elicit her cooperation, so that he would be totally happy with her and forget about a second wife. Even though Mordechai told Esther to not divulge this information, he nevertheless suggested it so that Achashveirosh would not think that Esther is Jewish. Mordechai was sure that in spite of this Esther would remain strong. (Rishon L’Tzion)
Ch. 2, v. 20: “Kaasher tzivoh o’lehoh Mordechoi v’es maamar Mordechai Esther o’soh kaasher hoysoh v’omnoh ito” – As Mordechai commanded her and Mordechai’s word Esther is fulfilling just as when she was fostered by him – Why the change from Mordechai’s commanding to Mordechai’s saying? When Mordechai told her earlier to not disclose her nationality, she was at that time his foster child, and as such, like his daughter. His word was a command, like that of a father. When it came to the implementation, at that time she was Achashveirosh’s wife, and Mordechai’s command was no longer binding. It was only his word. However, the verse tells us that she fulfilled it with the same severity as the time she was “v’omnoh ito.” (Baal Medrash Shmuel)
Ch. 2, v. 21: “Ba’yomim ho’heim” – In those days – The gemara Megiloh 12b relates that the reason Bigson and Teresh were angered and planned to poison the king was because the king continually asked them to bring him water all night. This was because he was involved with relations with Esther throughout every night, bringing in its wake great thirst. They complained that their eyes saw no sleep. This might be alluded to in the words “Ba’yomim ho’heim,” in those days, when even the nights were turned into days, or “Beis-yomim,” that every day was as long as two because they were awake for 24 hours. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 2, v. 22: “Va’ya’geid l’Esther” – And he related to Esther – The Beis haLevi asked his son Rabbi Chaim Brisker, when he was just a little child, “Why did Mordechai reveal the plot of the attempted assassination of Achashveirosh? What is so terrible if an evil person would die?” Rabbi Chaim immediately responded, “And what’s so terrible if two evil people would die?”
Ch. 2, v. 23: “Va’y’vukash hadovor va’yimotzei” – And the matter was investigated and it was found – Yalkut Shimoni writes that Bigson and Teresh planned to kill the king by placing a poisonous snake into Achashveirosh’s drinking water and having it expel its venom. After having done so, they then removed it from the vat. When Mordechai had Esther transmit this information to Achashveirosh and he in turn looked into the matter, Hashem miraculously made a snake appear in the water. This is indicated by the word “va’yimotzei,” and it was found. A “m’tzioh” is an object that was lost and is now found, Here too, a snake was removed, but a snake was later “found” in the water.
Ch. 2, v. 23: “Va’yiko’seiv b’sefer divrei ha’yomim” – And it was recorded in the book of chronicles – The medrash remarks, “If the simple recording of events in a book written by flesh and blood brought about such major events, imagine the impact of the recording of people’s lifetime of activities in Hashem’s chronicles!”
Ch. 3, v. 1: “Homon” – The gemara Chulin 139b asks, “Where is Homon alluded to in the Torah?” Why does the gemara assume that he is alluded to, and even more, who cares? May his name be blotted out! The gemara Sanhedrin 63a says that it is prohibited to mention the name of an “avodoh zoroh,” a false god. If so, since Homon made himself a god, very small g, how do we use his name? The answer is that the same gemara says that if the false god’s name is in the Torah, we may mention it. Knowing that is common practice to say Homon’s name. The gemara therefore asked where his name is in the Torah. (Rosh Yoseif)
Ch. 3, v. 1: “Homon ben Hamdoso hoAgogi” – These words have the samwe numerical value as “tzoreir kol haY’hudim.” (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 3, v. 2: “V’lo yishtachaveh” – And he would not bow – We find in verse 6, “Ein Mordechai korei’a umishtacha’veh LO va’yimo’lei Homon cheimoh.” Why is the same information mentioned twice? Also, why is the word LO omitted in our verse? Finally, why was Homon’s reaction of anger not mentioned earlier, in our verse, but rather in verse 6? The Verbauer Rav resolves these three questions by explaining that first Homon had an idol on his neck. As the verse relates, Mordechai told everyone that he was a Yehudi, so he may not bow down, a simple matter of complying with the laws of his religion. Homon then removed the idol from his necklace and still Mordechai didn’t kneel nor bow down to him, LO, stressing not even to him alone without the idol. It was at this point that Homon blew his fuse.
Ch. 3, v. 3: “Madua atoh o’veir eis mitzvas hamelech” – Why do you transgress the command of the king – Even though Homon sold himself as a slave to Mordechai, as related in the medrash, and Mordechai did not feel compelled to bow down to him in spite of his newly elevated position, but the king’s servants asked him why he did not comply based on the command of the king. (Shem miShmuel R.H. 5674 citing his father the Avnei Neizer)
Ch. 3, v. 4,5: “Va’yagidu l’Homon, Va’yar Homon ki ein Mordechai korei’a umishtacha’veh lo” – And they related to Homon, And Homon saw that Mordechai is not kneeling and bowing to him – It was only after Homon was told that Mordechai did not bow down to him that he saw that it was so. Before this he was unaware of it because in his great arrogance and conceit, he didn’t even bother to look at his lowly subjects. (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 3, v. 4: “Ha’yaamdu divrei Mordechai” – Would Mordechai’s words be upheld – The issue wasn’t Mordechai’s words, but rather, his not kneeling nor bowing down. In verse 2 we find, “U’Mordechai lo YICHREH v’lo YISHTACHA’VEH,” in the future tense. This means that not only did he not bow down at the time, but he also said that he would not do so in the future. It is these words that our verse calls “divrei Mordechai.” (Rashi)
Ch. 3, v. 5: “Ein Mordechai ko’rei’a umishtacha’veh LO”- Mordechai is not kneeling and bowing down TO HIM – The stress is on “to him,” because Homon was aware that Mordechai bowed to Hashem in his prayers, but not to Homon.
Ch. 3, v. 6: “Va’yi’vez b’einov lishlo’ach yod b’Mordechai l’vado ki higidu lo es am Mordechoi” – And it was insignificant in his eyes to take action against only Mordechai because they told him of the nation of Mordechai – “Am Mordechai” means a nation of Mordechais. What is the use of having him removed if another person just like him will take his place? (Asufos)
Ch. 3, v. 6: “Va’yi’vez b’einov lishlo’ach yod b’Mordechai l’vado ki higidu lo es am Mordechai va’y’va’keish Homon l’hashmid es kol haY’hudim” – And it was insignificant in his eyes to take action against only Mordechai because they told him the nation of Mordechai and Homon sought to annihilate all the Jews – How is the “nation of Mordechai” a cause for wanting to not only destroy him, but also the whole nation ch”v? Had he thought that Mordechai’s obstinacy was his personal choice then he would have reacted by wanting to do in only Mordechai. However, he was told that it was nothing personal. Mordechai behaved this way because he was part of the Jewish nation, which is commanded to not bow down to avodoh zoroh. Since this was a national religious matter, he decided to take action against the whole nation. (A’keidas Yitzchok)
Ch. 3, v. 6: “B’Mordechai l’vado” – In Mordechai only – Targum explains that Homon was incited to react in such an extreme manner because he was advised that Mordechai was a descendant of Yaakov who wrested away both the first-born privileges and the blessings from his ancestor Eisov. He had an old score to settle.
Ch. 3, v. 7: “Hu chodesh Nison” – It is the month of Nison – The name of this month alludes to miracles, “nisim.” Alternatively, it means a time of light, as in Z’charioh 9:16, “misnosesses.” (Ro’kei’ach)
Ch. 3, v. 7: “Hipil pur” – He threw a lot – Eliyohu Rabboh O.Ch. #693 cites Sefer Amarkol, who says that when Homon saw the lottery land on the month of Ador he was most pleased because it was the month that many of the bnei Yisroel died during the three days of darkness. However, he was not aware of “Ulchol bnei Yisroel hoyoh ohr b’moshvosom” of the survivors. An allusion to this might be that “hipil” (i”h) has the same numerical value as “a’feiloh.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 7: “Hipil PUR hu hagorol mi’yom l’yom u’meichodesh l’chodesh” – He threw a Pur it is a lot lottery from day to day and from month to month – Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz, in his monumental work Yaaros Dvash, drush 3, asks two questions: 1) Since Homon cast a lot, a PUR, singular, why do we name this day PURIM in the plural form, “Al kein koru la’yomim ho’eileh PURIM al sheim haPUR” (9:26)? 2) What does “mi’yom l’yom u’meichodesh l’chodesh” mean? He answers that when one casts a lot to arrive at a date, it does not indicate auspiciousness of that date. The lot must land somewhere. Ochon used this claim against the lot cast by Yehoshua, saying that if the names of Yehoshua and Eliezer Kohein Godol were the only ones put into a box, one of their names would be drawn, so this is no indication of guilt (gemara Sanhedrin 43b). Therefore Homon used a different type of system for casting lots. He had one box with the names of the months and another one with numbers corresponding to the days of the year. If, for example, he drew the month Nison and drew the number 100, he knew it did not match, since Nison is the first month. Only with the drawing of a number that was 30 or less could these two lots match. He continued drawing lots until he hit the combination of a month and a day of the year number that landed in that month. Hence, PURIM is in the plural form. Although Homon arrived at only one date, two lots were cast to arrive at this date, one for the month, and one for the day of the year. In the spirit of DRUSH, perhaps we can build onto the words of the Yaaros Dvash. Which number did Homon select? Since there are 354 days in a lunar year, and we see from the Megiloh (3:7 and 3:13) that the calculations began with Nison being the first month, the thirteenth of Ador was the 338th day. This number is significant. In letter form this number spells “CHoLoSH,” CHes-SHin-Lamed. This word means a lottery, just as “gorol” and ““pur” mean a lottery. The mishnoh Shabbos 148b says, “Matilin CHALOSHIN al hakodoshim,” on Shabbos the Kohanim may cast LOTS to see who will perform the service. The gemara 149b asks, “Where is the source for the word “CHOLOSH” meaning a lottery?” The gemara brings the words in Yeshayohu 14:12, “CHOLEISH al goyim.” Something most interesting emerges upon studying the complete verse. It reads, “Eich Nofalto Mishomayim Heileil ben shachar, nigdato lo’oretz CHOLEISH al goyim. - How have you fallen from the heavens, you bright star? You have been cut down to the earth, CASTER OF LOTS on nations.” This seems to be the story of Homon, who was in a high position and was cast down from it. He was the one who cast a lottery on the Jewish nation. The first letters of “Nofalto Mishomayim Heileil” spell Homon, Hei-Mem-Nun. Possibly this particular word CHOLEISH was used, as it equals 338, and Homon would choose the 338th day of the year to ch”v annihilate the bnei Yisroel. When Yehoshua waged war with Amoleik it says, “Va’yaCHALOSH Yehoshua es Amoleik” (Shmos 17:13). The Yalkut Shimoni #265 says that this means he cast LOTS to decide whom to kill and whom not to kill. The Yalkut says that there are four synonymous terms for casting lots: 1) cholosh 2) gorol 3) pur 4) chevel. Amoleik was smitten with each of these terms: “cholosh” in Shmos 17:13, “Va’yaCHALOSH Yehoshua; “gorol” and “pur” in Megilas Esther 3:7, “hipil PUR hu haGOROL;” “chevel” in Hoshei’a 13:13, “CHAVLei leidoh yovo’u lo.” From this Yalkut we see that Yehoshua, a descendant of Binyomin, had laid the grounds for Mordechai, also a descendant of Binyomin, to overpower Amoleik, specifically with LOTS. This might be another reason for the plural term PURIM. It encompasses two lots, that of Homon, and the one that preceded it, the lot cast by Yehoshua, which set into motion the power to have Homon’s lot also be one which brought victory for the bnei Yisroel. Through Yehoshua’s “VA’YACHALOSH,” the bnei Yisroel merited to turn around the king’s decree, (8:10) “VA’YISHLACH sforim. “VA’YACHALOSH and VA’YISHLACH have the same letters. A final gematria: The word PURIM when spelled “mollei Vov,” equals 336. It appears in the Megiloh five times, but only twice with a “Vov”. Add these two times to the 336 and it totals 338.
Ch. 3, v. 7: “Miyom l’yom u’meichodesh l’chodesh” – From day to day and from month to month – The story is told of the Avnei Neizer’s being in Cracow right at the beginning of the month of Ador. Among the people who came to see him was the Cracow town drunk, and in an inebriated state to boot. The Avnei Neizer asked him why he jumped the gun and started his “bisu’mei” two weeks ahead of schedule. He responded that he not only began in earnest from Rosh Chodesh, but also extended his “hidur mitzvoh” until the end of the month. He justified himself by asking the following: “Why did Homon decide upon having only one day set aside for ch”v slaughtering the bnei Yisroel? Surely some of them would hide and be saved. If the edict would be for a week or a month he could more realistically actualize his goal. It must be that Homon feared that things might turn against him, as indeed happened. If this were to happen the bnei Yisroel would in kind make the whole month be a festival. This made Homon see red! He would rather limit his diabolical plans to one day of slaughter so that if it wouldn’t work out the bnei Yisroel would have but one day of rejoicing. In theory he would really have preferred to have the slaughter last the complete month of Ador. Am I then to limit my drinking to but one day on Ador because Homon could not ‘fargeen,’ have the generosity, to have the bnei Yisroel celebrate a whole month?” The Avnei Neizer lauded this explanation and told it over in the name of the Cracow “shikur” to many people. Perhaps this explains why “day to day” is mentioned before “month to month,” as Homon first decided that the slaughter last but one day. As well, there is a theme of Ador being a month of redemption in this Purim story, as per the verse, “V’hachodesh asher nehpach lohem” (9:22).
Ch. 3, v. 7: “L’chodesh shneim ossor hu chodesh Ador” – Of the twelfth month it is the month Ador – The reason only Ador haSHeini may be the additional 13th month is that our verse says that Ador is the 12th month, and if we were to add an addition of any other month to the calendar, then Ador would no longer be the 12th month. Was there an extra Ador in the year of the miracle of the Purim salvation? Rabbi Levi in the name of Rabbi Chomoh says that there was. He derives it from this verse (gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh 1:5). In which Ador did the culmination of the Purim miracle take place? The gemara thare does not say, but the Pnei Moshe on the gemara says that it was the second. A simple reading of both the Babylonian (6b) and Yerushalmi (1:5) talmuds seem to indicate otherwise. The gemara explains that we celebrate purim with all its mitzvos in the second Ador to bring close the two celebrations of redemption, Purim and Pesach. If the miracle took place in the second Ador, no such explanation is needed. It is celebrated in the second because that is when it happened.
Ch. 3, v. 7: “Hu chodesh Ador” – It is the month of Ador – Homon was happy that the month was Ador, as its “mazal,” sign, is fish. He thought that just as fish are easily caught, so too, the bnei Yisroel would be easy prey. Hashem responded that some fish swallow others. Homon would not be like the fish that swallows, but rather, like the one that is swallowed. (Yalkut Shimoni) Perhaps this explains why “mazal Ador DOGIM,” in the plural. The “mazal” of the bnei Yisroel is that there are 2 fish, alluding to one that swallows and one that is swallowed. They are portrayed facing each other and not face to tail, one behind the other. Perhaps this alludes to what happened to Homon. A strong, quick swimming fish can overtake a slow moving one and swallow it. They would be facing the same direction. This is what commonly takes place. Homon thought that he would prevail and attacked the bnei Yisroel head-on. With the ensuing “v’nahafoch hu,” the miraculous turn-around, the bnei Yisroel overcame him as he was trying to swallow them, hence the 2 fish facing each other.
Ch. 3, v. 8: “Yeshno am echod” – There exists one nation – The gemara Megiloh 13b says that Homon attempted to allay Achashveirosh’s fears of retribution from Hashem by saying “yeshno,” the bnei Yisroel are “asleep” when they do mitzvos. This means that they put no heart or emotion into their mitzvoh acts. Because of this Hashem will likewise “remain asleep” and not come to their aid. Mordechai was the leader who brought the bnei Yisroel back to serving Hashem with emotion and vigour. “Nirdomim” is a word that is synonymous with “y’sheinim.” “Ki Mordechai haY’hudi” (10:3) has the same numerical value as “nirdomim.” (Goral Samach-Beis – Rabbi Dov Fink)
Ch. 3, v. 8: “Yeshno am echod” – There exists one nation – The reason they are “yeish,” an entity, is because they are “am echod,” a united nation. (Rabbi Naftoli of Ropschitz)
Ch. 3, v. 8: “Yeshno am echod m’fuzor umforod bein ho’amim” – There exists one nation that is scattered and divided among the nations – The reason for the bnei Yisroel’s being able to exist, “yeshno,” is that they are united, “am echod.” The way to ch”v overpower them is “m’fuzor umforod bein ho’amim.” (Rebbe Reb Bunim of Parshis’cha)
Ch. 3, v. 8: “Yeshno am echod m’fuzor umforod bein ho’amim” – There exists one nation that is scattered and divided among the nations – Even though they are spread among many foreign nations they remain strong as one united people. (Shem miShmuel)
Ch. 3, v. 8: “Yeshno am echod …… v’do’seihem shonos mikol om v’es do’sei hamelech einom osim” – There is one nation …… and their rituals are different from all other nations and the rituals of the king they are not doing – At a Purim meal Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin read a positive spin into these words. Homon is telling Achashveirosh that the bnei Yisroel’s assorted holidays come “mikol om,” from different nations. They celebrate Pesach thanks to Paroh, and Chanukah thanks to Antiochus. At this point in time they do not celebrate any rites stemming from you, Achashveirosh. Therefore if you allow me to issue an edict to destroy them there will eventually be a holiday as an outgrowth of your actions.
Ch. 3, v. 8: “V’do’sei’hem shonos mikol om” – And their creeds are different from those of all other nations – Their religion teaches them that they must be different from all other nations. (Rebbe Reb Bunim of Parshis’cha)
Ch. 3, v. 8: “V’es do’sei hamelech einom osim” – And the rituals of the king they are not doing – The gemara Megiloh 13b says that Homon complained that the bnei Yisroel were involved all the year with “ShaHi” and “PaHi.” Rashi explains that this is a mnemonic for “Shabbos Ha’Yom” and “Pesach Ha’Yom,” and they excuse themselves for not working. How is this an excuse for “all year,” as Shabbos comes only once in seven days, and Pesach once a year for eight days? Rabbi Elozor of Lizhensk answers that the bnei Yisroel were always involved with the preparation for Shabbos and Yom Tov, and this seemed to Homon as if it was all year long. I take the liberty to suggest that as a just repayment for Homon’s “ShaHi” and “PaHi” we now have “Shushan (Purim) Ha’Yom” and “Purim Ha’Yom.”
Ch. 3, v. 9: “Yiko’seiv l’abdom” – Let it be written to have them annihilated– The medrash says that when the angels in heaven came to intercede for the bnei Yisroel, Hashem responded that the edict to ch”v annihilate the bnei Yisroel was sealed with a clot of mud and not with blood, so it could be rescinded. (It seems that the concept of “in mud” and “in blood” is symbolic. If one were to create a seal of mud, the mud would later dry and crumble. Not so with blood, as it leaves a permanent mark.) The Ari z”l says that the words of this medrash are alluded to in the word “l’abdom,” which is spelled Lamed-Alef-Beis-Dalet-Mem. This word can be split in two, leaving us with “lo b’dam,” – not in blood. There is an even earlier source for this insight. It is the Ro’kei’ach, although he does not connect it with the medrash.
Ch. 3, v. 9: “Va’a’serres kikar kesef – And ten-thousand kikar weight of silver – The gemara Megiloh 13b says in the name of Reish Lokish, “It was known to the One Who created the world that Homon would weigh ‘shkolim’ to purchase the bnei Yisroel and do with them as he wishes. Therefore Hashem preempted him by giving the bnei Yisroel the mitzvoh of giving ‘shkolim.’ This is fulfilled as mentioned in the first mishnoh of Shkolim, ‘On the first day of the month of Ador announcements are made to give ‘shkolim.’” The mitzvoh is to annually give a “machatzis ha’shekel,” a half-“shekel.” Perhaps we can offer a mathematical allusion for the gemara’s statement. Homon attempted to PURCHASE the bnei Yisroel, taking them out of Hashem’s control and supervision. “Shekel,” spelled Shin-Kuf-Lamed, when halved, “machatzis,” gives us the numerical values 150, 50, and 15. The corresponding letters are Kuf-Nun, Nun, and Yud-Hei. These letters spell “HaKiNYaN,” – the possession. This refers to the bnei Yisroel’s being owned exclusively by Hashem, and by none other, as per Pirkei Ovos 6:10, “Yisroel kinyon echod.” (Nirreh li) Tosfos on the gemara Megiloh 16a d.h. “V’dochi” writes that he heard that the 10,000 “kikar” weight of silver that Homon offered Achashveirosh in our verse equals the amount of “shkolim” that the 600,000 bnei Yisroel who left Egypt gave in the form of half-“shkolim,” and Homon wanted to give their complete redemption. Tosfos ends by saying that if you calculate it you will find that it is accurate. The Chizkuni on our verse independently gives us a calculation of how Homon’s 10,000 “kikar” weights of silver equal the amount of half-“shkolim” 600,000 bnei Yisroel would give. On average, people live seventy years. The responsibility to give a half-“shekel” begins at the age of twenty (This is contested by some, see Torah T’mimoh on Shmos 30:13.) as is written in Shmos 13:14, “mi’ben ESRIM shonoh.” On average people give their half-“shekel” for fifty years. The type of half-shekel given is in the “shekel hakodesh” coin system, which has double the value of non-kodesh “shkolim,” hence 25 “shiklei kodesh” are given from age twenty until death, averaging age 70, which equal 50 standard “shkolim.” Fifty “shkolim” equal 100 “zuzim.” Sixty people would give 6,000 “zuzim,” equal to 60 “monoh,” the weight of a “kikar” of silver, as a unit of “kesef” equals a “zuz.” Ten-thousand times this amount was given by 600,000 people as 60 goes into 600,000 ten-thousand times. Thus a total of 10,000 “kikar kesef” was given by these 600,000 people, and Homon offered an equal amount. The Ba”ch on the above Tosfos calculates exactly as the Chizkuni and says that this is the intention of the Tosfos. The Targum Sheini on Megilas Esther simply states that Homon offered 100 “kesef” for each of the 600,000 bnei Yisroel who left Egypt. He does not explain why 100 “kesef” per person was offered. I believe that the calculation of the Chizkuni is not that of the Tosfos. Tosfos clearly states that the amount was equal to that given by the bnei Yisroel WHO LEFT EGYPT. The 600,000 adults who left Egypt above the age of 20 years did not start giving a half-“shekel” until the second year in the desert at the time of the building of the Mishkon, at the earliest being 21 years of age, thus allowing for only 49 years of giving, and also, they did not live beyond the age of sixty because of the death sentence brought on by their sinning at the time of the sending of the spies, as recorded in Bmidbar 14:29. This further reduces their giving to only 39 years. Thus the calculation Tosfos had in mind seems to not be that of the Chizkuni. Possibly, Tosfos can be explained with the words of the Rabbeinu Chanan’eil mentioned in Tosfos on the gemara Sotoh 5a d.h. “Odom.” He says that the weight of a “r’viis halug” of blood, the minimal amount required to be in a person’s circulatory system to stay alive, is that of 25 “shkolim.” The R’vid Hazohov explains according to this that the giving of a half-“shekel” is a fiftieth weight of that of a “rviis” of blood. Thus a half-“shekel” is truly a tithing, a “trumoh” as mentioned in the end of our verse, since the average tithing of “trumoh” is one part of fifty. As mentioned earlier, Tosfos said that Homon wanted to give their COMPLETE redemption. The R’vid Hazohov says that this likely means “shkolim” for the complete weight of their blood, 25 “shkolim”, or 100 “kesef,” per person. We thus arrive at exactly 10,000 “kikar kesef.” Although a daring “chidush,” perhaps with the approach of the R’vid Hazohov we have an insight into why money is called “domim,” whose literal meaning is blood. Rabbeinu Bachyei says that 100 “shkolim” per person is based on the “arochin” system (Vayikra 27:3), which evaluates an adult man between the ages of twenty and sixty years at fifty “shkolim” for an “erki olai,” my value is donated. As mentioned earlier, “shiklei kodesh” are double, so 50 become 100.
Ch. 3, v. 10: “Va’yosar hamelech es tabato” – And the king removed his ring – This verse unequivocally shows us Achashveirosh’s evil intentions. Homon did not even ask for the royal signet ring and yet, Achashveirosh offered it. As well, our verse mentions Homon plus his pedigree, to indicate that Achashveirosh gave him permission and plenty of encouragement, and not because he thought that Homon was a “nice guy.” He knew that he was an Agogi, and an archenemy of the Jews. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 11: “Ha’kesef nosun loch” – The money is given to you – The M.R. 7:21 says that Achashveirosh unwittingly alluded to Homon’s eventually being hung from the gallows. “Ha’kesef” has the same numerical value as “ho’eitz.” The gallows are given to you.
Ch. 3, v. 11: “Ha’kesef nosun loch” – The money is given to you – Although Homon offered to purchase the bnei Yisroel, Achashveirosh declined and gave them over to Homon gratis. This might be somewhat of a fulfillment of the admonition, “V’hismakarteM …… v’eiN koneH” (Dvorim 28:68). The final letters of these three words spell Homon. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 3, v. 12: “Achashdarpnei” – Ministers of – The Ibn Ezra writes that this is a Farsi word and its being 9 letters long (meaning “achashdarpnim” which is his d.h.) makes it the longest “to’ar” word in Tanach. This is found as a longer word with a prefix, 11 letters long, later on in the Megiloh (9:3). He discounts the opinion that it is a compound of two words.
Ch. 3, v. 13: “V’nishlo’ach sforim” – And to send writs – Rabbi Shlomo haLevi Alkabetz in Monos haLevi says that although the content of this verse is arguably the nadir of the Purim story for the bnei Yisroel, nevertheless, the seeds of redemption appear here as well. He notes that all the letters of the Alef-Beis, including the five final letters, are present in our verse. He adds that throughout Tanach there are twenty-two verses (just as there are 22 letters in the Alef-Beis) that contain all the letters of the Alef-Beis. This alludes to the merit of the twenty-two letters of the Torah, through which we are protected. A careful review of this verse shows that one letter is not present, the final Tzadi. Although this is contrary to the insight of the Monos haLevi, perhaps a new insight emerges from noting that only the final Tzadi is not present. As mentioned in an early edition of Sedrah Selections, the letter Tzadi represents the “tzadik,” the righteous person. This is clearly stated in the preface of the Holy Zohar to the Torah, “Tzadi ant v’tzadik ant.” (Some people mistakenly call this letter Tzadik, and it seems to be the result of adjoining the sound of the first part of the following letter, Kuf, to it.) By leaving out the final Tzadi, our verse could well be indicating that this horrendous decree came about by virtue of the lack of the nation being TOTALLY righteous. Although there were tzadikim amongst them, there was no final tzadi(k). There is one, and only one verse in Tanach that contains all the letters of the Alef-Beis, including ALL final letters. Where is this verse? What does it indicate?
Ch. 3, v. 14: “Li’h’yos asidim la’yom ha’zeh” – To be prepared in the future for this day – This is a most puzzling message, to be prepared but not saying for what. Although the previous verse fills in the details, the actual writ leaves it out. This is exactly the intention of Homon. Since this writ would be widely publicized, if it told all, the bnei Yisroel would surely act to negate it or to mount a counter-attack. Therefore all that was written was to be prepared and just before that date the details would be filled in. This way no one would be away on vacation, etc. Everyone had to be prepared. (GR”A)
Ch. 3, v. 15: “V’ho’ir Shushan novochoh” – And the city Shushan was perplexed – Why? Achashveirosh, when under the influence of alcohol was very unpredictable. He had his wife Vashti killed when she displeased him when he was drunk. Once he missed her very much and regretted what happened, he decided to stay off the “golden brew.” Now that he had a meeting with Homon, replete with liquor, “V’ha’melech v’Homon yoshvu lishtose,” the populace was very uneasy. Who knows what new edict will result from Achashveirosh’s being inebriated again? (Rabbi Shlomo Kluger)
Ch. 4, v. 1: “Va’yizak z’okoh g’doloh umoroh” – And he cried out a cry that was great and bitter – The medrash says that this countered Eisov’s great cry when he felt he was robbed of the blessings that he deserved (Breishis 27:34). Why was Mordechai’s crying out more powerful that Eisov’s? 1) Here it is “z’okoh,” while there it is “tz’okoh.” The difference is that the latter is just screaming, while the former means screaming out to join as a group. 2) Here it was accompanied with renting his garments, donning sack-cloth, and placing ashes. 3) Here it was done in public. 4) Here there was no “ad m’ode” as there. M’ode is interpreted by our Rabbis to mean one’s property, as in “uvchol m’o’decho.” Eisov cried out in concern of his perceived physical losses, while Mordechai cried out because he was concerned about lives.
Ch. 4, v. 2: “Ki ein lovo el shaar ha’melech bilvush sok” – Because it is inappropriate to come to the gate of the king in sackcloth – Sforno applies these words to 3 situations in the Torah. The first is in Breishis 41:14, when Yoseif was drawn out of the dungeon and had his prison clothes exchanged for presentable clothing before appearing in front of Paroh. The second time is in Breishis 50:4, when Yoseif spoke to the “household” of Paroh to receive permission to take his deceased father to Eretz Yisroel for burial. The Sforno posits that the reason Yoseif didn’t approach Paroh himself was not because he was estranged from Paroh, but rather, that Yoseif was wearing torn mourning clothing. It is interesting to note that both the first and final time that Yoseif communicated with Paroh as recorded in the Torah, involved the concept of “ki ein lovo ……” The third time is in Vayikra 21:18, where the verse prohibits a Kohein who has a physical blemish from doing the service. Sforno says that this is akin to “coming to the gate of the king in sackcloth.”
Ch. 4, v. 3: “Eivel godol” – Great mourning – M.R. 8:2 asks, “What is GREAT mourning?” It answers that normally with the passage of time the mourning becomes dimmer and dimmer. However, here it grew and grew as the date of the implementation of the decree drew nearer.
Ch. 4, v. 4: “Vatis’chalchal” – And she trembled – This but one translation, based on this word being sourced from “chil ochaz” (Shmos 15:14). (Ibn Ezra) The gemara Megiloh 15a says that Esther suddenly began menstruating, sourced from either “choleh,” as a woman often has sick feelings accompanying her menses, or “cholol,” a hollow organ, her uterus, or “m’chol’lecho” (Dvorim 32:18) and “chil ka’yoleidoh” (T’hilim 48:7), expelled from the uterus (Rashi), meaning a reaction from the organ of her body that creates a child. Another opinion is that she was pregnant and suddenly miscarried, again either sourced in “cholol,” or “m’chol’lecho” and “chil ka’yoleidoh.”
Ch. 4, v. 5: “L’Hasoch” – To Hasoch – The gemara Megiloh 15a says that Hasoch was really Doniel. Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 says that M’muchon was Doniel.
Ch. 4, v. 6: “El r’chove ho’ir” – To the street of the city – What important information is conveyed by telling us that they met in the street? Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 says that Homon took note of the comings and goings of Hasoch between Esther and Mordechai and became very suspicious. With no further ado he had him killed. Perhaps this is why our verse says that Hasoch came to Mordechai in the street, to stress that he did his shuttling back and forth in a most conspicuous manner, and this brought about his death. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 7: “Asher omar Homon lishkol” – Which Homon said to weigh” – This was a rather ominous point of information that Mordechai sent to Esther. Unfortunately, Homon only SAID to have the payment weighed and transferred to Achashveirosh’s coffers. Achashveirosh gave Homon reign over the bnei Yisroel gratis. This shows not only Achashveirosh’s great animosity towards the bnei Yisroel, but also that he could not be bought off, as he had no need for money, as indicated by his passing up the opportunity of receiving such a vast amount of money. (Divrei Sho’ul)
Ch. 4, v. 8: “Ksov hados …… l’Haros es Esther ulhagid loh” – Writ of the law …… to show Esther and to relate to her – Why bother sending the written document, as there was also the l’hagid loh?” In 7:4 we find Esther pleading with Achashveirosh, saying,” V’ilu laavodim v’lishfoshos nimkarnu hecherashti.” Why did she mention being sold as slaves? It is because when Homon told Achashveirosh the text of his edict, the word “l’abdom” might have been understood as “to enslave them,” with an Ayin. This is why she told Achashveirosh that the edict was not “l’abdom” with an Ayin, but with an Alef. If so, it is very well understood why the actual writ had to be shown to her, so that she should see with her own eyes that “l’abdom’ was spelled with an Alef. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 9: “Va’ya’geid l’Esther” – And he related to Esther – The previous verse says that Mordechai not only told Hasoch to relate the situation to Esther, but also to show her the written edict of the upcoming annihilation. If so, why does our verse not say that he also showed the written edict? If he didn’t show it, why didn’t he comply with Mordechai’s command?
Ch. 4, v. 10: “LaHasoch” – To Hasoch – It is interesting to note that this name is preceded not by a normal prepositional Lamed vowelized with a “shvo,” meaning “to A,” but with a Lamed that is vowelized with a “pasach,” indicating a definite object, “to THE,” both here and in verse five. A definitive is never used before a name, as is mentioned by some commentators on Breishis 23:2. The Ramban, when explaining what the Urim and Tumim were, says that they were so unique that they deserved a definite article “pasach,” “HOurim v’HAtumim” (Shmos 28:30). Possibly here too, we might think that Hasoch is just another Persian servant, but the gemara Megiloh 15a says that he was Doniel, so his name is preceded with a definite article “pasach.” (Nirreh li) The gemara ad loc. says that his name, similar to “chatach,” meaning “cut,” teaches that he was cut down from his position. This is explained by the Meshech Chochmoh. His greatness was that although in the service of a non-Jewish king he risked his life to pray to Hashem thrice daily, never missing a prayer. Once we find the whole Jewish nation fasting for three continuous days and continually beseeching Hashem, his uniqueness is not really all that special. He was cut down in his spiritual stature in relation to the rest of the nation.
Ch. 4, v. 11: “Kol avdei hamelech v’am m’dinos hamelech” – All the king’s servants and the nation of the lands of the king – Esther stressed that one could not feign ignorance. Not only did all the king’s servants know this law, as they were constantly in his service and presence, but even the common man in a far-flung country knew this. (Ibn Ezra) She further stressed that “achas doso,” there is but one ruling, death. No one who has come in front of the king without first being invited has ever received a lesser penalty.
Ch. 4, v. 12: “Va’yagidu” – And THEY related – Esther sent Hasoch to Mordechai so why the plural “va’yagidU?” The gemara Megiloh 15a explains that it was the bad news that Esther refused his request, which he would relate to Mordechai. He was very reluctant to convey this, so in his place he sent a number of people. This explains why in verse 10 we have, “vat’tza’veihu,” and she commanded him. She insisted that he directly tell Mordechai. She sensed the possibility of his sending others in his place, and therefore commanded him, but to no avail. (Alshich)
Ch. 4, v. 13: “Al t’dami v’nafsheich l’himo’leit” – Do not imagine in your soul to be spared – Even if you will somehow save your physical body, do not consider that by not acting at this great time of need that your soul will be spared. (Monos HaLevi)
Ch. 4, v. 14: “Im hacha’reish tacharishi bo’eis hazose” – If you will remain mute at this time – Why indeed was Esther reluctant to go, notwithstanding her explanation? The Jewish nation was in great peril and she was in a key position. It was because the day of slaughter was still almost a year away, so she reasoned that it was wiser to wait until she would be called. If so, what was Mordechai’s position? The verse continues with “im l’eis kozose higaat lamalchus,” if to a time like this you have reached kingship. Rashi comments that it was the month of Nison. This is the month of redemption as the bnei Yisroel left Egypt in this month, a forerunner of future redemptions. This is “l’eis KOzose,” to a time LIKE this, the month of Nison in the year 2448. (Alshich)
Ch. 4, v. 15: “L’hoshiv el Mordechai” – To bring back to Mordechai – The word “l’hoshiv” is found here and in the previous verse as well. In the other verses in this back and forth communication between Mordechai and Esther, when information was to be conveyed, we find either the term “hagodoh” or “tzivuy” (5,7,8,9,10,12). Why the change to “l’hoshiv” when the meaning is the same, to convey the words of a conversation? Perhaps this can be understood based on the explanation offered on verse 12, where there is a change from Hasoch telling, to “va’yagidu,” a group telling. Once the back and forth of information was done through a group, there was a great fear of news leakage. To avoid this Esther sent her words in the written form in a sealed envelope. This is “l’hoshiv,” to take an item, the letter, and send it. This began in verse 12. Although Hasoch sent others in his place because he did not want to be the bearer of negative tidings, he sent it verbally. Mordechai was more careful, and then “l’hoshiv” began. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 16: “Uvchein ovo el ha’melech” – And thus I shall come to the king – “Uvchein” coming on front of the king of our verse alludes to the text of our R.H. and Y.K. prayers, where we appear in front of the King in judgment and say three prayers that begin with “uvchein.”
Ch. 4, v. 16: “Uvchein ovo el ha’melech” – And thus I shall come to the king – “B’chein” has the numerical value of 72, the number of hours that the three-day fast would last. Esther said that she would appear in front of the king with the merit of “b’chein.” (Ma’teh Moshe O.Ch. #783)
Ch. 4, v. 16: “El ha’melech asher lo chados” – To the king inappropriately – The medrash on the words “K’dos mah laasose bamalkoh Vashti” (1:15) says, “To his swine (Vashti) he sought counsel to act ‘k’dos,’ as is appropriate, while to the holy Jewish nation he behaved ‘asher lo ch’dos.’” We can thus interpret these words in our verse as saying, “And thus I will come to the king who behaves inappropriately.” Perhaps because of his bad behaviour Hashem will foil his plans. Alternatively, “I will come to the king who ascended the throne inappropriately,” as the gemara Megiloh 11a relates, that he took the throne of his own accord. (Siach Yitzchok - Verbauer Rov)
Ch. 4, v. 16: “Lo chados” – Inappropriately – Do not entertain the thought that Esther felt that she was taking a limited risk, thinking that even if the king would be displeased with her coming unannounced and uninvited that she would be subject to no negative consequences, as after all, she was the queen, or in the worst scenario she would only receive a rebuff or tongue lashing. She knew full-well that Achashveirosh might have her head. He summarily had Vashti killed. “Lo chados” has the same numerical value as “misoh,” death, 455. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 4, v. 16: “V’chaasher ovadti ovodti” – And as I have lost will have been a permanent loss – Esther stated that until now when she appeared in front of the king it was only at his behest, and when he had relations with her she had no choice, and thus had not committed a sin. If she would now appear in front of the king of her own volition, and he would likely have relations with her, she would be held responsible, and thus would be prohibited to remain married to her true husband, Mordechai (gemara Megiloh 15a). However, the Holy Zohar in parshas Vayikra writes that “vatalbeish Esther malchus” means that she clothed (enveloped) herself with the Holy Spirit of “ruach haKodesh.” He writes in parshas Ki Seitzei page 276a that if Esther received the level of “ruach haKodesh” it is impossible to say that the heathen Achashveirosh had relations with her. Instead, he writes, that Hashem sent a human form called a “sheidoh,” which resembled Esther, and Achashveirosh had relations with this human form, while Esther remained untainted. Medrash Talpios says that this is alluded to in the gemara Chulin 139a, which says that Esther is hinted to in the Torah in the words, “V’onochi hasteir astir” (Dvorim 31:18). The double expression, “hasteir astir” indicates Esther’s being hidden; the real Esther never fell into Achashveirosh’s clutches.
Ch. 4, v. 17: “Va’yaavor Mordechai” – And Mordechai passed – The gemara Megiloh 15a has two interpretations of “va’yaavor.” One is that Mordechai, by instituting a three day fast, which would include the first and second day of Pesach, “removed” the mitzvos of Pesach connected with eating and drinking. It seems that this interpretation is based on the word “va’yaavor” being spelled without a letter Vov between the Veis and Reish, allowing for a reading of “va’yaavIr,” he removed. The second explanation is that he passed an “arkuma d’ma’ya,” a body of water that ran between the king’s palace and his home. Although it is understood that this explanation maintains the original “va’yaavor,” which is preferable to “va’yaavir,” but what point of information of any importance does it contain? Possibly, since it was just before Pesach, the verse is telling us basically the same as the other explanation. Before a normal Pesach, Mordechai would not just have passed this body of water. He would have drawn water from it to stay overnight in a vessel, and then use it as “mayim shelonu,” water that has “slept” overnight away from its source, because on the next day in a normal year the bnei Yisroel would have baked special “matzos mitzvoh” for the Seder. His just passing over and not drawing water shows that the mitzvos of the beginning of Pesach have been pushed to the side. The advantage of this interpretation, which brings out the same point is, that this is extracted from these words without changing the vowelization. Another, although far-fetched explanation, might be that the verse lets us know that Shushan has a body of water running through it. In a prophetic manner the verse advises that many years later, when the exact location of Shushan might not be known to us, we can be sure that we are not in Shushan if the location has no body of water. This is relevant because in Shushan the Megiloh is read on the fifteenth of Ador.
Ch. 4, v. 17: “Va’yaavor Mordechai” – And Mordechai passed – The Targum says that Mordechai pushed away not Pesach itself, but the “simchoh” of Pesach. Although the gemara says that he pushed aside the mitzvoh of Pesach by decreeing a fast, responsa Binyan Tzion 1:121 and the Oruch L’ner on the gemara Y’vomos 121b say that eating only a “kaza’yis” of food at a time was permitted, as the decree was only against consumption of larger amounts. If so, one was able to fulfill the basic mitzvos and only the joy of Yom Tov, normally accompanied by consumption of larger amounts of food and drink, was pushed aside. This might be why Targum says that only the “simchoh” of Yom Tov was pushed aside.
Ch. 4, v. 17: “Va’yaavor Mordechai” – And Mordechai passed – As mentioned just above, the gemara Megiloh 15a translates “va’yaavor” either as “he pushed aside” or “he passed over.” The gemara P’sochim 7b and Megiloh 21b says that “ovar” can also mean “came ahead/first,” based on the verses in Breishis 33:3, Shmuel 2:18:23, and Michoh 2:13. Esther just told Mordechai to proclaim a three day fast starting that night, the fourteenth of Ador. Perhaps Mordechai began fasting a bit earlier than everyone else, and this is “va’yaavor Mordechai.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 5, v. 1: “Vatilbash Esther malchus vataamode” – And Esther donned royalty and she stood – The word “vatilbash” alludes to the gemara Shabbos 113a, that a person should dress himself in clean respectable clothing in honour of Shabbos. The letters of the word “vatilbash” can be rearranged to form “ulShabbos.” As well, one is to do this in honour of Yom Tov as per the gemara Yerushalmi Kidushin 1:4. This is alluded to in the word “vataamode,” whose letters can be rearranged to form the word “mo’adose.” (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 5, v. 1: “V’hamelech yosheiv al kisei malchuso b’veis hamalchus” – And the king is sitting on his royal throne in the house of kingship – As mentioned in 1:2, Targum Sheini elaborates on the description of the king’s throne, and that Achashveirosh was unable to have it transported to the capital city. He was so enamoured with the throne that he transferred the capitol to where the throne was located and built his palace around it. Perhaps we have another indication of this from our verse. Why doesn’t the verse just say that the king is sitting on his royal throne and not add that it is located in his royal palace? It is obvious that the royal throne is in the king’s palace. The elaboration indicates that the royal throne, mentioned first, is the cause of the palace being there, and not the norm, that the king first has his palace built and then brings in the throne. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 5, v. 1: “Nochach beis hamelech …… nochach pesach haboyis” – Across from the king’s house …… across from the doorway of the house – The word “nochach” appears in Eichoh 2:19, “Shifchi chamayim li’beich nochach pnei Ado-noy.” In 8:3 we find Esther throwing herself at the king’s feet, overtly crying and beseeching him. In our verse Esther has donned “malchus,” an aura of kingship. There is no room for throwing herself down, bawling, and begging for mercy. Although exhibiting an exterior veneer of “shtoltz,” no doubt, internally there was “shifchi chamayim li’beich nochach pnei Ado-noy” when she was “nochach beis hamelech.” (Nirreh li) Ch. 5, v. 2: “Va’y’hi chirose ha’melech es Esther” – And it was when the king saw Esther – Yalkut Shimoni writes that Achashveirosh suffered from a debilitating blinding condition called “sanveirim.” When Esther appeared in front of him his eyesight totally returned. This is the intention of the words, “And it was when the king saw Esther.” It is no wonder that “nosoh chein b’einov,” – she found favour in his just-healed eyes. Alternatively, she found favour “because of” his eyes. (Medrash Talpios)
Ch. 5, v. 3: “Ad chatzi hamalchus” – Up to half the kingdom – the gemara Megiloh 15b interprets this to mean that Achashveirosh agreed to anything but the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdosh, a matter that splits the kingdom, “chatzi” = “chotzeitz.” How does the building of the Beis Hamikdosh divide the kingdom? Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter #11 relates that because Achashveirosh disrupted the building of the Beis Hamikdosh, the 254 lands over which he ruled were reduced to only 127. This cut his kingdom in half, truly a “dovor hachotzeitz hamalchus.” (Yaaros Dvash)
Ch. 5, v. 4: “Yovo Hamelech V’Homon Ha’yom” – The king and Homon should come today – This was one of the turning points in this saga, a turn towards salvation. The first letters of these four words spell Hashem’s Holy four-letter Name of mercy, and should be read without interruption. Even though it is likely that “Homon klapping” would interrupt, the “baal korei” should just repeat the phrase.
Ch. 5, v. 4: “Yovo Hamelech v’Homon ha’yom” – The king and Homon should come today – The gemara Megiloh 15b asks why Esther decided to invite Homon to this very private get-together, and offers 12 answers. The gemara ends by saying that each and every one of these reasons was a partial contributing factor. 1) Based on T’hilim 69:23, she felt that at a festive meal a trap would be laid for Homon. 2) Based on Mishlei 25:21, one should feed his adversary bread and then hot coals will fall upon his head. 3) This would remove any suspicion that she was Jewish, as she invited the greatest overt Jew hater. 4) This would spur on the bnei Yisroel to pray in earnest and not rely on their “sister in the palace.” 5) This would avert Homon and Achashveirosh being alone and possibly planning even more diabolical plans. 6) The more she was with Homon the greater the opportunity to somehow trip him up and get Achashveirosh angry at him. 7) This would arouse Heavenly mercy, as she was so desperate that she was flattering the evil Homon. 8) Achashveirosh himself would wonder why she did this and he would conclude that Esther and Homon were partners in a planned crime to kill him. He would then put them both to death and that way the evil edict would be rescinded, as the law was that upon the death of the originator of a law, the law also died (gemara Taanis 29). 9) Achashveirosh was very fickle and at a whim he would change his mind. If Homon was present and she found a good reason to ask the king to kill Homon, he would act immediately, before there would be a change of mind. 10) To arouse jealousy both in the king and all the other ministers. A person who is the cause of so much jealousy will more likely have a downfall. 11) Based on Mishlei 16:18, “before destruction one is elevated.” 12) She learned from history. Balshetzar became intoxicated at a feast and shortly thereafter died. This is why the meal was a “mishtei ha’yayin.” Rashi only gives us reason #8, and adds that the gemara offers other explanations. Why Rashi decided to spell out this specific reason deserves an explanation. The GR”A adds a reason of his own. The gemara P’sochim 111a says that if a menstruating woman passes between two men, if it is at the beginning of her menstruation, then one of the men will die. If it is near the end, the two men will fall into an argument. Either of these two possibilities could likely bring an end to the evil decree, and based on the words “vatis’chalchal hamalkoh m’ode” (4:4), which the gemara Megiloh 15a explains to mean that she suddenly menstruated, she was in the fourth day of her menses. She therefore wanted both of them together so that she would pass between them. Perhaps this would be another explanation for why she asked for a second feast. Possibly she just wasn’t able to pass between them during the first feast.
Ch. 5, v. 5: “Maharu es Homon laasose dvar Esther” – Rush Homon to do Esther’s bidding – The last three words in this phrase seem totally superfluous. Achashveirosh was very puzzled about Esther’s inviting Homon to the meal. He was sure that it was not arranged for his own benefit, but rather that the whole purpose of the get-together revolved around Homon. The feast was therefore not an Achashveirosh centered matter, but a private matter of Esther’s regarding Homon, hence the stress on “laasose kidvar Esther.” (M’lo Ho’omer)
Ch. 5, v. 6: “Mah sh’eilo’seich” – What is your request – Esther had earlier in the day requested that Achashveirosh and Homon attend her wining/dining feast (verse 4). What prompted him to ask her, “What is your request” at the meal itself? Perhaps all she wanted was a get-together with the king and his most prominent minister. Medrash Lekach Tov says that Achashveirosh and Homon voraciously dug into the wining and dining, while Esther sat there in a sullen mood. It then became quite obvious to Achashveirosh that her intention was not in the social sphere, but rather to make a request.
Ch. 5, v. 6: “Chatzi hamalchus v’sei’os” – Half the kingdom and it shall be done – The Torah contains 248 positive mitzvos. This is alluded to in these words. The numerical value of “malchus” is 496. Half of “malchus” is 248, “v’sei’os,” that should be DONE, i.e. the positive precepts. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 5, v. 7: “Sh’eili uvakoshosi” – My question and my request – The question is something that elicits a yes or no response, but is not the goal itself. The “bakoshoh” is what she was after. The question was if Achashveirosh would attend a feast she would prepare and the “bakoshoh” was not yet disclosed, as she concluded, “mochor e’eseh kidvar hamelech,” to tell the king her request, the real purpose of the get-together. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 5, v. 8: “Yovo hamelech v’Homon” – The king and Homon should come – Why wait? Why didn’t Esther “go for broke” right then? The king might say no to another party. An answer was offered at the end of 5:4. The Ibn Ezra answers that she felt that things were very negative and would not play out well at the moment. She therefore pushed it off and hoped for a Heavenly sign of things becoming positive in the next 24 hours, which indeed happened with Achashveirosh’s ordering Homon to lead Mordechai through the streets of Shushan.
Ch. 5, v. 9: “V’lo kom v’lo za” – He did not rise nor did he tremble – Homon noted that Mordechai not only refrained from according him honour by not standing up in his presence, but that there was absolutely no reaction, not even a facial expression. This caused Homon to be filled with anger. (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 5, v. 9: “Za” – Tremble – This translation is preferred by Ibn Ezra, and is sourced as a 2 letter word based on Koheles 12:3, “ba’yom she’yoZU’u,” rather than the translation “sweat,” sourced as a 3 letter word, with the first letter Yud falling away in conjugation, based on Yechezkeil 44:18, “lo yach’g’ru b’YoZA.”
Ch. 5, v. 10: “Va’yisapak Homon” – And Homon restrained himself – The Bnei Yisos’chor says that most of the letters of the Alef-Beis when spelled out “b’milluy,” in full, contain new letters. For example, the letter Alef, has the Alef itself and then a Lamed, and then a Fei. These different letters contained in the base letter allow for expansion on a spiritual plane. Homon’s three-letter name, Hei-Mem-Nun has a repetition of the base letters, Hei is spelled Hei-Hei, Mem is Mem-Mem and Nun is Nun-Nun, thus there was no room for spiritual expansion, and this is “va’yisapak,” he was restrained.
Ch. 5, v. 11: “V’rov bonov” – And his many sons – There are numerous opinions as to how many sons he had. The gemara Megiloh 15b offers either 30, 70, 90 or 208, the numerical value of “v’rov.” There is a medrash that says 40, and Medrash Shochar Tov on T’hilim says 100. The Ibn Ezra says that “rov” means prominence.
Ch. 5, v. 12: “Af lo hei’vioh” – Also she did not bring – Breishis Raboh 19:2 says that four began their words with AF and came to a bad end. They are the snake (Breishis 3:1), the head baker (Breishis 40:16), Doson and Avirom (Bmidbar 16:14), and Homon in our verse. The Kli Yokor finds a common thread among them, and that is jealousy (The baker was jealous of the wine-butler as he received a positive explanation of his dream.). The first letters of Korach (Doson and Avirom’s leader in the attempted rebellion), Nochosh, O’feh, and Homon, spell KiNOH, jealousy.
Ch. 5, v. 12: “Af lo hei’vioh” – Also she did not bring – Homon had just hatched his plan with Achashveirosh to ch”v annihilate the Jewish nation. All of an inexplicable sudden he is invited to a private royal intimate get-together. It would enter the mind of a logical person that possibly a counter-offensive is being launched and one should be very careful. Maybe this is not the best time to suggest having Mordechai killed, let alone having his body hung in so disgraceful a manner in public. Not so Homon! He was so full of himself, “Hear this! Esther invited only me – Everyone is bowing down to me – Look at my prestigious family – I am the GREATEST!” This helped lead to his downfall. (Variation on Alshich)
Ch. 5, v. 12: “V’gam l’mochor ani koru loh” – And also tomorrow I am called to her – The Chasam Sofer notes that the word “mochor” appears by the downfall of Amoleik on other occasions as well, “Mochor onochi nitzov al rosh hagivoh” (Shmos 17:9), and “Va’ya’keim Dovid meiha’neshef v’ad ho’ever l’mochorosom” (Shmuel 1:30:17). Of Hagodoh Shel Pesach fame we have the verse, “V’hoyoh ki yisholcho vincho MOCHOR leimore mah zose” (Shmos 13:14). Based on the insight of the Chasam Sofer we might say that the son is asking his father why he is putting so much effort into the upcoming Yom Tov of Pesach, a reliving of the redemption from Egypt, while we are in exile and Amoleik is still active. The son asks “mochor,” where is the downfall of Amoleik, and therefore “mah zose,” why do we celebrate Pesach while in golus. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 5, v. 13: “V’chol zeh einenu shoveh li” – And all of this is worth nothing to me – The gemara Chulin 139a says that Homon is alluded to in the Torah in the words “hamin ho’eitz” (Breishis 3:11). “HaMiN” has the same letters as Homon. This is a most appropriate verse for this allusion. It is more than just a word that can be read Homon; it embodies Homon. Odom was given free reign over the whole world. He literally lived in Paradise. The whole world was his to enjoy. Hashem forbade just one tree to him. Nevertheless, he faltered and ate from it. Likewise Homon was elevated to the coveted position of second-to-the-king. Everyone bowed down to him. One Jew by the name of Mordechai would not bow down to him. Instead of noting that he had mastery over everyone save one Yid, he felt that all his honour was negligible, “V’chol zeh einenu shoveh li.”
Ch. 5, v. 13: “V’choL zeH einenU shoveH lI” – And all of this is worth nothing to me – The over-ambitious ingrate Homon, who is at this point, sitting at his apex, nevertheless complained. The final letters of “V’chol zeH ei’nenU shoveH lI,” spell out Hashem’s four-letter Holy Name, but in reverse order, which the Kabalists say is a Name of strict judgment. He now began his ride downhill, only going up again when he became a human pennant on a very high flagpole. Compare this with Esther’s words in verse 4, “Yovo Hamelech V’Homon Ha’yom,” where the first letters of these four words spell Hashem’s four-letter Holy Name of mercy, and in turn, the continuously downhill situation for the bnei Yisroel began to take a turn for the better. This is one of numerous aspects of “v’nahafoch hu” (9:1), turning around the order of the letters of the four-letter Holy Name. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
Ch. 5, v. 14: “Yaasu eitz govoah chamishim amoh” – They shall prepare a tree/gallows 50 cubits tall – This bit of advise was given by his wife Zeresh and all his beloved friends, as clearly stated in this verse. How as a group did they come up with exactly this plan? See Targum Rishon, who records a very legthy conversation they had. They thought of many different ways in which to kill Mordechai, but rejected them all because a Jewish predecessor had been saved from a similar situation. All they were left with was hanging.
Ch. 5, v. 14: “Yaasu eitz govoah chamishim amoh” – They shall prepare a tree/gallows 50 cubits tall – From where did Homon procure a wooden pole of such extreme length? 1) From the “eitz hadaas” mentioned in Breishis 2:17 (M.R.) 2) It was a beam from Homon’s home. (Yalkut Shimoni) 3) From Noach’s ark (Targum Sheini) 4) From the Beis Hamikdosh (Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 3) 5) Homon created it through magic. (Medrash Talpios) “Yaasu” might not mean “prepare,” but rather, literally “make.” 6) Homon chopped down a tree called “erez” from the royal botanical garden, “ginas habison.” (Rokei’ach) See a related insight on 7:7. We know the height of the gallows, but how wide was it? The Rokei’ach says that it was 12 “amos” and a “zerres” wide, while the Medrash Talpios says that it was 12 “zerres” wide. What is puzzling is that Targum Sheini explains how Homon and his 10 sons were hung on the 50 “amoh” tall gallows, and Tosfos on the gemara Yoma 31a d.h. “Amoh” is a bit hard-pressed in finding enough space for this elite troupe. Since the pole was either 6½ or 12½ “amos” wide, why wasn’t there sufficient room to hang a few people side-by-side? Actually, this seems to be a legitimate question even if the pole was relatively thin, as two people could be hung at the same level on two sides of the pole. It seems that we have a tradition that they were hung one below the other, as indicated by the gemara Megiloh, which explains why we have their names stacked one below the other, taking up an entire column of the Megiloh.
Ch. 5, v. 14: “Yaasu eitz govoah chamishim amoh …… v’yislu es Mordechai olov uvo im hamelech el hamishteh somei’ach” – They should make a tree fifty cubits high ……. and they should hang Mordechai on it and come to the king to the feast joyously – How do these two ideas connect? Homon was so severely upset that he couldn’t get the disgust and sadness off his face. He was invited to a private feast with the king and queen. If he were to show up with a sour visage, the king would take it very personally. He had no sick days left as an excuse to not attend. His wife and close friends came up with the idea of preparing a gallows for Mordechai and to ask the king to have it put to use as soon as possible. This would put him into a very positive frame of mind and then he could proceed to the feast with a very big smile on his face. (Holy Admor of Kotzk)
Ch. 6, v. 1: “Va’yi’h’yu nikro’im” – And they were read – Why is the “nifal,” – it was done to – form used, rather than simply “va’y’ikru”? This teaches us that the sons of Homon, who were Achashveirosh’s servants who were requested to read from the historical chronicles, attempted to skip over the incident of Mordechai’s saving the king’s life, and the books read of themselves, audio books. Rabbi Yaakov says in the name of Rabbi Chanina, “Do not be startled with this interpretation. If the lots cast for the division of Eretz Yisroel read themselves aloud so that there should be no strife among the tribes, to help orchestrate the saving of the whole nation surely Hashem would wrought such a miracle.”
Ch. 6, v. 2: “Va’yimotzei chosuv” – And it was found written – The medrash says that the sons of Homon opened to the page where the incident with Mordechai and Bigson and Teresh was recorded, but they leafed further to avoid reading this. The book miraculously went back to the place where it was opened. We can thus extend the concept of the previous offering from the medrash that the book read of itself and say that “Va’yimotzei chosuv asher higid Mordechai,” was also verbalized by the chronicle book. It declared that it “was found written,” the book was already opened to the incident of Mordechai, but the readers intentionally attempted to skip over this. (Medrash Talpios) The Yalkut Shimoni writes that “Va’yimotzei chosuv” teaches us that it was “just NOW found to be written,” because Shimshi, the son of Homon, who was to read these words, erased them, but the angel Gavriel rewrote them. Rabbi Elisha Galico explains this on a simple level. The large multi-paged tome opened exactly to this page. This made an impression on Achashveirosh, as the text of this particular page was relevant. Alternatively, Medrash Talpios writes that he heard in the name of the medrash that we find in our verse a change in the name of one of the attempted murderers of the king. Earlier (2:22) his name is Bigson, and here it is Bigsono. The sons of Homon were the scribes who recorded the happenings in the royal chronicles. To diminish Mordechai’s great deed of saving the king’s life they entered that Bigson OR Teresh attempted to have the king killed. In other words, even after investigation, it was not clarified which one of these two people was the guilty party. “When in doubt knock them both out!” So both Bigson and Teresh were hung. Thus the words “Bigson O Teresh” appeared in the chronicles. This would considerably diminish Mordechai’s great deed, as an innocent person was also killed. Hashem wrought a miracle and had the two-letter word “O” (Alef-Vov) split, with the Alef attaching itself to the end of the word Bigson, and the Vov attaching itself to the beginning of the word Teresh. (I trust that there was no problem with the “final Nun” in Bigson because the chronicles were written in the Persian language.) Thus Bigson became Bigsono. This is the intention of “va’yimotzei,” – and it was NOW found, but this is not the way it was originally recorded. Alternatively, “divrei ha’yomim” are chronicles of past history, things that took place before Achashveirosh was born. Although he requested history books, and they were clearly in different tomes from those that chronicled the happenings that took place during Achashveirosh’s reign, miraculously, the pages relating to the incident with Mordechai and the attempted assassination were FOUND in the older history volume.
Ch. 6, v. 2: “Asher higid Mordechai” – That Mordechai told – Why wasn’t Esther’s participation also included? After all, she related the information to Achashveirosh? This was again a case of “hashgochoh protis.” An important component of the development of events was that Achashveirosh was also afraid that Esther was in cahoots with Homon to kill him, as related in the gemara Megiloh 15b. Had Esther’s involvement been recorded, he surely would not have been suspicious of her. (M’lo Ho’omer)
Ch. 6, v. 3: “Lo naasoh imo dovor” – Nothing has been done with him – These goyim have an inbred hatred of a Jew. “Nothing has as of yet been done with him,” i.e. we have not done something against him, this alone is his reward. (Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin)
Ch. 6, v. 3: “Lo naasoh imo dovor” – Nothing has as of yet been done with him – The gemara Megiloh 16a says that they said this not out of love for Mordechai, but out of hate for Homon. How is this indicated in our verse? The Chacham Zvi cites a few places in Tanach where a person is mentioned, but not by his name, and it is always where there is animosity towards him. Since they said “nothing was done for HIM” and not, “for Mordechai,” it indicates that they did not say this because they favoured him. (Asifas Z’keinim) Alternatively, “lo naasoh imo DOVOR,” not “a little bit” has been done to reward him, indicates that all he deserves is a minimal reward. (Kikoyon d’Yonah, Rabbi Avrohom Karp, Kol Avrohom)
Ch. 6, v. 4: “Al ho’eitz asher heichin lo” – Upon the tree that he prepared for him – M.R. says “lo heichin,” meaning Homon (unwittingly) prepared it for himself. This is the intention of the words we recite in the Hagodoh, “V’haKodosh Borch Hu matzileinu mi’yodom,” The Holy One, blessed be He, saves us through the work of their (our oppressors) hands. This theme applies to many instances in Tanach.
Ch. 6, v. 5: “Homon o’meid” – Homon is standing – The lads had a prophecy escape their lips unbeknownst to them. Until now Homon continually rose in stature. This was coming to an end now and the beginning of the end was beginning. At this point he was an “o’meid,” staying in his position and not rising further, like a rock thrown heavenward that rises and rises, then is momentarily fixed at its apex, and then quickly plummets. (Birkas Chaim)
Ch. 6, v. 6: “Va’yomer Homon b’libo” – And Homon said in his heart – How do we know what went through Homon’s mind? The gemara Megiloh 7a cites this as one of numerous proofs that Megilas Esther was written through Divine inspiration, “ruach haKodesh.” How is this a conclusive proof? Perhaps Mordechai and Esther had Divine wisdom and knew this point of information, but were not Divinely inspired when it came to writing the Esther text. There is a folk saying, “Those who know it don’t say, and those who say it, don’t know.” Had they not been Divinely inspired to write the exact text they would not have written a verse that indicates that they had “ruach haKodesh.” (Sfas Emes)
Ch. 6, v. 6: “L’mi yachpotz …… yoseir mi’meni” – For whom does he desire …… more than for me – Compare this with King Dovid’s remarks when he became king, “Mi onochi …… ki heviosani ad halome” (Shmuel 2:7:18). (Sefer Ha’yoshor)
Ch. 6, v. 7: “Ish asher hamelech cho’feitz bikoro” – The man for whom the king desires his honour – Why the superfluous lead-in? The king just said these words in the previous verse, so why didn’t Homon just offer his honorarium suggestions? In truth he harboured in his mind the possibility that the king might mean Mordechai given that Mordechai once saved the king’s life. He therefore repeated these words to make sure Achashveirosh didn’t mean Mordechai. Had he meant Mordechai he would have said “asher hamelech CHAYOV bikoro,” as it is morally a must upon one to pay back for the good done to him. It was only when he repeated “cho’feitz,” he desires, but is not morally required to do so, and he heard no remark from the king, that he went on with suggestions. (Ro’isi)
Ch. 6, v. 8: “Yovi’u l’vush malchus” – They should bring the royal garment – Since in the next verse Homon goes on to say that a minister should dress the honouree and mount him upon the royal horse, why does he bother saying that the royal garment and the horse be brought? The answer is that he wanted to increase the honour bestowed by suggesting that the royal garment and horse be brought before the king and in his presence have the honouree dressed and mounted on the horse, and not have these items brought from storage and the stable directly to the honouree. (Keren Y’shuoh)
Ch. 6, v. 9: “V’nosone halvush v’hasus” – And give the garment and the horse – Rashi takes note of the royal crown of the previous verse being omitted here. He explains that when Homon gave the suggestion of the royal crown he saw Achashveirosh scowl and then conveniently left it out. However, the Ibn Ezra explains that Homon never actually said that the royal crown be placed upon the honouree. Rather, he said that the horse should be the one that Achashveirosh sat upon when he first had the crown placed upon him, “Asher NITAN keser malchus,” and not “v’yitnu kesser malchus.” Although Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 clearly states what Rashi says, that Homon asked for the royal crown, the Ibn Ezra’s explanation is in place as a “p’shuto shel mikra” understanding. Although the following is a bit far-fetched, I will nevertheless offer it. Targum Sheini tells us that this horse had a name, Shpirgaz. I’ve been bothered for decades, wondering why Targum Sheini gives us this seemingly unimportant piece of information. Perhaps this will help explain Rashi’s position. Homon realized that it was very cheeky to suggest that the honouree have the royal crown placed on his head, but thinking that it was he, he had a burning desire to receive even this honour. He therefore hedged his words and mentioned the horse that the king rode when he had his coronation, hence “nitan,” and thus he alluded to actually being temporarily crowned by mentioning the crown. He would then wait for the king’s reaction. One might say that he had to clarify which horse, for no doubt there was more than one horse available for the king, and that is why he mentioned the coronation, as is the position of the Ibn Ezra. However, since the horse to which he referred had a name, he should have said that the honouree be given Shpirgaz to ride upon. We may therefore conclude that he covertly alluded to having the crown placed on the honouree’s head, and not that this was a clarification of which horse.
Ch. 6, v. 10: “Vaa’sei chein” – And do so – We have a similar expression earlier, in 2:4, “va’yaas kein.” Just as there he instituted a plan to replace Vashti, here too, the beginning of replacing Homon with Mordechai began. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 6, v. 11: “Va’yikach Homon es halvush” – And Homon took the garment – The humiliation that Homon was about to go through was worse than death for him. If so, why didn’t he commit suicide? The answer is that there was a law that if the initiator of a law died, the law died with him (gemara Taanis 29). His rabid hatred of the bnei Yisroel was so great he was willing to suffer a fate that to him was worse than death as long as his diabolical plan would remain intact. (Sfas Emes) However, in Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 we find that Homon asked the king to put him to death rather than have him go through such humiliation.
Ch. 6, v. 11: “Va’yarki’veihu” – And he had him ride – The Rokei’ach has this word spelled lacking the letter Yud between the Kof and the Veis. This is not our text. According to the Rokei’ach’s text it allows for a reading of “va’yar’k’veihu” meaning and he rode him. This teaches us that Mordechai literally rode upon Homon. This explains why the verse does not say that Homon had Mordechai ride “upon the horse.” We now also understand the gemara Megiloh 16a differently. The gemara says that Homon bowed down to enable Mordechai to ride. This is understood as Homon acting as a step-stool upon which Mordechai trod to mount the horse. The Rokei’ach says that Homon bent down to allow Mordechai to mount him.
Ch. 6, v. 12: “O’veil vachafuy rosh” – A mourner and his head covered – The gemara Megiloh 16a explains that when Homon led Mordechai who was riding on the king’s horse through the streets of Shushan, Homon’s daughter looked down from above when they passed by. Having only a bird’s-eye view, she could not tell who was who and assumed that her father was on the horse being led by Mordechai. She took the household garbage and dropped it down upon the head of the horse handler. Realizing her mistake, she took it so to heart that she threw herself out the window as well and died. Homon was therefore an “o’veil,” a mourner, because his daughter had committed suicide, and had his head covered with the refuse she dumped on his head. The Gri”z haLevi Brisker asks a simple question. “According to these words of the gemara, why doesn’t the verse reverse the order and say “chafuy rosh v’o’veil,” as Homon’s head was first covered with garbage before his daughter committed suicide?” He answers this with the words of Tosfos on the gemara B.K. 17a d.h. “Zorak.” Tosfos says that if A threw a rock or shot an arrow at someone’s vessel and was right on the mark, but before the destruction of the vessel took place B shattered it, B is held financially responsible. If however, A took the vessel itself and threw it in a manner that it would surely shatter upon impact, and again B preempted him and shattered the vessel, A is responsible. (Tosfos ends by saying that it is simple to understand the difference between these two cases. The great Gaon Rabbi Dovid Karliner wrote to the Holy Tzemach Tzedek that he wracked his mind but could not fathom the difference.) Given this difference we can offer that Homon’s daughter dropped the garbage from quite a distance above the ground. Homon looked up. She now realized that the garbage was about to land on her father and she immediately threw herself out the window. Both she and the garbage were simultaneously in flight. Since the damage inflicted by throwing an object at another object is only considered done when it actually hits its target Homon was not yet a “chafuy rosh.” Homon’s daughter however, was the object itself in flight, clearly destined to die upon impact. Here we consider the object as if it was already destroyed. Thus halachically Homon was first an “o’veil” and only afterwards a “chafuy rosh.”
Ch. 6, v. 13: “Im mi’zera haY’hudim Mordechai asher hachilosoh linpol l’fonov lo suchal lo ki nofol tipol l’fonov” – If Mordechai is a descendant of the Jews then if you have begun to fall in front of him you will not be able to overpower him because you will surely fall in front of him – What a weird response. He asked his wife and wise men for counsel, and instead they responded with gloom and doom. The Noda B’Yehudoh explains our verse brilliantly, with the key lying in translating KI as “only if/unless.” If Mordechai is a descendant of the Jews if you have begun to fall in front of him you will not be able to overpower him UNLESS you will fall in front of him and beseech him to have mercy on you, since he, being a ben Yisroel might cooperate, because they are merciful people.
Ch. 6, v. 13: “Linpol” – To fall – Usually “to fall” is expressed as “lipol,” with the first letter of the verb disappearing, “chasrei Pei Nun.” Perhaps, because Homon’s advisors and his wife Zeresh told him of his possible downfall and his mastery coming to an end, the letter Nun was left in place, as “linpol” has the numerical value of 190, the same as “keitz,” the end. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 6, v. 13: “LinpoL l’fonoV lO suchaL” – To fall in front of him you will be unable – The merit for the bnei Yisroel’s being saved was their repenting. This brought about Homon’s downfall. The final letters of these words in our verse spell Elul, connoting repentance. (Siach Yitzchok - Verbauer Rov)
Ch. 6, v. 14: “O’dom m’dabrim” – While they were still talking – These words are similar to “Ode heim m’dabrim vaani eshmo” (Yeshayohu 65:24). Just as Hashem told the prophet that while the prayers were still being recited Hashem had already sprung into action to bring about a salvation, here too, this was happening. (Degel Machaneh Efraim)
Ch. 7, v. 1: “Lishtos im Esther” – To drink with Esther – We do not find these words by the first party (5:5). This is because the first party took place on the third day of the fast. It was only on the next day that she would drink. (Alshich)
Ch. 7, v. 2: “V’sino’sein loch …… v’sei’os” – And it will be given to you …… and it will be done – The change in terminology is based on the difference between “sh’eiloh” and “bakoshoh.” Although we have earlier given one explanation, the Alshich says that “sh’eiloh” is a small request, one that is easily fulfilled, hence “it will be given to you” immediately. “Bakoshoh” is a more demanding request, something that even upon agreeing to fulfill, requires effort and doing, hence, “v’sei’os.”
Ch. 7, v. 3: “Tino’sen li nafshi bisheilosi v’ami b’vakoshosi” – May my life be given to me for my asking and my nation for my request – The Mahara”m Schiff translates these words differently. “Tino’sen” is in the reflexive form. Esther is not asking, “Give (spare) me my soul.” Rather, it is a statement of fact. “My soul will be given to me because “ami b’vakoshosi,” my request is to have my nation saved. One who prays for the welfare of another is granted that benefit for himself first (gemara B.K. 92a). This insight might explain a bit of an anomaly in the statement of the gemara. It derives this maxim from Avrohom’s praying for a people’s being healed, and in turn Soroh was able to give birth. The verse says, “Va’yispa’leil Avrohom” (Breishis 20:17). Yet the gemara says, “kol hamva’keish,” rather than “kol hamispa’leil,” which would follow the wording of the source verse. Following the insight of the Mahara”m Schiff, where in our verse Esther is clearly stating that she would be saved in merit of her “BAKOSHOH,” while by Avrohom we derive it from the results and not from the words of the verse, our Rabbi chose to express themselves with “kol Hamva’keish.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 7, v. 3: “Nafshi bisheilosi v’ami b’vakoshosi” – My life for my asking and my nation for my request – Again the Alshich comes to our aid in understanding these words. My life, as long as it is spared and even if I am relegated to being a maidservant, is sufficient. However, my nation should remain a free nation, allowed to serve Hashem, and not to become slaves and downtrodden.
Ch. 7, v. 4: “Ki nimkarnu ani v’ami l’hashmid” – Because we were sold I and my nation to be destroyed – Had we only been sold as slaves to Homon then I would have remained quiet because whatever Homon owns is actually Mordechai’s, as per the dictum “Mah shekonoh e’ved konoh rabo” (gemara P’sochim 88b), whatever a slave acquires becomes the possession of his master. However, we were sold to be destroyed, and therefore I must speak up. (Rabbi Chaim Abulefia)
Ch. 7, v. 4: “Ki nimkarnu ani v’ami l’hashmid” – Because we were sold I and my nation to be destroyed – The gemara Megiloh 16a says that when Achashveirosh asked Esther who was the person who planned to destroy her and her nation, she attempted to point her finger squarely at Achashveirosh himself, as he was the covert enemy who harboured even more hatred towards the bnei Yisroel than did Homon. An angel interceded and forced her finger towards Homon. Rashi says that this is derived from the lengthy description, “Ish tzar v’oyeiv Homon horo ha’zeh,” when it would have sufficed to just say, “Homon ho’ro ha’zeh.” “Ish tzar v’oyeiv” is Achashveirosh. There might be another indication that Esther was about to say that Achashveirosh was the villain, based on these words of our verse. In truth the problem wasn’t that they were sold. It is that they were purchased by someone who had diabolical plans for them. Why didn’t she say “ki lukachnu?” We see that she was about to accuse Achashveirosh, the seller. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 7, v. 5: “V’eizeh hu asher mlo’o libo laasos kein” – And who is he whose heart has filled him (with the audacity) to do thus – Did Achashveirosh suffer from selective amnesia? As king he was in the prime position of authority, and was the greater partner in the diabolical plan against the bnei Yisroel, as clearly recorded in 3:8-15! The M.R. 7:13 and the Targum record a lengthy conversation between Achashveirosh and Homon, with Achashveirosh continually displaying fear of retribution from Hashem and Homon rebutting his concerns and attempting to allay his fears. We can now explain an anomaly. Achashveirosh was willing to forego a payment of 10,000 “kikar kesef,” a tidy sum by any standard (3:11). This is so unusual for a money-hungry individual the likes of Achashveirosh that the M.R. 7:20 comments that this is totally the reverse of what is to be expected, especially in light of Achashveirosh’s being a greater bnei Yisroel hater than Homon. By taking the money Homon’s ownership of the bnei Yisroel would be binding, and as he devised the idea, he would surely carry it out. We are clearly led to the conclusion that although Achashveirosh acquiesced to Homon’s wishes, he still feared retribution, or was at the least, in doubt. He therefore washed his hands of the affair. By not taking money he kept himself at arms-length distance and left the dirty work for Homon. He would not be held responsible because he never issued an edict. All he did was that he granted Homon permission to do with the bnei Yisroel as he saw fit (verse 11). Homon, in his attempt to bring his scheme to fruition stepped beyond his bounds. Not only did he issue the evil edict, but he also enhanced it by writing that this was “b’shem ha’melech Achashveirosh” (verse 12). This was totally contrary to Achashveirosh’s wishes, and explains why he was in a fury (verse 7). Homon blatantly abrogated their agreement. We can now understand Achashveirosh’s asking, “Who has the audacity of heart to do thus,” to write that I issued the edict. (Agodoh Udrush by Rabbi Yaakov Tenenbaum Baal responsa Naha’rei Afarsimon)
Ch. 7, v. 6: “Va’tomer Esther” – And Esther said – Although in 2:5 we have a limited list of Mordechai’s ancestors, see the Targum on this verse for a complete 41 generation ancestral list all the way back to our patriarch Avrohom. I do not know why Targum decided to give us this information here, as Mordechai was already mentioned earlier, many, many times. Similarly, he lists the 20 generations of Homon’s ancestors through Eisov in 5:1. It similarly eludes me as to why this was listed in that verse and not earlier.
Ch. 7, v. 7: “El ginas habison” – To the orchard garden – The gemara Megiloh 16a says that upon entering the royal botanical gardens Achashveirosh came upon a person (actually the angel Gavriel) who was felling his choicest trees. When asked why he did this, the person responded that he was so commanded by Homon. This angered Achashveirosh greatly. This was obviously a Heavenly inspired vision, but seemingly a total untruth. Based on a medrash cited by the Rokei’ach that Homon had actually earlier entered these gardens and chopped down a very tall tree which he planned to use as a gallows for Mordechai, and this was done without Achashveirosh’s permission, there was quite a bit of truth in the vision. (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 7, v. 8: “Ufnei Homon chofu” – And they covered Homon’s face – It was the custom in Persia to cover the face of a person with whom the king was angry simply so that the king should not see his face and become further distressed. (Ibn Ezra)
Ch. 7, v. 9: “Va’yomer Charvonoh” – And Charvonoh said – Rabbi Elozor in the gemara Megiloh 16a says that evil Charvonoh was a comrade in crime with Homon. How does he know this? It is because Charvonoh knew too many details, that Homon had a tree prepared specifically for hanging Mordechai, its exact height, etc. This can only be explained by saying that he was in on the plan. (Dubner Magid)
Ch. 7, v. 9: “Hi’nei ho’eitz asher ossoh Homon l’Mordechai” – Behold here is the tree that Homon made for Mordechai – What difference does it make that Homon prepared it for hanging Mordechai? Homon was Mordechai’s slave, as related in the gemara Megiloh 15b. Although as king, Achashveirosh had the right to kill Homon, nevertheless, this would be a monetary loss for Mordechai, and the king therefore might not want to kill Homon. However, since Homon wanted to kill Mordechai, Mordechai would be very pleased to have him put out of the way. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 7, v. 9: “T’luhu” – Hang him – The verse in Shmos 3:14 says “E’h’yeh asher E’h’yeh.” Rashi explains that Hashem told Moshe that He would be with them and redeem them from this difficulty and the double expression indicates that there will be later troubles from which Hashem will extricate the bnei Yisroel as well. Commentators explain that this expression is one of trusting in Hashem’s fulfilling His words, as indicated by multiplying the numerical value of “E’h’yeh” by itself, 21x21=441, the value of EMES. Here too, the fulfillment of redeeming the bnei Yisroel from Homon’s terrible edict was realized at the point when Achashveirosh said, “Hang him!” “T’luhu” has the same numerical value as EMES. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 7, v. 10: “Va’yislu es Homon al ho’eitz” – And they hanged Homon on the tree – This took place on the 16th of the month of Nison. This is alluded to in Yehoshua 5:12, “Va’yishbos HAMON mimochoras.” This refers to the day after Pesach had begun, as indicated in the previous verse. (Hadar Z’keinim)
Ch. 7, v. 10: “Va’yislu es Homon – And they hanged Homon – Although Homon got his just desserts, and we might have the attitude of “good riddance once and for all,” this is far from accurate. Not only is there not riddance, but the gemara Gitin 57b says that his descendants taught Torah in Bnei Brak. No doubt, he must have had a merit to deserve this. What was it? I came across a medrash that says that with some of his wealth he fed needy people, and this was his merit. Although we have a command to destroy Amoleik, some of Homon’s descendants remained alive. The question is raised that if it was known with certainty that a specific person is an Amoleiki, such as the descendants of Homon in Bnei Brak, how then were they allowed to be left alive. This is answered by many commentators including in the sefer Ner L’mei’oh by Rabbi Yerachamiel Zeltser, which offers very many answers.
Ch. 7, v. 10: “Va’yislu es Homon” – And they hanged Homon – Targum Sheini says that before Homon was hanged he begged Mordechai to kill him in a manner that is befitting for a royal loyal minister, in a private way. Mordechai flat out refused and had him hung in a most dramatic public display. His body hung on the tree for eleven months before his loneliness was relieved by having ten of his illustrious sons join him. This seeming lack of even a glimmer of clemency is well understood in light of Homon’s intention behind his request. His evil edicts were already sent out. If he were given a “besserre menchen” death, then he would still be looked upon posthumously as a respected minister and his evil decrees would be carried out. By negating his image people would not follow his decree, and instead would comply with the new one. (Kedushas Levi)
Ch. 7, v. 10: “Va’yislu es Homon al ho’eitz” – And they hanged Homon on the tree – The Medrash Talpios entry “Achashveirosh” page 142 column 2 connects Homon’s being hung with the merit Avrohom had of “V’hu omeid a’leihem tachas ho’eitz” (Breishis 18:8). The common word is “ho’eitz,” but what is the actual connection? The Baalei Tosfos explain “tachas ho’eitz” not as “under the tree,” but rather, as “in the place of a tree.” This means that he had his guests seated under the glaring, searing sun, with no available shade. In spite of his being very aged and recovering from recent circumcision, he stood as a parasol against the rays of the sun, casting shade upon his guests. Avrohom could have allowed them to just pass by, or have them served while they would be in the full glare of the sun. He could have remained in his tent, shaded from the sun’s rays. Instead, Avrohom took their place by standing in the direct sunlight, offering them some respite from the heat. Here too, Homon planned to have Mordechai hung on the gallows, but instead Homon ended up taking Mordechai’s place. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 8, v. 1: “Nosan hamelech Achashveirosh l’Esther hamalkoh es beis Homon” – The king Achashveirosh gave to the queen Esther the house of Homon – Rabbeinu Bachyei asks that since it is not permitted to derive benefit from the possessions of Amoleik how did Esther take Homon’s possessions. We can say that since Homon was Mordechai’s slave, whatever came into Homon’s possession was immediately Mordechai’s, or that the king had Homon killed and his possessions became the king’s. Only then did he transfer them to Esther. (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 8, v. 2: “Va’yosar hamelech es tabato …… va’yitnoh l’Mordechai” – And the king removed his ring …… and he gave it to Mordechai” – M.R. equates the greatness achieved by Rochel’s sons (descendants). Both Yoseif and Mordechai received the king’s royal ring and both rode on the royal chariot (horse) in the public arena. Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 adds more commonalities.
Ch. 8, v. 3: “Es ro’as Homon hoAgogi v’eis machashavto asher choshav al ha’Y’hudim” – The bad of Homon the Agogite and his thought that he thought against the Jews - What are these two matters? “Ro’as Homon” is the basic decree to ch”v annihilate the bnei Yisroel. “Machashavto” is the bad press he gave them, stating that the bnei Yisroel were planning to rebel. Esther requested that Achashveirosh mount a counter campaign, announcing that the bnei Yisroel are good upstanding citizens. (Maamar Mordechai)
Ch. 8, v. 4: “Va’yoshet hamelech l’Esther eis sharvit hazohov” – And the king extended to Esther the golden sceptre – What need was there for this action given that Esther was already in front of the king and already speaking with him? Perhaps it was because she fell down in the middle of her beseeching him. Being in this position creates a sort of psychological distancing, the prostrated person displaying that he is so lowly. Extending the sceptre towards her was a sign to stand up again. (Nirreh li) The M’lo Ho’omer writes that he who has been sentenced to die and the decree was overturned, would appear in front of the king, who in turn stretched out his sceptre to the person, indicating that he now has a new lease on life. Esther as part of the Jewish nation that was to be killed as per Homon’s edict, was now informed through this action that she would live.
Ch. 8, v. 4: “Sharvit” – Sceptre - Here this word has no letter Yud while in 5:2 it is spelled with a Yud. Taamo Dikro explains this, based on the gemara Megiloh 15b that the sceptre was two cubits long, and when Esther appeared at a distance from the king he immediately extended it towards her and it miraculously stretched an additional 10 cubits. This is why there is an additional letter Yud (= 10) in “sharvIt” there. Here, where Esther was prostrated at his feet there was no miraculous stretching, hence no letter Yud. It remains to be explained in 4:11, where the sceptre is mentioned in context of protocol only and it wasn’t even being used, why the word appears with a Yud.
Ch. 8, v. 5: “V’chosheir” – And it is kosher – Literally, what does “kosher” mean? The Ibn Ezra says that it means good, and he cites two places in K’suvim where we find this, Koheles 11:6 and T’hilim 68:7. Although the word “tov” appears just before, there is obviously a nuance of difference between the two words. Possibly, “kosher” means both “good” and also “properly prepared” to be done, as indicated by Targum, “v’sakin.” This surely is the manner in which we use the word “kosher” in our daily jargon.
Ch. 8, v. 6: “B’ro’oh asher yimtzo es ami …… b’ovdan moladti” – In the bad that will befall my nation …… in the loss of my birth companions – What are these two concerns? There was the possibility that some bnei Yisroel would ch”v convert to save themselves (This is strongly contested, as the Ta”z and others posit that there was no recourse to convert.), while others would remain strong and be killed. Those who would ch”v be killed are included in the first phrase, and those who would ch”v convert are called “avudim,” lost, as the verse says, “Vaavadtem bagoyim” (Vayikra 26:38), and “Uvo’u ho’ovdim” (Yeshayohu 27:13). (Beis haLevi)
Ch. 8, v. 6: “B’ovdan” – In the loss of them – If this word were “baavode,” it would simply mean “in the loss.” The suffix Nun indicates a female plural pronoun. The Ibn Ezra says that it refers to the self-understood missing word “NAFSHOS” between “ovdan” and moladti.”
Ch. 8, v. 7,8: “Hi’nei veis Homon nosati l’Esther, V’a’tem kisvu al HaY’hudim katov b’ei’neichem” – Behold the house of Homon I have given to Esther, And you shall write about the Jews as pleases you – The flow of these two ideas is that formerly the Jews were Homon’s property to do with as he saw fit. Now that I have given his possessions to Esther the Jews are her property, and she can issue a new edict to do with them as she pleases. (Shaar Bas Rabim)
Ch. 8, v. 8: “V’a’tem kisvu al HaY’hudim katov b’ei’neichem” – And you shall write about the Jews as pleases you – M.R. says that there never was such an occurrence in history, that not only were the bnei Yisroel saved, but also that the bnei Yisroel killed their enemies.
Ch. 8, v. 9: “Bachodesh hashlishi” – In the third month – Why did they wait so long to react, seventy days later? 1) Sivon is the month of ”kabolas haTorah,” in which everyone is supposed to strengthen himself with renewal and commitment. They waited for this merit. 2) They wanted the recipients of the new writ to truly believe that it came from the king. This would be more readily accepted if the same messengers were to deliver them. Rounding them up took this long. (GR”A) 3) They wanted to have the merit of everyone repenting for their sins, as the sins were the cause of their being sent into exile for 70 years. They therefore waited 70 days, “yom l’shonoh.” (GR”A)
Ch. 8, v. 10: “Ho’achashtronim bnei horamochim” – The gemara Megiloh 18a says that we push aside the study of Torah for the reading of the Megiloh. This statement is quite puzzling, as reading (or hearing) the Megiloh is in itself also “talmud Torah.” The gemara ad loc. says that we do not know what “ho’achashtronim bnei horamochim” means. Although hearing these words read is “talmud Torah,” since we don’t understand it we are limiting our level of “talmud Torah” compared with studying something that we fully comprehend. This is the concept of pushing aside the learning of Torah. (Mahari”l Diskin) This insight should give us an appreciation of every moment of Torah study, as it takes but a fleeting moment to read these words, and it is also “talmud Torah,” just in a limited fashion, and is still considered “pushing aside” the study of Torah.
Ch. 8, v. 10: “Ho’achashtronim bnei horamochim” – Since I am not wiser than our Chachmei ha’gemara I will not attempt to translate these words. The gemara Megiloh 18a says that we do not know how to translate these words. It is safe to at least assume that they are a type of animal used for quick travel. The gemara Makos 5a raises the following issue: There is a structure of falsifying witnesses called “hazomoh.” Simply put, a pair of witnesses is contradicted, not in the statement of fact to which they testified, but in their ability to testify in this matter at all. The contradicting witnesses say, “How can you two testify that this and this took place at this and this time in this specific place, when you were with us at the same time somewhere else?” Similarly if they testify that they were with them a few hours earlier (or later) in a totally different place, from which they could not have traversed the distance in the interim, this is also “hazomoh.” The gemara gives an example of two places distanced numerous hours apart and the contradicting witnesses testifying to being together at a different time, but a narrow enough spread of time that they could not be there in time. The gemara asks why it is necessary to give an example, as it is self understood. The gemara answers that if the witnesses had access to “gamli parchi” – flying camels, i.e. camels that run at an amazing speed, it would be possible to be in both places within this narrow spread of time. Nevertheless, we do not assume that this took place (unless the witnesses can prove it was so), and the first witnesses are disqualified as “eidim zom’mim,” plotting witnesses, subject to retribution in kind as they planned against the person about whom they testified. The thrust of our verse is that new edicts were sent throughout the dominion of Achashveirosh at post haste speed. Since the fastest mode of transportation offered by the gemara is “flying camels,” why weren’t they sent? Rashi in his commentary on our verse says that they are a species of swift camels. How does Rashi know something that the gemara says it does not know? Perhaps on the basis of this question just posed, Rashi derived that they are one and the same. Possibly the gemara knew that it means swift camels, but does not know how to translate the actual words “Ho’achashtronim bnei horamochim,” as any species of camel would at least incorporate the word “g’malim,” but the straight-forward wording of the gemara seems to indicate that they did not know what species this was, so we are back to our question. One might simply answer that “achashtronim” are faster, but the gemara Makos does not know what they are, so it only mentioned “flying camels.” Perhaps there were no “flying camels” in Persia, although it is right next to Bovel, or that many of the countries where the new edict had to reach were too cold, too hot, too mountainous, for “flying camels” but not for “achashtronim,” but this is all conjecture. However, there is a very good answer for this question that requires outside knowledge of the writings of a Rishon on Tanach. What is it? A hint – a dove. ANSWER: The Rokei’ach on parshas Breishis 1:25 on the words “V’es hab’heimoh” writes that “v’es” teaches us that Hashem also created the exotic “Achashtran,” an animal that has eight feet. It runs with only four at a time, and when it tires, it puts down its other four feet, pulls up the tired ones and continues to run. (The Rokei’ach writes about this on our verse as well, but not as detailed.) It therefore seems that even if “flying camels” are faster, they will nevertheless eventually tire out and have to rest. “Achashtrorin” although not quite as fast, will get to their far-flung destination earlier, as they do not need to stop to rest. The gemara Makos offers “flying camels” for a distance that is sufficiently close that the camels will not need to stop, and they are the quickest to get there. The hint of a dove is that the dove likewise is capable of flying with just one wing, and then using only the other while resting the first, as pointed out by Rabbeinu Efraim in parshas Noach, where he notes that the verse says that the dove found no rest for the sole of its foot, (Breishis 8:9) indicating that for its wing it did find rest, as it is capable of using only one at a time.
Ch. 8, v. 11: “L’hashmid (v)laharog” – To annihilate (and) to kill – Why wasn’t Mordechai satisfied with just having the evil edict against the bnei Yisroel rescinded? Why was it necessary to also kill their enemies? The Ibn Ezra answers that, as mentioned in the Megiloh, a royal edict cannot be rescinded (8:8). The only solution would be to somehow explain and clarify the previous edict in a manner that would save the bnei Yisroel. What was done was that the assailant and the victim were switched around, meaning that Homon, who actually wrote it, made this switch-around without the king’s permission. A proof is that Homon was now swinging from a 50 cubit high gallows in full public view. The combination of this and the explanation made this plan plausible. The strict royal protocol was the lynch-pin that brought about “v’nahafoch hu.”
Ch. 8, v. 12: “Bishloshoh ossor l’chodesh shneim ossor hu Chodesh Ador” – On the thirteenth of the twelfth month that is the month of Ador – Since Mordechai wrote a new edict, why didn’t he make the date of the counter-attack much earlier? As just mentioned in the previous offering, the royal edict could not be rescinded, only clarified in a modified manner. If so, the date had to remain the same. Mahara”l of Prague in Ohr Chodosh writes that Mordechai did this to add to the “v’nahafoch hu (9:1),” including the turn around on the same day, “ba’yom asher sivru ……(9:1).”
Ch. 8, v. 13: “HaY’hudi(i)m asi(u)dim” – The Jews will in the future – There is an extra letter Yud in HaY’hudi(i)m and a “kri” of “asidim” and “ksiv” of “asUdim.” As mentioned earlier in 1:20, the Medrash Tanchuma on parshas Noach says that the bnei Yisroel willingly accepted the Written Torah at Har Sinai, and only accepted the Oral Torah willingly after being saved from the diabolical machinations of Homon. We can thus say that at this point, when the edict was changed, and in tandem the bnei Yisroel willingly accepted the Oral Torah, there is an extra letter Yud in the word “La’Y’hudi(i)m” to allude to their having accepted the Written Torah, embodied in the Ten Commandments, hence the letter Yud, whose numerical value is 10. “Asi(u)dim,” in the future, they would also accept the Oral Torah, embodied in the Six sections of mishnoh, hence the letter Vov, whose numerical value is six. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 8, v. 14: “Yotzu m’voholim udchufim” – Went out bewildered and driven – Why in 3:15, where they were sent out with Homon’s edicts does the verse only say, “d’chufim?” D’na Pashra explains that they knew the earlier letters contained orders to ch”v destroy the bnei Yisroel. The carriers went out driven to quickly deliver the letters, but in a positive frame of mind, and they were not “m’voholim.” Here, where the tables were turned and their own kith and kin were possible victims, and because their new letters were contradictory to the earlier ones, and they might therefore be laughed at, they were very bewildered.
Ch. 8, v. 15: “U’Mordechai yotzo” – And Mordechai went out – The gemara Megiloh 16a asks how Yoseif seemingly fell into the same trap that his father did. Yoseif received the full brunt of his brothers’ jealousy, which was engendered by his father giving him a unique tunic. How then did he dare give his brother Binyomin 5 garments when he gave each of the others only one (Breishis 45:22)? The gemara answers that Yoseif did this to allude to his brother Binyomin that he would have a descendant who would go out with 5 unique resplendent garments, as listed in our verse. Although a very nice “drush,” how is the question answered? They would still be jealous. The GR”A answers by first posing a simple question. What was the problem in the first place? Simply assume that Yoseif gave Binyomin 5 garments that were in total worth the same as the single garment of each of the other brothers. The answer is that this makes no sense. Why give one brother 5 shmattes and the others a Herrod’s suit? The gemara in its answer means to include the self-understood 5 equal to one, but now with the allusion, it makes sense to give Binyomin 5 cheap suits and the others one expensive suit.
Ch. 8, v. 15; “V’ho’ir Shushon tzohaloh v’so’meichoh” – And the city Shushan is glowing and rejoicing – However, Jerusalem is crying and in mourning because the bnei Yisroel still remained subjects of Achashveirosh. (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 8, v. 16: “LaY’hudim hoysoh orOH” – For the Jews there was light – The gemara Megiloh 16b explains that the word “orOH” refers to the Holy Torah. Why is this word in the feminine form and not in the more familiar and common male form, “ohr,” as per the gemara’s proof (Megiloh 16b) from the words “v’Sorah ohr” (Mishlei 6:23)? The gemara Shabbos 88a says that we derive from the words “kimu v’kiblu haY’hudim” (9:27) that the Jews WILLINGLY accepted the Holy Torah at this time, but at the time of the giving of the Holy Torah at Har Sinai they only accepted the Torah through coercion, as Hashem suspended Har Sinai above them as a barrel, threatening to lower it upon them if they were to not accept the Torah. Hashem is likened to the Groom and the bnei Yisroel to the bride when the Torah was given. The Groom’s great interest in the marriage was demonstrated at Har Sinai, but not the bride’s. At this point in time the bride WILLINGLY agreed to the spiritual “marriage,” hence the word representing the Holy Torah, “orOH,” is in the feminine form. (Droshos Rabbeinu Yoseif Nechemioh Kornitzer - Rov of Cracow) Perhaps another answer can emerge through the compilation of a number of points. Tosfos on the above-mentioned gemara d.h. “Kofoh” asks why it was necessary to coerce the bnei Yisroel to accept the Torah. After all, the Torah states that the bnei Yisroel said “naa’seh v’nishmo” (Shmos 24:7). As mentioned earlier, the Medrash Tanchuma parshas Noach #3 answers that although the bnei Yisroel willingly and eagerly accepted the Written Torah, “Torah shebiksav,” they did not willingly accept the Oral Torah, “Torah sheb’al peh.” This component required coercion. Tosfos on the gemara P’sochim 116b d.h. “V’nomar” in the name of the Medrash Tanchuma on parshas Bo explains the difference between the words “shir” and “shiroh.” Each means SONG, but “shiroh,” the female form, connotes a song of praise for an act that is not final, i.e. there will again be difficulty afterwards from which we will need to be extricated. This is like a woman, who goes through severe labour pains and even when she has given birth is not finished with the pains, because she will again become pregnant, and will again have labour pains. The word “shir,” the male form, connotes song and praise for a final redemption, where no later pains of exile will be experienced. (This has a direct bearing on the text of our Seder, “v’nomar l’fonov SHIR chodosh,” or “v’ne’emar l’fonov shirOH chadoshoh,” see Mishnoh B’ruroh and Eimek Brochoh) In a similar vein, we can possibly suggest that “ohr,” the male form, refers only to the Written Torah, as its text is complete. There will be no other written Torah ever given by Hashem (9th of the Rambam’s 13 principles of faith). However, the Oral Torah is never complete. New insights, interpretations, and understandings develop as we continuously learn the Holy Torah. This is the nature of a female, as mentioned by Tosfos. Since the bnei Yisroel now accepted the Oral Torah willingly, it is most befitting to give it the female appellation “orOH.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 8, v. 16: “LaY’hudim Hoysoh Oroh V’simchoh V’soson Vikor” – For the Jews there was light and happiness and rejoicing and grandeur – The Rokei’ach notes that the numerical value of the first letters of all the words of this verse is 54. It is interesting to note that Homon’s name appears 54 times as well. At this juncture in the Purim story, where the king’s edict has become favourable for the bnei Yisroel, we have the power of Esther, whose name also appears 54 times, and is equal to the value of the first letters of the words of our verse, to overcome Homon. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 8, v. 16: “Oroh” – Light – The gemara Megiloh 16b says that this word refers to the Torah, as per the verse, “Ki ner mitzvoh v’Sorah ohr” (Mishlei 6:23). The gemara Shabbos 88a says that the bnei Yisroel accepted the Oral Torah in the days of Achashveirosh, and not at the time of the giving of the Torah, because then they were forced into accepting it. As explained in the Medrash Tanchuma parshas Noach #3, the coercion was only for the Oral Torah, as the Written Torah was readily accepted, as per “naa’seh v’nishmo” (Shmos 24:7). Lachmei Todoh notes that the numerical value of “biksav,” written, is 424, while “b’al peh” is 187, which total 611, the same as Torah. Only when both are accepted is the Torah complete. It was most befitting to accept the oral Torah after the sin of enjoying the feast offered by Achashveirosh, which was against the wisdom of Mordechai, the “Torah she’b’al peh.” The 187 days of the feast, correspond to the numerical value of “b’al peh,” and they realized that it was a mistake to only follow the written words without the insights of our sages. (Droshos Minchas Yitzchok)
Ch. 8, v. 16: “Vikor” – The gemara Megiloh 16b says that this word refers to tefillin, as per the verse, “V’ro’u chol a’mei ho’oretz ki shem Hashem nikra o’lecho” (Dvorim 28:10), which the gemara Brochos 6a says refers to the head tefillin. What is the connection to “vikor”? The word “nikra” comes closest to “vikor.”
Ch. 8, v. 17: “V’rabim mei’a’mei ho’oretz mis’Yahadim ki nofal pachad ha’Y’hudim aleihem” – And many of the nations of the land converted to Judaism because the fear of the Jews fell upon them – The Medrash Shmuel says that their conversion wasn’t genuine, as the verse states that a great fear of the Y’hudim fell upon them. They only appeared as Y’hudim outwardly. “Mis’Yahadim” means “made themselves as Jews.” Similarly, we dress as non-Y’hudim to show that the outward dress is not the real person. Perhaps another reason for wearing costumes is that Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 says that Eliyohu the Prophet dressed himself as Charvonoh and appeared in front of Achashveirosh. He then suggested that Homon’s gallows was a perfect fit for Homon (see Tosfos on gemara Yoma 31a d.h. Amoh). We therefore also dress ourselves as if we are impersonating someone else. In the spirit of the season, the liberty is taken to suggest that this might be why we say “V’GAM Charvonoh zochur latov,” (piut Shoshanas Yaakov, taken from Yerushalmi Megiloh 3:7). Why not just say, “v’Charvonoh zochur latov?” The GAM seems superfluous, redundant, extra, needless, dispensable, and totally unnecessary. The gemara B.K. 66a derives from the word “GAM” in Dvorim 23:19 (esnan zonoh u’mchir kelev) to include a substitute for an object, “l’rabos shinu’yeihem.” We are saying that Eliyohu the Prophet, the substitute for Charvonah, the GAM, should be remembered for good. In “birkas hamozone,” grace after meals, we say “hoRachamon hu yishlach lonu es Eliyohu hanovi ZOCHUR LATOV,” possibly alluding to his being remembered for good when he impersonated Charvonoh. As well, Eliyohu equals 52, as does V’GAM, (49 plus its 3 letters equal 52).
Ch. 9, v. 1: “Oyvei haY’hudim …… b’so’nei’hem” – The Jews’ enemies …… in their enemies – Why the change from “oyeiv” to “sonei?” Based on the writings of the GR”A in A’derres Eliyohu on parshas Haazinu, where he differentiates between these two words, explaining that an “o’yeiv” is one who hates another on a physical level, while a “sonei” is one who hates on a religious level, and in turn is a greater hater, our verse is understood. The Megilas S’sorim writes that the bnei Yisroel killed only Amoleik’s descendants. They hated the bnei Yisroel on a spiritual level, “V’lo yo’rei Elokim” (Dvorim 25:18, see Rashi). Those who were ready to ch”v kill the bnei Yisroel were both “oyvim” and “sonim,” but when the bnei Yisroel stood up against their enemies, it was only against the Amoleiki “sonim.” (Rinas Yitzchok)
Ch. 9, v. 2: “Nikhalu haY’hudim” – The Jews assembled – Their success came through their ability to unite themselves, “leich k’nos es kol haY’hudim (4:16). This is why “matonos lo’evyonim” and “mishlo’ach monos” were instituted on Purim. (Sfas Emes)
Ch. 9, v. 3: “V’ho’achashdarp’nim” – And the administrators – I have likewise chosen a long word for the translation of the longest word in all of Tanach. The Rambam in hilchos Sefer Torah 7:6 explains how to deal with the final word on a line not fitting into the allotted width. He says that if one has a word that is ten letters or longer he should …… This word of our verse is the “or longer” to which he refers. (Mahari”l Diskin)
Ch. 9, v. 4: “V’shomo ho’leich b’chol hamdinos ki ho’ish Mordechai ho’leich v’godol” – And his fame travels to all the lands because the man Mordechai continuously grows – The previous verse ends with the statement that “the fear of Mordechai fell upon them.” Our verse follows by saying that this feeling did not remain. Rather, once given greater powers, he exercised them in such a manner that people realized that he was truly a great personage in his own right. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 9, v. 5: “Makas cherev” – Smiting by the sword – The Gri”z raised the question of whether the aspect of the mitzvoh of destroying Amoleik in war is specifically by sword. He cited two proofs that this is so, one being the verse near the end of parshas B’shalach, “Va’yachlosh Yehoshua es Amoleik v’es amo l’fi CHO’REV” (Shmos 17:13), and from Shmuel 1:15:8, “Hecherim b’CHO’REV.” Based on the Megilas S’sorim, that the bnei Yisroel killed only Amoleikim, it is well understood why our verse says “makas cherev.” (Rinas Yitzchok) I am puzzled with the immediately following word, “v’hereg,” likely meaning killing in a different manner, although this could be explained as a clarification of “makas cherev,” smiting by sword might not conclusively mean killing, as one could be only injured with a sword. “V’hereg” tells us that the smiting was fatal. Another issue is based on the words of the Rinas Yitzchok on 9:1, cited there. He says there that it is very well understood why the verse says the Jews mastered over their “sonim,” and not “oyvim.” This is because the Amoleikim were specifically “sonim,” as explained there. How will he explain “b’chol OYVEI’HEM makas cherev,” and “va’yaasu v’SO’NEI’HEM kirtzonom?”
Ch. 9, v. 6: “Horgu haY’hudim v’a’beid” – The Jews killed and laid waste – What is added with “v’abeid?” As mentioned numerous times, the bnei Yisroel killed only Amoleikim. There is a mitzvoh to not only kill them but to also to wipe out their memory. This is why Esther requested another day, to totally wipe out all traces of this nation. (Megilas S’sorim) The GR”A and Taamo Dikro explain “v’a’beid” to mean that they made the bodies as if lost, i.e. they hid them so as not to arouse more ire of the remaining populace. This was not the case with Homon’s ten sons. To the contrary, they were intentionally hung up on high to publicize that Achashveirosh went along with the new edicts. Mei’am Lo’ez says that only those who resided in Shushan were granted permission to kill in Shushan.
Ch. 9, v. 7: “V’eis Parshandoso” – From the simple reading of the previous verse and the few following verses it seems that Homon’s ten sons were killed and then hung. Tosfos on the gemara Yoma 31a d.h. “Amoh” says that they were decapitated and then hung. However, there is a medrash that says that Vaizoso was hung at the bottom of the tree (This is a dispute between Targumim, one positing that Vaizoso had the coveted position just below his father, and the other positing that he was bottommost.) and since his foot was close to the ground, he stretched it downwards to remain on terra firma, but to no avail. Based on his stretching his foot, we elongate the letter Vov of his name. Once we visually somewhat simulate the scene, we also bend the head of the Vov upwards a bit like the position of the head of a hung person. In any case, this medrash posits that he, and presumably his brothers, were hung alive.
Ch. 9, v. 7: “V’eis” – And – Why does this words appear 10 times? Why not just write a conjunctive Vov? Shalmei Todoh answers that the numerical value of “v’eis” is equal to that of “orur.” Each of the sons deserves this accompaniment to his name.
Ch. 9, v. 8: “Poroso …… Aridoso” – The Ibn Ezra writes that there were some so-called “wise men” in Spain who were very happy when they heard that Poroso and Aridoso were among those who were hung, as they mistakenly assumed that these were Jewish names. The Ibn Ezra assures us that they were Persian names (v’shem r’sho’im yirkov).
Ch. 9, v. 9: “Vaizoso” – The unique form of the letter Vov in this name was discussed in verse 7. Some say it is an elongated Vov, meaning that its overall thickness is the same as a regular Vov, only it is longer. Others say that it is to be written as an oversized Vov, similar to all the “osios rabosi” of Tanach. Another opinion is that it is basically the same size as any Vov, but since its head is to be tilted upwards, its overall length is a bit longer than regular. I believe the most common custom is to both elongate it, to tilt its head upwards, and to slightly widen the quill stroke overall.
Ch. 9, v. 10: “A’serres” – The ten – During the Megiloh reading the “baal koreh” stops before the words “cha’meish mei’os ish” at the end of verse 6 and the congregation reads from there through verse nine and this first word of verse 10. Why? The Ragotchover Gaon answers that the gemara Megiloh 16b says that these words are to be read in one breath, just as these ten sons of Homon died in one moment. Although through the “baal koreh’s” reading and our hearing it, it is halachically as if we ourselves read the Megiloh, this does not create “in one breath” reading for the listener. The Beis haLevi deals with this same issue in regard to “birkas kohanim.”
Ch. 9, v. 11: “Ba’yom hahu bo mispar haharugim …… lifnei hamelech” – On that day the count of those killed …… came in front of the king – As will be explained in the comment on the following verse, the king initially reacted negatively to the large number of people killed. This is why our verse tells us that he received the tally immediately, on that day. Had he not been advised until the next day, Esther’s request to have a second day to fight their enemies would have been readily granted. This would have limited our appreciation of the Heavenly intervention, as will be explained in the next verse.
Ch. 9, v. 12: “Bishor m’dinos hamelech meh ossu umah sheilo’seich” – In the other countries of the king what did they do and what is your request – Achashveirosh’s asking what Esther would further request coming immediately after asking how many casualties there were, is most unusual, especially being written in one verse and even more so with a connecting Vov. The gemara Megiloh 16b explains that actually Achashveirosh was astounded at the large number of people killed in Shushan and was very bothered as he asked how many casualties there were in the other countries. An angel came and slapped him. He immediately took the cue and softened. In one breath and in a calm manner he went on to ask Esther what else she would like to be done. Even though she requested that they be permitted to kill even more people in Shushan, he agreed.
Ch. 9, v. 13: “V’eis a’serres bnei Homon yislu al ho’eitz” – And the ten sons of Homon they shall hang on the tree – This was a most logical request because Esther feared a backlash. By so blatantly publicizing that the king was against Homon, to the point that not only was he hung eleven months earlier, but even his sons would now be hung in full public view as well, everyone would clearly see that Achashveirosh was on Mordechai’s and Esther’s side. (Rabbi Elisha Galico)
Ch. 9, v. 14: “V’eis a’serres bnei Homon tolu” – And the ten sons of Homon they hung – The Rokei’ach had a text that we do not have. He had the word “yislu” in the place of “tolu” as a “ksiv,” the written text, although he says that this word should be read “tolu,” which is both our written and verbalized word. Logic dictates that the word be “tolu.” The previous verse relates that Esther requested of Achashveirosh that ten sons of Homon be hung on the gallows. Our verse begins with the king’s affirmative response, “l’hei’osose kein.” There is therefore no need to repeat that they SHOULD be hung. Clearly the verse is telling us that the edict was carried out and they WERE hung. Yet, the Rokei’ach has a “ksiv” of “yislu.” The list of the ten sons of Homon is in verses 7 through 9 of this chapter. Among their names we find three letters that are written in a diminished size. They are the letters Sof of “Parshandoso” in verse 7, Shin of “Parmashto, and Zayin of Vaizoso, both in verse 9. The numerical value of these 3 letters is 707. In the year 707 of the 6th millennium, i.e. 1947 c.e., the Nuremberg war crimes court convicted and hung 10 Nazis y”sh. All of them went to the gallows in a calm manner except for one who was dragged there. He hollered, “Purimfest Tof-Shin-Zayin!” It seems that these ten men were a repeat of the killing and hanging of the ten sons of Homon, and it gives us an insight into the “Purimfest” response. We now might have an understanding of the “ksiv” word “yislu,” meaning “they shall hang,” in the future tense. The verse in the “kri” form tells us that the actual ten sons of Homon were hung, while the “ksiv” form alludes to the ten sons of Homon being hung in the future, at the Nuremberg trial. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 9, v. 14: “Al ho’eitz” – On the tree – Targum Sheini says that this was the same tree upon which Homon was hung. This is derived from the word “HOeitz,” a specific tree. (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 9, v. 15: “Va’yahargu v’Shushon shlosh mei’os ish” – And they killed in Shushan three-hundred men – What happened to Zeresh? Targum Rishon says that she escaped along with 70 of her sons. However, 108 of her sons were killed in Shushan and were included in the count of 500 casualties of the first day.
Ch. 9, v. 16: “Nikhalu” – They were assembled – Compare this with “va’yikohalu” of verse 15, and again “nikhalu” of verse 2. Why the difference?
Ch. 9, v. 16: “V’no’ach mei’oyvei’hem” – And to have respite from their enemies – These words seem to be out of order. The verse says that they assembled to save their lives, then “and to have respite from their enemies,” then “and killing of 75,000.” It seems that resting from their enemies should be at the end.
Ch. 9, v. 16: “Chamishoh v’shivim o’lef” – Seventy-five thousand – Targum Rishon says that they were all Amoleikim.
Ch. 9, v. 16: “Chamishoh v’shivim o’lef” – Seventy-five thousand – Why by the tallies of the 13th and 14th of Ador do verses 12 and 14 say “ish,” while here it is left out?
Ch. 9, v. 17: “SimchoH v’sossoN laY’hudiM” – Happiness and rejoicing for the Jews – The final letters of these three words spell HoMoN. When Homon is at the bottom, the bnei Yisroel experience “simchoh” and “sosson.” (Rokei’ach)
Ch. 9, v. 18: “Bachamishoh ossor bo” – On the fifteenth of it – The Ramban in his commentary on the gemara Megiloh 2a explains that the reason the walled cities celebrate Purim a day later is that they felt secure in the fortified cities and did not agree to permanently make a day of rejoicing until they had a sign from heaven to do so. Having Megilas Esther read on another day is a punishment for their feeling secure and not feeling empathetic toward their brethren who lived in unfortified cities. The message for us today is very clear.
Ch. 9, v. 19,22: - “Simchoh umishteh v’YOM TOV umishloach monos, Mishteh v’simchoh umishloach monos uMATONOS LO’EVYONIM” – Happiness and a feast and a holiday and sending portions, A feast and happiness and sending portions and presents to the poor - The Shaar Yisochor (Admor of Munkatch) notes two differences between these two verses. The first mentions YOM TOV and leaves out MATONOS LO’EVYONIM, while the second mentions MATONOS LO’EVYONIM and leaves out YOM TOV. He explains this with the gemara Megiloh 5b, which says that although the Rabbis seriously considered giving Purim the status of a Yom Tov, they decided not to do so. The first verse, which mentions Yom Tov, leaves out Matonos Lo’evyonim, since if Purim had been a Yom Tov, there would have been no Matonos Lo’evyonim, since money is not to be used on a Yom Tov. The second verse leaves out Yom Tov, as it was decided to not institute Purim as a Yom Tov, and then Matonos Lo’evyonim were permitted and instituted. Possibly, some other differences between these two verses can be explained along the same lines. The first verse mentions simchoh before mishteh, and the second verse does the reverse. Also the first verse has the word “umishlOach” spelled “mollei Vov” after the letter Lamed, while the second verse has it “chosser Vov.” (Some editions have the first “umishloach” also “chosser Vov,” but this is inaccurate.) Since the first verse discussed Purim with the status of a Yom Tov, the simchoh would begin at night (see 9:22 “Laasose”), while the special mishteh of Purim would be during the day, hence simchoh is mentioned first. The second verse deals with Purim as we know it, not a Yom Tov. The simchoh is at the Purim meal, where the edict of “ad d’lo yoda” is fulfilled, hence mishteh before simchoh. Also, if Purim would have had the status of a Yom Tov, as mentioned in the earlier verse, the mishloach monos would be a greater one. Halacha requires that the mishloach monos be something worthy in the eyes of the recipient. Everyone has a higher standard for Yom Tov food than for weekday food, hence the word “mishlOach” is “mollei Vov.” In the second verse which relates Purim as a day that is not an actual Yom Tov, the word umishloach is “chosser Vov,” indicating that a lesser level is sufficient.
Ch. 9, v. 20: “Va’yichtov Mordechai es hadvorim ho’ei’leh” – And Mordechai wrote these matters – Rashi says, “Hee haMegiloh hazose k’mo shehee,” this refers to Megilas Esther just as it is (just as we have it). If so, why isn’t it named Megilas Mordechai? The gemara Megiloh 7a says that Esther came in front of the leading Rabbis of her generation and requested that they institute Purim for all generations and they agreed. Since she was the moving factor in this, the Megiloh is called by her name, as otherwise, although it would have been part of Tanach, but it would not have been required reading. Once there was a permanent Purim on our calendar, the Megiloh is read (twice) annually. (Nirreh li) Alternatively, this name was given to drive home the main theme of the Megiloh, that Hashem is present and pulling all the strings even when it is not apparent. This is Megilas Esther, to uncover, “m’ga’leh,” the hidden, “hester.”
Ch. 9, v. 21: “Li’h’yos osim es yom arbo’oh ossor l’chodesh Ador v’eis yom chamishoh ossor bo” – To make the fourteenth day of the month Ador and the fifteenth of it – Although there was a second day of combat in Shushan, it is most unusual to have a holiday on two different days. The reason for this is to clearly demonstrate that the mitzvos of Purim are Rabbinic. The same is true with Chanukah, where it is demonstrated by there being different levels of fulfillment of the kindling of lights, basic, “mehadrin,” and “mehadrin min hamhadrin.” Both of these anomalies, something not found by any Torah-level mitzvoh, show that they are Rabbinic. (Binyan Shlomo)
Ch. 9, v. 21: “Li’h’yos osim es yom arbo’oh ossor l’chodesh Ador v’eis yom chamishoh ossor bo b’chol shonoh v’shonoh” – To make the fourteenth day of the month Ador and the fifteenth of it every year – What is the “making?” This means that when Purim comes yearly we should not have a lackadaisical attitude towards it. Rather, we should feel as if we just went through the trying time and were miraculously saved by Hashem. (M’gilas S’sorim) This is akin to the requirement to feel that we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt on Pesach.
Ch. 9, v. 22: “Ka’yomim asher nochu vo’hem haY’hudim mei’oyvei’hem” – As the days that the Jews had respite from their enemies – Why wasn’t Purim established on the day of their victory over their enemies? We will refer you to the Meshech Chochmoh’s words on Shmos 12:16, “Uva’yom hashvii mikro kodesh” – The Meshech Chochmoh asks why the 7th day of Pesach’s being called a holiday is mentioned at this point in time, as all agree that Pesach Mitzrayim was only one day long. There are numerous other places where the Torah mentions Pesach and tells us that the seventh day is “mikro kodesh,” but this is after the holiday is observed for seven days. He answers that specifically here it is important to mention the 7th day, as it was told before the splitting of Yam Suf. We don’t have a holiday to commemorate the downfall of our enemies. For example we celebrate Purim on the day of “v’noach mei’oveihem” (Megilas Esther 9:16). Here too, had the seventh day of Pesach being designated as a Yom Tov only been mentioned after Krias Yam Suf, it would be misinterpreted to be a commemoration of the total downfall of Mitzrayim. Therefore it was specifically mentioned before it even happened to show that it is part of the bnei Yisroel’s celebrating their exodus. (Although Rashi in parshas B’shalach does say that the celebration of the 7th day is to commemorate the splitting of the sea, we will interpret this to mean only the aspect of our being saved.) Perhaps this can also explain why SHOVUOS is celebrated on the 6th of Sivon even though we rule that we need 3 days “mei’eis l’eis,” 3 complete 24 hour periods, for a certain type of body emission to not cause defilement, and in turn the Torah must have been given on the 7th of Sivon, as is asked by the Mo’gein Avrohom on Sh.O. O.Ch. #474. Since the gemara Shabbos 88 says that there was a battle in heaven between Moshe and the angels who should get the Torah, as is referred to in the verse in T’hilim 8:2, “T’noh hodcho al hashomayim,” since Moshe won, if Shovuos would be on the 7th of Sivon, it would be misinterpreted as a holiday to celebrate our overpowering the angels more so than for celebrating the receiving of the Torah, which is not the case when having it on the 6th, the day before. We thus celebrate the high spiritual level of having prepared for 49 days including the raised spiritual level of the final three days of preparation, “shloshes y’mei hagboloh.” We only celebrate our being saved and not our opponents’ being vanquished, hence the days of “Asher nochu vo’hem.”
Ch. 9, v. 22: “V’hachodesh asher nehpach lohem” – And the month in which it was turned around for them – Is there any concrete way in which we demonstrate Purim during the rest of the month of Ador, given that our verse doesn’t just connect Purim to the two days, but also to the month? The gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh 1:1 cites the opinion of Rabbi Noson that one who leaves home anytime in the month of Ador and will have no possibility of reading or hearing the Megiloh read, may do so from Rosh Chodesh onwards. However, if the opportunity arises to read it or hear it on Purim proper, then he must read it again.
Ch. 9, v. 22: “Laasose osom y’mei mishteh v’simchoh” – To make them days of feasts and joy – The gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh 1:4 says that if Purim falls out on Shabbos (which happens these days in walled cities, Jerusalem, and Shushan) then the festive meal is pushed off until Sunday. This is because our verse expresses itself with “TO MAKE them days.” Just as the days require Rabbinic intervention, i.e. the court decides when the month begins and in turn it affects when Purim is, so too, the feast requires “laasose.” The Shabbos meal and joy are set, as Shabbos has nothing to do with court decisions. If we were to have the Purim feast on Shabbos, one would not realize that there is Rabbinic involvement, as we are joyous and have a feast on Shabbos anyway. Some raise the question if “simchoh” is a requirement on Shabbos and derive from this gemara that it is.
Ch. 9, v. 22: “Y’mei mishteh” – Days of feasting – The local priest in Prague asked Rabbi Yonoson of Prague why the bnei Yisroel extend their Purim feast into the night, given that we consider nightfall the beginning of the next day. He responded by throwing back a similar question. Why do you and your coreligionists celebrate your xmas feast on the eve of the day of your holiday? It must be because your holiday comes about through a Jew. Similarly we have the Purim feast celebrated day then night as it was brought about by a non-Jew.
Ch. 9, v. 22: “Umishlo’ach monos” – And sending of portions – Why was this instituted? The gemara Megiloh 12a says that the bnei Yisroel were judged for annihilation because they bowed to an idol at the king’s feast. The reason this did not ch”v come to fruition was because they only did this externally, but did not actually accept the idol as their deity. Just as they externally sinned, so too, Hashem externally sent a decree of annihilation, although it was not His intention to carry it out. Nevertheless, when this behaviour was witnessed by fellow bnei Yisroel, they didn’t know if the act was sincere or not. They immediately stopped eating meat koshered by their neighbours and also stopped drinking their wines, because if they were serious, these foods would be forbidden. When everyone repented with a full heart and the complete nation was saved, everyone realized that it was only an external behaviour, as explained by the gemara. They again ate meat and drank wines of their neighbours. To commemorate this we send food one to another. The preferred foods to send are meat and wine. (Admor of Ostrovtza)
Ch. 9, v. 23: “Umishlo’ach monos ish l’rei’eihu umatonos lo’evyonim” – And sending portions a man to his friend and presents to the destitute – The Rambam writes that donations to the destitute are far more important than mishlo’ach monos, and one should maximize donations to the needy, even at the cost of minimizing mishlo’ach monos. Given this priority to matonos lo’evyonim, why does the verse first mention the less important? Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried in his commentary on the Torah, Aperion, answers that since the preferred manner of donating to a poor person is without public fanfare, so that people not realize that one is the recipient of charity, our Rabbis instituted to give mishloach monos. That way if one sees that Reuvein is giving something to Shimon he will not automatically assume that it is a charity handout, but rather mishlo’ach monos. Mishlo’ach monos, mentioned first, upgrades the giving of matonos lo’evyonim.
Ch. 9, v. 24: “L’humom ulabdom” – To terrify them and to ravage them – “L’humom” is the power of Amoleik, to attack their heartfelt emotions. If we take the names Bilom and Bolok, we have the letters of B’LeiV and AMoLeiK. (Holy Zohar)
Ch. 9, v. 25: “Uv’vo’oh lifnei hamelech omar im ha’sefer yoshuv machashavto horo’oh” – And with her coming in front of the king he said with the book it will change his evil thought – The story is told of a person who put much effort into concentrating during prayers. In spite of this he had evil thoughts pop up in his mind. He came to the GR”A to ask his advice. The GR”A responded with these words of our verse. His advice was simply to pray from a text and not by heart. And when one comes in front of the King (in prayer) he said (should say) the words with a book to turn away any bad thought.
Ch. 9, v. 26: “Ho’i’gerres hazose” – This letter – In verse 29 we find “i’gerres haPurim hazose.” Perhaps the reason that the word “haPurim” is added to describe the letter is because after the great salvation and the transcribing of all the events, which were eventually the Megilas Esther text, it was not yet agreed upon by the sages that Purim be a national permanent event. By the time the first anniversary of Purim came around the sages had discovered that the Megiloh was written through the power of “ruach haKodesh,” as explained in the gemara Megiloh 17a, so they decided that Purim should be an annual national event and they also instituted Megiloh reading by night and by day. This is the intention of “nizkorim,” through Megiloh reading, and “naasim,” through “mishteh, matonos,” and “monos.” Then, as recorded in verse 29, in the second year, “hazose hasheinis” (see Rashi), it became an “i’gerres Hapurim.” (Nirreh li)
Ch. 9, v. 26: “Al kein koru la’yomim ho’eileh Furim al shem hapur” – Therefore they called these days Purim on the name of the lottery – This seems to make no sense. The name of the holiday should embody the salvation or some other positive aspect. Why should it be given the appellation of a very negative happening, the lottery to decide which day would be dedicated to ch”v annihilating the Jewish nation? The lottery came out for a date that was eleven months away. Imagine if there was no lottery and Homon would simply decide to ch”v do away with the bnei Yisroel as soon as possible. There would be no chance to repent, to deal with Achashveirosh, etc. The idea of casting lots was the instrument that allowed for the miraculous turnaround to take place. (Daas Chachomim)
Ch. 9, v. 26: “Ho’i’gerres hazose” – This letter – The Mo’gein Avrohom on Sh.O. O.Ch. #690:17 writes that when these words in the Megiloh and likewise in 9:29, when the words “i’gerres haPurim hazose” are read, the actual Megiloh scroll should be shaken.
Ch. 9, v. 27: “Kimu v’kibl(u)” – They established and accepted – The plural reading, “kri,” of “v’kiblU,” – and THEY accepted, flows with the next word, “haY’hudim,” also plural. Nevertheless, there must be an understanding of the word in the singular form since the word is written, “v’ki’beil,” without a Vov at the end. The Holy Zohar on Shmos page 40b writes that the singular “v’ki’beil” refers to Moshe. Even millennia before the Purim events actually transpired, Moshe “ki’beil,” Moshe received the text of this Megiloh through prophecy.
Ch. 9, v. 27: “Kimu v’kiblu haY’hudim” – The Jews established and accepted - The gemara Megiloh 7a cites Tano’im who offer four proofs that the text of Megilas Esther was inspired through “ruach hakodesh.” Shmuel, the Amora, responded that had he been present at the assemblage of these Tano’im he would have offered a better proof. This is from these words of our verse. The double expression “kimu v’kiblu” is to be understood as, “They substantiated above (in the heavens) that which the bnei Yisroel accepted upon themselves below.” Rovo responded that indeed Shmuel’s proof is the best, as there are rebuttals to the other four proofs offered. The gemara then offers two more proofs. Tosfos d.h. “L’chulhu” asks a most powerful question. Rovo, who so staunchly agrees with Shmuel’s proof, uses these same words of our verse to derive another concept. In the gemara Shabbos 88a he says that we derive from these words that the bnei Yisroel willingly validated their previous acceptance of the Torah. At the time of the bnei Yisroel’s acceptance of the Torah, Hashem suspended Har Sinai above them, threatening to make it their burial spot if they refused to accept the Torah. Hence the Torah was accepted under duress. At this point in time, at the end of the Purim story, the bnei Yisroel willingly accepted the Torah, “kimu mah shekiblu ch’var.” If so, how could Rovo himself say that there is no refutation to Shmuel’s proof, since he himself uses these words for another insight? Tosfos answers the seeming contradiction of Rovo in 4 ways. 1) Tosfos on the gemara Chagigoh 9a d.h. “Dilmo” says that we can derive both thoughts from the same words, as not only is there a superfluous word in “kimu v’kiblu,” but there is also an extra expression, as the verse could have said “kimu v’kimu,” or “kiblu v’kiblu.” Hence both ideas can be derived. 2) On the gemara Shovuos 39a Tosfos d.h. “kimu” answers that Rovo realizes that he is in dispute with Shmuel, as Shmuel clearly does not derive that the bnei Yisroel later accepted the Torah willingly from the words “kimu v’kiblu.” According to Shmuel’s position on this, his proof that Megilas Esther was Divinely inspired is conclusive. 3) On the gemara Shabbos 88a, Tosfos d.h. “omar Rovo” says that although Rovo’s opinion in the gemara Megiloh makes Shmuel’s proof inconclusive, Rovo does not destroy Shmuel’s logic. The underpinnings of the other four proofs are negated. 4) Alternatively, Tosfos says that RABOH, and not ROVO, made the statement in Chagigoh that using the same words for one insight negates their use for deriving anything else. Thus there is no contradiction, as Rovo posits that the same words can be used for a second concept. In 1:20 on the words “v’nishma pisgam ha’melech …… ki RABOH hee,” the 2 insights of the Baal Haturim were mentioned. Perhaps another interpretation of “ki RABOH hee” emerges from the answer of Tosfos that RABOH made the statement in the gemara Chagigoh. If reading Megilas Esther takes precedence over learning the Torah and service in the Beis Hamikdosh, it is only logically so if Megilas Esther is at least on par with the Torah in some way. If the words of Megilas Esther are not even Divinely inspired, their reading should not take precedence. Since the other proofs that Megilas Esther was written through “ruach haKodesh” are not conclusive because the words of the verse that constitute the proof are used by Rovo himself to derive the insight mentioned in the gemara Shabbos, how could Megilas Esther come first? The answer is “ki RABOH hee.” The statement in the gemara Chagigoh 9a was said by Raboh, and we posit like Rovo, that it teaches us that Megilas Esther was said with Divine inspiration, and therefore “v’nishma pisgam ha’melech,” hearing the reading of Megilas Esther takes precedence over the other two. (Nirreh li) The GR”A offers a most marvelous resolution to the problem posed by Tosfos. What is truly breathtaking is the attention given by the GR”A to a nuance of difference in the way the two gemoros express themselves. The gemara Shabbos says, “SHE’NE’EMAR ‘kimu v’kiblu,’” while the gemara Megiloh says, “DICH’SIV ‘kimu v’kiblu.’” Literally translating these two highlighted words, we have, “as is SAID,” and, “as is WRITTEN.” This point makes all the difference and resolves Tosfos’s problem. The word “v’kiblu” in our verse has a “kri” and a “ksiv,” a “read” form and a “written” form. The word is actually written without a final letter Vov. This allows for two interpretations, the “kri” meaning, “and THEY accepted,” while the “ksiv” (v’ki’beil”) meaning is, “and HE accepted.” The gemara Megiloh derives from “v’kiblu,” the way the word is READ, “she’ne’emar,” that THEY (plural), the members of the Celestial Court above, accepted the mitzvos the Rabbis instituted upon the bnei Yisroel for all generations down below. This could only be known if the Megiloh was written through Divine inspiration. The gemara Shabbos derives from “v’ki’beil,” the way the word is actually WRITTEN, “dich’siv,” that the bnei Yisroel affirmed and willingly undertook to fulfill that which he, Moshe, “ki’beil,” received, when he ascended Har Sinai. Beyond the obviously breathtaking beauty of this insight, it should also serve to teach us the razor sharp accuracy of the words used by our Holy Rabbis, a true lesson in accepting the Oral Torah of our Rabbis most eagerly!
Ch. 9, v. 28: “V’ha’yomim ho’ei’leh nizkorim v’naasim …… m’dinoh umdinoh” – And these days are remembered and acted upon …… country and country – The Ibn Ezra says that “country and country” teaches us that it is incumbent on one to fulfill all the Purim mitzvos even if he lives in a land that was not under Achashveirosh’s rule when the Purim story took place.
Ch. 9, v. 28: “Nizkorim v’naasim” – Remembered and acted upon – If these days are remembered by us, then “v’naasim,” further covert miracles will take place to save us from our adversaries. (Imrei Elimelech)
Ch. 9, v. 28: “V’zichrom lo yosuf mizarom” – And their remembrance will not cease from their descendants – The gemara Megiloh 2b and in numerous places in this tractate says that “zecher” refers to the reading of the Megiloh, a remembrance of all that happened. Our verse says that the reading will never cease. Possibly this is limited to the reading, but the mitzvoh of “matonos lo’evyonim” will cease, as when Moshiach will come there will be no poor among us. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 9, v. 28: “V’zichrom lo yosuf mizarom” – And their remembrance will not cease from their descendants – The gemara Yerushalmi Megiloh 1:5 and Medrash Mishlei derive from these words that although other Yomim Tovim will cease, Purim will not. This is puzzling to the extreme, as we hold as a basic tenet that not even one letter of the Torah will ever ch”v be negated, let alone a Yom Tov. The Rashb”o in his responsa 1:93 answers that the intention of this medrash is to convey that other Yomim Tovim could cease in the sense that if we sin grievously, Hashem will take the ability to keep the Yom Tov away from us, as per the verse in Eichoh 2:6, “Shikach Hashem miTzion mo’eid v’Shabbos.” However, Purim is not dependent upon our behaviour. Our verse is a promise and not a command to preserve Purim (although we have another verse for that). Torah T’mimoh explains that “other holidays ceasing” means the overt miracles that we experienced on other Yomim Tovim might cease, but the covert behind-the-scenes involvement by Hashem, as exemplified by Purim, will never cease.
Ch. 9, v. 29: “Vatichtov Esther” – And Esther wrote – Didn’t Mordechai write the Megiloh, as stated in verse 20, as explained in Rashi there? The gemara Megiloh 7a says that Esther came in front of the leading Rabbis of the generation and asked them to make Purim a permanent holiday. Since this includes the yearly reading, she is also credited with its writing, as Mordechai did not approach the Rabbis with such a request. (Megilas S’sorim) See the comment on 9:20, which explains why the Megiloh is called Esther’s rather then Mordechai’s.
Ch. 9, v. 30: “Divrei sholo-m ve’emes” – Words of peace and truth – The Meshech Chochmoh explains that there is no problem with “lo sisgod’du” (Dvorim 14:1) with having Purim take place on two days. This is because it is only an issue when each camp posits that the other is acting improperly, while here the Rabbis instituted that different locales have different days and everyone agrees to what the other is doing. This is the intention of “Divrei sholo-m ve’emes,” because there was peace and each community agreed that the other was likewise correct, therefore the manner in which Purim was instituted, i.e. on different days, is truthful and acceptable, not running afoul of “lo sisgod’du.”
Ch. 9, v. 31: “Bizma’neihem” – In their times – The Meshech Chochmoh explains that Homon designated the thirteenth of Ador for a day of destruction ch”v. However, as a non-Jew, it was the thirteenth starting at daybreak and ending at daybreak of the next day. When our Rabbis established the day/s to celebrate Purim, they did it based on Jewish dates, night before day, even though the edict on that date was day then night. This is the intention of the word “bizma’nEIHEM.”
Ch. 9, v. 32: “Umaamar Esther kiyam divrei haPurim” – And Esther’s statement established the matters of the Purim – This refers to her asking the Rabbis to have Purim made a national holiday, as stated in the gemara Megiloh 7a. This is puzzling, as it was not this alone, as there were also the great prayers and fasting of the nation. Her request alone would not have swayed the Rabbis if the story didn’t entail these other powerful actions. The Maharsh”o answers this by saying that these words are a continuum of the words, “divrei hatzomos v’zaakosom” of the previous verse. It was a combination of all these.
Ch. 10, v. 1: “Va’yo’sem ha’melech mas” – The king placed a tax – This point of information is conveyed in the Megiloh to teach us how strongly the “v’nahafoch hu” impacted. Normally a king would be extremely reluctant to impose a tax just after giving the bnei Yisroel a free hand to kill anyone who opposed them, as indeed many were killed. The king should logically wait until things quieted down. By mentioning that he immediately placed a tax on all his provinces we see how accepting all were of the bnei Yisroel’s right to attack those who would have attacked them. (Gri”z haLevi Brisker)
Ch. 10, v. 2: “V’chol maa’sei sokpo ugvuroso uforoshas g’dulas Mordechai …… ha’lo heim k’suvim” – And all the actions of his courage and his strength and details of the greatness of Mordechai …… aren’t they written – Of what importance is it for us to know that there is a more detailed recorded story of all that happened to Mordechai? Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein says that this verse tells us to approach the complete Megiloh as a part of our Holy Writings, and not as a history book. The verse therefore says that for the student of history the information is recorded in the chronicles of Media and Persia, and in much more detail.
Ch. 10, v. 3: “Doreish tov l’amo” – He seeks out good for his nation – Mordechai was now saddled with additional governmental responsibilities as second-in-command to Achashveirosh. Nevertheless, he not only provided betterment for his people when requested to do so, but even looked out for opportunities to improve their lot. (Beis haLevi)
Ch. 10, v. 3: “Doreish tov l’amo v’doveir sholo’m l’chol zaro” – He seeks good for his nation and he speaks peace to all his children – Look how honest and devoted to the public Mordechai was. A leader usually gives impressive speeches for the masses, “Doveir sholo-m l’amo,” and gives top jobs to his relatives (nepotism), “Doreish tov l’zaro.” Mordechai did the opposite. He, as a devoted father, instilled Torah values in his children, and as a highly placed minister, always sought benefits for all people of his nation. (Rabbi Mendel of Rimanov)
Ch. 10, v. 3: “V’doveir sholo’m l’chol zaro” – And he speaks peace to all his children – These final words of the Megiloh encapsulate the conquest of Amoleik. Amoleik attempted to destroy the continuity of our “mesoroh.” This is “Milchomoh laShem baAmoleik midor dor” (Shmos 17:16). The war is regarding “dor dor,” transmission of our values from one generation to the next. Mordechai’s transmitting peace to all his descendants is the nemesis of Amoleik. (Nirreh li)
R’MOZIM – Esther’s name appears in the Megiloh 54 times. Homon’s name appears 54 times as well. Esther’s other name, Hadasoh, appears once. Homon’s other name, M’muchon, also appears once. “Zeh l’umas zeh ossoh Elokim” (Kohelles 7:14). (Rokei’ach) Possibly this might be alluded to in the blessing recited after the Megiloh reading, in the words “Hadon es di’neinu,” rather than simply, “hadon lonu.” “Don,” judges, equals 54, the number of times that Homon’s name appears. Homon wanted to have the bnei Yisroel JUDGED negatively. Hashem responded by judging us with “di’nei’nu, OUR judgement, our 54, the 54 times the tza’dekes Esther’s name appears. Homon’s name appears 54 times, and Zeresh’s name 4 times, totalling 58. Correspondingly, Mordechai’s name appears 58 times. (Rokei’ach) The GR”A on Mishlei 15:25 says that there are 54 letters in the names of the sons of Homon who were hung. The Megiloh contains 167 verses. The two chapters of Amoleik, Shmos 17:8-13, and Dvorim 25:17-19, contain 167 letters. (Rokei’ach)
KLOPPING (BANGING) HOMON – The custom of banging when (preferably immediately after) Homon’s name is read in the Megiloh is alluded to in the Torah. In Dvorim 25:2 it says, “V’ho’yoH iM biN hakos horosho.” The last letters of “V’ho’yoH iM biN” spell Homon. Upon hearing Homon, “hakos horosho,” bang the evil one. (Rabbi Yaakov Emdin) Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid says that every time one bangs Homon during the reading of the Megiloh, Homon feels the banging in Gehinom.
AD D’LO YODA – The gemara Megiloh 7b states, “Michayiv inish libsumi b’Furia ad d’lo yoda bein ORUR HOMON L’VORUCH MORDECHAI.” Following are a few explanations - Imbibe until: 1. You don’t know if there is a difference in the numerical value between the gematria of “orur Homon” and “Boruch Mordechai,” both of which equal 502. (Perhaps the 502 value of both “orur Homon” and “boruch Mordechai” teaches us that the hidden miracles of Hashem are greater than the open ones displayed in Egypt with the ten plagues. Dtzach Adash Bachav equal 501, while “boruch Mordechai” and “orur Homon” each equals 502.) 2) You are beyond the point of emulating Esther’s behaviour as it is described in the verse stated between the downfall of Homon and the elevation of Mordechai. The verse is 2:20, “Ein Esther MA’GEDDES.” When one is intoxicated, one tells all. (Sfas Emes) 3) You don’t know which power was greater in bringing the repentance and turnabout, the negative edicts of Homon, or the words of admonition of Mordechai. 4) You don’t differentiate between Hashem’s edicts, be they seemingly harsh, or sweet. Look at the great outcome of the terrible edicts of Homon; the bnei Yisroel accepted the Torah willingly (gemara Shabbos 88a). (The Holy Admor of Satmar zt”l) 5) You don’t know, meaning you negate the value of, those who are between “orur Homon” and “boruch Mordechai.” There are many people who straddle the fence when it comes to Torah issues. The Prophet Eliyohu complained to the false prophets who were somewhat religious, but not totally committed to Hashem, “How long will you trod on the two thresholds” (M’lochim 1:18:21)? (The Holy Admor of Satmar zt”l) 6) The M.R. on Breishis 12:2 says that upon mentioning the name of a tzaddik, one must bless him. Upon mentioning the name of a rosho, one must curse him. It is obviously more pleasant and less risky to bless a righteous person than to curse an evil person. Imbibe until you do not differentiate between the two, and as easily denigrate the evil person as you would exalt the righteous person. (The Holy Admor of Satmar zt”l)
SEUDAS PURIM – The festive meal of Purim is alluded to in the Torah in Breishis 21:8, “Va’yaas Avrohom mishteh godol b’yom HIGOMEIL.” “Higomeil” has the letters Hei, Gimmel, Mem, and Lamed. The same letters spell Megiloh. (Divrei Yechezkel of Shinov)
MISHLOACH MONOS – A Satmar chosid once received mishloach monos delivered by a neighbour’s son who was dressed as a monkey. During the course of Purim the chosid had the opportunity to visit the Holy Admor of Satmar. He told the Rebbe what happened and said that he felt slighted by the outlandish dress. The Rebbe responded that surely no negative intentions were meant and that it was in the spirit of Purim. He added that even if a real live monkey had delivered the mishloach monos, it would be a proper fulfillment of the mitzvoh, as stated by the Chasam Sofer. The words of the Chasam Sofer can be found in his Chidushei Chasam Sofer on Gittin 22b.
COSTUMES (~:)> )~:)> Esther 8:17 – “V’rabim mei’a’mei ho’oretz mis’Yahadim ki nofal pachad ha’Y’hudim aleihem” – 1) The Medrash Shmuel says that their conversion wasn’t genuine, as the verse states that a great fear of the Y’hudim fell upon them. They only appeared as Y’hudim outwardly. “Mis’Yahadim” means “made themselves as Jews.” Similarly, we dress as non-Y’hudim to show that the outward dress is not the real person. 2) The Holy Zohar in Raya M’hemna at the beginning of parshas Ki Seitzei says that Achashveirosh never cohabited with Esther. An impersonator of Esther was taken to him. This is alluded to by the word ES of our verse, meaning “secondary.” (Kosnos Ohr) 3) Perhaps another reason for wearing costumes is that Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 says that Eliyohu the Prophet dressed himself as Charvonoh and appeared in front of Achashveirosh. He then suggested that Homon’s gallows was a perfect fit for Homon (see Tosfos on gemara Yoma 31a d.h. Amoh). We therefore also dress ourselves as if we are impersonating someone else. In the spirit of the season, the liberty is taken to suggest that this might be why we say “V’GAM Charvonoh zochur latov,” (piut Shoshanas Yaakov, taken from Yerushalmi Megiloh 3:7). Why not just say, “v’Charvonoh zochur latov?” The GAM seems superfluous, redundant, extra, needless, dispensable, and totally unnecessary. The gemara B.K. 66a derives from the word “GAM” in Dvorim 23:19 (esnan zonoh u’mchir kelev) to include a substitute for an object, “l’rabos shinu’yeihem.” We are saying that Eliyohu the Prophet, the substitute for Charvonah, the GAM, should be remembered for good. In “birkas hamozone,” grace after meals, we say “hoRachamon hu yishlach lonu es Eliyohu hanovi ZOCHUR LATOV,” possibly alluding to his being remembered for good when he impersonated Charvonoh. As well, Eliyohu equals 52, as does V’GAM, (49 plus its three letters equals 52).
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, MO’OZ TZUR Y’SHU’OSI – In the stanza beginning “Krose komas b’rosh,” we sing, “ROV bonov v’kinyonov al ho’eitz toliso.” We know that ten of Homon’s sons were hung on the tree gallows. “Mo’oz tzur” tells us that “ROV bonov” were hung. How many sons did Homon have in total? If Homon either had only ten sons, or had twenty or more sons, how do you explain the word “ROV?” Pirkei d’Rebbi Eliezer chapter 50 says that Homon had FORTY SONS, ten of whom lived in Poras and were royal scribes, while the remaining thirty resided throughout the rest of the lands. “Omar Rebbi Eliezer, ‘Arboim bonim hoyu lo l’Homon. Asoroh shehoyu sofrei hamelech, ushloshim b’chol hamdinos.’” How then, do we explain “ROV bonov” in the “Mo’oz tzur?” Perhaps the Tosfos on Yoma 31a d.h. “Amoh” can be helpful. Tosfos says that the children of Homon were decapitated before being hung on the tree gallows. Armed with this information, perhaps it can be said that “ROV” does not mean the majority of the NUMBER of his sons, but rather, the majority of the BODY of each of the ten who were hung. “KEIN YOVDU CHOL OIVECHO, HASHEM.” (Shoftim 5:31)
LA’Y’HUDIM HOYSOH OROH V’SIMCHOH V’SOSON VIKOR KEIN TI’H’YEH LONU
A FRIELICHEN MEANINGFUL PURIM!
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