Esther 1:2, Question 1. Why does the Megillah use the term “kisheves” (“like when the king was sitting”) instead of the more standard “bishevet” (“when the king sat”)?

ב בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם כְּשֶׁבֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ על כִּסֵּא מַלְכוּתוֹ אֲשֶׁר בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה

2. In those days, like when the king Achashverosh was sitting on the throne of His kingship that was in Shushan the capital city.

The Sfas Emes offers a rationale for the Megillah’s use of the diminutive “kisheves.” He says that this phrase demonstrates the folly of Achashverosh’s mistaken belief that he had finally conquered the Jews and their G-d. He thought he was secure, but it was only through the kindness and grace of H-Shem that he was able to think so. Like Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandius,” his power and historical impact would be fleeting.

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2 responses to “Esther 1:2, Question 1. Why does the Megillah use the term “kisheves” (“like when the king was sitting”) instead of the more standard “bishevet” (“when the king sat”)?

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