Esther 1:6 Question 2. Why does the Megillah use unusual language to describe Ahashverosh’s wealth?

Perhaps the Megillah uses these unusual terms to emphasize the importance of Torah sheBal Peh, the Oral Law. Without the Talmud (Megillah 12a) assigning definitions for these terms, we would be clueless as to their meanings. According to Rav, “chur” are crocheted draperies, whereas Shmuel holds that they were white draperies. “Karpas” is seen there as a contraction of “karim shel pasim,” or fine wool cushions. The Sages derive from the interchanging of a letter “hey” with “ches” that “bahat” is a stone that is much sought-after. One opinion posits that it radiated light independently. The Sages then offer a number of definitions for “dar” and “sochares.” One opinion is that it is numerous rows of stones. Another opinion is that it is a rare, coastal stone called “darra” that illuminated the feast to the brightness of midday. The final and most unique interpretation in the Talmud is that it is a proclamation that freed businessmen of taxes for the duration of the party. Either way, Achashverosh’s party, according to the Maharal in Ohr Chadash, was meant to mirror the act of creation in Achaverosh’s lame attempt at parroting the Creator. The precious stones are like the precious Earth, the light of the “bahat” is like the light from the heavens, and even the relaxing of taxation mimicked H-Shem’s power of providing the needs of every living thing. The Maharal adds that Achashverosh’s use of kelayim (wool and linen) mixtures and his wearing the priestly clothes further copies Creation as the Beis HaMikdash, the Holy Temple, which contained these as well, is seen by the Midrash as a microcosm of Creation.

 

  1. Why does the Megillah use unusual language to describe Ahashverosh’s wealth?

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