ח וְהַשְּׁתִיָּה כַדָּת אֵין אֹנֵס כִּי–כֵן יִסַּד הַמֶּלֶךְ עַל כָּל–רַב בֵּיתוֹ לַֽעֲשׂוֹת כִּרְצוֹן אִישׁ–וָאִישׁ
8. And the drinking was like the law, no forcing, because so the king declared to all of the many greats of his house to do according to the wants of man and man.
- It is possible to suggest, as the Midrash (Esther Rabba 2:13) does, that the Persians had detailed customs of behavior in regards to drinking. After all, cultures make ceremonies around those actions they hold dear. Achashverosh carefully kept these rules. Rabbi Avraham Chadida, however, makes the exact opposite comment; according to him, it was generally forbidden to become drunk before the king, and Achashverosh intended to change that custom to become a more popular leader.
- The Talmud (Megillah 12a) infers that Achashverosh was following the “laws” of the sacrifices – having more food than drink at his party, just as there is more meat than wine in the Beis HaMikdash (Temple) service (as, for example, the ratio of meat to wine described in the Torah for an olah offering in Bamidbar 28:12, 14). Rav Dovid Feinstein points to this as yet one more way in which Achashverosh was attempting to ape the Temple and its service.