Esther 1:10, Question 1. Why does the verse mention that this event happened on the seventh day?

י בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי כְּטוֹב לֵבהַמֶּלֶךְ בַּיָּיִן אָמַר לִמְהוּמָן בִּזְּתָא חַרְבוֹנָא בִּגְתָא וַאַבַגְתָא

10. On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was like it was gratified1 with wine, he said to Mehuman, Biz’sa, Charvonah, Bigsa, and Avgasa, Zeysar, and Charkas – seven chamberlains who serve before the face of King Achashverosh –

  • Since the verse does not specify for what “the seventh” is a modifier, the Talmud (Megillah 12b) answers that this day was Shabbos, the Sabbath. The Sages famously continue there to contrast the drinking of idolaters to that of Jews. Whereas drunken idolaters discuss immodest topics in their stupor, Jews drinking at the Shabbos table tend to discuss Torah topics and sing praises to their Creator. In Rashi’s choosing to interpret this day as Shabbos as the “pashut p’shat” (simple understanding) he usually prefers in his commentary, we must wonder why just seeing this as a seventh day of the party is not so simple. One consideration brought up by the Torah Temimah is the article “the” which typically implies a specific occasion with which the reader is supposed to be familiar.
  • Rav Dovid Feinstein again reminds us here (as we’ve seen before) that Achashverosh was imitating the creation of earth, and therefore began his party on the first day of the week, with the intent of it ending on Shabbos.
  • Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi notes that the verse uncharacteristically does not begin with “vayehee” (“and it was”). Perhaps this is because, as noted above (see our first blog posting), such a statement would indicate a negative event occurring, and Vashti’s upcoming death, on the contrary, was the spark from which the Jews’ salvation began.

1Although “tov” is typically translated as “good,” in context here, it seems more appropriate to translate it “gratifying.”

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