Esther 1:15, Question 3. Why does the verse call her “Malka Vashti” instead of “Vashti hamalka?”

According to the Vilna Gaon, in an attempt to save Vashti, Achashverosh emphasized to his advisers that she is a queen. He is intimating to them that they should be careful in dealing with such an important person, and judge her leniently.

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Esther 1:15, Question 2. Why does the verse say “bamalka” (“in the queen”) instead of “lamalka” (“to the queen”)?

According to the Midrash (Esther Rabbah 4:5), this word, “bamalka,” is meant to contrast what occurred in the 1 case of Vashti with the case of Esther, who also acts out of line with “k’das” (“the law”) (Esther 4:16) when she attempts to visit the king uninvited. G-d Willing, we will learn more about that verse when we get there.

1The Hebrew prefix “ba” means “in the.”

Esther 1:15, Question 1. Being king and ultimate authority, why does Achashverosh need to know what the law says?

טו כְּדָת מַהלַּעַשׂוֹת בַּמַּלְכָּה וַשְׁתִּי עַל ׀ אֲשֶׁר לֹאעָשְׂתָה אֶתמַאֲמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ בְּיַד הַסָּרִיסִים

15. The rule: what is done to the Queen Vashti regarding her not performing the message of King Achashverosh through the chamberlains?

Truly, being king, Achashverosh was neither bound by the law nor ignorant of it. Therefore, according to Midrash Panim Acheirim, the rule to which Achashverosh refers would be a legal loophole to try to save Vashti.

Esther 1:14: Question 4. How do these officers “see the face of the king” and why is it important?

The Malbim writes that these advisers knew the king so well that they could understand his intent just by watching his gestures. After all, he wanted them to figure out, by his body language and facial features if need be, that he wanted to figure out a way for the queen to be forgiven.

Esther 1:14, Question 3. Considering our ability to count simple numbers, why does the verse mention the total number of officers?

The Talmud (Megillah 23a) teaches that it is because of these seven advisers that Jewish law requires us to call up seven people for an aliyah each Shabbos and (in the time of the Sanhedrin) required seven judges to declare a leap year. What does one have to do with the other? In 127 Insights into Megillas Esther, Rabbi Mendel Weinbach explains that our publicly praising H-Shem and reading His Torah provides a striking contrast to Achashverosh and his ilk. Our seven represent truth, substance, and goodness, whereas his seven, and those like them, represent falsehood, superficiality, and evil.

Esther 1:14, Question 2. Why does the verse mention the names of these ministers?

According to the Midrash and Talmud (see chart below) each of these names means something. Their names representing various parts of the Temple service, Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss points out, is another example of mida kineged mida, measure for measure. The advice to which the king is forced to turn brings about his queen’s eventual downfall.

1

כרשנא

Karshena

2

שתר

Shesar

3

אדמתא

Admasa

4

תרשיש

Tarshish

5

מרס

Meres

6

מרסנא

Marshena

7

ממוכן

Memuchan

Esther Rabbah 4:2 (first opinion)

In charge of king’s plants In charge of king’s wine In charge of king’s land measures In charge of king’s household**Radal has “ships” Made diced poultry for the king Beat flour for the king Provided food for the king

Reason

Carshinin Shasa Adama Adorned with beryls (tarshish)**According to Radal, ships traveled to Tarshish Mimares Mimares Muchan

Talmud Bavli, Megillah 12b

One year-old sheep Two turtledoves Altar of earth Kohen’s garments Mixing of blood Mixing of flour and oil Preparing shulchan

Reason

“kar ben bakar” (Bamidbar 28:3) shtei torim (Vayikra 5:7) Adama (Shemos 20:21) Fourth row on breastplate (Shemos 28:20) Mimares (Mishnah, Yuma 43b) Mimares (Mishnah, Menachos 18a) Muchan (Shemos 25:23-30)

Esther Rabbah 4:2 (second opinion)

One year-old ox Two turtledoves Altar of earth Kohen’s garments Mixing of blood Mixing of flour and oil Preparing mizbeach

Reason

“par ben bakar” shtei torim (Vayikra 5:7) Adama (Shemos 20:21) Fourth row on breastplate (Shemos 28:20) Mimares (Mishnah Yuma 43b) Mimares (Mishnah Menachos 18a) Muchan (Ezra 3:3)

Esther Rabbah 4:2 (third opinion)

Scatter lupines and remove from world Make them drink “cup of reeling” Make their blood… …flow like water Stir their souls Twist their souls Crush their souls

Reason

Feeding animal before slaughter Zecharya 12:2 Dam Tarshish is port city Mimares Mimares Mima’ek