Esther 2:6, Question 3. Why does the verse mention Nevuchadnetzer?

The Midrash (Esther Rabbah 6:4) reports that when certain rabbis reached this verse regarding Nevuchadnetzer, they would curse him by saying, “may his bones be crushed.” The Midrash continues by asking why they did not do the same when studying the book of Yirmiyah, which mentions this name many time over. They answer that his mention there concerned him while he was still alive. In our verse, he is being discussed in the past tense, already long dead. Likutei Yehudah therefore asks a fascinating question: what difference does it make if he were alive or dead? He answers that the rabbis were reluctant to curse the evil Nevuchadnetzer while he was alive because he still had the potential to change and be better. Amazingly, if even such an evil person like Herod can change and build the splendid Second Temple (Talmud, Baba Basra 3b-4a), how much more-so do we have potential to bring ourselves up to higher planes of spiritual growth!


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