Esther 3:3, Question 1. Why does the verse use seemingly Halachic language?

ג וַיֹאמְרוּ עַבְדֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁרבְּשַׁעַר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְמָרְדֳּכָי מַדּוּעַ אַתָּה עוֹבֵר אֵת מִצְוַת הַמֶּלֶךְ

3. And the servants of the king who were at the gate of the king said to Mordechai, “Why are you ignoring the command of the king?”

  • By using otherwise Halachic language like “oveir” (“ignore”) and “mitzvah” (“command”), and even substituting “the king” instead of Achashverosh, the verse may be alluding to Mordechai’s transgressing a Jewish rule – specifically, the rule of “dina d’malchusa dina” (“the law of the kingdom is the law”). In other words, a Jew is responsible by Torah law to adhere to the national and local laws of the place where that Jew resides (see Talmud, Nedarim 28a).
  • Furthermore, the Me’am Loez notes that the servants considered this law binding, and whenever people make up their own laws and definitions, this is the very essence of Avodah Zarah, idolatry.
  • We should also remember that when we fulfill the mitzvos of the Torah, we are listening to the laws of the King. These are not just old customs we do for the sake of cultural continuation. Indeed, if circumcision were anything less than a command of the King, perhaps California would not be so far off the mark for suggesting a law to make the act illegal, branded as child mutilation (
  • The king’s servants seemed to have taken it upon themselves to question Mordechai. When somebody stands up against a prevailing cultural phenomenon, people following the norm are challenged, and have the ingrained need to bring the wandering sheep back into the flock to justify their own behavior.

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