Esther 5:7, Question 1. Why does Esther repeat the same language used by Achashverosh?

ז וַתַּעַן אֶסְתֵּר וַתֹּאמַר שְׁאֵלָתִי וּבַקָּשָׁתִי

7. And Esther answered and she said, “My request and my petition:

  • The Targum says Esther repeats this language to stress to Achashverosh that he is wrong in thinking Esther wants half the kingdom.
  • However, the Vilna Gaon says she was saying that he is right that she has both a personal request and a public need, but she was not yet ready to submit either of these.
  • According to the Midrash, this is because she was looking for a miraculous sign from H-Shem indicating that she should continue with her request. Not receiving one, she invited the king and Haman to another feast as a sort of do-over.
  • Rav Moshe Dovid Valle writes that Esther was implying that the request is a minor issue, just something she wants, whereas a petition is for a major issue, a national need.

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