Esther 7:9, Question 7. Why does Achashverosh order Haman killed without consultation?

  • The Ginzei HaMelech writes that Achashverosh did not ask for advice because he was never sure if Vashti’s refusal to obey him stemmed from her feeling disrespected by his use of chamberlains to retrieve her (Esther 1:10). This contrasts with our verse in which Achashverosh heard Haman directly.
  • Ironically, in yet another example of mida kineged mida (“measure for measure”), Haman was the one (Esther 1:19) who gave the king authority to kill without consultation.
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Esther 6:13, Question 3. Why do Haman’s advisers speak first?

  • In the previous event in which Haman asked advice from his loved ones (Esther 5:10), Zeresh spoke first.
  • The Dena Pishra points out that here, Haman’s advisers speak first because Haman held Zeresh responsible for what he now considered bad advice.
  • According to the Sfas Emes, that verse called them “loved ones” and this verse calls them “advisers” because these were fair-weather friends, jumping on Haman’s bandwagon in the height of his rise to power, but are just advisers during his fall. He quotes the Mishna (Avos 5:6) that a love that is attached to a reason, once that reason goes away, that love disappears.
  • The Maharal notes that Haman’s male friends, like any good friend, were required for critical statements. The type pf woman Haman would marry is supposed to be his equal, not pointing out his flaws. The Maharal quotes a seeming contradiction between one Talmudic statement (Bava Metzia 59a) that says listening to one’s wife’s advice can lead a man to gehinom, or Hell, and another Talmudic statement (Ibid.) that advises a man with a short wife to bend to hear her advice. The Talmud explains that taking a wife’s advice in religious matters leads a man to gehinom, whereas taking her advice in worldly matters is worth bending for. The Maharal explains that, although there are exceptions, women then did not typically study Talmudic discourse, so taking their advice in that abstract, logical area would be foolish. A man should listen to his wife about the practical, worldly, real-life matters.

Esther 6:13, Question 2. Why does Haman not need to summon his friends and family as he had before (Esther 5:10)?

  • In the previous circumstance in which Haman asked his family and friends for advice (Esther 5:10), he had to summon them. According to Ibn Ezra, Haman did not need to call for them now because, after having recommended hanging Mordechai and going to Achashverosh, they stayed around to see the results of their advice.
  • The M’nos HaLevi suggests that they had left, but returned to comfort Haman upon death of his daughter and the other terrible events of the day. He also writes that Haman only told Zeresh, but word spread.

Esther 6:3, Question 1. Why does Achashverosh ask regarding both honor and greatness?

ג וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ מַהנַּעֲשָׂה יְקָר וּגְדוּלָּה לְמָרְדֳּכַי עַלזֶה וַיֹּאמְרוּ נַעֲרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ מְשָׁרְתָיו לֹאנַעֲשָׂה עִמּוֹ דָּבָר

3. And the king said, “What did I do of honor and greatness to Mordechai on this?” And the king’s youths from his officers said, “You did not do to him a thing.”

  • According to the Alshich, Achashverosh asks regarding both honor and greatness because Mordechai deserved both; honor to show the public that Mordechai saved the king which would potentially convince the Achashverosh’s people to save him as well, and superiority over the king’s other advisers in order to get good advice from him in the future.

Esther 5:12, Question 2. Why does Haman mention both party invitations?

  • The Malbim says that Haman mentions both invitations because he thought, in his vanity, that Esther wanted him there to help convince Achashverosh to agree to whatever it was Esther intended by having the parties, in the first place.
  • According to Rav Dovid Feinstein, considering Haman’s original need for advice, he is deeply aware of that fact that the advice that is best for him depends on his standing on the social ladder.
  • Megillas Sesarim writes that Haman believed that Esther really wanted him at the party, and only invited Achashverosh to avoid suspicion.