Esther 5:13, Question 1. To what does “this” refer?

יג וְכָלזֶה אֵינֶנּוּ שׁוֶֹה לִי בְּכָלעֵת אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי רֹאֶה אֶתמָרְדֳּכַי הַיְּהוּדִי יוֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר הַמֶּלֶךְ

13. “And all of this is not worth anything for me all the time that I see Mordechai the Yehudi sitting in the gate of the king.”

  • As Rashi notes (Shemos 15:2), whenever a verse in TaNaCh uses the pronoun “zeh” (“this”), it refers to an object to which one could physically point. Therefore, the Talmud (Megillah 15b) teaches that Haman had tattooed symbols of his accomplishments onto his heart. He pointed at this tattoo when he was saying this.
  • The Beis Yaakov quotes that the Likutim MiPardes that the mispar katan (see note 24 above) of Mordechai (4+2+4+2+1=13) and Esther (1+6+4+2=13) together is 26. Similarly, the mispar katan of Haman (5+4+5=14) and Zeresh (7+2+3=12) is also 26. Therefore, Haman, consistently concerned with numerology and superstition, was telling his wife that she, whose mispar katan is equal to that of zeh (7+5=12), was not up to the mispar katan value of Mordechai, and thus not up to the challenge of defeating him.
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Esther 4:16, Question 8. Why does the verse have the seemingly unnecessary word “similarly?”

  • The Alshich writes that Esther said she will fast “similarly,” or more accurately, “with you” because of the oft-mentioned Talmudic concept (Baba Kama 92a) that when a person needs something, and decides to also pray for another who also needs that, this person’s prayer becomes more effective.
  • Ben Ish Chai again points out that the gematria of kein (“so”) (20+50=70) is seventy, the amount of hours Esther would fast.
  • The Beis Yaakov quotes a Talmud (source unclear) that bad breath becomes strongest after 72 hours, and this is why Esther does not fast for 72 hours straight.

Esther 4:5, Question 3. Why does the verse say Esther sent Hasach “on” Mordechai instead of “to” Mordechai?

  • According to Beis Yaakov, Esther sent Hasach “on” Mordechai instead of “to” Mordechai as a sort of passive aggressive move since she was blaming him for the decree against the Jews. After all Haman was Mordechai’s slave. As such, Mordechai had the legal ability and responsibility to confiscate any purchases of his slave, especially here, where the purchase was the very life of the Jews.
  • Perhaps another action Esther blamed on Mordechai was his original refusal to bow to Haman.
  • R’ Moshe Dovid Valle points out that the initial letters of the phrase “al mordechai l‘daas” (“on Mordechai to know”) are an acronym that spells out the word “amal” (“labor”), which usually represents the negative, human desire to do wrong. In other words, Esther was pointing out to Mordechai the spiritual cause of the current problem faced by the Jews.
  • Perhaps another reason for this unique turn of phrase is the verse’s attempt to demonstrate a proof that Daniel (if he is Hasach) is Mordechai’s superior.