Esther 4:14, Question 3. Why is the cantillation mark for word “hatzala” a gershai’im?

  • The Ari z”l in his Sefer Kavanos writes that this cantillation mark here is a hint to Megillas Esther. Just like the shape of the cantillation mark, the scroll needs to be folded over in its public readings. Perhaps his intent is that the reading of the scroll provides future generations of Jews with their own subsequent salvation.
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Esther 2:12, Question 2. Why is the “kadma v’azla” cantillation mark used for the words “nara v’nara” as opposed to the “munach” cantillation mark used for Esther in a few verses (2:15)?

The M’nos HaLevi and the Vilna Gaon write that the “kadma v’azla” cantillation mark is used for the words “nara v’nara” (“young woman and young woman”) because the literal translation of “kadma v’azla” is “coming and going.” In other words, these women were coming and going, or bustling about in their eagerness to become the future queen, as can be seen from their use of witchcraft and subterfuge (as we said before). After all, Rav Hirsch points out that the word “tor” (“turn”) indicates arriving at a point in life when something momentous is supposed to happen. These contestants were motivated to gain all of the benefits of royalty from this one event. This stands in stark contrast to the cantillation mark used for Esther in a few verses (2:15), which discusses Esther’s coming to the king. There, the verse uses the “munach” cantillation mark since it means “rest,” which implies Esther did not stir as she was reluctant to become the future queen of Persia.