Esther 8:8, Question 4. Why does Achashverosh seem to have a change of heart regarding Jews?

  • One way to answer Achashverosh’s sudden seeming change of heart is the fact that he regularly changes his mind about things since he lacks any true convictions. As the saying goes regarding this fickle king: he listened to a friend to kill his wife, and then he listened to his wife to kill a friend.
  • However, R’ Yehonason Eibshutz explains that Achashverosh’s negative feelings towards Jews were caused by a vision that he had earlier in his life that a Jew would take his throne. Once he found out (Esther 7:4) that his wife was a Jewess, his child through her, although a Jew maternally, could take the throne after Achashverosh passes with no harm coming to him. Indeed, according to the Talmud (Megillah 11b) Esther’s son, Darius II ruled after him.

Esther 6:10, Question 1. Why does Achashverosh tell Haman to hurry?

י וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְהָמָן מַהֵר קַח אֶתהַלְּבוּשׁ וְאֶתהַסּוּס כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ וַעֲשֵׂהכֵן לְמָרְדֳּכַי הַיְּהוּדִי הַיּוֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אַלתַּפֵּל דָּבָר מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ

10. And the king said to Haman, “Hurry! Take the clothing and the horse of which you spoke, and do so to Mordechai the Yehudi who sits in the gate of the king. Do not drop anything from all that you said.”

  • According to Me’am Loez, Achashverosh rushed Haman because he does everything quickly. He rushed unthinking and headlong into every endeavor so far, from ridding himself of Vashti to signing the edict to massacre the Jews and every action in between.
  • Perhaps, as a former general, acting quickly is essential for Achashverosh’s character. The Alshich writes that Achashverosh rushes Haman because he was angry with him.
  • The Yosef Lekach bases his answer on the idea that Achashverosh’s sleep was troubled due to his not identifying Esther’s request. He thought to himself, “If Esther is requesting that I honor Mordechai for saving my life, I need to hurry to get that done before the second party tonight.”
  • Class Participant KL suggested that Achashverosh was rushing Haman to show his alacrity to do this, thereby proving to Esther that he would be doubly zealous to perform her request, whatever that might be.
  • The Ginzei HaMelech says Achashverosh was rushing Haman because he was afraid he might otherwise change his mind.
  • The Ginzei HaMelech also mentions that Achashverosh may have had some compassion for Haman’s self-esteem at this point, and wanted this demeaning act to be performed earlier in the morning, before most people were awake to see it. As we shall see in the next verse (iy”H), Mordechai will delay matters in order to subvert this plan.
  • According to the Vilna Gaon, Achashverosh was concerned of a conspiracy between Mordechai, Esther, and Haman to kill him. Therefore, he wanted Mordechai to be honored quickly to get it out of the way.
  • R’ Yehonoason Eibshutz says Achashverosh was in a hurry because he was aware of a prophecy that a Jew would be wearing the crown of Persia. Indeed, Darius II, the son of Esther would be the next king.

Esther 4:5, Question 1. Who is Hasach?

ה וַתִּקְרָא אֶסְתֵּר לַהֲתָךְ מִסָּרִיסֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱמִיד לְפָנֶיהָ וַתְּצַוֵּהוּ עַלמָרְדֳּכָי לָדַעַת מַהזֶּה וְעַלמַהזֶּה

5. And Esther called to Hasach from the chamberlains of the king who stood before him, and she commanded him on Mordechai to know what is this and why is this.

  • According to both the Alshich and Malbim, whoever Hasach was, he was obviously someone trustworthy.
  • The Maharsha adds that he must have been wise, discreet, and Jewish.
  • Perhaps for this reason, the Talmud (Megillah 15a) says that he was the prophet, Daniel. After all he should have been alive at this time, and fits all of these criteria. The Talmud (ibid.) suggests that the name, Hasach, may also be related to “hesech” (“decision making”). It also suggests that the name, Hasach, may be related to “his’chuhu” (“cutting down”) because the prophet, Daniel, was demoted. At first, Nevuchadnezzer “made Daniel great…ruler over the whole province” (Daniel 2:48). Then, at the time of Balshazzar, he only had the power to “rule as a third in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:29). Then, under Darius I, Daniel merely “prospered,” with no mention of power or prestige (Daniel 6:29). Now, under Achashverosh, he is not even mentioned by name. Finally, under Darius II, Daniel went back to the level where he could have “prophesied” (Megillah 15a). Why did Daniel suffer such a steep fall from grace? According to the Talmud (Baba Basra 4a), Daniel gave Nevuchadnezzer advice to give charity. This kind act allowed the tyrannical Nevuchadnezzer to merit living an entire year more, causing countless deaths. Sometimes tragedy results from the best of intentions.
  • The Meshech Chochmo points out that Daniel’s earlier greatness was achieved in the eyes of the Jews from the fact that he was willing to give up his life for H-Shem. At this point, however, during this time of intense teshuvah, Daniel was no longer the only Jew willing to give up life. Therefore, he was not considered as great anymore in Jews’ esteem. The
  • M’nos HaLevi writes that Daniel changed his own name to Hasach because Daniel (4+50+10+1+30=95) has the same gematria as Haman (5+40+50=95).
  • Interestingly, the difference in gematria between Hasach (5+400+20=425) and Daniel ((4+50+10+1+30=95) is 330, the gematria of “saris” (60+200+10+60=330) (“chamberlain”), his current position.
  • Ginzei HaMelech points out that it is most appropriate that Hasach is a Jew, as this leads to a renewed trust in hashgacha pratis (H-Shem’s individual concern for all) in that a Jew saved Jews.