Esther 8:3, Question 2. Why does Esther refer to Haman’s intentions?

  • Megillas Sesarim writes that Esther wanted to use the fact that the decree didn’t specify the nation as a loophole to get the decree rescinded.
  • According to Rashi, Esther refers to Haman’s intentions rather than his actions in order for his evil plans to not be realized. He technically did not do any thing evil; he only intended to.
  • R’ Shlomo Rotenberg teaches that Esther’s phrase included all of Haman’s evil, even his attempt to abort the rebuilding the Beis HaMikdash.
  • Similarly, according to R’ Shlomo Kluger in Ma’amar Mordechai, Esther wanted to remove the thoughts Haman implanted into Achashverosh’s head.

Esther 1:15, Question 1. Being king and ultimate authority, why does Achashverosh need to know what the law says?

טו כְּדָת מַהלַּעַשׂוֹת בַּמַּלְכָּה וַשְׁתִּי עַל ׀ אֲשֶׁר לֹאעָשְׂתָה אֶתמַאֲמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ בְּיַד הַסָּרִיסִים

15. The rule: what is done to the Queen Vashti regarding her not performing the message of King Achashverosh through the chamberlains?

Truly, being king, Achashverosh was neither bound by the law nor ignorant of it. Therefore, according to Midrash Panim Acheirim, the rule to which Achashverosh refers would be a legal loophole to try to save Vashti.

Esther 1:13, Question 2. Why does Achashverosh approach the wise men?

Given that Vashti insulted the king by not appearing when summoned, why would the king need advice about how to deal with the situation? For a megalomaniac dictator like Achashverosh, would not punishing her be the clear objective? Taken together, it becomes clear that the ability of the Sages to discredit evidence mentioned in the previous post is what Achashverosh hoped would save his beloved Vashti. He was looking for whatever loophole possible to avoid punishing her, killing her, or losing her.

This answer really reminds me of Bob Dylan’s 1964 “All I Really Want to Do,” the first track on Another Side of Bob Dylan. I can almost hear Achashverosh singing this in his head! Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

I ain’t lookin’ to compete with you
Beat or cheat or mistreat you
Simplify you, classify you
Deny, defy or crucify you
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.

No, and I ain’t lookin’ to fight with you
Frighten you or tighten you
Drag you down or drain you down
Chain you down or bring you down
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.