Esther 6:7, Question 1. Why does Haman repeat Achashverosh’s question?

ז וַיֹּאמֶר הָמָן אֶלהַמֶּלֶךְ אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ חָפֵץ בִּיקָרוֹ

7. And Haman said to the king, “The man whom the king desires in glorifying him…

  • The Malbim writes that Haman wants to emphasize that the highest possible honor is to be the man whom the king wishes to honor.
  • R’ Jonathan Taub explains that the verse does not say bi’ish, (“in the man” as in the previous verse) but just ish (“man”) because that man who deserves the king’s favor needs nothing else.
  • Maharitz Dushinsky notes that Haman repeated this phrase because he wanted to see if Achashverosh would object to the word “desires.” The king should honor Mordechai for saving his life.
  • The Sfas Emes points out that one of the messages of Purim is that the King desires us. Yehoshua and Calev (Bamidbar 14:8) similarly tried to convince the Jewish people that if H-Shem desires us, nothing stands in our way.
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Esther 2:6, Question 1. Why does the verse specify that Mordechai was exiled if the entire Jewish people were?

ו אֲשֶׁר הָגְלָה מִירוּשָׁלַיִם עִםהַגֹּלָה אֲשֶׁר הָגְלְתָה עִם יְכָנְיָה מֶלֶךְיְהוּדָה אֲשֶׁר הֶגְלָה נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל

6. who exiled himself from Yerushalayim with the exiles who were exiled with Yechanya king of Judah who was exiled by Nebuchadnetzer, king of Bavel.

  • Melachim 2 (24:16) records that the Babylonians exiled 1000 Jewish scholars to be advisers for their royals. By doing so, they not only garnered wise advice, but taking away the scholars from the Jews also threatened to break Judaism. The Talmud in Makkos (23b-24a) tells us that the gematria of Torah (400+6+200+5) is 611, which are the total number of mitzvos (613) minus the additional two that we have from rabbinic authority. Torah is incomplete without the rabbis. As the Maharitz Dushinsky writes, “The land of Israel without Torah is like a body without a soul.”
  • The Tiferes Shlomo mentions that Mordechai anguished over the destruction of the Jewish homeland and spiritual center. As the Talmud (Megillah 13a) reports, he exiled himself. He learned this from our forefather Yaakov, who went down to Egypt (Bireishis 46:6) even before his descendants were exiled there in order to prepare for their spiritual growth by planting cedar saplings they would later use to build the Mishkan in the desert (Rashi to Shemos 25:5).