Esther 5:8, Question 3. Why is the next party specifically tomorrow?

  • According to Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller, Esther planned for the next party to specifically occur the next day in order to “intensify the effect of her plan.” This would make the tension between Achashverosh and Haman more palpable.
  • According to Rav Dovid Feinstein, this immediacy of the next party would pique Achashverosh’s curiosity, and keep him in suspense. Besides this, it is important to remember that the Jews were already fasting for two straight days, and Esther had asked the Jews to fast for three days, culminating in the next day. The merit of their fasting will both spiritually and psychologically support Esther’s efforts at that day’s feast.
  • According to R’ Meir Arama, pushing the next party into the next day was Esther’s attempt to stall her inevitable request from the king. Without a clear sign from H-Shem, she was confused if she should fight Amalek using Yaakov’s method, or Moshe’s. Yaakov (Bireishis 32:9) attempted to defeat Eisav, Amalek’s ancestor, through gifts. Moshe (Shemos 17:8-13) utilized prayer and war against the nation of Amalek.
  • The Yalkut Shimoni (1056) writes that Amalek is defeated machar, tomorrow. This is because Moshe, at the first national encounter against Amalek, said “tomorrow I will stand on top of the mountain” (Shemos 17:9).
  • The Maharal explains that Amalek does not recognize an other, a tomorrow. Amalek causes religious doubt (the Hebrew word safek has the same gematria as Amalek.) by forcing the brain to consider only one approach to a Torah dilemma; if that approach does not work, there can be no other way to look at the topic.
  • Perhaps another reason why the next day was so critical to Esther’s plan can be gleaned from the gematria of the Hebrew word machar, (“tomorrow”) (40+8+200=248). This is the same number as the positive commandments (Makkos 23b-24a), which themselves correspond to the major bones and sinews in a man1. Therefore, one more day of the Jews performing positive mitzvos and teshuva will help Esther. Perhaps this is the reason why the Midrash later notes that Haman was advised to approach Achashverosh specifically baboker (“in the morning”) (Esther 5:14), which the Midrash says is the time of reading the Shema.

1The significance of this number is also the reason for adding three words to the twice daily recitation of the Shema, which would only have 245 words alone (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 61:3 and Mishnah Berurah 61:6).

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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).