Esther 8:13, Question 2. Why does atidim (“ready”) have a Masoretically different read (kri) than written (ksiv) version?

  • According to R’ Dovid Feinstein, the word for “ready” as written (atudim) with a vuv implies permanence, in a state of remaining. In other words, the Jews should remain ready for future events. He quotes the Talmud (Shabbos 88a) about the Jews being miraculously coerced by H-Shem into accepting the Torah at Sinai under a threat of annihilation. In contrast, the Jews re-accepted the Torah at the end of Megillas Esther (Esther 9:27) under no such threatening pressure, and under not such obvious miracles.
  • Ginzei HaMelech writes that this could also be an allusion to the continuing future battle of the Jewish people against Amalek. He quotes the words of the Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Megillah 2:18) that all of the works of TaNaCh will no longer be needed once Moshiach comes. The exception to this is Megillas Esther. The Ginzei HaMelech explains that the war against Amalek mentioned in the Purim story will still be relevant after Moshiach. It is a day for which the Jews should continually be prepared.
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Esther 5:10, Question 6. Why does the verse mention Zeresh specifically?

  • The Midrash (Esther Rabbah 9:2) writes that Haman had 365 advisers, one for each day of the solar year. None of these could advise Haman as cruelly as Zeresh, his wife. She mentions many miracles performed for the Jews to save them from various forms of death, including fiery furnaces, lions’ dens, and the desert. She points out that hanging is the one form of killing from which no Jew had ever been saved. Foolishly ignoring that this method had never been attempted either, and that the Jews have been saved miraculously from far more menacing dangers, Haman accepts the advice and begins immediate construction of a hanging tree (Esther 5:14).

Esther 1:21, Question 2. Why does the advice seem good to the advisers?

According to the Malbim, although Memuchan’s advice would strip the advisers of their powerful role, they nevertheless agreed because they were eager to finally be masters of their own homes. Furthermore, they were not afraid of losing their positions. On the contrary, they saw how easy it was to influence the king. They might have thought, “If Memuchan could so easily convince the king to kill his beloved wife, imagine what we can convince him to do for us…”1

1You faithful blog readers may have noticed that the Malbim has been giving a fairly simple, political view to many of the questions posted. He adds at this point that this has been a setup to establish Achashverosh as a strong-minded, savvy ruler not easily swayed by his own emotions. The Malbim’s intent is to emphasize the miraculous nature of Achashverosh’s listening to Esther later in the story (7:8). He could just as easily have answered her, “So what that he wants to kill your people? I want to also, and you can be the exception if you like. Otherwise, it was nice knowing you. Tata!”