Esther 8:4, Question 2. Why does Esther stand?

  • Continuing his thoughts on the previous verse, the Vilna Gaon writes that Esther’s rising up alludes to the end of the morning prayer service, and her standing alludes to the kaddish prayer.

  • Similarly, the Dena Pishra explains that Esther was standing here because she was pleading before H-Shem, and this is why the verse refers to Him as King.

  • The Shelah writes that we should stand in prayer before H-Shem the same way we do before a human king.

  • R’ Moshe Feinstein would famously stand still during prayer instead of shukeling back and forth, as many do. The source of this custom was an incident in which, as a rabbi in communist Russia, he was called before the police commandant. He recalled that one of the most frightening events of his life was standing there, stock still, unable to move. Realizing that one is standing before an authority should cause one to avoid any movement.

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Esther 2:11, Question 4. Why does the verse use the phrase “done with her” instead of “done to her?”

  • Rashi says that the verse uses the phrase “done with her” instead of “done to her” because Mordechai knew Esther was in her current situation for a great reason beyond his own surmise. Mordechai was therefore watching to see how Esther was being used by H-Shem. How is she to be an instrument for something great? To put this in perspective, we all believe Moshiach is coming, but we still want to see how it will come to be.
  • The Ohel Moshe asks if this is not a contradiction to a previous comment of Rashi’s (on Esther 2:10) where he says that Esther’s revealing her Jewish identity would get her dismissed from the contest. If so, how could Mordechai have expected any good to come from Esther’s being in the king’s harem? The Ohel Moshe answers that one cannot push aside a single Halacha, even to save the Jewish people. He quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein that one must do whatever is within one’s power to avoid a sin, even if one knows that the sin would bring about the rescue of the Jews.