Esther 9:3, Question 1. To what does the phrase “that is the king’s” refer?

ג וְכָלשָׂרֵי הַמְּדִינוֹת וְהָאֲחַשְׁדַּרְפְּנִים וְהַפַּחוֹת וְעֹשֵׂי הַמְּלָאכָה אֲשֶׁר לַמֶּלֶךְ מְנַשְּׂאִים אֶתהַיְּהוּדִים כִּינָפַל פַּחַדמָרְדֳּכַי עֲלֵיהֶם

3. And all of the officers of the states and governor and lesser (governors) and the doers of the work of the king supported/honored the Yehudim because the fear of Mordechai fell on them.

  • Rashi explains that the officers “that are the king’s” are those who serve the needs of the king.
  • As Avigdor Bonchek points out, the verse is demonstrating that fulfilling the king’s needs is not only the job of these servants, but their very title and identity is in their attendance to their responsibilities.

Esther 6:5, Question 3. Why does the king tell his youths to let Haman come in?

  • According to Yad HaMelech, the king tell his officers to let Haman come in because Achashverosh wants to see how long Haman will wait. Therefore, he did not want them to show him in, but rather let him enter on his own.
  • Perhaps another reason for this phraseology is that the last word in this verse matches the first word in the next verse. This phenomenon helps to stress the immediacy of Haman’s entrance and upcoming downfall.
  • Also, the gematria of the word yavo (“let him come in”) (10+2+6+1=19) is the same as that of oyev (“enemy”) (1+6+10+2=19). This indicates that the king has begun to recognize Haman as his foe. The two words even contain the same letters.
  • Perhaps another approach to understanding the use of this word here may be the method used by Rabbeinu Bachya, Vilna Gaon, and others who say that the true meaning of a word can be garnered from its first appearance in the Torah. In the first usage of yavo (Bireishis 32:9), Yaakov plans his potentially dangerous meeting with Eisav, Haman’s ancestor in both the genetic and ethical sense of the word. Achashverosh is therefore coming to terms with the idea that Haman represents the constant enemy of the Jews.

Esther 6:3, Question 3. Why do the officers use the word imo (“with him”) in regard to Mordechai?

  • As we shall see in the next verse (Esther 6:4), Haman was on his way to the king. According to Tehilla l’Dovid, the officers used the word imo (“with him”) in regard to Mordechai instead of using his name so that Haman would not know that he is on the brink of losing power.

  • The Me’am Loez writes that the officers were saying that rewards were indeed given, but not to the one deserving them.

  • It is also said in name of the Chacham Tzvi that the Talmud (Sotah 11b) teaches that when Yosef’s brothers showed Yaakov the shirt they removed from their brother, they said “is this your son’s shirt?” (Bireishis 37:32) without mentioning Yosef’s name. Yaakov realized from their subconscious inability to say his name that they hated him, and hinted to his knowledge that they were responsible for Yosef’s disappearance. From this, the Chacham Tzvi writes that Achashverosh’s advisers used the pronoun imo instead of naming Mordechai because they hated him.

  • In a speech once before the Polish Parliament, a famous anti-Semite said, “we’ve done enough for the Jews.” R’ Meir Shapiro responded that this statement helped clarify our verse. It is enough for the Jew to be left alone by the gentiles. Therefore, Achashverosh’s advisers were telling the king that he had performed the greatest deed for Mordechai – he did nothing for him, thereby leaving him alone.

Esther 1:16, Question 4. Why does the verse mention the officers and the people?

The Vilna Gaon writes in his “Simple” explanation that Memuchan, in order to play off of the king’s precarious political situation, is hinting to Achashverosh that we (officers) already know about this situation, and they (the people) will find out eventually. In his “Allegorical” interpretation, the Vilna Gaon continues with the idea that the entire Megillas Esther is an allegory for a person’s personal, internal struggles. As such, Memuchan represents the Satan, the “Yetzer Hara” (“Evil Inclination”), and the Angel of Death. Through being successful in battling evil, a person can merit to be called an officer, in control of one’s inclinations.

Esther 1:14: Question 4. How do these officers “see the face of the king” and why is it important?

The Malbim writes that these advisers knew the king so well that they could understand his intent just by watching his gestures. After all, he wanted them to figure out, by his body language and facial features if need be, that he wanted to figure out a way for the queen to be forgiven.