Esther 4:5, Question 2. Why is Esther using one of the king’s chamberlains?

  • Certainly, Esther had her own chamberlains. Maamar Mordechai writes that Esther used a chamberlain of the king’s so that no one would suspect a plot. A plot would require the plotter to keep plans away from king’s men.
  • Another possibility is that the verse is hinting to the idea that this was Daniel, a true servant of the King of kings.
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Esther 4:4, Question 8. Why does Mordechai refuse the clothes Esther offers?

  • To begin to understand why Mordechai refused Esther’s offered clothes, R’ Dovid Feinstein reminds us of the manner in which Mordechai learned of Haman’s plot. Since he saw it in a dream, he knew that he was not, indeed, overreacting in his behavior, as Esther’s offer implied. After all, H-Shem does not show people prophetic dreams without purpose.
  • According to the Malbim, however, Mordechai’s refusal was a gesture representing his refusal to trust in man. Wisdom suggests putting one’s faith in the All-Powerful, loving G-d, rather than in fickle and inconsistent man.

Esther 2:23, Question 1. How was this plot sought and found?

כג וַיְבֻקַּשׁ הַדָּבָר וַיִּמָּצֵא וַיִּתָּלוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם עַלעֵץ וַיִּכָּתֵב בְּסֵפֶר דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ

23. And the thing was sought and found, and both of them were hanged on a tree. And [it] was written in the book of chronicles before the king.

  • The Talmud (Megillah 13b) says that Bigsan and Seresh had times they were supposed to be on duty, and they were found switching their obligations. Not only was the guard who was supposed to be on duty not there, but it was even more suspicious that somebody else was taking his place. In addition, they had no credible alibi.
  • Pesikta Rabbasi states that Bigsan and Seresh understood that their plot was discovered, and one of the two was attempting to remove the evidence by ridding themselves of the (snake) poison. He was caught with the poison in his possession, and the existence of the poison explains what physical object was “found.”
  • The Malbim concurs that actual poison was found, even though it was well-hidden.
  • The Yalkut Shimoni writes that H-Shem was the One who performed a “search,” and “found” Bigsan and Seresh’s conspiracy as an ideal ruse to begin the redemption of the Jewish people.

Esther 2:22, Question 5. Why does the verse use the word “vayaged” (“related”) in describing Mordechai’s reporting the plot to Esther, and “vatomer” (“told”) describing Esther’s report of the plot to the king?

  • Perhaps the verse’s use of different language describing two different reports of the same plot alludes to the Midrash Lekach Tov’s assertion that Mordechai communicated his findings to Esther through a messenger, whereas Esther spoke to the king directly.
  • Yosef Lekach says that the difference in language demonstrates that both Mordechai and Esther were both trying to give each other credit for the information, so their individual tellings of the event were naturally different.
  • The Maharal says that Mordechai just reported the facts of what he witnessed. Esther, on the other hand, reported the conspiracy, and also offered counsel.

Esther 2:22, Question 1. How does Mordechai learn of Bigsan and Seresh’s assassination plot?

כב וַיִּוָּדַע הַדָּבָר לְמָרְדֳּכַי וַיַּגֵּד לְאֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה וַתֹּאמֶר אֶסְתֵּר לַמֶּלֶךְ בְּשֵׁם מָרְדֳּכָי

22. And the thing was known to Mordechai, and he related it to Esther the Queen, and Esther told it to the king in Mordechai’s name.

  • The Ma’amar Mordechai says that Bigsan and Seresh tried to get Mordechai involved in Haman’s rebellion mentioned in the last post. After all, as a Jew, Mordechai was a member of a down-trodden people, the perfect candidate to desire a change in rule.
  • The Talmud (Megillah 13b) teaches that Bigsan and Seresh were from a place called Turis. They were plotting the assassination by getting poison (perhaps a poison snake), but they did not know that Mordechai was on the Sanhedrin, so knew all of the 70 root languages (see Mishnah, Shekalim 5:1). Thus, Mordechai heard and understood their plan.
  • The Chiddushei HaRim once had a meeting in Warsaw with the famous philanthropist, Sir Moses Montefoire, where they discussed this verse. Sir Montefoire said our verse is proof that Jewish children should be taught foreign languages, so they can save the Jews from the plots of our enemies. The Chiddushei HaRim retorted that the very opposite is true – if every Jew would have learned foreign languages, Bigsan and Seresh would know this, and would be more secretive around Jews. It is the rarity of Mordechai’s ability that allowed for it to be effective.
  • One of the proofs the Talmud (Megillah 7a) uses that Megillas Esther was written prophetically in ruach hakodesh (see Introduction) is that the conspiracy “was known” to Mordechai, implying that he found out prophetically. Rav Pam says this opinion need not necessarily contradict the opinion that he overheard the plot. He writes that Jews respect privacy, and do not listen in on conversations. To illustrate this point, Rav Pam tells a story about a rabbi who was arrested in Poland on trumped up charges of espionage. In court, his two guards were speaking amongst themselves in Polish, assuming he knew nothing of their language. This rabbi backed away from them. Seeing this, the prosecuting attorney yelled at him for showing disrespect. The rabbi responded, “I do not mean disrespect. I am trying not to eavesdrop on your conversation.” The judge, after hearing this exchange, immediately freed the Jewish prisoner saying, “Such a one would not be a spy.” Rav Pam says Mordechai did the same thing. When he heard Bigsan and Seresh speaking in Tursish, he left the area so as not to hear them. Then, he received ruach hakodesh, Divine prophecy regarding their plot.
  • In Torah Nation, Rav Avigdor Miller writes that Mordechai was Divinely rewarded with this discovery in reward for his vigilance in daily risking his life to check on Esther (as mentioned in previous posts).