Esther 1:18, Question 2. Why does Memuchan scare Achashverosh with both “disrespect” and “anger?”

  • According to the Vilna Gaon, both statements refer to the king. He should have felt disrespected by Vashti’s calling him the son of a stable boy, and he should have felt angered for the sake of the monarchy. This dual, personal/ political point of view fits nicely with the Chida’s explanation of the severity of the punishment Memuchan is about to suggest (see previous blogs).
  • According to the Midrash (Esther Rabbah 4:8), there is a kind of anger leads to disrespect, and a kind of disrespect that leads to anger. In this particular case, according to Memuchan, Vashti’s actions would cause both. This is the case on the earthly plane. On the spiritual plane, the Midrash continues, since Vashti’s father disrespected H-Shem’s holy vessels (as mentioned earlier), this caused H-Shem to focus His anger upon Vashti. On the subject of H-Shem being “angry” at someone for something their parents did (Shemos 20:5), the Talmud (Sanhedrin 27b) states that this is the case only when the child follows in the said parent’s path of evil, which is certainly true in the case of Vashti (as mentioned in previous blogs).