Esther 9:32, Question 5. Why is this document called a book?

  • From this verse’s calling this document a book, the Talmud (Megilla 19a) learns that a Megillas Esther scroll needs to be sewn without flax to be used in fulfillment of the mitzva of its public reading on Purim.
  • Based on this, Malbim stresses that the verse’s use of the word, sefer (“book”) indicates that the Sages agreed with Esther, and allowed this story into TaNaCh.
  • R’ Moshe Dovid Valle notes that the word, maamar (“statement”) implies its source is from Above, like a saying of the Most High. Furthermore, sefer (60+80+200=340) has the same gematria as Shem (“Name”) (300+40=340) because the Shechina agreed that this belonged in the Holy Torah, with its story and lessons always relevant – even after the return of the Shechina to Her place with the coming of Mashiach, bimheira biyameinu.

Esther 9:29, Question 6. Why is this document called a letter?

Due to the fact that the verse calls this document a “letter,” the Halacha (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 690:17) states that, during both of the public readings of Megillas Esther on Purim, there is a custom for the reader to spread out the scroll as one would a letter, and roll it back up again before reciting the concluding blessings.

Esther 9:29, Question 5. Why does the verse use the word, tokef (authority”)?

  • In Torah Nation (pg. 40-1), R’ Avigdor Miller explains that the verse uses the word, tokef (authority”), because Esther used her authority as queen to make sure the Jews knew the seriousness of their accepting her words.
  • Rashi seems to translate the word as “power,” and explains that the verse is hinting to the power of the Purim miracle’s effect on the principle players of the story, Achashverosh, Mordechai, Haman, and Esther.
  • The Ben Ish Chai suggests that the events in which the different characters rose to power are the reasons for the different opinions in the Talmud’s (Megilla 19a) theoretical discussion regarding the point in Megillas Esther from which one is required to read during the public reading on Purim.
  • M’nos HaLevi writes that Esther needed to reinforce the establishment of Purim with her authority because it may become difficult in future generations to keep the holiday, but it must nevertheless be celebrated.
  • The Midrash (Rus Rabba 2:4) notes that Jews outside of Shushan reacted negatively to the first document, so this second letter needed to be stamped with authority.
  • Malbim, focusing on the fact that the verse says, “kol tofek,” or “all the authority,” explains that the letter needed two different kinds of authority; the throne’s to be published, and Mordechai’s to make it part of the TaNaCh canon.
  • Rav Schwab adds that Esther is called a queen here to give legitimacy to Daryavesh, her descendant.
  • In response to the rabbis’ question in the Talmud (Megilla 7a) about why Megillas Esther needs to be read like a Torah scroll, Esther convinces them that it is much like the Torah in that both are concerned with the war against Amalek. This furthers her argument that Megillas Esther belongs in TaNaCh, since it is written with ruach hakodesh.
  • R’ Elisha Gallico writes that Esther wanted Megillas Esther in TaNaCh because she was married to a gentile, and wanted future generations to know what led to such an unfortunate situation.
  • In Keemu v’Keeblu, Rav Brevda likewise writes that this was the reason it was in Persian’s royal chronicles. Ancient chronicles were often not objective, so the very presence of this story in the royal chronicle was proof that the king approves. Then, rightfully, if we were to be derided for celebrating this holiday, we could respond that “we Jews celebrate because the king celebrates.”

Esther 9:28, Question 6. Why does the verse stress families?

  • Rashi writes that the verse stresses that families celebrating Purim should eat and drink together in order for Purim to “never cease.” The Ohel Moshe notes that it would seem from this that Purim would not exist without unity in the family.
  • The Ibn Ezra explains that this is the case in order for nobody to be able to say “my (family, city, country) wasn’t affected.” All Jews were equally rescued through this miracle.
  • It is for this reason, explains the Vilna Gaon quoting the Talmud (Megilla 3a) that even Leviim and Kohanim should put aside the Temple service to hear the public reading of Megillas Esther on Purim.
  • R’ Hutner adds that this injunction pays homage to the fact that Amalek failed to corrupt the Jewish family (see Rashi to Devorim. 25:18).

Esther 9:28, Question 5. Why does the verse place nit’charim (remembered”) before v’na’asim (“performed”)?

  • R’ Moshe Dovid Valle writes that the verse places nit’charim (“remembered”) before v’na’asim (“done”) because the holiday will be remembered above, and performed below.
  • In the Shelah’s opinion, remembering is written before doing because it alludes to the Halachic requirement (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 685:1) for a public reading of Parshas Zachor (Devorim 25:17-19 ) on the Shabbos preceding the holiday of Purim.
  • As the Sfas Emes emphasizes, since the Jews remember H-Shem’s kindness, they become worthy of new miracles being performed.

Esther 9:28, Question 3. Why does the verse use the term niz’charim (“remembered”)?

  • In Rashi’s view, the verse uses the term niz’charim (“remembered”) because Purim is remembered with the public reading of Megillas Esther on Puirm. The Talmud (Megilla 18a) stresses that one cannot merely memorize the story, but must read it from a scroll. This idea comes from a gzeira shava1: just as regarding Amalek the Torah (Shemos 17:14) uses the “zichron” (remembering) in reference to writing about those events “in a book,” so too, these events must be read from a book. Elsewhere, the Talmud (Yerushalmi Megilla 2:3) similarly writes that this verse justifies the sages’ writing of the tractate, Megilla.
  • Based on this, the Brisker Rav wonders why there was a need for Mordechai’s court to authorize the requirement for Megillas Esther to be included in TaNaCh. This verse should have sufficed! His son, HaGriD, answers that this is because there are no halachos learned directly from NaCh. This is similar to Tosfos’ opinion (Megilla 5a) regarding learning the laws of fast days from a verse in Yirmiya.
  • R’ Yechezkiel Abramsky notes that without the Oral Torah, we would not remember (nor, obviously, celebrate) the Purim story.

1a A hermeneutical rule in which a lesson is learned from an oral tradition of an analogy. See the Braisa of Rebbe Yishmael in the introduction to Sifra.

Esther 9:28, Question 2. Why does the verse repeat the name of the holiday?

According to Sifsei Chachamin, the verse repeats the name of the holiday because Purim is mentioned in Megillas Esther by name five times. One reason for this is that there are five unique mitzvos of the day: matanos la’evyonim, mishloach manos, the public reading of the Megillas Esther, the feast, and possibly the saying of “al hanisim” in our prayers. As mentioned earlier, the Mishna (Megilla 1:1) teaches that there are a total of five days when it is possible to fulfill one’s obligation of hearing the annual public reading of Megillas Esther. However, it will not cease (be kept completely) for two of those days. For that reason, the word is written in its complete form twice.