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 9:32, Question 4. What are “words of Purim?”

  • According to the Rokeach, the words of Purim include all recitations unique to the Purim holiday, including reading Megillas Esther, adding al hanissim (“for the miracles”) to our prayers, and remembering Amalek in the Torah reading.
  • Perhaps this also includes the singing of “Shoshanas Yaakov.”

Esther 9:32, Question 3. Why does the verse repeat the acceptance of the holiday?

  • Malbim writes that the verse repeats the acceptance of the holiday because the Sages agreed to Esther’s request.
  • Interestingly, the Lekach Tov points out that there are a total of 12 mentions throughout Megillas Esther of accepting Purim. This hints to the 12 tribes of Yisroel, and shows once again how important achdus (“unity”) was to the Jews’ salvation at this time.

Esther 9:32, Question 2. Why is the “statement” attributed to Esther?

  • The Maharal explains that, on a simple level, the “statement” is attributed to Esther to emphasize that her status as queen of Persia aided in Purim’s being accepted.
  • Furthermore, Kedushas Levi points out that Esther actually argued with the Sages who wanted Purim on Nisan 16, since that was the actual day when Achashverosh punished Haman, and put an end to his plot. She argued that if Purim will then remain on the same day as Pesach, it would not be as obvious, and will end up being forgotten.
  • R’ Yehonason Eibshutz notes that her self sacrifice is the reason for Esther’s being credited with the holiday and book in TaNaCh.
  • The Ben Ish Chai finds an allusion to this in “Eishis Chayil,” Shlomo haMelech’s praise of great women. The verse there (Mishlei 31:31), the gematria of yadeha (“her hand”) can be broken up into yad (10+4=14) and eha (10+5=15), alluding to the 14th and 15th of the month of Adar, both established by Esther’s hand.

Esther 9:32, Question 1. To what “statement” does the verse refer?

  • Rashi writes that the statement to which the verse refers is the Talmud’s (Megilla 7b) report that Esther requested the Sages to allow Megillas Esther to be accepted into TaNaCh in order to be remembered for generations.
  • Malbim also writes that this statement was her argument for a Purim holiday.
  • The Sfas Emes writes that the very transferring of Esther’s words symbolize the Oral Law inherent in the mitzvos of Purim. This helped inspire the establishing of the Anshei Kineses haGedola (“Men of the Great Assembly”) and began an era of increased Torah study.

Esther 9:31, Question 1. Why does the verse mention Purim being established in these times?

31. To establish these days of the Purim in their times as they were established on them by Mordechai the Yehudi and Esther the queen, and as they established on their souls and on their seed words of the fasts and their crying out.

  • It is difficult to imagine, but Purim was seen as an innovation. Esther and Mordechai had to push for it, especially with those Jews living in the outskirts who did not feel either the immediate threat, nor the miraculous salvation.
  • Yeetav Leiv writes that this verse’s focus on Purim’s establishment was meant to encourage people to perform it as Esther and Mordechai did it – with intent to celebrate it for the sake of Heaven.
  • The Talmud (Megilla 2a) begins its discussion of the mitzva to read Megillas Esther by writing that this verse refers to times because Purim is celebrated by different groups in different times. For instance, villages, big cities, and walled cities all fulfill their obligation of publicly reading Megillas Esther for Purim on various days between Adar 11 and 15.
  • There being five different days on which to celebrate this aspect of Purim, the Na’os HaDesheh (288) finds a hint in the fact that the word kayam (“establish”) is used five times in Megillas Esther (9:21, 9:27, 9:29, 9:31, and 9:32).
  • Furthermore, there are five minatzpech (final letters “םןץףך”), which traditionally represent the five exiles (Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome) the Jews have endured because they are end letters, and we pray for the end of our long exile.
  • R’ Yechezkiel Abramsky tells the story of the Vilna Gaon’s grandson, who lived in Warsaw. Somebody asked him for an example of what made his grandfather so great. He answered that, as a child, the Vilna Gaon was asked why the first Mishna in Megilla (1:1) says lo pachos v’lo yoser (“no more and no less”) regarding the days to read Megillas Esther, but the Mishna in Shabbos (19:5) does not use the phrase regarding the various days on which a bris (“circumcision”) can be performed. The person asking began giving the Vilna Gaon’s grandson a brilliant one-hour answer. “Very nice,” he said, “but my grandfather answered better.” The questioner asked to be given time to think about it and come back with another answer. Three days later, he came back with a longer answer. Again, the Vilna Gaon’s grandson said, “Very nice, but my grandfather answered better. The answer is that both sources indeed use that phrase.” Often, the correct answer requires one to go back to basics. Like an IT support adviser’s first question to a customer, “Is your machine plugged in?”, the Talmud (Shabbos 32a) advises travelers to stay safe on a journey by checking the safety of the boat instead of prayers and incantations.
  • The Maharsha adds that Purim is a powerful time to pray and say Tehillim. In fact, the Me’am Loez finds a hint to this in the final letters of a phrase in this verse v’al zaram divreihatzomos (“and on their seed words of the fasts”), which spell out Tehillim when re-ordered.
  • The Meshech Chochmoh writes that the verse needed to mention times in order to contradict those people who wanted to place Purim on the exact time when Haman planned to kill the Jews, which would start in the daytime like the gentile calendar. Rather, Purim needs to follow the Jewish calendar – starting at night.

Esther 9:30, Question 2. Why does the verse describe this document using the word “truth?”

  • According to the Talmud (Megilla 16b), the truth to which this verse refers is the requirement for a kosher Megillas Esther scroll to be written with etched lines in the parchment.
  • The Maharal explains the symbolism of etched lines. First, H-Shem is straight in the sense of the letter of the law, but He is nevertheless kind. A line is also with no set beginning or end, like Torah, like Purim, and like H-Shem Himself.
  • Rav Yitzchak Hutner writes that etched lines refer to our hearts (parchment) on which the truth of Torah should be inscribed.

Esther 9:30, Question 1. Why is this document sent to so many places?

30. And he sent books to all of the Yehudim to the 127 states of the kingdom of Achashverosh – words of peace and truth.

  • R’ Moshe Dovid Valle writes that this document was sent to so many places to fulfill the mitzva of persumei nisa (“publicizing a miracle”).
  • Furthermore, as Dena Pishra points out, every Jewish community needed to receive this letter in order for everyone to respect other communities’ Purim as a minor festival.

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.