Esther 9:4, Question 1. Why does the verse stress that Mordechai is growing in greatness?

ד כִּיגָדוֹל מָרְדֳּכַי בְּבֵית הַמֶּלֶךְ וְשָׁמְעוֹ הוֹלֵךְ בְּכָלהַמְּדִינוֹת כִּיהָאִישׁ מָרְדֳּכַי הוֹלֵךְ וְגָדוֹל

4. Because Mordechai was great in the house of the king, and his reputation went out in all of the states because the man Mordechai was becoming greater.

  • The Vilna Gaon explains that the verse stresses that Mordechai is growing in greatness because he kept growing in greatness gradually. This is because, as the Talmud Yerushalmi points out, the righteous do not become great overnight, but rather require much effort. As the verse (Mishlei 4:18) says, the way of the righteous holech va’or “increases its brightness.”
  • The Alshich adds that the governors and other political leaders at the time were especially nervous about Mordechai’s new power because he hanged Haman, and Haman was much more powerful than those governors, so their lives were especially cheap at the time.
  • Yosef Lekach writes that although Mordechai was not yet the viceroy, knowing the ways of the palace as they did, they recognized that Mordechai was on his way to that position.
  • Malbim notes that there are three major areas of political power: in the palace (chief of staff), domestically (governor), and in foreign affairs (Secretary of State). Mordechai reached greatness in all three of these areas, as the verse testifies by mentioning the beis hamelech (“house of the king”), kol medinos (“all of the states”), and holech v’gadol (“leaving [the country] and being great”).
  • Nachal Eshkol points out that some people are powerful, but they are relatively unknown by the general public. Mordechai, however, was both great in name and reputation.
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Esther 8:5, Question 2. What does Esther ask Achashverosh to do?

  • According to Ma’amar Mordechai, Esther is asking Achashverosh to do more than issue a spoken decree – he must have it written, as well.
  • However, according to the Malbim, she was asking him to recall the original letters instead of writing a contradiction. After all, Esther knew that Achashverosh was consistently concerned with his reputation, and would thus be reluctant to concede that he erred.

Esther 3:9, Question 1. Why does Haman stress that the decree should be written?

ט אִםעַלהַמֶּלֶךְ טוֹב יִכָּתֵב לְאַבְּדָם וַעֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים כִּכַּרכֶּסֶף אֶשְׁקוֹל עַליְדֵי עֹשֵׂי הַמְּלָאכָה לְהָבִיא אֶלגִּנְזֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ

9. If it is good for the king, it should be written to destroy them. And ten thousand loaves of silver will be weighed out through the doers of work to be brought to the king’s treasury.”

The Ben Ish Chai writes that the grammatical structure of the word “yikasev” (“it should be written”) is binyan nifal, or future passive. In other words, Haman is reassuring the king that he will be held blameless for the actions taken against the Jews, thus preserving his reputation in history. In Haman’s view, all that the king needs to do is allow the populace to take care of their Jewish question – without even ordering it – and the citizens will find the means by which to plan and execute the task on their own.