Esther 5:6, Question 2. Why does Achashverosh use the same nouns as before (5:3)?

  • On a simple level, the Vilna Gaon explains that, as before (Esther 5:3), a request is personal, whereas a petition is for the needs of others. After all, it is the duty of a queen to petition her king.
  • Similarly, the Maharal writes that a “request” is a natural desire. A “petition” is an above-average request.
  • Rav Moshe Dovid Valle writes that “request” can be answered immediately, but a “petition” would require more time and effort.
  • The Malbim writes that a “request” is just the act of asking for something. A “petition” is the providing of a reason for that request. A child can request from his father money with the petitioned purpose of acquiring some land. A father may want to hear both the plea and its reason, especially if he may want to provide both the money and the land.
  • The Dubno Maggid writes that this was Achashverosh’s intent – to provide Esther with both her desired goal and its means.
  • Perhaps, as suggested by class participant CL, Achashverosh was suspicious of Esther, and wanted to know the core intent of her request.