Esther 2:17, Question 3. Why does the verse mention both love and finding favor?

  • Rav Shlomo Kluger teaches that love generally has to refer to a known object. It is impossible to have love for a thing unknown and unseen. It has to be based on something. In our verse, Achashverosh’s “love” means that Achashverosh chose Esther over the women he already knew for any one or combination of her characteristics listed in previous blog posts here. According to Rav Kluger, finding favor, is different. It means choosing someone with no basis whatsoever. In other words, Achashverosh’s finding favor in Esther meant that he rejected the other women he had not even known yet, sight unseen.
  • Rebbetzin Heller stresses that it was Esther’s inner beauty that won the heart of the king.
  • According to the Ben Ish Chai, the gematria of “chen” (8+50=58) and “chesed” (8+60+4=72) (58+72 = 130) comes out to the same number as H-Shem’s Name multiplied by five (26 x 5), indicating that this choice was the work of H-Shem, with the five fingers of His Hand.

Esther 2:1, Question 4. What does the verse mean that Achashverosh remembered what Vashti did?

Although remembering what Vashti did would seem to mean that Achashverosh remembered Vashti’s rejecting his command to appear at the party, this would not lead to the sentimental regret for the loss of his queen unmistakeably displayed in the context of the coming verses. Rav Shlomo Kluger in Ma’amar Mordechai notes that, grammatically, the verse cannot be referring to Vashti’s refusal because refusal to act is not an action. In Talmudic thought (see, for example, Brachos 20a), this passivity is called “shev v’al ta’aseh” (“sit and do not do”). According to the Talmud (Megillah 12a), Achashverosh thus dug deeper to see the reason, perhaps Divine, for her having been taken from him.