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Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Megilah 11

MEGILAH 11-13 sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.



(a) Rebbi Chanina bar Papa would begin his Derashah with the Pasuk in Tehilim "Hirkavta Enosh le'Rosheinu ... ". "Ba'nu ba'Eish" refers to the days of Nevuchadnetzar, "u'va'Mayim" to those of Par'oh, "va'Totzi'enu la'Revayah", to Yisrael in the days of Haman. More accurately, "Ba'nu ba'Eish" refers to - Chananya, Misha'el and Azaryah, who were saved from the heated furnace into which Nevuchadnetzar had thrown them.

(b) Rebbi Yochanan would begin his Derashah with the Pasuk in Tehilim "Zachar Chasdo ve'Emunaso le'Veis Yisrael, Ra'u Chol Afsei Aretz es Yeshu'as Elokeinu", which refers to the days of Mordechai and Esther. Resh Lakish would quote the Pasuk in Mishlei "Ari Nohem, ve'Dov Shokek, Moshel Rasha al Am Dal". "Ari Nohem" - refers to Nevuchadnetzar, about whom it is written (in Yirmiyah) "Alah Ari mi'Suvcho".

(c) Achashveirosh (representing all Persians) is referred to as 'a bear' - because they ate and drank like bears, were fat like bears, grew hair like bears and were restless like bears.

(d) Yisrael are referred to as 'a poor nation' - because they were poor in Mitzvos (which is why they are subject to the hatred of the wicked nations).

(a) Rebbi Elazar would begin with the Pasuk in Koheles "ba'Atzaltayim Yimach ha'Mikreh ... ". It was Yisrael's laziness to study Torah that tied Hashem's Hands, making Him poor (giving the impression that He was unable to save Yisrael - Kevayachol).

(b) Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak would begin from the Pasuk in Tehilim "Shir ha'Ma'alos, Lulei Hashem she'Hayah Lanu ... be'Kum Aleinu *Adam*" - "Adam" 've'Lo Melech', a reference to Haman and the story of Purim, since in most other cases, it was *kings* who arose against us.

(c) Rava would begin his Purim Derashah from the Pasuk in Mishlei "bi'Revos Tzadikim Yismach ha'Am, u'vi'M'shol Rasha Ye'enach Am", and Rav Masna from the Pasuk in ve'Eschanan "Ki Mi Goy Gadol Asher Lo Elohim Kerovim Eilav ... ". The significance of the Pasuk ...

1. ... "O ha'Nisah Elokim ... " (which marked the commencement of Rav Ashi's Derashah) is - the unusual feature which marked Purim, of an entire nation being saved, whilst another was defeated.
2. ... "ve'Hismakartem Sham le'Oyvecha la'Avadim ve'li'Shefachos, ve'Ein Koneh" (which marked the commencement of Rav's Derashah) is - that no-one would buy a Jewish slave (which might have saved them from being killed when the thirteenth of Adar arrived) because Haman had issued a decree forbidding it.
(a) Shmuel began his Derashah with the Pasuk in Bechukosai "Lo Me'astim" (in the days of the Greeks) "ve'Lo Ge'altim" (in the days of Nevuchadnetzar) le'Chalosam" (in the days of Haman) "le'Hafer B'risi Itam" (in the days of the Romans - the Ya'avetz changes 'Persians' to 'Romans', both here and in the next question). "Ki Ani Hashem Elokeihem" - refers to the days of Gog and Magog.

(b) The Tana of the Beraisa switches the first two. According to him "Lo Me'astim" refers to the days of the Kasdim - the Babylonians) and "ve'Lo Ge'altim", to the days of the Greeks. Hashem sent saviors to save Yisrael: in the days of ...

  1. ... the Babylonians - Daniel, Chananyah, Mishael and Azaryah.
  2. ... the Greeks - Shimon ha'Tzadik and the Chashmona'im.
  3. ... Haman - Mordechai and Esther.
  4. ... the Romans - the family of Rebbi and the Chachamim of each subsequent generation.
(c) The Tana explains "Ki Ani Hashem Elokeihem" - in the time of Mashi'ach, when no nation will have jurisdiction over us.

(d) The last two Derashos quoted in the Gemara are those of Rebbi Levi and Rebbi Chiya (who both quote Pesukim in Matos). One of them specifies the sin that caused the threat of Haman, the other, that Yisrael would (all but) suffer the same fate as the seven nations whom Hashem had destroyed before them. The sin that we are talking about is that of not destroying the seven nations who lived in Eretz Yisrael, who subsequently influenced us to serve idols like they did.

(a) Rav interprets ...
1. ... "va'Yehi" - 'Vay ve'Hey' (like 'Oy Vay').
2. ... "bi'Yemei *Achashveirosh*" - to mean a brother of Nevuchadnetzar (because, like him, he was a king), and his ben Gil (born under the same Mazel, with the same tendencies - Nevuchadnetzar killed many Jews and destroyed the Beis Hamikdash, and he attempted to do likewise).
(b) Shmuel explains "Achashveirosh" 'she'Hushcheru P'neihem shel Yisrael be'Yamav', and Rebbi Yochanan, 'Kol she'Zochro, Amar "Ach" (like Oy!) le'Rosho' (all acronyms of "Achashveirosh"). When Rebbi Chanina explained 'she'ha'Kol Na'asin Rashin be'Yamav' - he was referring to the Pasuk at the end of the Megilah, which informs us that Achashveirosh imposed a tax (apparently was a heavy one) on the people.

(c) We explain the continuation of the Pasuk "Hu Achashveirosh" - to mean that (in spite of the impression that one gleans from the later part of the Megilah that Achashverosh turned over a new leaf) - he remained the same Achashverosh ha'Rasha from beginning to end.

(d) We make similar Derashos with regard to Eisav and King Achav - and those infamous brothers, Dasan and Aviram.

(a) Chazal make the same Derashah by way of praise, with regard to Avaraham Avinu - as well as to the famous brothers, Moshe and Aharon.

(b) We explain the Pasuk in Shmuel which writes "ve'David Hu ha'Katan" - to mean that David ha'Melech remained just as humble after his ascent to the throne as he had been beforehand, by subjugating himself before those who knew more Torah than he did.

(c) We explain the word "ha'Molech" (regarding Achashveirosh) to mean that he was not appointed to rule (due to the fact that he was not a member of the royal family), but assumed rulership on his own volition. Some explain this derogatively - that he was not really fit to rule, but he got to the throne by paying for it. Others explain it in a positive light - because it teaches us that there was nobody more capable of ruling than he.

(a) Rav and Shmuel argue over whether India and Kush were at two opposite ends of the world, or whether they were next to each other. If they were next to each other, then what the Pasuk means is - that just as he ruled over India and Kush, so too, did he rule over a hundred and twenty seven provinces.

(b) Rav and Shmuel have a similar Machlokes - about Shlomoh ha'Melech, about whom the Pasuk in Melachim writes "Ki Hu Rodeh be'Chol Eiver ha'Nahar, mi'Tifsach ve'ad Azah".

(c) Rav Chisda explain the Pasuk in Esther "Sheva ve'Esrim u'Mei'ah Medinah" - that first, Achashverosh ruled over seven provinces, then over twenty and finally a hundred (presumably, each digit adds to the previous one).

(d) In spite of the fact that Chazal do not make such a Derashah on the Pasuk "u'Sh'nei Chayei Amram, Sheva u'Sheloshim u'Me'as Shanah", they nevertheless make it here - because, seeing as the Pasuk has already said that he ruled from Hodu until Kush, "Sheva ve'Esrim u'Mei'ah Medinah" would otherwise be superfluous.

(a) The Tana lists three people who ruled over the whole of the then-known world; Ach'av, Nevuchadnetzar and Achashverosh. The reason that they did not include Alexander the Great - because he is not recorded in T'nach as having done so.

(b) We have already cited the proof for Achashveirosh. We know to include Ach'av in the list - from the Pasuk in Melachim, where Ovadyah relates how Ach'av searched high and low for Eliyahu, to the point that he made each and every nation swear that he was not with them, something that he could only have done if he had jurisdiction over them.

(c) According to some opinions, the Tana did not mention Shlomoh because he was deposed and never returned to his kingdom. Those who maintain that Shlomoh *did* return to his kingdom explain that Chazal omitted Shlomoh - because his sovereignty was a cut above all the others on the list: *he* ruled not only over humans, but over demons, too.

(d) The Tana omits ...

  1. ... Sancheriv - because he did not rule over Yerushalayim.
  2. ... Daryavesh the first - because he only ruled over a hundred of the hundred and twenty seven provinces.
  3. ... Koresh - because although he claimed that he ruled over the whole world, it was not really true. It was a vain boast.



(a) In describing Achashverosh's feast, the Pasuk in Megilah first writes "ke'Sheves ha'Melech Achashverosh ... ", and then "bi'Sh'nas Shalosh le'Molcho". Rava explains - that in fact, he prepared the feast in the third year of his reign, ("ke'Sheves ... ) after he had set his mind at rest that Hashem would not take Yisrael out of Galus (because he was sure that the seventy predicted years of Galus had already passed).

(b) Beltshatzar's mistake regarding the seventy predicted years of Galus Bavel - was that he reckoned from Nevuchadnetzar's ascent to the throne, and that was not the starting point of the seventy years, as we shall see.


1. 'Galu be'Sheva, Galu bi'Shemonah' - means that Galus Yechonyah took place in the seventh year of Nevuchadnetzar's capture of Yehoyakim, which is the equivalent of the eighth year of his ascent to the throne.
2. 'Galu bi'Shemoneh-Esrei, Galu bi'T'sha-Esrei' - means the same thing with regard to Galus Tzidkiyah (after the Churban Bayis Rishon).
(a) In the second year of his reign - Nevuchadnetzar captured Yehoyakim (for the first time).

(b) Six years passed from Nevuchadnetzar's first capture of Yehoyakim and his ultimate capture and killing him after his rebellion (three years of subservience and three of rebellion).

(c) We prove that Nevuchadnetzar reigned forty-five years from the fact that Evil Merodach released Yechonyah from jail in the thirty-seventh year of his exile - from the fact that he had already ruled for eight years before he exiled him (as we saw earlier, when we said that he went into exile in the eighth year of Nevuchadnetzar's reign). Note: The Gemara says in this regard 'Tamni u'T'lasin ve Sheva', when really it should have said 'Sheva u'T'lasin ve'Tamni'.

(d) E'vil Merodach reigned - for twenty-three years.

(a) Nevuchadnetzar attempted to rectify Beltshatzar's mistake - by reckoning the seventy years, not from Nevuchadnetzar's ascent to the throne of Bavel, but from Galus Yechonyah (eight years later). Note: According to the Gemara's conclusion, he was more mistaken than Beltshatzar.

(b) He reckoned the missing eight years that Beltshatzar had counted (by including the first eight years of Nevuchadnetzar's reign) - by adding one year of Beltshatzar, five years of Daryavesh and Koresh, and two of his own.

(a) *Achashverosh's* mistake - was that the seventy began, not with Galus Yechonyah, but with Galus Tzidkiyahu.

(b) Galus Tzidkiyahu - took place eleven years later (as we learned earlier - 'Galu bi'Shemoneh, Galu bi'T'sha Esrei').

(c) According to what we just learned, the Galus should have terminated in the fourteenth (and final) year of Achashverosh's reign (eleven years after he took out the holy vessels); yet it did not.

(a) The Galus finally ended - in the second year of Daryavesh the second (Achashverosh's successor).

(b) The two other names of Daryavesh the second - were Koresh and Artachshasta.

(c) We answer the discrepancy (mentioned in 11c.) by explaining that some of the years mentioned earlier were counted twice. For example, Daryavesh the first and Koresh did not reign five years between them, but only four. Similarly - when we counted the forty-five years of Nevuchadnetzar and twenty-three of E'vil Merodach, the last year of Nevuchadnetzar's reign is absorbed in the first of E'vil Merodach, so that, between them, they reigned, not sixty-eight years, but sixty-seven.

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