ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Megilah 12
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) We learn from the Pasuk in Daniel "Ani Daniel Binosi Bi'Sefarim" - that
Daniel made the same mistake as Beltshatzar did, before realizing that
Yirmiyah was not referring to the end of the Galus (as we are now about to
(b) Rava resolves the contradiction between the Pasuk in Yirmiyah, which
predicts that the Galus will last "ad Melos le'Bavel" (on which Daniel
[initially], Beltshatzar and Achashverosh based their reckoning), and the
Pasuk in Daniel, which says 'le'Chorvos Yerushalayim" - by establishing the
former as a movement towards the redemption ('Pekidah be'Alma'), but not the
(c) The fact that Yirmiyah used the expression "Efkod Eschem" (and not
"Eg'al"), and Koresh quotes Hashem as having ordered him, with a Lashon of
"Pakad" substantiates Rava's explanation.
(d) The ramifications of the Pasuk in Yirmiyah - were that many Jews returned
to Eretz Yisrael already then, and began building the Beis Hamikdash.
(a) Seeing as Koresh was not anointed with the anointing oil, when the Pasuk
in Yeshayah writes "Koh Amar Hashem li'Meshicho le'Koresh ... " - it means
"So says Hashem to His Mashi'ach *regarding Koresh* (an explanation which is
borne out by the 'Zarka' under the word "li'Meshicho", which is not followed
by the customary 'Segol'). Hashem was actually complaining about Koresh, whom
He had appointed to gather the exiles and build the Beis Hamikdash, yet all
Koresh did was to invite whosoever wished to return (a similar sin to that of
Hoshei'a ben Eilah, the last king of the ten tribes, who removed the border
guards set up by Yerav'am ben Nevat, and permitted whosoever wished to go to
Yerushalayim, instead of ordering the people to go).
(b) First the Pasuk in Esther writes "Cheil Paras u'Madai *ha'Partemim*", and
then, "*le'Malchei* Madai u'Faras", changing from the *satraps* of Medes to
the *kings* of Medes (in addition to inverting the order of Persia and
Medes) - because Persia and Medes had reached an understanding that they
would take it in turns to rule; when the king was from Persia, the satraps
would be from Medes, and vice-versa.
(c) Rebbi Yossi bar Chanina learns from the 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Yekar
*Tif'eres* Gedulaso" (Esther) and "le'Chavod *u'le'Sif'ares*" (Tetzaveh)-
that Achashverosh actually put on the garments of the Kohen Gadol.
(d) Rav and Shmuel argue over the fact that Achashverosh first made a feast
for his subjects who lived far away and only then, for those who lived in
Shushan. This might have been ...
1. ... a wise, diplomatic move - because the subjects who live nearby can
always be appeased, should it become necessary. What is crucial is to win
over those who live far away.
2. ... a foolish, undiplomatic thing to do - because it is more important to
win first over those who are near, so that, should the distant subjects
rebel, they will help him to quell the rebellion.
(a) Rebbi Shimon rejected his disciples' suggestion that the threat of Haman
was a punishment for participating in Achashverosh's feast - because if it
was, then that would only account for the threat to the lives of the Jews
living in Shushan (who were guilty), but why were the Jews who lived
elsewhere (and had not participated in the feast) included in the threat?
(b) *He* therefore ascribed it to the sin that they had all perpetrated in
the days of Nevuchadnetzar - that of bowing down to the image in the Valley
of Dura (See Agados Maharsha), though it is not clear why people who lived
far from the valley of Dura should have been threatened according to Rebbi
(c) They were spared from death - because they did not really believe in the
idol, but bowed to it only pretending to do so (to satisfy Nevuchadnetzar),
so Hashem too, only pretended to exterminate them.
(a) Rav and Shmuel also argue over the seating arrangements at the feast:
according to one of them, the lower-class guests sat in the courtyard, the
middle-class, in the garden, and the higher-class, in the palace. The other
one explains that the Megilah mentions all three - because Achashverosh first
seated them in the courtyard. Then, when he ran out of space, he seated the
next batch of guests in the garden, and, when there was still insufficient
room, he seated the remaining guests in the palace.
(b) According to the Tana of the Beraisa, all the guests sat in the
courtyard. The Pasuk mentions the garden and the palace - to indicate that
he opened one door from the courtyard to the garden, and another to the
palace (presumably to enable them to stroll there).
(c) "Chur Karpas u'Secheiles" partly describes the decor. Rav explains
"Chur" (to mean hangings made of needle work with holes in it - because
'Chari' means holes). According to Shmuel - it means hangings made of fine
white wool (from the word 'Chiver' meaning 'white').
(d) Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina explains "Karpas" - to be the acronym of
'Karim shel Pasim' - fine cotton pillows.
(a) Rebbi Yehudah explains "Mitos Zahav va'Chasef" to mean that the higher-
class guests reclined on golden couches, and the lower-class, on silver ones.
Rebbi Nechemyah rejects this explanation - on the grounds that that would
create jealousy by the feast.
(b) So *he* explains that the couches were of silver, and the legs of gold.
(c) "Bahat va'Sheish" teaches us that the floor - was set with very precious
stones (which take a lot of hard work to obtain - 'she'Mechatetin Ba'aleihen
(d) According to Rav, "ve'Dar ve'Sochares" means that they (the guests or the
precious stones) were arranged in circular rows. According to ...
1. ... Shmuel - it means that they hung a brilliant stone from the ceiling
(called Darah) which lit up the whole proceedings as if it was midday
('Sochares' - from the Lashon 'Tzoharayim', meaning midday). Note: This stone
appears to be the same one that was used by No'ach to light up his boat,
according to some.
2. ... Tana de'Bei Yishmael (according to whom "Dar" is from the same root as
'D'ror') - it means that he relieved all the merchants of having to pay the
(a) Rava comments on the Pasuk "ve'Keilim mi'Keilim *Shonim*" (and not
"Meshunim") - that he *repeated* the sin of Beltshatzar; he took out the
vessels of the Beis Hamikdash and used them (despite the fact that the former
died for doing that).
(b) We learn from ...
1. ... "ve'Yein Malchus" - that everyone was served wine that was older than
(c) "La'asos ki'Retzon Ish va'Ish" - refers to Mordechai and Haman, who were
both butlers at the feast (see Agados Maharsha).
(d) The significance of ...
2. ... "ve'ha'Shesiyah cha'Das" - that even though no mention is made of
eating, nevertheless, there was more food than drink, like the law of the
Torah (as we find by the Korbanos, where the drink-offering that accompanied
the Korban comprised a smaller quantity than the flour-offering that came
3. ... "Ein O'neis" - that everyone was served wine from his own country
(which he could handle easier without getting drunk - nor was he forced to
1. ... the fact that Vashti arranged the feast for the women in the main
palace, rather than in the women's section is - that she too, really intended
to behave immodestly, just like Achashverosh, conforming with the folk-saying
'He wants big pumpkins, and she wants small ones'.
2. ... "ba'Yom *ha'Shevi'i*, ka'Tov Leiv ha'Melech ba'Yayin" is - that the
seventh day refers to Shabbos, on which a Jew at table, after eating and
drinking, says Divrei Torah and praises Hashem (with Z'miros). But what do
Nochrim do when they have eaten and drunk? They discuss women.
(a) The guests were discussing the beauty of the women of their own
respective countries (Persia or Medes). Achashverosh reacted by informing
them that his wife, not a local but a Babylonian, was the most beautiful of
all, and would they like to see her?
(b) Vashti was ordered to appear before the guests in the way that she was on
Shabbos - because she used to strip the Jewish women and make them work on
(c) Vashti's refusal to comply was strange - considering that that was her
intention in the first place, as we wrote earlier.
(d) According to Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina, she refused because she
contracted leprosy - according to the Tana of the Beraisa, she actually grew
(a) Vashti enraged Achashverosh - by calling him the stable-hand of her
father (Beltshatar), and by then adding that her father was able to drink a
thousand cups of wine without getting drunk, whereas *he* became inebriated
after a few drinks.
(b) Achashverosh consulted the "Chachamim Yod'ei ha'Itim" - meaning the
Sanhedrin, what to do with Vashti.
(c) They declined to issue any ruling - because, they figured, whatever they
would rule would be held against them (as has been our lot whenever we are in
Galus): if they would rule that she had to be put to death, tomorrow,
Achashverosh would become sober and would demand Vashti from them. Whereas to
leave her unpunished would be an insult to the king.
(d) They told Achashverosh that they were declining - because ever since they
had gone into exile, their minds were insufficiently lucid to issue rulings
in matters of life and death. They advised him to consult the wise men of
Amon and Mo'av, who had never been exiled and who were therefore more capable
of dealing with such matters.
(a) So he consulted his wise men, most of whom were probably from Amon and
Mo'av (see Agados Maharsha). The names of his wise men are all reminiscent
of the great merits of Yisrael. Four of these merits are the lambs for the
Korbanos, the two birds, the Mizbach Adamah and the Bigdei Kehunah. The other
three - are the blood of Korbanos, the Menachos and the Shulchan.
(b) It was the angels who evoked these merits.
(c) The last of the wise men was called Memuchan, alias Haman. Haman was
called 'Memuchan' - because he was designated for punishment (i.e. to be
hanged - and as an instrument to have others punished, see Agados Maharsha).
(d) When Rav Kahana said that from here we can learn that an ordinary person
jumps to be the first - he was referring to Haman (alias Memuchan), who was
the most junior of all the king's advisors, yet he was the one to jump to the
fore with his advice (regarding what to do with Vashti).
(a) The King sent two lots of letters (Besides those that he sent permitting
the Jews to defend themselves). Contained in ...
(b) The first letters caused Achashverosh's subjects to lose their respect
for him - because it was common protocol for a man to rule in his house, and
to send out letters to that effect was something of an insult. The result was
that the people did not take the second letters as seriously as they might
otherwise have done (i.e. they at least waited for the due date and did not
hurry to carry out the contents of the letter even before that).
- ... the first letters - was the command that each man shall rule in his house.
- ... the second letters - that the Jews are to be exterminated in the thirteenth of Adar.
(c) Rav comments on the fact that whereas David ha'Melech's advisors advised
him to seek a girl to keep him warm, Achashverosh's advisors advised him to
send for all the girls in the kingdom - that the former acted wisely, because
now everybody would send their daughter in the hope that she would be the one
to be chosen; whereas the latter acted foolishly, because, seeing as only one
girl would be chosen (and all of them abused), they would all attempt to hide
their daughters from the king.
(a) Based on the fact that, presenting Mordechai's Yichus, the Pasuk stops
short of Binyamin, the Tana explain ...
(b) When Rav Nachman says about Mordechai 'Muchtar be'Nimuso Hayah' - he
means that he was crowned with beautiful names, as we just explained.
- ... "ben Ya'ir" - to mean the son who caused Yisrael's eyes to *shine* with his Tefilos.
- ... "ben Shim'i" - the son whose Tefilos Hashem *heard*.
- ... "ben Kish" - the son who *knocked* on the doors of mercy, and they were opened.
(a) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi explains that one moment Mordechai is called "Ish
Yehudi", and the next, "Ish Yemini" - because he was from Binyamin from his
father's side, and from Yehudah, from his mother's.
According to Rebbi Yochanan, Mordechai descended from Binyamin. The Megilah
writes "Ish Yehudi" - because anyone who denies idolatry is called a Yehudi
(like we find with regard to Chananyah, Mishael and Azaryah).
(b) The Rabbanan answer this by explaining that the families of Binyamin and
Yehudah were vying with each other for the honor of being closely associated
with Mordechai. *Binyamin* of course, were his blood relations. The families
of *Yehudah*'s claim to fame lay in the fact - that it was thanks to David
ha'Melech (who did not kill Shim'i ben Geira even though he deserved to die -
from whom Mordechai descended), that Mordechai was born.
(c) According to Rava, it was K'nesses Yisrael who bore Yehudah and Binyamin
a grudge for the role that they played in Haman's threat against their lives.
K'nesses Yisrael bore a grudge against the family of ...
1. ... Yehudah - because David ha'Melech did not kill Mordechai, who was
largely responsible (they claimed) for the the threat of Haman.
(d) They implicated Mordechai - on the basis of his refusal to bow down to
Haman, which in turn incited his hatred, causing him to plan the destruction
of Mordechai and all the Jews.
2. ... Binyamin - because King Shaul (who was from the tribe of Binyamin) did
not kill Agag (as a result of which Haman's ancestor was born).