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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 explain).

(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 actual redemption.

(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 Shimon.

(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 Achareihen').

(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 purchase -tax.
(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 himself.
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 with it.
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 drink it).
(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 ...
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 Shabbos.

(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 tail.

(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 ...
  1. ... the first letters - was the command that each man shall rule in his house.
  2. ... the second letters - that the Jews are to be exterminated in the thirteenth of Adar.
(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).

(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 ...
  1. ... "ben Ya'ir" - to mean the son who caused Yisrael's eyes to *shine* with his Tefilos.
  2. ... "ben Shim'i" - the son whose Tefilos Hashem *heard*.
  3. ... "ben Kish" - the son who *knocked* on the doors of mercy, and they were opened.
(b) When Rav Nachman says about Mordechai 'Muchtar be'Nimuso Hayah' - he means that he was crowned with beautiful names, as we just explained.
(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.

(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.
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).
(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.
13) 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).

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