"ויכו היהודים בכל איביהם מכת חרב והרג ואבדן ויעשו בשנאיהם כרצונם"
“And the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of sword, slaughtering and exterminating; and they did to their enemies as they wished.” (9:5)

QUESTION: The words, “vaya’asu besone’eihem kiretzonam” — “they did to their enemies as they wished” — are superfluous; since the Jews had the upperhand, obviously they did as they wished?

ANSWER: A wealthy father who had an only son whom he loved very much instructed the executor over his estate, “When I die, give my son as much as you want from the estate and keep the rest for yourself.” The greedy executor kept 95% for himself and gave 5% to the son. The son, very upset and unable to believe that this was really his father’s intention, called the executor to a Beit Din. The rabbis listened carefully and ruled that the executor was to give 95% to the son and keep only 5% for himself, explaining to the executor that the father was indeed a very wise man. “His words were, ‘Give my son as much as you want, and the rest keep for yourself.’ Since you demonstrated that you want 95%, that must be the amount that the father wanted you to give his son.”

With the seemingly superfluous words the Megillah is telling us that, “vaya’asu besone’eihem” — they did to their enemies — “kiretzonam” — exactly as they, the enemies, wished to do to the Jewish people.

(אלשיך – מנות הלוי)

"חמש מאות איש. ואת פרשנדתא...עשרת"
“Five hundred men. And Parshandata...Ten.” (9:6-10)

QUESTION: In many communities it is customary for all to say this part aloud when the Megillah is read; why?

ANSWER: Since, “Berov am hadrat melech” — “The glory of the King is evident in a populace” — it is customary to read the Megillah in public (Orach Chaim 690:18). Thus, one reads the Megillah while everyone listens attentively. Because of the halachah of “shomei’a ke’onah” — “listening is like responding” — i.e. saying the words (Succah 38b), it is as though each one actually read the Megillah himself.

The rule that listening is tantamount to responding is only to the extent that the one who listens is considered as though he is saying the words. It does not, however, mean that the voice of the reader becomes the voice of the listener. Since it is required to say these passages with one breath to indicate that they all expired simultaneously (ibid. 690:15), the “one breath” requirement cannot be accomplished through the halachah of “listening is like responding.”

(המועדים בהלכה בשם צפנת פענח, ח"ג, בהשמטות להלכות גירושין)

"ואת עשרת בני המן יתלו על העץ"
“And let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows.” (9:13)

QUESTION: They were already slain; what was her purpose in having them hung?

ANSWER: On the eve of the seventeenth day of Nissan, Mordechai hung Haman on the gallows (Megillah 15a, Rashi). The King ordered that his head should be protected from the birds, and he remained on the gallows for the entire year. To further humiliate the Amalikites and frighten the anti-Semites, on the thirteenth of Adar when his sons were slain, she asked that they be hung together. This would magnify the already existing public spectacle and convey a good lesson.

(ילקוט מעם לועז)

"ויהרגו בשושן שלש מאות איש"
“And slew three hundred men in Shushan.” (9:15)

QUESTION: On the first day the Jews killed five hundred of their enemies in Shushan the Capital. Why on the second day did they only kill three hundred in the city of Shushan?

ANSWER: According to the Gemara (Megillah 16b) though originally Achashveirosh agreed that new letters should be sent out instructing the Jews to avenge themselves and annihilate their enemies, he was shocked and upset to learn that five hundred people were killed in his capital city. Angrily, he said to Esther, “In Shushan the Capital the Jews have slain and annihilated five hundred people.” Then an angel struck him on the mouth, and with a change of attitude he said, “What is your petition now? It shall be granted you.”

According to Beit Hillel (Terumot 4:3), one showing a “good eye,” i.e. a generous person, gives one-fortieth of his produce as terumah to the Kohen and a bad-eyed person, i.e. a stingy person, gives one sixtieth of the produce. Thus, the difference between the two people is one-third. Beit Shammai says that a “good eye” gives one-thirtieth, and a “bad eye” gives one-fiftieth; thus, the difference is two-fifths.

On the first day of the war, the Jews killed five hundred people. Upon seeing that Achashveirosh exhibited a “bad eye” about how many people he was losing, the Jews killed only three hundred, in keeping with the opinion of Beit Shamai that a “bad eye” gives two-fifths less than a “good eye.”

(ילקוט מעם לועז)

"והרג בשנאיהם חמשה ושבעים אלף"
“And slew their foes seventy-five thousand.” (9:16)

QUESTION: Why necessarily this amount?

ANSWER: When Esther became Queen, she was seventy-five years old. The defeat of the enemy was brought about through her intervention. Since this was possible thanks to her being Queen, seventy-five thousand enemies were killed in honor of her becoming Queen at age of seventy-five.

Incidentally, her real name was “Hadassah” (הדסה), and its numerical value im hakollel — counting the word as one — equals seventy-five.

(מדרש רבה בראשית ל"ט:י"ג, ועי' בפי' מהרז"ו, מדרש אליהו ונחל אשכול)

"ובבזה לא שלחו את ידם"
“But they did not stretch forth their hand to the spoil.” (9:16)

QUESTION: In the letters Mordechai sent to the Jews about defending themselves, he wrote “u’shelalam lavoz” — “to take their property as spoil” (4:11). Why did the Jews disobey?

ANSWER: The word “lavoz” can also mean “contemptible,” as in “vayivez be’einav” — “it appeared contemptible in his eyes [to lay his hand on Mordechai alone]” (3:6). Thus, Mordechai wrote them to regard any available spoils with contempt and scorn. Hence, the Megillah is telling us that the Jews carefully obeyed Mordechai’s instructions.

* * *

Mordechai told them not to take any of the spoils because he perceived the confrontation with Haman as an opportunity to rectify the iniquity of King Shaul who was instructed to obliterate the entire people of Amalek and destroy all their possessions. Instead, Shaul spared the life of their leader, Agag, who in turn gave birth to the ancestor of Haman (see p. 114). Shaul and the people also took pity on the best of the sheep, cattle, fattened bulls, etc., and they were not willing to destroy them (I Samuel 15:9). Consequently, by wiping out Haman and his cohorts, and by not taking their spoils, King Shaul’s oversights were rectified.

(לקוטי בתר לקוטי בשם ילקוט הגרשוני, בנין אריאל)

"שמחה ומשתה ויום טוב ומשלח מנות איש לרעהו"
“An occasion of gladness and feasting, for holiday-making and for sending delicacies to one another.” (9:19)

QUESTION: Why in this pasuk is there no mention of “matanot le’evyonim” — “gifts to the needy” — and when it is mentioned later, (9:22) why is there no mention that the day was a Yom Tov?

ANSWER: According to the Gemara (Megillah 5b) the term Yom Tov — “holiday” — means a day on which melachah — work — is prohibited. The people agreed to accept Purim upon themselves as a day of joy in which fasting and eulogies are prohibited, but not cessation from work.

According tohalachah (Rambam, Yom Tov 6:17), on Yom Tov a person is required to enjoy himself with a festive meal and also make sure that the poor should be able to celebrate properly. Therefore, in the first year when the Jews celebrated it as a Yom Tov, Mordechai did not need to encourage them concerning matanot le’evyonim since he relied on the fact that the Jews would definitely conduct themselves in accordance with the halachah of Yom Tov and invite the poor or send them ample food to enjoy themselves. However, when the people refused to accept it as a Yom Tov for posterity, Mordechai then decided to make sure that the poor would not be forgotten and instructed the mitzvah of sending them gifts on Purim day. Therefore, in the beginning where there is a mention of Yom Tov there is no mention of matanot le’evyonim — gifts to the needy — but at the end, when Yom Tov is no longer mentioned, matanot le’evyonim is.

(יערות דבש ח"ב דרוש י"ג ע' ס"ג ע"ב, תורת משה להחת"ס)

"ויכתב מרדכי את הדברים האלה"
“And Mordechai wrote down these events” (9:20)

QUESTION: According to Rashi, this refers to the Megillah in the present text.

The Gemara (Megillah 17a) says “If one reads the Megillah backwards, he has not fulfilled his obligation.” Why would someone do such a strange thing?

ANSWER: The purpose of reading the Megillah is to underscore that in all generations there are Hamans who plot our destruction. Miraculously, Hashem comes to our salvation thanks to our adherence to Torah and mitzvot.

“Reading the Megillah backwards” means thinking that the Purim narrative is a historical event with no contemporary relevance. One who takes such an attitude is missing the entire significance of Purim and the Megillah.

(כתר שם טוב, הוספות סי' ע"ח)

"ימי משתה"
“Days of feasting.” (9:22)

QUESTION: Why is Purim celebrated with a festive meal and wine drinking?

ANSWER: The Gemara (Megillah 13b) explains Haman’s statement “The King will not gain anything by tolerating them” (3:8) to mean that “The Jews do nothing constructive. All they do is eat, drink, sit around in the marketplace, and embarrass the King. And if a fly falls into a Jew’s cup of wine, he throws out the fly and drinks the wine, but if your majesty were to touch a Jew’s cup, he would not drink the wine but pour it out.” Since Haman in his slander ridiculed the Jews’ eating and drinking, Purim is celebrated with a festive meal and much drinking of wine.

(מדרש אליהו)

* * *

Alternatively, Queen Vashit’s downfall occurred at the great feast when the King was merry with wine (1:10). Queen Esther’s coronation was celebrated with a mishtei yayin — feast of wine (2:18). The downfall of Haman and his subsequent execution came about through the wine banquet made by Esther (7:1-10). Therefore, a mitzvah of the holiday is to have a festive meal at which wine is also consumed.

(אבודרהם, ובמגילה ז' ע"ב רש"י ד"ה לבסומי, כ' "להשתכר ביין")

"ימי משתה ושמחה"
“Days of feasting and gladness.” (9:22)

QUESTION: The Rambam (Megillah 2:15) writes, “The way to properly fulfill the obligation of a festive meal is to eat meat and drink wine until one falls asleep in an intoxicated state.” The Rambam (Yom Tov 6:20) writes that intoxication is not simchah — joy — but hollelot — frivolity. Why on Purim is intoxication a prerequisite to fulfill the mitzvah of eating a festive meal properly?

ANSWER: The Gemara (Shabbat 88b) says, “When the Torah was given at Sinai, parchah nishmatam — their souls departed from their physical bodies.” Apparently, to be recipients of the Divine revelation, it was necessary that they be in a state of elevation and detachment from physicality.

According to the Gemara (ibid. 88a) at Sinai the Jews were coerced to accept the Torah, and only afterwards, in the days of Achashveirosh, did they reaccept it willingly.

Hence, for the Jews to recreate this state of detachment from physical and separation between spiritual and mundane, it is necessary to become intoxicated and go to sleep.

(לקוטי שיחות חט"ז ע' 370)

ימי משתה
Days of Feasting (9:22)

QUESTION: Why do we eat “krepchen” (meat covered with dough) on Purim?

ANSWER: On Yom Tov it is forbidden to do any work (except food preparation), and it is a mitzvah to experience the utmost joy. Thus, it is customary to eat meat during Yom Tov, because it brings one into a joyous mood (see Shulchan Aruch HaRav 529:6).

On Purim, one must be joyous and refrain from doing work (Shulchan Aruch 696:1), but the prohibition is not as stringent as on other yamim tovim. Therefore, we eat meat in order to achieve a joyous mood, but because it is not a complete Yom Tov, we cover the meat with dough. (This also explains why krepchen are eaten on the quasi-holidays of Erev Yom Kippur and Hosha’ana Rabbah.)

(אוצר כל מנהגי ישרון ע' 186)

"ומשלוח מנות איש לרעהו"
“And of sending portions one to the other.” (9:22)

QUESTION: Why did Mordechai institute this as a way to celebrate the miracle of Purim?

ANSWER: Haman derided the Jewish people, by telling Achashveirosh that though they were only one nation among many nations, they were “mefuzar umeforad bein ha’amim” — in total disharmony among themselves. They lacked love and compassion for their fellow Jews. To counteract this claim, Esther said to Mordechai, “Go gather together all the Jews” (4:16), and stress to them the importance of unity and ahavat Yisrael.

Since the decree was caused by Haman’s allegation that there was disunity among the Jewish people, Mordechai instituted that on Purim we should exchange edibles with friends to demonstrate our unity and love for one another.

(מנות הלוי ע' ר"ו ע"ב)

Alternatively, the reason for mishlo’ach manot — sending of portions — is so that everyone have a sufficient amount of food for his meal and be able to properly rejoice on Purim.

(תרומת הדשן סי' קי"א, לבוש סי' תרצ"ה)

According to the first reason for mishloach manot, it was instituted for the benefit of the giver, and according to the latter view, it was instituted for the benefit of the recipient. A halachic difference between the two views pertains to the question of whether one fulfills the mitzvah of mishloach manot when the recipient refuses to accept it. If the purpose of the mitzvah is to demonstrate the unity and love that the giver has for his fellow, then he has fulfilled the mitzvah. However, if it is for the benefit of the recipient, to enhance his simchat Purim, then the mitzvah has not been fulfilled. Even if it is for the latter reason, mishloach manot is sent even to those who are blessed with affluence in order not to cause any embarrassment to those who are lacking by singling them out.

(שו"ת חתם סופר או"ח סי' קצ"ו)

Another reason for mishloach manot is the following:

The Gemara (Megillah 12a) explains that the decree of annihilation came about because the Jews partook of the banquet tendered by the wicked Achashveirosh. Their attendance violated the halachah that one must distance himself from idolatry, and moreover, the meal itself was an act of idolatry (see p. 100).

If so, the Gemara asks, how did they merit that Hashem should perform such a great miracle on their behalf? The Gemara answers, Hashem knew that their participation was not voluntary, but motivated by fear.

However, every Jew at the banquet had a doubt about his fellow: Did he participate because he had abandoned Torah and mitzvot, becoming no longer trustworthy in matters of kashrut, or was it merely because he was afraid, although inwardly he was remorseful and faithful to Yiddishkeit? Hence, due to mutual apprehension, no one trusted the other’s kashrut and there was absolutely no mixing of dishes.

Upon witnessing Hashem’s miraculous rescue of the Jewish people, all were convinced that it was merited because everyone was really faithful and meticulous in their observance and all who succumbed only did so outwardly due to fear. To demonstrate that all retained their proper Jewish status and reliability in kashrut, Mordechai instituted mishlo’ach manot — the exchange of portions — which commonly consists of wine and edibles meant to enhance the seudah — festive meal (Terumat Hadeshen, 111, Orach Chaim 695:4). By sharing food with another and eating what his friends send him, a Jew is declaring his full trust in his friend and complete confidence concerning his tenacious attachment to Torah and mitzvot.

(רשימות כ"ק אדמו"ר חוברת ל"ג)

"ומתנות לאביונים"
“And gifts to the needy” (9:22)

QUESTION: Why did Mordechai institute this as a way to celebrate the miracle of Purim?

ANSWER: When the Jews defeated their enemies, they did not take their possessions as spoils (9:15) so that they could not be accused of having mercenary interests. This deprived the poor people of an income they direly needed and well deserved. To compensate them for this sacrifice, Mordechai instituted the mitzvah of giving gifts to the poor on Purim.

(ר' אברהם מרדכי זצ"ל מגור)

"ומשלוח מנות איש לרעהו ומתנות לאביונים"
“And of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the needy.” (9:22)

QUESTION: The Rambam in Hilchot Megillah (2:17) writes: “It is better to increase in gifts to the poor than in sending portions to one another.” If so, why in the pasuk is sending portions to one another mentioned before gifts to the poor?

ANSWER: When giving tzedakah to the poor, it is very important that one should be extremely careful not to embarrass the recipient. (See Rambam, Matanot Aniyim 10.)

When Mordechai instituted Purim as a day of giving gifts to the poor, he was greatly concerned lest it become known as the poor man’s day to receive handouts. Therefore, he also instituted the exchanging of portions among friends so that an observer would be unable to distinguish gifts to the poor from gifts to friends. To conceal the gifts to the poor, the Megillah preceded it with sending portions to one another.

(אפריון, ועי' שו"ת תירוש ויצהר סי' קע"ב)

* * *

With the above-mentioned we can understand why no berachah is made over the mitzvah of mishlo’ach manot — sending portions to one another.

The Rashba (Responsa 18) writes that when one performs the mitzvah of tzedakah, he does not make a berachah — because possibly the person will refuse to accept. However, according to Rama (Orach Chaim 615:4), when one sends mishlo’ach manot — portions on Purim — he fulfills the mitzvah even if the recipient refuses them, so why isn’t a beracha recited?

Since through the sending of gifts to friends we manage to avoid embarrassment to the poor, if aberachah would be made for mishlo’ach manot and not for matanot le’evyonim, it would be obvious which gift is which, thus defeating the entire purpose of instituting mishlo’ach manot.

(שו"ת תירוש ויצהר סי' קע"ב)

"על כן קראו לימים האלה פורים על שם הפור"
“Therefore they called these days ‘Purim’ after the name of pur (the Lot).” (9:26)

QUESTION: “Purim” is the plural forpur. Why isn’t the Holiday called “Pur”?

ANSWER: In order to be sure that the day determined by the Goral — lot — was indeed correct, Haman made two lots. In one box he placed 13 pieces of paper, each containing one of the Hebrew months of the year (the miracle of Purim took place in a leap year, see Jerusalem Talmud, Megillah 1:5, P’nei Moshe). In the other box he put 385 pieces of paper, each containing a number from 1 to 385, for all the days of the year. Haman thought as follows: If, for instance, he pulled the month of Sivan (the third month) from the first box and the number 200 from the second box, then something would be wrong, since the 200th day of the year cannot occur in the third month.

Haman was pleased when he pulled Adar Sheini (the thirteenth month) from the first box, and the number 368 from the second, because this came out to be the 13th day ofAdar Sheini, and obviously the two lots supported each other. Hence, the Holiday is known as “Purim,” because of the two lots.

(יערות דבש דרוש ג' ועי' שו"ת חת'ס סי' קס"ג ולקו"ש חט"ז ע' 349)

"על כן קראו לימים האלו פורים על שם הפור"
“Therefore, they called these day Purim, after the name of pur.” (9:26)

QUESTION: Naming the holiday “Purim” because of the lots seems to indicate that this was the most important part of the miracle. How was saving the Jewish people accomplished through casting the lots?

ANSWER: It was in the month of Nissan that Haman decided to have the Jewish people annihilated. To select an appropriate date for this wicked deed, he cast lots which told him that the best date would be twelve months later on the thirteenth day of Adar.

Thanks to this, Mordechai had ample time to intercede through Esther. The King was won over to their side, and letters were sent warning the Jewish community and instructing them to be prepared. Were it not for the lots, Haman could have come to the King in his moment of rage and easily persuaded him to immediately issue a decree to annihilate the Jewish people since Achashveirosh hated the Jews even more than Haman did. Without preparation on the Jews’ part, there could have been a pogrom with, G‑d forbid, catastrophic results. Consequently, the Jewish people were saved thanks to Haman’s coming up with the idea of casting lots.

(פון אונזער אלטען אוצר בשם דעת דברי חכמים)

"קימו וקבל היהודים"
“The Jews confirmed and undertook.” (9:27)

QUESTION: Why is it written “vekibel” — “and undertook” — in the singular, and pronounced “vekiblu” — “and they undertook” — in the plural?

ANSWER: In the Gemara (Megillah 7a) the Sages offer different proofs that the book of Esther was written with ruach hakodesh — Divine inspiration. Shmuel proved it from the fact that it says “kimu vekiblu” — “they confirmed and undertook” — which means that above in heaven they confirmed what was undertaken below on earth, and one can know what is confirmed in heaven only with ruach hakodesh.

Rava said that all the proofs offered can be refuted; however, there is no way to refute what Shmuel said. Tosafot asks a question: We learned in the Gemara (Shabbat 88a) that when Hashem gave the Torah at Mt. Sinai, He suspended the mountain over the Jews and coerced them to accept the Torah, warning, “If you accept the Torah it is well, and if not there shall be your grave.” Rava says they re-accepted it in the days of Achashveirosh, as it is written, “they confirmed and undertook” — i.e. they confirmed voluntarily what they had undertaken previously under pressure at Mt. Sinai. If so, how can two things be derived from the same words?

Since these words are written one way and pronounced differently, it is proper to learn two lessons from them. Hence, from the pronunciation “kiblu” Shmuel learns that above in heaven they confirmed what was undertaken below. The Gemara in Shabbat, however, derives from the written word “kibel” that they now voluntarily accepted the Torah which “kibel” — Moshe had previously accepted for the Jewish people.

This explanation is substantiated from the precise terminology used in the Gemara. When Shmuel offers his proof that the book of Esther was written with ruach hakodesh, he says “shene’emar” — “because it is pronounced” — while in the Gemara (Shabbat 88a) it says “deketiv” — “because it is written.”

(קול אליהו, ועי' רשימות כ"ק אדמו"ר חוברת ו')

"וימי הפורים האלה לא יעברו מתוך היהודים"
“And these days of Purim will not pass away from among the Jews.” (9:28)

QUESTION: The word “Purim” is written five times in the Megillah. Why is it written with a vav twice (9:26, 28), and without a vav three times (9:30, 31, 33)?

ANSWER: The mention of the word “Purim” five times in the Megillah alludes to the five special halachot that apply to Purim. 1) Reading the Megillah. 2) Mishlo’ach Manot — exchanging of edible gifts. 3) Matanot le’evyonim — gifts to the poor. 4) Eating a festive meal. 5) The prohibition of delivering eulogies or fasting.

The five usages of the word also allude to the five days when the Megillah may be read, starting with the eleventh of Adar up to the fifteenth (Megillah 2a). Though under certain conditions it may be read on the eleventh, twelfth, or thirteenth of Adar, nevertheless, three of the five details, the festive meal, the exchange of gifts and the prohibition against fasting and eulogies, only apply on the fourteenth and fifteenth of Adar (seeOrach Chaim 688:7).

In addition, the fourteenth and fifteenth will “not cease among the Jews,” but the provision to read the Megillah earlier only applies in the times when the Jews live in Israel with absolute peace (Megillah 2a). Thus, since Purim is celebrated with all details only on two days, the full spelling with a “vav” is used only twice.

(שפתי חכמים, חשק שלמה עמ"ס מגילה)

"וימי הפורים האלה לא יעברו מתוך היהודים וזכרם לא יסוף מזרעם"
“These days of Purim will not pass away from among the Jews, nor will their remembrance cease from their descendants.” (9:28)

QUESTION: The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, Proverbs 994) writes that, “Kol hamo’adim atidim libateil viyemei haPurim einam beteilim le’olam — “All festivals are destined to be abolished, the Purim days will not be abolished.” Why does Purim have this apparent superiority over the Biblical festivals?

ANSWER: The Midrash can be explained metaphorically. While the word “mo’eid” is usually translated as “festival,” it really means “time” — as in “mo’adim lesimchah”“times for rejoicing” (see also Bereishit 17:21). We are living in a time of change — changes in lifestyle, fashions, outlook, and man’s whole approach to the world. One thing, however, is not changing, and that is the prevalence of anti-Semitism.

The Midrash is prophesying the sad truth, that even when the time comes when changes will take place in human existence, Purim — time — will not change; i.e. regarding the hatred to the Jew there will be no change. This hatred will “not pass away,” and throughout all times there will always be a Haman in some shape or form who will instigate against the Jewish people. Should we tend to forget this and think that times have changed and that in a Democratic world anti-Semitism is impossible, to our great amazement trouble will suddenly erupt and we will experience a rude awakening, G‑d forbid, which will remind us that the remembrance of the Purim phenomenon will not cease from our descendants.

(From Prison to Pulpit - הרב יצחק שי' אביגדור)

"וישלח ספרים אל כל היהודים...דברי שלום ואמת, לקים את-ימי הפורים האלה בזמניהם"
“He sent letters to all the Jews...Words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim in their times.” (9:30:31)

QUESTION: Why did Mordechai write them about “peace and truth,” and how are these things connected to establishing the days of Purim?

ANSWER: The fourteenth and fifteenth of Adar will forever be celebrated by the residents of unwalled and walled cities respectively as the official day of Purim. In addition, from the word “bizmaneihem” — “in their times” — our Sages learn that when the Jews live in peace in Eretz Yisrael and a Beit Din exists to decide when Rosh Chodesh should be, Purim may also be celebrated by some on the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth of Adar (Megillah 2a).

In the days of Queen Esther’s son, King Daryaveish (Darius), the second Beit Hamikdash was built. According to the Gemara (Yoma 9b) it was destroyed four hundred and twenty years later because of sinat chinam — baseless hatred and animosity — which prevailed among the Jews.

Mordechai in his letter encouraged his brethren concerning the constant need for “divreishalomve’emet” — “words of peace and truth” — i.e. he exhorted them to live in harmony and conduct themselves with honesty. Deception would breed animosity and hatred, he explained, which would ultimately, G‑d forbid, bring destruction and exile to the Jewish community. However, a lifestyle of peace and truth would merit them the continuity of the Beit Hamikdash in their midst, and thus, “lekayeim et yemei haPurim” — “[they would] be able to observe these days of Purim” — “bizmaneihem” — “in all the additional days” (11, 12, 13) — which were added by the Sages based on the word “bizmaneihem.”

(חשק שלמה עמ"ס מגילה)

* * *

Alternatively,“shalom” and “emet” are an allusion to Hashem. According to the Gemara (Shabbat 10b) “Shalom” is a name of Hashem and [the word] “emet” is the signet of Hashem. (Just as a King applies his seal to confirm a document, likewise, this word is, so to speak, Hashem’s seal of approval, see Sanhedrin 64a, Rashi.)

(רשימות כ"ק אדמו"ר חוברת ו' בשם הצ"צ)

"לקים את-ימי הפרים האלה בזמניהם"

“To confirm these days of Purim in their times.” (9:31)

QUESTION: The word “bizmaneihem” is superfluous. Why would anyone think of celebrating Purim not at the right time?

ANSWER: In the secular calendar and also in the Jewish one, a day consists of twenty-four hours. However, according to the rest of the world the night follows the day, while according to the Jewish calendar the day starts with nightfall. Thus, Haman’s decree to annihilate the Jews on the thirteenth of Adar meant the day and the following night. Consequently, it was necessary to instruct the Jews to celebrate the fourteenth or the fifteenth of Adar “bizmaneihem” — “according to their times” — the Jewish times, i.e. starting the celebration at nightfall and continuing on the following day.

(משך חכמה)

"לקים את-ימי הפרים האלה בזמניהם"
“To confirm these days of Purim in their times.” (9:31)

QUESTION: The Gemara (Megillah 2a) says that this is a source for the rule of the Mishnah that the Megillah is read on the 11th, the 12th, the 13th, the 14th, or on the 15th of Adar, not earlier than the eleventh or later than the fifteenth.

What is the significance of the 11th and 15th to Purim?

ANSWER: It is a positive command of the Torah to obliterate the remembrance of Amalek. He is also Hashem’s arch enemy and Moshe declared that, “Ki yad al keis Kah” — “Hashem had sworn by placing His hand on His throne that He maintains a war against Amalek from generation to generation” (Shemot 17:16). Rashi writes that Moshe used the two-letter Name [י-ה] instead of the full Name [י-ה-ו-ה] to indicate that His name is incomplete as long as Amalek exists.

Hashem’s holy four-letter Name, the Tetragrammaton consists of two parts י-ה and ו-ה and have the numerical value of 15 and 11 respectively. The י-ה represents mochin — intellect — and ו-ה represent machashavah, dibur, andma’aseh — thought, speech and action. Amalek knew the greatness of Hashem, but intended to rebel against him. His goal was to “separate” Hashem’s name; i.e. intellectual knowledge and emotion about G‑dliness should not have an effect in any way on a person’s thought, speech and action in Torah and mitzvot.

The law of reading the Megillah from the eleventh to the fifteenth alludes that through eradicating Amalek (the emphasis of the Megillah) we will merit the unification of His holy four-letter Name.

(לקוטי שיחות חכ"א ע' 204)

"לקים את-ימי הפרים האלה בזמניהם"
“To confirm these days of Purim in their times.” (9:31)

QUESTION: The opening Mishnah of Gemara Megillah states: “The Megillah is read on the 12th, 13th, 14th or 15th of Adar, not earlier or later.” What is the significance of these five days?

ANSWER: The days when Megillah may be read (11, 12, 13, 14, 15) add up to a total of 65, which is also the numerical value of His Name A-donoy (א-ד-נ-י). This Name accentuates that He is the Supreme Master of the world, which is also the essence of the story of Purim related in the Megillat Esther.

(לקוטי שיחות שם ע' 205 בשם השל"ה)

"ומאמר אסתר קים דברי הפרים האלה ונכתב בספר"
“And the order of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.” (9:32)

QUESTION: Why is Esther the only one mentioned in this pasuk, while both Mordechai and Esther are mentioned in the previous pasuk regarding the confirming of Purim?

ANSWER: The Gemara (Megillah 7a) says that Esther made two requests of the Sages. One was “Kavuni ledorot” — “establish me for all generations” — mandate the Yom Tov of Purim and the reading of the Megillah so that I will be perpetuated (Rashi). The second was “Kitvuni ledorot” — “record me for all generations” — to be a part of the Holy Scriptures. According to her first request, she was merely asking that the story be retold annually. It would not need to be read from a manuscript, and an oral recitation would be sufficient. Her second request was that it be written in a scroll and become a part of the Holy Scriptures. Thus, it would need to be read from the text and not merely recited orally.

In addition, the Jerusalem Talmud (Megillah 1:5) says that Mordechai and Esther wrote a letter to the rabbis inquiring whether they were accepting upon themselves shenei hayamim halalu — these two days annually [as days of joy and feasting, sending of portions and gifts to the needy, for the purpose of remembrance (Birkei Yosef 688:1)].

Thus, in the previous pasuk, which talks about the Jews confirming “Yemei haPurim” — “these days of Purim” — it states that it was “Ka’asher kiyam aleihem Mordechai hayehudi ve’Esther hamalkah” — “Just as Mordechai the Jew and Esther the Queen had enjoined upon them,” since both Mordechai and Esther wrote to the rabbis about confirming the remembrance of “shenei yamim hallalu” — “these two days.” — through making them days of feast and joy. Therefore, the two of them are mentioned.

Our pasuk, however, which concerns only the institution of reading and writing of the Megillah (which was exclusively the request of Esther) says, “The order of Esther confirmed divrei haPurim — thewords (lit.) of Purim” i.e. relating about Purim — (Esther’s first request, “kavuni”) — and finally “venichtav basefer” — “and it was written in a book” — (Esther’s second request, “kitvuni”).

(לקוטי שיחות חט"ז ע' 352)

"ונכתב בספר"
“And it was written in the book.” (9:32)

QUESTION: The Gemara (Megillah 7a) says that Esther implored the Rabbis, “kitvuni ledorot” — “record me for all generations.” Why was she so eager to be perpetuated?

ANSWER: The moral of the Megillah is that Hashem will never forsake the Jewish people. Even when they are at the lowest ebb, unexpectedly His salvation comes. Esther’s intent was to transmit the following message of inspiration and comfort to all future generations. “Regardless of how hopeless your situation may appear to be, regardless how great thetzarah — sorrow — confronting you may be — do not despair! Reflect on the story of Purim, and just as He did before, His salvation will speedily come.”

(שפתי חכמים בפתיחה למס' מגילה)