"וישם המלך אחשרש מס על הארץ"
King Achashveirosh levied taxes upon the land.” (10:1)

QUESTION: Throughout the Megillah Achashveirosh is spelled with either one or two “vavs.” Why is the vav omitted entirely here?

ANSWER: Public officials are highly lauded when they reduce taxes and criticized and scorned when they increase taxes. Not knowing Esther’s nationality, the King proclaimed an amnesty (from taxes) for all the provinces in her honor when he married her (2:18), thus enhancing his popularity with all the people. Now that he had levied taxes, he immediately lost some of their admiration and to indicate the decline in his popularity, his name is not spelled as fully as previously.

(אורה ושמחה)

"וישם המלך אחשרש מס על הארץ ואיי הים"
“King Achashveirosh levied taxes upon the land and the isles of the sea.” (10:1)

QUESTION: Of what relevance is this to the miracle of Purim?

ANSWER: Achashveirosh, as an anti-Semite, permitted a disproportionate amount of taxes to be levied against the Jews who dwelled in his dominion. Once he learned of Esther’s Jewish origin and her relationship with Mordechai the Jew, who actually saved his life, he changed his attitude towards all the Jews. He ordered that all the residents of both the mainland and the islands be taxed alike, and he abolished the extra burden which was previously placed upon the Jews.

(פון אונזער אלטען אוצר בשם דברי חכמים)

"וכל-מעשה תקפו וגבורתו ופרשת גדלת מרדכי אשר גדלו המלך הלוא-הם כתובים על-ספר דברי הימים למלכי מדי ופרס"
“And all the acts of his strength and of his might and full account of the greatness of Mordechai whom the King had promoted — behold, they are written in the book of chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia..” (10:2)

QUESTION: Why is it necessary for the Megillah to give a source for one who may want to do research to find details about all his mighty and powerful acts, and a full account of the greatness of Mordechai?

ANSWER: At its conclusion, the Megillah, which relates the miracle of Purim, cautions that it is not a history book. If one wants to know details about Achashveirosh or Mordechai, he will not find it here but should refer to the book of chronicles of the King of Media and Persia. This book is intended to portray that Hashem always keeps a watchful eye over His beloved people. Though at times the sequence of events may leave us stunned and puzzled and His presence seems to be hidden, we should know that at the proper time He will reveal Himself. We must always remember that He has not removed His attention from us. He may appear to be concealed, but we will find Him in every event in our lives if we seek Him.

"כי מרדכי היהודי משנה למלך אחשורוש"
“For Mordechai the Jew was viceroy to King Achashveirosh.” (10:3)

QUESTION: Why when Mordechai is introduced in the Megillah for the first time (2:5) and again the last time, is the title “Yehudi” — the Jew — added to his name?

ANSWER: The Megillah wants to emphasize his greatness and righteousness. Not only was he a proud observant Jew when he was an ordinary citizen of Shushan, but even when he became the viceroy, neither the prestige nor the power caused him to deviate one iota from his absolute convictions concerning Torah and Yiddishkeit.

(לקוטי שיחות ח"ו ע' 381)

"ורצוי לרב אחיו"
“And accepted by most of his brethren.” (10:3)

QUESTION: Some members of Sanhedrin separated from him because he became close to the government and neglected his Torah study (Megillah 16b).

Achashveirosh reigned fourteen years from 3392 to 3406. Haman was hanged Pesach 3404, and the Jews celebrated the Purim miracle Adar 3405. Why did he remain viceroy till Achashveirosh’s death in 3406?

ANSWER: Regarding the words “hu Achashveirosh” — “he was [the same] Achashveirosh” (1:1) — the Gemara (Megillah 11a) says that the emphasis is to indicate that he remained in his wickedness from beginning to end. When it came to the Jewish people, he was not predictable.

Mordechai, therefore, could not rely on chance, but as long as Achashveirosh ruled he had to be on the alert and maintain his royal position in order to be able to avert any dangers or new decrees, G‑d forbid, against the Jewish people.

Incidentally, this is a way to accomplish the popular custom of tying together the first pasuk and the final pasuk of a sefer.

(לקוטי שיחות חט"ז ע' 377)

"ורצוי לרב אחיו דרש טוב לעמו ודבר שלום לכל זרעו"
“And accepted by most of his brethren; he sought the good of his people and was concerned for the welfare of all his posterity.” (10:3)

QUESTION: The Gemara (Megillah 16b) explains that the emphasis “lerov” — “by most” — indicates that not all of his colleagues in the Sanhedrin approved his ways. Some distanced themselves from him because his closeness to government took away time from his Torah study.

Why does the Megillah conclude with a negative comment about Mordechai?

ANSWER: On the contrary, with this comment we see Mordechai’s greatness and righteousness. Though he had adversaries from among his own people, he did not hold any grudge against them. He always went out of his way to do a Jew a favor and never gave any consideration to the individual’s affiliation or whether he was among his supporters or not. To Mordechai a Jew was a Jew, and if he could give him a helping hand, he would do so without hesitation or reservation.

"דורש טוב לעמו ודבר שלום לכל זרעו"
“He sought the good of all his people and was concerned for the welfare of all his posterity.” (10:3)

QUESTION: Concern only for the welfare of one’s own family is apparently very selfish. Why does the Megillah conclude with a negative note about Mordechai?

ANSWER: The term “zaro” refers back to the word“amo” — “his people.” Thus, the Megillah is not saying that his concern was for his own children and descendants, but rather the children of his people. Mordechai considered them all as his personal children and indefatigably sought their peace and welfare.

(רש"י, ועי' אבן עזרא ומנות הלוי)

"ודבר שלום לכל זרעו - ויהי בימי ..."
“Concerned for the welfare of all his posterity. And it was in the days…” (10:3, 1:1)

QUESTION: Torah is never ending, and the end and the beginning are linked together. What is the connection between the last and first words of the Megillah?

ANSWER: The first word “Vayehi” (ויהי) has the numerical value of thirty-one, and the last word “zaro” (זרעו) has the numerical value of two hundred and eighty-three. The two together total three hundred and fourteen, which is exactly the numerical value of “Mordechai haYehudi” (מרדכי היהודי). The first and last words are an indication that the Megillah was written by Mordechai from beginning to end.

(נחל אשכול, ועי' רש"י ט:כ, ועי' רשימות כ"ק אדמו"ר חוברת ו' ע' 8)

"ויהי בימי... ותען אסתר ותאמר... לכל זרעו"
“And it came to pass in the days... so Esther answered and said... all his posterity.” (1:1, 5:7, 10:3)

QUESTION: The Megillah contains a total of 167 pesukim. The middle pasuk is the one beginning “Vata’an Esther — and Esther answered” (5:7). Thus, the beginning, end and mid point of the Megillah is a vav. What is the significance of this?

ANSWER: The letter "ו" can be spelled fully in three ways:

1) ואו"," which has the numerical value of 13, the same numerical value as that of the word echad (אחד) — one. Thus, the letter "ו"represents Hashem, who is truly the only One.

2) ",ויו" which has the numerical value of 22 and thus represents the Torah, which is written with the 22 letters of the alef-beit.

3) וו"," having the numerical value of 12, and thus represents the Jewish people, who consist of 12 tribes.

The Zohar (Vayikra 73) says, “Hashem, the Torah and the Jewish people are all united as one.”

The Gemara (Shabbat 88a) says that the pasuk “They stood at the foot (lit. bottom of) the mountain” (Shemot 19:17) teaches that at the giving of the Torah Hashem suspended the mountain over them and said “If you accept the Torah, fine. But if not, your burial will be there.” Rava said, “Nevertheless, they accepted the Torah, without coercion, again in the days of Achashveirosh, as it is written, ‘The Jews established and accepted’ (Esther 9:27), which means, they established in the days of Achashveirosh that which they had already accepted in the days of Moshe.” Now, however, it was out of love of Hashem for miraculously saving them from the vicious Haman who sought the genocide of the entire Jewish people.

The name “Esther” is associated with “concealment” as in “ve’anochi hastier astir panai bayom hahu” — “I will surely have concealed My face on that day” (Devarim 31:18, see Chullin 139b). The word “Megillah” is associated with gilui — “revealing.” Thus, Megillat Esther means that the hesteir panim — Divine countenance which was in concealment — became revealed and miraculously rescued the Jewish people.

The three vavin at the beginning, middle and end of Meggilat Esther, represent Hashem, Torah and the Jewish people, and are alluding that when Megillat Esther took place, i.e. the concealed Divine Countenance was revealed — there was a glorious unification of the Jewish people, Torah and Hashem

(ר' דוד זצ"ל מלעלוב, ועי' לקוטי שיחות ח"ו ע' 191)