"ויודע הדבר למרדכי ויגד לאסתר המלכה"
“The plot became known to Mordechai, who told it to Queen Esther.” (2:22)

QUESTION: Why did Mordechai bother to tell it to Esther? What did he care if Achashveirosh would be assassinated?

ANSWER: Mordechai was confident that if the King became aware of it, he would have Bigtan and Teresh killed. So instead of only one enemy (Achashveirosh) being eliminated, he informed the King, thereby eliminating two.

(ר' יהונתן ז"ל אייבעשיץ)


"ישנו עם אחד...ודתיהם שנות מכל עם ואת דתי המלך אינם עשים"
“There is a certain people...and their laws differ from [those of] every people, and they do not keep the King’s laws.” (3:8)

QUESTION: To malign the Jewish people and convince Achashveirosh to get rid of them, it was necessary only to tell him that they did not observe the King’s laws. Of what importance was it to mention that their laws were different from every other peoples?

ANSWER: Not only did Haman hate the Jewish people, but he also despised Achashveirosh and wished to see his downfall so that he could be elevated to his position. Therefore, he told the King that there was a very strange people in his kingdom:

They have been in existence already for many many years and “vedateihem shonot” — their different holidays and laws are “mikol ha’amim” — to commemorate their victory over various nations which oppressed them and were later defeated. For instance, Pharoah of Egypt enslaved them for many years. When he was finally defeated, they left Egypt and instituted a holiday called Pesach to celebrate his downfall. Whenever their G‑d does miracles for them and saves them from their oppressors, they declare a holiday to celebrate their salvation.

However, “ve’et datei hamelech einam osim” — at present they have no law or celebration connected with you — the King. Hence, my advice to you is to issue a decree for their annihilation. Since their G‑d will undoubtedly come to their salvation, when they are victorious over you, they will then have another holiday to celebrate.

(הרב מאיר ז"ל שאפירא, מלובלין)


"המן הרע הזה"
“This wicked Haman” (7:6)

QUESTION: In the Haggadah of Pesach we are told that the way to deal with a rasha — wicked — is to knock out his teeth. There is no doubt that Haman was a rasha, so why didn’t Mordechai knock out Haman’s teeth?

ANSWER: According to the Midrash, Achashveirosh once sent two divisions of his army to battle. One was headed by Haman and the other by Mordechai. He gave each one an equal supply of food. Haman was careless and let his soldiers finish the food in a short period of time. Out of food, he begged Mordechai to give him some of his, but Mordechai refused. Haman, fearing that his soldiers would revolt against him, sold himself to Mordechai as a slave and, thus, Mordechai supplied him with food.

When a Jewish master knocks out the tooth of his non-Jewish servant, he becomes free (Shemot 21:26). Not wanting to lose such a slave as Haman, Mordechai refrained from knocking out Haman’s teeth.


"ויאמר המלך תלהו עליו"
“And the King said, ‘Hang him on it.’ ” (7:9)

QUESTION: Why did the King order that Haman be hung?

ANSWER: The Gemara (Megillah 16a) relates that when Haman was parading Mordechai through the city square, his daughter thought it was Haman who was riding on the horse and Mordechai leading him. So she took a chamber pot and poured it on her father’s head. When he came home after parading Mordechai, before he even had a chance to clean himself off and change his clothing, they rushed him to the banquet. The King became very upset when he saw him in his palace smelling terribly and soaking wet. So he bellowed, “Hang him!” so that he could air out and dry off.


"ויזתא"
“And Vaizata” (9:9)

QUESTION: Why is the name “Vaizata” (ויזתא) written with a long vav”?

ANSWER: According to halachah (see comments of Rabbi Y.F. Perla to Sefer HaMitzvot of R’ Saadiah Gaon, positive Mitzvah, 86, 87, 88, vol. I. p. 612, for extensive disucssion of this issue), when a person has ten cows (beheimot), he is to bring them into a room and let them come out through a door one by one. The tenth cow to pass through the door is consideredma’aseir beheimah and is given to the Kohen. If the tenth cow jumps through the roof, the farmer is not obligated to give it away to the Kohen as ma’aser beheimah.

The Kohanim in Shushan Habirah regarded Haman’s ten sons as ten animals. Haman also thought very little of his children, and agreed with the Kohanim that they were likebeheimot. A Kohen came to Haman and told him that since his children were like animals, he was supposed to give one of them away as ma’aseir beheimah. Haman agreed with the Kohen and told him that he would take them into a room and let them walk out one by one. After nine of Haman’s children had walked out and Vaizata was about to come through, Haman grabbed him, and attempted to pull him by his head through the roof. The Kohen, wanting to get him, tried to pull him by his feet through the door. Thus, Vaizata was stretched, and the long “vav” symbolizes this.


"ביום שלשה עשר לחדש אדר ונוח..."
“On the thirteenth day of the month Adar and Noach...” (9:17)

QUESTION: What is Noach’s connection with the Megillah?

ANSWER: Haman was very upset with Mordechai and did not know how to deal with the problem. His wife Zeresh suggested that he make gallows 50 amot (cubits) high upon which they would hang Mordechai. Haman went all around town, searching for a massive wooden beam. Suddenly, he remembered that many years ago Noach had built a Teivah which was 50 amot wide, so he presumably had some very large pieces of lumber. Haman searched until he finally found Noach and said to him, “Do me a favor, please lend me a wooden beam 50 amot long.”

Old Noach asked wicked Haman, “Could you tell me what you need this for?” Haman replied, “I want to hang Mordechai.” Noach began to yell, “Are you crazy? Do you think I am going to permit you to hang Mordechai the Tzaddik on my lumber?” Haman began to fight with Noach, trying to get the beam away from him. Noach held on to it with all his might, but unfortunately, Haman, being much younger, dragged the beam together with Noach all the way into the Megillah.


"ומשלוח מנות איש לרעהו"
“Sending of portions a man to his friend” (9:19)

QUESTION: The word “ish” — “a man” — is superfluous?

ANSWER: An apikores — heritic — who bore a grudge against the town Rabbi for vehemently ridiculing and denouncing him decided that Purim would be an opportune time to get even with him. To fulfill the mitzvah ofmishlo’ach manot, he bought a few pounds of chopped liver which he molded into the form of a pig, put it on a platter, and sent it to the Rabbi. When the Rabbi received it, he took a portrait of himself, put it on a platter, and sent it to “his friend” with the following explanation:

“For a long time I have been bothered with an extra word in the Megillah. When mishlo’ach manot is mentioned in Megillah, we are told ‘mishlo’ach manot ish lerei’eihu’ — sending portions, a man to his friend. I always wondered, it would have been sufficient to say ‘mishlo’ach manot lerei’eihu’ — sending portions to a friend, without the extra word ‘ish’?

“After receiving your thoughtful package, my question was answered. The Megillah is saying, the portions being sent should consist of ‘ish’ — the type of person you are. Obviously, you fulfilled the mitzvah accurately and sent me a description of yourself. To reciprocate, enclosed is my picture so you may have a vivid description of me.”


"להיות עשים את יום ארבעה עשר לחדש אדר...בכל שנה ושנה"
“To observe annually the fourteenth day of Adar” (9:21)

QUESTION: Moshe Rabbeinu was born on the seventh of Adar, thus his brit took place on the 14th day of Adar, which is Purim. Was the brit performed before the reading of the Megillah or after?

ANSWER: Moshe was a great tzaddik, and he died on the same day he was born. Since Moshe passed away on Shabbat, he was also born on Shabbat. Thus, his brit took place eight days later on Shabbat — 14 days into the month of Adar. Since it was Shabbat, the reading of the Megillah took place on Thursday the 12th of Adar.


"ודבר שלום לכל זרעו"
“Concerned for the welfare of all his posterity” (10:3)

QUESTION: Why isn’t Kaddish said after the reading of the Megillah?”

ANSWER: Haman himself was hung on Pesach (Megillah 15a), and all his sons on the day before Purim; thus, there were no survivors left to say Kaddish.”