ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler of Kollel Iyun Hadaf
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
(a) When Rebbi Shimon ben Pazi said that all the words of Sefer Divrei ha'Yamim are one - he meant that the Sefer often tends to present a list of names as if they were all different people, when really they are all one and the same person.
(b) The Pasuk refers to Bisyah as 'Yehudiyah' - because she too (like Mordechai), refuted the idolatry of her father (Paroh).
(c) Rebbi Yochanan (on whom this statement is based) explains the Pasuk in Shemos "va'Teired Bas Paroh li'Rechotz al ha'Ye'or" to mean - that Bisyah went down to the river to cleanse herself from the idolatry of her father's house.
(d) The Pasuk ascribes the birth of Moshe to Bisyah, even though she only reared him - because whoever rears an 'orphan' is considered as if he had born him.
(a) Moshe was called 'Yered', because (through his merits) he brought down the Manna (or the Torah) for Yisrael; 'Gedor', because he repaired the breaches of Yisrael. Chever, because he joined Yisrael with their Father in Heaven. He was called ...
1. ... 'Sochoh' - because he shielded over Klal Yisrael like a Sukah.
2. ... 'Yekusiel' - because Yisrael hoped for Hash-m in his days.
3. ... 'Zano'ach' - because he caused Yisrael's sins to be removed.
(b) The Pasuk actually refers to him as 'Avi Sochoh', 'Avi Yekusiel' and 'Avi Zano'ach'; three times 'Avi' - because he was a father in Torah, a father in wisdom and a father in prophecy.
(c) Kaleiv is called 'Mered' - because he rebelled against the plan of the spies.
(d) A fitting match for Bisyah - who rebelled against the idolatry of her father's household.
(a) Rava learn from the Pasuk "Asher Haglah mi'Yerushalayim" - that Mordechai accompanied Yechonyah into exile of his own accord.
(b) Even though Esther's real name was ...
1. ... Esther, the Pasuk also refers to her as Hadasah - because she was a Tzadekes, and Tzadikim are referred to as Hadasim.
2. ... Hadasah, the Pasuk also calls her Esther - because she hid her personal data from Achashverosh (from the word 'Seiser', which means 'secret').
(c) According to Nechemyah, the Nochrim called her 'Esther' because she was pretty like the moon. ben Azai explains that her real name was Esther, and the Pasuk calls her Hadasah, because she was like a Hadas (a myrtle) - inasmuch as she was neither too long nor too short, but exactly the right size.
(d) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah explains that really Esther was green like a myrtle - her beauty was not a natural one, but was the result of a 'thread of grace' that Hash-m placed on her.
(a) In spite of having already said that Esther had no father or mother, the Pasuk nevertheless adds "uve'Mos Avihah v'Imah" - to teach us that her father died the moment she was conceived, and her mother, the moment she was born.
(b) Rebbi Meir in a Beraisa, explains that when the Pasuk writes "Lekachah Lo Mordechai l'Bas" - it means to say "l'Bayis" (as a wife).
(c) Similarly, in the Mashal about the lamb that the Navi told David ha'Melech where he said "and it (she) lay in his bosom and it was to him like a daughter" - he obviously meant, not a daughter, but a wife (a hint to Bas-Sheva, who was Uri'ah ha'Chiti's wife - to whom the Mashal refers).
(d) Rava ascribes Esther need for seven servant-girls - to keep track of the days of the week, so that she would know when it was Shabbos.
(a) Hegai the valet looked after Esther and gave her only the best. According to Rav, he served her Kasher food. Shmuel explains that he gave her cuts of bacon (for which she was not punishable since it was outside her control).
(b) According to Rebbi Yochanan, he served her the same food as Daniel ate in the royal court (many years earlier) - i.e. legumes, from which he (miraculously) thrived (to become the healthiest-looking of all the courtiers, even though they had eaten meat). What was so good about that was that it was Kasher food.
(c) For six months, the girls used 'Shemen ha'Mor' in preparation for their night with Achashverosh. Rebbi Chiya bar Aba defines this as a certain oil called Sateches. According to Rav Huna, it is synonymous with Shemen Anpiknun - olive-oil that has not yet grown one third of its full growth.
(d) This oil - removes body hair and makes the skin glow.
(a) Rebbi Yochanan learns from the Pasuk "ba'Erev Hi Ba'ah, uva'Boker Hi Shavah" - that (in spite of his insatiable appetite for women), Achashverosh restricted his frivolous activities to night-time only.
(b) Rebbi Elazar explains the Pasuk which states that Esther found favor in the eyes of all those who beheld her - to mean that everyone saw her as a beauty from his own country.
(c) The significance of the fact that Esther was taken to the palace in the month of Teves - is that Teves is the coldest month, and consequently, the month in which one body benefits the most from another.
(d) When the Pasuk writes that the King loved Esther "more than all the women" and then switch to "more than all the virgins" - it is teaching us that he found in her whatever pleasure he wanted; if he wanted the pleasures of a married woman, then that is what he found, and if he wanted those of a virgin, then he found that.
(a) The connection between the fact that a. the King made a party; b. he freed all his subjects from paying the head-tax and c. he sent gifts to all the princes in Esther's name - is that he did all of these things in an effort to tempt her to divulge who she was.
(b) He then gathered the girls for a second time -. When Achashverosh consulted Mordechai what to do with an errant wife who refuses to speak, he advised him to gather all the girls to convey the impression that he was planning to look for another wife. There is nothing, said Mordechai, like jealousy to get a woman to talk (He did not, of course, tell the King that it was he who had warned Esther to remain silent in the first place.)
(a) Esther was a descendent of Rachel and of Shaul - all three of whom were exceptionally modest (incorporating the ability to remain silent when necessary).
(b) Based on the Pasuk in Iyov "Lo Yigra mi'Tzadik Einav", Rebbi Elazar attributes to ...
1. ... Rachel - the Tzeniyus of handing the Simanim (which we will discuss shortly) to Le'ah (see Toras Rishonim, Shas Lublin), on the merit of which Shaul ha'Melech descended from her.
2. ... Shaul - the Tzeniyus of declining to inform his uncle of his having been crowned king, when the latter asked him where he had been (in the episode of the lost donkeys), on the merit of which Esther descended from him.
3. ... Esther (seeing as she was a descendent of both Rachel and Shaul) - the Tzeniyus of remaining silent about her descent, in spite of Achashverosh insisting that she divulge it.
(a) Yakov informed Rachel that he was Lavan's equal in cunning - as David ha'Melech would later write in Tehilim "Im Ikesh Tispatal", which teaches us that it is permitted match cunning with cunning'.
(b) After Rachel warned Yakov that her father was liable to switch Le'ah for her, the latter anticipated it - by handing her three Simanim (i.e. Nidah, Chalah and Hadlakas ha'Ner), which she would have to repeat to him, which Le'ah would be unable to do).
(c) Yakov's plan backfired - when Rachel, worried about her sister's imminent embarrassment, passed on the Simanim to her (in spite of the serious consequences).
(a) Rebbi Elazar says that - once G-d grants someone greatness - He grants it to him and to his descendents.
(b) One might however, lose it - by becoming conceited.
(c) Even after, Esther was married to Achashverosh, she continued to do what Mordechai had taught her, says Rebbi Yirmeyahu - by showing the blood of Nidus to the Chachamim.
(d) And Rabah bar Limah explains the Pasuk "Ka'asher Hayesah b'Amnah Ito" - that she would get up from the bosom of Achashverosh, Tovel (so as not to disgust Mordechai) and go into the bosom of Mordechai.
(a) When Rebbi Chiya bar Aba Amar Rebbi Yochanan says that Hash-m made ...
1. ... a master angry with his servants in order to do the will of a Tzadik - he is referring to the chief butler and the chief baker, who incurred the wrath of Paroh, in order to first cause people to stop talking about what Yosef had done, and subsequently, to bring about his release from jail.
2. ... servants angry with their master in order to perform a miracle with a Tzadik - he is referring to Bigsan and Teresh, who became angry with the King (as we shall now see), in order to get Mordechai inscribed in the annals of Shushan.
(b) Bigsan and Teresh bore Achashverosh a grudge - for calling them at all hours to serve him drinks to quench his insatiable thirst (the result of the many hours he spent with Esther).
(c) They planned to remain undetected - by one standing in for the other whilst he went to put the plot into practice (though it did not help them, since, once the plot reached the ears of the King, he made careful inquiries and discovered that one of them was not in his place).
(d) They ...
1. ... spoke freely in front of Mordechai - because they were not even Persians but T'rasi'im, who spoke (and plotted in) Tursi'an.
2. ... could not have known that the old man who was sitting on the gate was a member of Sanhedrin, who was obligated to understand every language.
(a) Rava explains that after the episode with Bigsan and Teresh, the Pasuk writes "Achar ha'Devarim he'Eileh Gidal ... es Haman", as if the two episodes were connected - because they are, inasmuch as it is Hash-m's way to create the cure before dealing the stroke.
(b) Resh Lakish, the author of this principle, learns it from the Pasuk in Hoshe'a "k'Rif'i l'Yisrael v'Niglah Avon Efrayim". He learns from the word "Yisrael" in this Pasuk - that this strategy is reserved for Klal Yisrael only; but when it comes to the nations of the world, He smites first, and cures only afterwards.
(c) Haman formulated his plan to kill the Jews in three stages - first to kill Mordechai, then the Chachamim, and then the whole of Yisrael.
(d) The Beraisa states that he was delighted when the lots that he drew to kill the Jews fell in Adar - because that was the month in which Moshe Rabeinu died (so he took it as a bad sign for the Jews).
(e) His mistake lay in the fact - that it is also the month in which Moshe was born!
(a) Rava branded Haman as a master in Lashon ha'Ra. Achashverosh was initially reluctant to practice genocide against the Jews, because he was afraid that he would suffer the same fate as various kings before him. Haman ...
1. ... answered him - that Yisrael had fallen asleep from performing Mitzvos.
2. ... answered him, when he said that there were Rabanan (who had not fallen asleep from performing Mitzvos) - that Yisrael were all one nation and that the Rabanan would suffer for the sins of the people (presumably he meant that they would get punished too, for failing to rebuke them).
(b) And in anticipation of Achashverosh's question ...
1. ... that their destruction would leave a large gap in the kingdom - he argued that this was not so, because they did not all live together, but were spread out all over the kingdom.
2. ... that their productivity will be a great loss - he argued that they were like a mule who does not produce fruit (can have no children).
(c) He complained that they did not eat their (the Persians') food or intermarry with them. When he said "v'es Dasei ha'Melech Einam Osim" - he meant that they were always saying - 'Today is Shabbos!' or 'Today is Yom Tov'!, an excuse for not being able to help a fellow human-being.
(a) Haman offered Achashverosh 10,000 Kikar (30,000,000 Shekel) of silver which Hash-m preempted - by initiating the Mitzvah of half a Shekel in the desert (see Tosfos 16a.).
(b) Chazal too, took their cue from Hash-m - and instituted the public announcement on Rosh Chodesh Adar (before Purim), reminding everyone to give his half-Shekel (mid'Rabanan) before Rosh Chodesh Nisan.
(c) Achashverosh refused Haman's generous offer - because he hated the Jews no less than Haman, and therefore needed no incentive.
(d) To demonstrate this, Rebbi Aba gives the Mashal - of two men, one of whom had a mound of earth in his field (that he wanted to get rid of), the other, a large hole in his (that he wanted filled in). Each of them was willing to pay whoever would supply him with the necessary service. One day they met, and once they discovered the other's need, each one was only too happy to supply the necessary service, free of charge.