12th CYCLE DEDICATION:
 
MEGILAH 12 (1 Adar) - Dedicated in memory of Mordechai (Marcus) ben Elimelech Shmuel Kornfeld, who perished in the Holocaust along with most of his family, and whose Yahrzeit is observed on 1 Adar. May his death and the deaths of all of the Kedoshim of the Holocaust atone for Klal Yisrael like Korbanos.

1)

(a)What does Rava learn from the Pasuk in Daniel "bi'Shenas Achas l'Molcho, Ani Daniel Binosi bi'Sefarim"?

(b)How does Rava resolve the contradiction between the Pasuk in Yirmeyahu, which predicts that the Galus will last "ad Melos l'Bavel" (on which Belshatzar and Achashverosh based their reckoning), and the Pasuk in Daniel, which says 'l'Chorvos Yerushalayim"?

(c)Which expression (used both in Yirmeyahu and in Ezra) substantiates Rava's explanation?

(d)What are the ramifications of the Pasuk in Yirmeyahu?

1)

(a)Rava learns from the Pasuk in Daniel "bi'Shenas Achas l'Molcho Ani Daniel Binosi bi'Sefarim" - that Daniel made the same mistake as Belshatzar did, before realizing that Yirmeyahu was not referring to the end of the Galus (as we will now explain).

(b)Rava resolves the contradiction between the Pasuk in Yirmeyahu, which predicts that the Galus will last "ad Melos l'Bavel" (on which Daniel [initially], Belshatzar and Achashverosh based their reckoning), and the Pasuk in Daniel, which says "l'Chorvos Yerushalayim" - by establishing the former as a movement towards the redemption ('Pekidah b'Alma'), but not the actual redemption.

(c)The fact that Yirmeyahu used the expression "Efkod Eschem" (and not "Eg'al"), and Koresh quotes Hash-m as having ordered him, with a Lashon of "Pakad" substantiates Rava's explanation.

(d)The ramifications of the Pasuk in Yirmeyahu - were that many Jews returned to Eretz Yisrael already then, and began building the Beis Hamikdash.

2)

(a)Considering that Koresh was not anointed with the anointing oil, what does the Pasuk in Yeshayah mean when it writes "Koh Amar Hash-m li'Meshicho l'Koresh ... "? What was Hash-m's complaint?

(b)First the Pasuk in Esther writes "Cheil Paras u'Madai ha'Partemim", and then, "l'Malchei Madai u'Faras". Why does it change from the satraps of Medes to the kings of Medes (in addition to changing the order of Persia and Medes - Agados Maharsha)?

(c)What does Rebbi Yosi bar Chanina learn from the 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Yekar Tiferes Gedulaso" (Esther) and "l'Chavod ule'Sif'ares" (Tetzaveh)?

(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 subjects who lived in Shushan. Why may this have been ...

1. ... a wise, diplomatic move?

2. ... a foolish, undiplomatic thing to do?

2)

(a)Seeing as Koresh was not anointed with the anointing oil, when the Pasuk in Yeshayah writes "Koh Amar Hash-m li'Meshicho l'Koresh ... " - it means "So says Hash-m 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'). Hash-m was actually complaining about Koresh to Mashi'ach, 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 Yarav'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, "l'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 agreement to take it in turns to rule; when the king was from Persia, the satraps would be from Medes, and vice-versa.

(c)Rebbi Yosi bar Chanina learns from the 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Yekar Tiferes Gedulaso" (Esther) and "l'Chavod ul'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 quell the rebellion.

3)

(a)Why did Rebbi Shimon reject his disciples' suggestion that the threat of Haman was a punishment for participating in Achashverosh's feast?

(b)To what did he then ascribe it?

(c)On what grounds were they then spared from death?

3)

(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 for show (to satisfy Nevuchadnetzar), so Hash-m too, only made a show of exterminating them, but stopped short of actually doing so.

4)

(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. How does the other one explain the fact that the Megilah mentions all three?

(b)According to the Tana of the Beraisa, all the guests sat in the courtyard. In that case, why does the Pasuk mention the garden and the palace?

(c)"Chur Karpas u'Secheles" partly describes the decor. Rav explains "Chur" (to mean needle-work with holes in it, because 'Chari' means holes). How does Shmuel explain it?

(d)How does Rebbi Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina explain "Karpas"?

4)

(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 not sufficient room, he seated the remaining guests in the palace.

(b)According to the Tana of the Beraisa, all the guests sat in the courtyard, and 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 Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina explains "Karpas" - to be the acronym of 'Karim shel Pasim' - fine cotton pillows.

5)

(a)Rebbi Yehudah explains "Mitos Zahav va'Chasef" to mean that the higher-class guests reclined on golden couches, and the lower-class ones, on silver ones. On what grounds does Rebbi Nechemyah reject this explanation?

(b)How does he explain the Pasuk?

(c)What does "Bahat va'Sheish" teach us about the floor?

(d)According to Rav, "v'Dar v'Sochares" means that they (either the guests or the precious stones) were arranged in circular rows. What does it mean, according to ...

1. ... Shmuel?

2. ... Tana d'Bei Yishmael (according to whom "Dar" is from the same root as 'D'ror')?

5)

(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 however - on the grounds that that would create jealousy at the feast.

(b)According to him - 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, "v'Dar v'Sochares" means that they (either 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, that this stone appears to be the same one that was used by Noach to light up his boat, according to some]).

2. ... Tana d'Bei Yishmael (in whose opinion "Dar" is from the same root as 'Dror' [free]) - it means that he relieved all the merchants of having to pay the purchase -tax.

6)

(a)What does Rava comment on the fact that the Pasuk writes "v'Kelim mi'Kelim Shonim" (rather than "Meshunim")?

(b)What do we learn from ...

1. ... "v'Yein Malchus Rav" (Rav)?

2. ... "v'ha'Shesiyah cha'Das" (Rav Chanan in the name of Rebbi Meir)?

3. ... "Ein O'neis" (Rebbi Elazar)?

(c)How does Rava explain the phrase "La'asos ki'Retzon Ish va'Ish"? Who is meant by "Ish va'Ish?

(d)And what does he comment on ...

1. ... the fact that Vashti arranged the feast for the women in the main palace, rather than in the women's section? With which famous folk-saying does this conform?

2. ... the Pasuk "ba'Yom ha'Shevi'i, ka'Tov Lev ha'Melech ba'Yayin"? What is the significance of "ba'Yom ha'Shevi'i"?

6)

(a)Rava comments on the Pasuk "v'Kelim mi'Kelim Shonim" (rather than "Meshunim") - that Achashverosh repeated the sin of Belshatzar, by taking out the vessels of the Beis Hamikdash and using them (despite the fact that the former died for doing it).

(b)We learn from ...

1. ... "v'Yein Malchus" - that everyone was served wine that was older than himself (Rav).

2. ... "v'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 measure than the flour-offering that came with it (Rav Chanan in the name of Rebbi Meir).

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 [Rebbi Elazar]).

(c)Rava explains "La'asos ki'Retzon Ish va'Ish" to - as a reference to Mordechai and Haman, who were both butlers at the feast (see Agados Maharsha).

(d)And he comments on ...

1. ... the fact that Vashti arranged the feast for the women in the main palace, rather than in the women's section - that she too, really intended to behave immodestly, just like Achashverosh, conforming with the mantra 'He wants big pumpkins, and she wants little ones'.

2. ... the Pasuk "ba'Yom ha'Shevi'i, ka'Tov Lev ha'Melech ba'Yayin" - that the seventh day refers to Shabbos, on which a Jew at table, after eating and drinking, says Divrei Torah and praises Hash-m (with Z'miros); whereas Nochrim discuss women.

12b----------------------------------------12b

7)

(a)The guests were discussing the beauty of the women of their own respective countries (Persia or Medes). What was Achashverosh's reaction?

(b)Why was Vashti ordered to appear before the guests in the way that she was on Shabbos? How was this measure for measure?

(c)What was strange about Vashti's refusal to comply?

(d)According to Rebbi Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina, she refused because she contracted leprosy. What strange thing happened to her according to the Tana of the Beraisa?

7)

(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 this was what she had intended to do in the first place (as we wrote earlier).

(d)According to Rebbi Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina, she refused because she contracted leprosy - according to the Tana of the Beraisa, she actually grew a tail.

8)

(a)What does Rava cite Vashti as having said that so enraged Achashverosh?

(b)Achashverosh consulted the "Chachamim Yod'ei ha'Itim" regarding what to do with Vashti. Who were the "Chachamim Yod'ei ha'Itim"?

(c)Why did they decline to issue any ruling?

(d)What reason did they give Achashverosh for declining?

8)

(a)Vashti enraged Achashverosh - by calling him the stable-hand of her father (Belshatzar), 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, regarding 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.

9)

(a)So he consulted his wise men, most of whom were probably from Amon and Mo'av (see Agados Maharsha). According to Rebbi Levi, 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. What are the other three?

(b)Who was it who evoked these merits?

(c)The last of the wise men was called Memuchan, whom the Beraisa equates with Haman. Why was Haman called 'Memuchan'?

(d)What did Rav Kahana mean when he said that from here we can learn that an ordinary person jumps to be the first?

9)

(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 - 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 Haman alias 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).

10)

(a)The King sent two lots of letters (besides those that he sent later permitting the Jews to defend themselves). What was contained in ...

1. ... the first letters?

2. ... the second letters?

(b)What does Rava comment about the first letters?

(c)In what way was that to Yisrael's advantage?

10)

(a)The King sent two lots of letters (besides those that he sent later permitting the Jews to defend themselves). Contained in ...

1. ... the first letters - was the command that each man was to rule in his house.

2. ... the second letters - that the Jews were to be exterminated on the thirteenth of Adar.

(b)Rava comments - that the first letters caused Achashverosh's subjects to lose their respect for him (since it was common protocol for a man to rule in his house anyway, and to send out letters to that effect was something of an insult).

(c)This was to Yisrael's advantage, because, as a result, the people were less enthusiastic about the second letters - and did not hasten to fulfil them even before the due date (as they might otherwise have done. Had they done so, nothing would have remained of Klal Yisrael (Chas v'Shalom).

11)

(a)What basic difference was employed by David ha'Melech in seeking a girl to keep him warm, and that of Achashverosh to seek a wife?

(b)Based on the Pasuk in Mishlei "Kol Arum Ya'aseh b'Da'as u'Kesil Yifros Aveles", what does Rav comment on that?

(c)And based on the fact that, presenting Mordechai's Yichus, the Pasuk stops short of Binyamin, how does the Tana explain ...

1. ... "ben Ya'ir"?

2. ... "ben Shim'i"?

3. ... "ben Kish"?

(d)What does Rav Nachman mean, when he says about Mordechai 'Muchtar b'Nimuso Hayah'?

11)

(a)The basic difference employed by David ha'Melech in seeking a girl to keep him warm, and that of Achashverosh to seek a wife (both acting on the advice of their wise men) was - that whereas the former sought out one girl, the latter gathered all the girls in the kingdom.

(b)Based on the Pasuk in Mishlei "Kol Arum Ya'aseh b'Da'as u'Kesil Yifros Aveles", Rav comments on this - that whereas the former acted wisely (because now everybody would send their daughter in the hope that their daughter would be the lucky one), the latter acted foolishly, because, seeing as only one girl would be chosen (and all of the rest abused), they would all attempt to hide their daughters from the king.

(c)And 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 Hash-m heard.

3. ... "ben Kish" - the son who knocked on the doors of mercy, (and they were opened).

(d)When Rav Nachman says about Mordechai 'Muchtar b'Nimuso Hayah' - he means that he was crowned with beautiful names (as we just explained).

12)

(a)How does Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi reconcile the fact that one moment Mordechai is called "Ish Yehudi", and the next, "Ish Yemini"?

(b)The Rabanan answer 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. But what was the connection between Mordechai and the families of Yehudah?

12)

(a)Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi reconciles the fact that one moment Mordechai is called "Ish Yehudi", and the next, "Ish Yemini" - by reminding us that he was from Binyamin on his father's side, and from Yehudah, on his mother's.

(b)The Rabanan answer 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 connection to Mordechai lay in the fact - that it was thanks to David ha'Melech not killing Shim'i ben Geira (who cursed him, and) from whom Mordechai descended, even though he deserved to die - that Mordechai was born.

13)

(a)According to Rava, it was Knesses Yisrael who bore Yehudah and Binyamin a grudge for the role that they played in Haman's threat against their lives. Why did Kneses Yisrael bear a grudge against the family of ...

1. ... Yehudah?

2. ... Binyamin?

(b)On what basis did they implicate Mordechai?

(c)If, as Rebbi Yochanan ascertains, Mordechai descended from Binyamin, why does the Megilah describe him as "Ish Yehudi"?

13)

(a)According to Rava, it was Kneses Yisrael who bore Yehudah and Binyamin a grudge for the role that they played in Haman's threat against their lives: against ...

1. Yehudah - i.e. David ha'Melech, for not killing Mordechai, whom they blamed for not prostrating himself in front of Haman, thereby incurring his wrath and causing him to plan to kill all the Jews.

2. ... Binyamin - i.e. King Shaul, for not killing Agag as soon as he captured him (as a result of which Haman's ancestor was born).

(b)They implicated Mordechai - in that he incited Haman by refusing to prostrate himself before him.

(c)According to Rebbi Yochanan, despite the fact that Mordechai descended from Binyamin, the Megilah writes "Ish Yehudi" - because anyone who denies idolatry is called a Yehudi (like we find with regard to Chananya, Mishael and Azaryah).

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