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Today's Daf Yomi

December 27, 2021 | כ״ג בטבת תשפ״ב

This month's shiurim are dedicated by Jordana and Kalman Schoor on behalf of their daughter Daria who is learning Masechet Megilla for her bat mitzvah. 

This month's shiurim are dedicated by the Hadran Women of Minneapolis in memory of the father of their organizer Shira Krebs, Jerry Katz, Gershon Pinya ben Yitzchak Lev haCohen z”l who will be greatly missed.

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Terri Krivosha for the Refuah Shlemah of her husband Harav Hayim Yehuda Ben Faiga Rivah. 

  • This month's learning is dedicated by Debbie and Yossi Gevir to Rabbanit Michelle and the Hadran Zoom group for their kindness, support, and care during a medically challenging year.

Megillah 15

Today’s daf is sponsored in honor of our dear friend Debbie Gvir from her Hadran zoom family with prayers for a speedy recovery. We are in awe of her courageous and inspirational commitment to the daf through trials and tribulations.

Today’s daf is sponsored by Jill Shames in honor of her 40th wedding anniversary and 25 years since making Aliyah! “As it is with learning, so it is with life: the things that elevate us the most may not be easy, but they are so worth it!”

Today’s daf is sponsored by Rookie and Heshie Billet in memory of Rookie’s mother Phyllis Katz, Faiga bat David Yaakov a”h for her 11th yahrzeit. Mom was a courageous, charming, exciting, wise person and a lifelong learner. She would be so happy that more than a dozen of her descendants are learning Daf Yomi or studying Torah full time.

Rachav had eight prophets who descended from her and they are listed by name. The Gemara asks from where do we know that the people listed were prophets? Who was the prophet Malachi – was he Mordechai or was he Ezra? There were four very beautiful women – who were they? What was the interaction between Mordechai and Esther through Hatach after the decree was issued against the Jews? There are several statements made by Rabbi Elazar in the name of Rabbi Chanina – the first one about Esther and the others about all sorts of topics. Why did Mordechai upset Haman so much – after all, he was only one person? What happened to Esther on her way into Achashverosh when she passed in the room with the idols? When she walked into Achashverosh’s room, angels appeared to help her to find favor in his eyes and helped stretch the scepter in order to reach her. How far did they stretch the scepter? Why did Esther invite Haman to the party she made for Achashverosh? A long list of answers are brought. How many sons did Haman have? Why on that night was Achashverosh not able to sleep?

בשלמא אינהו מיפרשי אלא אבהתייהו מנלן

The Gemara asks in reference to the eight prophets descended from Rahab: Granted, with regard to them, it is explicit, i.e., the four sons recorded in the list were certainly prophets, as the Bible states this explicitly: Jeremiah was a prophet, his student Baruch was one of the sons of the prophets, his cousin Hanamel came to him at the word of God (see Jeremiah, chapter 32), and Seraiah was his student. But as for their fathers, Hilkiah, Neriah, Shallum, and Mahseiah, from where do we derive that they were prophets?

כדעולא דאמר עולא כל מקום ששמו ושם אביו בנביאות בידוע שהוא נביא בן נביא שמו ולא שם אביו בידוע שהוא נביא ולא בן נביא שמו ושם עירו מפורש בידוע שהוא מאותה העיר שמו ולא שם עירו בידוע שהוא מירושלים

The Gemara answers: As taught by Ulla, as Ulla said: Wherever one’s name and his father’s name are mentioned with regard to prophecy, it is known that he was a prophet the son of a prophet, and therefore his father’s name is also mentioned. And wherever his name is mentioned but not his father’s name, it is known that he was a prophet but not the son of a prophet. Similarly, wherever his name and the name of his city are specified, it is known that he was from that particular city, and wherever his name is mentioned but not the name of his city, it is known that he was from Jerusalem.

במתניתא תנא כל שמעשיו ומעשה אבותיו סתומין ופרט לך הכתוב באחד מהן לשבח כגון דבר ה׳ אשר היה אל צפניה בן כושי בן גדליה בידוע שהוא צדיק בן צדיק וכל שפרט לך הכתוב באחד מהן לגנאי כגון ויהי בחדש השביעי בא ישמעאל בן נתניה בן אלישמע בידוע שהוא רשע בן רשע

It was taught in a baraita: With regard to anyone whose actions and the actions of his ancestors are obscured and not explained, and the verse mentioned one of them favorably, for example, the way in which Zephaniah the prophet is introduced: “The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah” (Zephaniah 1:1), it is known that not only was he a righteous man, he was also the son of a righteous man. And conversely, whenever the verse mentioned one of them unfavorably, for example, in the verse that introduces Ishmael as the one who killed Gedaliah, which states: “And it came to pass in the seventh month that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama” (Jeremiah 41:1), it is known that not only was he a wicked man, he was also the son of a wicked man.

אמר רב נחמן מלאכי זה מרדכי ולמה נקרא שמו מלאכי שהיה משנה למלך מיתיבי ברוך בן נריה ושריה בן מעשיה ודניאל ומרדכי בלשן וחגי זכריה ומלאכי כולן נתנבאו בשנת שתים לדריוש תיובתא

Rav Naḥman said: Malachi the prophet is in fact Mordecai, and why was he called Malachi? To indicate that he was second to the king [melekh], as Mordecai was appointed such, as is recorded at the end of the Megilla. The Gemara raises an objection from the following baraita: Baruch, the son of Neriah; Seraiah, the son of Mahseiah; Daniel; Mordecai; Bilshan; Haggai; Zechariah; and Malachi; all prophesied in the second year of the reign of Darius. The fact that the baraita mentions Mordecai and Malachi separately indicates that they were two different people. The Gemara concludes: This is indeed a conclusive refutation.

תניא אמר רבי יהושע בן קרחה מלאכי זה עזרא וחכמים אומרים מלאכי שמו אמר רב נחמן מסתברא כמאן דאמר מלאכי זה עזרא דכתיב בנביאות מלאכי בגדה יהודה ותועבה נעשתה בישראל ובירושלם כי חלל יהודה קדש ה׳ אשר אהב ובעל בת אל נכר

It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa said: Malachi is in fact Ezra. And the Rabbis say otherwise: Malachi was his real name, and it was not merely another name for Ezra or another prophet. Rav Naḥman said: It stands to reason that indeed, they are one and the same person, like the opinion of the one who said that Malachi is Ezra, since there is a similarity between them, as it is stated in Malachi’s prophecy: “Judah has dealt treacherously, and a disgusting thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctity of the Lord which he loved, and has married the daughter of a strange god” (Malachi 2:11).

ומאן אפריש נשים גויות עזרא דכתיב ויען שכניה בן יחיאל מבני עילם ויאמר לעזרא אנחנו מעלנו באלהינו ונושב נשים נכריות

And who was the one that removed the foreign women who were married to Jews? It was Ezra, as it is written: “And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra: We have broken faith with our God, and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land” (Ezra 10:2). It therefore appears that Malachi was one of Ezra’s names, as the Bible describes them both as confronting an intermarriage epidemic.

תנו רבנן ארבע נשים יפיפיות היו בעולם שרה (ואביגיל רחב) ואסתר ולמאן דאמר אסתר ירקרוקת היתה מפיק אסתר ומעייל ושתי

To complete the discussion about the prophetesses, the Gemara cites a baraita in which the Sages taught: There were four women of extraordinary beauty in the world: Sarah, and Abigail, Rahab, and Esther. And according to the one who said that Esther was greenish in color, lacking natural beauty, only that a cord of divine grace was strung around her, remove Esther from the list and insert Vashti in her place, for she was indeed beautiful.

תנו רבנן רחב בשמה זינתה יעל בקולה אביגיל בזכירתה מיכל בת שאול בראייתה אמר רבי יצחק כל האומר רחב רחב מיד ניקרי אמר ליה רב נחמן אנא אמינא רחב רחב ולא איכפת לי אמר ליה כי קאמינא ביודעה ובמכירה

The Sages taught in a baraita: Rahab aroused impure thoughts by her name, i.e., the mere mention of her name would inspire lust for her; Yael, by her voice; Abigail, by remembering her; Michal, the daughter of Saul, by her appearance. Similarly, Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Anyone who says Rahab, Rahab, immediately experiences a seminal emission due to the arousal of desire caused by Rahab’s great beauty. Rav Naḥman said to him: I say: Rahab, Rahab, and it does not affect me. Rabbi Yitzchak said to Rav Naḥman: When I said this, I was specifically referring to one who knows her personally and recognizes her beauty. Only for one who has met Rahab in person is the mere mention of her name capable of arousing lust.

ומרדכי ידע את כל אשר נעשה מאי אמר רב אמר גבה המן מאחשורוש ושמואל אמר גבר מלכא עילאה ממלכא תתאה

§ The Gemara returns to its explanation of the verses of the book of Esther. The verse states: “When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry” (Esther 4:1). The Gemara asks: What did Mordecai say when he cried out? Rav said: He said that Haman has risen above Ahasuerus, for he saw that Haman had become even stronger than Ahasuerus himself, and that he controlled all affairs of the empire. And Shmuel said: The upper King has prevailed over the lower king, saying this euphemistically and insinuating just the opposite. In other words, it would appear that Ahasuerus, the lower king, has prevailed over the higher King, God in Heaven, Who desires good for the Jewish people.

ותתחלחל המלכה מאי ותתחלחל אמר רב שפירסה נדה ורבי ירמיה אמר שהוצרכה לנקביה

The verse states: “Then the queen was exceedingly distressed” [vatitḥalḥal] (Esther 4:4). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of vatitḥalḥal? Rav said: This means that she began to menstruate out of fear, as the cavities, ḥalalim, of her body opened. And Rabbi Yirmeya said: Her bowels were loosened, also understanding the verse as referring to her bodily cavities.

ותקרא אסתר להתך אמר רב התך זה דניאל ולמה נקרא שמו התך שחתכוהו מגדולתו ושמואל אמר שכל דברי מלכות נחתכין על פיו

The verse states: “Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her” (Esther 4:5). Rav said: Hathach is in fact the prophet Daniel. And why was he called Hathach? Because he was cut down [ḥatakh] from his greatness during Ahasuerus’s reign, as he was demoted from his high position. Previously he had served as a senior minister, and now he had become Esther’s steward. And Shmuel expounded the name Hathach as derived from ḥatakh in the opposite sense, as he said: Daniel was called Hathach because all the affairs of the kingdom were decided [neḥtakhin] by his word.

לדעת מה זה ועל מה זה אמר רבי יצחק שלחה לו שמא עברו ישראל על חמשה חומשי תורה דכתיב בהן מזה ומזה הם כתובים

The verse continues to relate that Esther sent Hathach to Mordecai after hearing about the decree: “To know what this [zeh] was, and why it [zeh] was” (Esther 4:5). Rabbi Yitzḥak said that Esther sent a message to Mordecai, saying: Perhaps the Jews have transgressed the five books of the Torah, as it is written with regard to the two tablets: “On this [zeh] side and on the other [zeh] side were they written” (Exodus 32:15).

ויגידו למרדכי את דברי אסתר ואילו איהו לא אזל לגביה מכאן שאין משיבין על הקלקלה

The verse states: “And they told Esther’s words to Mordecai” (Esther 4:12), but he, Hathach himself, did not go to tell him directly. The Gemara explains: From here we see that one does not bring back a sad report. If one has nothing positive to say, it is best for him to remain silent. This explains why Hathach himself did not report the information to Mordecai, and Esther’s words had to be delivered by other messengers.

לך כנוס את כל היהודים וגו׳ עד אשר לא כדת אמר רבי אבא שלא כדת היה שבכל יום ויום עד עכשיו באונס ועכשיו ברצון וכאשר אבדתי אבדתי כשם שאבדתי מבית אבא כך אובד ממך

Esther sent a message to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night and day; I also and my maidens will fast likewise, and so will I go in to the king, not according to the custom” (Esther 4:16). Rabbi Abba said: It will not be according to my usual custom, for every day until now when I submitted myself to Ahasuerus it was under compulsion, but now I will be submitting myself to him of my own free will. And Esther further said: “And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). What she meant was: Just as I was lost to my father’s house ever since I was brought here, so too, shall I be lost to you, for after voluntarily having relations with Ahasuerus, I shall be forever forbidden to you.

ויעבור מרדכי אמר רב שהעביר יום ראשון של פסח בתענית ושמואל אמר דעבר ערקומא דמיא

There is a dispute with regard to the meaning of the verse: “So Mordecai passed [vaya’avor]” (Esther 4:17). Rav said: This means that he passed the first day of Passover as a fast day, understanding the word vaya’avor in the sense of sin [aveira], as by doing so he transgressed the obligation to rejoice on the Festival. And Shmuel said: It means that he crossed over [avar] a stream in order to bring the message to all.

ויהי ביום השלישי ותלבש אסתר מלכות בגדי מלכות מיבעי ליה אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא מלמד שלבשתה רוח הקדש כתיב הכא ותלבש וכתיב התם ורוח לבשה את עמשי

The verse states: “And it came to pass on the third day, that Esther clothed herself in royalty” (Esther 5:1). The Gemara asks: It should have said: Esther clothed herself in royal garments. Rabbi Elazar said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: This teaches that she clothed herself with a divine spirit of inspiration, as it is written here: “And she clothed herself,” and it is written elsewhere: “And the spirit clothed Amasai” (I Chronicles 12:19). Just as there the reference is to the spirit of divine inspiration, so too here, the term royalty is referring to the spirit of divine inspiration.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא לעולם אל תהי ברכת הדיוט קלה בעיניך שהרי שני גדולי הדור ברכום שני הדיוטות ונתקיימה בהן ואלו הן דוד ודניאל דוד דברכיה ארונה דכתיב ויאמר ארונה אל המלך וגו׳ דניאל דברכיה דריוש דכתיב אלהך די אנת פלח ליה בתדירא הוא ישיזבינך

Apropos a statement that Rabbi Elazar said that Rabbi Ḥanina said, the Gemara records other such statements: And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: One should never regard the blessing of an ordinary person [hedyot] as light in your eyes, as two of the great men of their generations received blessings from ordinary people and those blessings were fulfilled in them. And they were David and Daniel. David, for Araunah blessed him, as it is written: “And Araunah said to the king, May the Lord your God accept you” (II Samuel 24:23), and it was fulfilled. Daniel, for Darius blessed him, as it is written: “Your God Whom you serve continually, He will rescue you” (Daniel 6:17), and this too was fulfilled when Daniel was saved from the lions’ den.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא אל תהי קללת הדיוט קלה בעיניך שהרי אבימלך קלל את שרה הנה הוא לך כסות עינים ונתקיים בזרעה ויהי כי זקן יצחק ותכהין עיניו

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: One should not regard the curse of an ordinary person as light in your eyes, for Abimelech cursed Sarah, saying: “Behold, it is to you a covering of the eyes to all that are with you” (Genesis 20:16), and indeed this was fulfilled in her descendant, as it is stated: “And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see” (Genesis 27:1). Abimelech’s curse of covered eyes was fulfilled through her son Isaac’s blindness.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא בא וראה שלא כמדת הקדוש ברוך הוא מדת בשר ודם מדת בשר ודם אדם שופת קדרה ואחר כך נותן לתוכה מים אבל הקדוש ברוך הוא נותן מים ואחר כך שופת הקדרה לקיים מה שנאמר לקול תתו המון מים בשמים

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: Come and see that the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is unlike the attribute of a man of flesh and blood; for it is the attribute of flesh and blood that a man places the pot on the fire and then puts in the water. However, the Holy One, Blessed be He, first puts in the water and then places the pot on the fire, to fulfill that which is stated: “At the sound of His giving a multitude of waters in the heavens” (Jeremiah 10:13), which he explains as follows: First God set the multitudes of water in place, and afterward He created the heavens to hold the water.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא כל האומר דבר בשם אומרו מביא גאולה לעולם שנאמר ותאמר אסתר למלך בשם מרדכי

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: Whoever reports a saying in the name of he who said it brings redemption to the world. As it is stated with respect to the incident of Bigthan and Teresh: “And Esther reported it to the king in the name of Mordecai” (Esther 2:22), and this eventually brought redemption, as Mordecai was later rewarded for saving the king’s life, paving the way for the miraculous salvation.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא צדיק אבד לדורו אבד משל לאדם שאבדה לו מרגלית כל מקום שהיא מרגלית שמה לא אבדה אלא לבעלה

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: When a righteous man passes from this earth and is lost, he is lost only for the rest of his generation, who is now deprived of him, not for the righteous individual himself. This is similar to a man who has lost a pearl. The pearl does not care if it is lost, as wherever it is found, it is still a pearl; it is lost only to its owner.

וכל זה איננו שוה לי אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא בשעה שראה המן את מרדכי יושב בשער המלך אמר כל זה אינו שוה לי כדרב חסדא דאמר רב חסדא זה בא בפרוזבולי וזה בא

Haman said: “Yet all this avails me nothing” (Esther 5:13). Rabbi Elazar said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: When Haman saw Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate he said: Yet all this avails me nothing. This may be understood as was suggested by Rav Ḥisda, for Rav Ḥisda said: This one, Mordecai, came as one with the heritage of a rich man [perozebuli], whereas that one, Haman, came

בפרוזבוטי אמר רב פפא וקרו ליה עבדא דמזדבן בטלמי

as one with the heritage of a poor man [perozeboti], as Mordecai had been Haman’s slave master and was aware of Haman’s lowly lineage. Rav Pappa said: And he was called: The slave who was sold for a loaf of bread.

וכל זה איננו שוה לי מלמד שכל גנזיו של אותו רשע חקוקין על לבו ובשעה שרואה את מרדכי יושב בשער המלך אמר כל זה איננו שוה לי

Haman’s previously quoted statement: “Yet all this avails me nothing” (Esther 5:13), teaches that all the treasures of that wicked one were engraved on his heart, and when he saw Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate, he said: As long as Mordecai is around, all this that I wear on my heart avails me nothing.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא עתיד הקדוש ברוך הוא להיות עטרה בראש כל צדיק וצדיק שנאמר ביום ההוא יהיה ה׳ צבאות לעטרת צבי [וגו׳] מאי לעטרת צבי ולצפירת תפארה לעושין צביונו ולמצפין תפארתו יכול לכל תלמוד לומר לשאר עמו למי שמשים עצמו כשירים

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will be a crown on the head of each and every righteous man. As it is stated: “In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, to the residue of His people” (Isaiah 28:5). What is the meaning of “for a crown of glory [tzevi], and for a diadem [velitzefirat] of beauty”? A crown for those that do His will [tzivyono] and a diadem for those that await [velamtzapin] His glory. One might have thought that this extends to all such individuals. Therefore, the verse states: “To the residue of his people,” to whoever regards himself as a remainder, i.e., small and unimportant like residue. But whoever holds himself in high esteem will not merit this.

ולרוח משפט זה הדן את יצרו וליושב על המשפט זה הדן דין אמת לאמתו ולגבורה זה המתגבר על יצרו משיבי מלחמה שנושאין ונותנין במלחמתה של תורה שערה [אלו תלמידי חכמים] שמשכימין ומעריבין בבתי כנסיות ובבתי מדרשות

Apropos the quotation from Isaiah, the Gemara explains the following verse, which states: “And for a spirit of justice to him that sits in judgment and for strength to them that turn back the battle to the gate” (Isaiah 28:6). “And for a spirit of justice”; this is referring to one who brings his evil inclination to trial and forces himself to repent. “To him that sits in judgment”; this is referring to one who judges an absolutely true judgment. “And for strength”; this is referring to one who triumphs over his evil inclination. “Them that turn back the battle”; this is referring to those that give and take in their discussion of halakha in the battle of understanding the Torah. “To the gate”; this is referring to the Torah scholars who arrive early and stay late at the darkened gates of the synagogues and study halls.

אמרה מדת הדין לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מה נשתנו אלו מאלו אמר לה הקדוש ברוך הוא ישראל עסקו בתורה אומות העולם לא עסקו בתורה

The Gemara continues with an episode associated with a verse in Isaiah. The Attribute of Justice said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, how are these, referring to the Jewish people, different from those, the other nations of the world, such that God performs miracles only on behalf of the Jewish people? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to it: The Jewish people occupied themselves with Torah, whereas the other nations of the world did not occupy themselves with Torah.

אמר ליה גם אלה ביין שגו ובשכר תעו פקו פליליה אין פקו אלא גיהנם שנאמר ולא תהיה זאת לך לפוקה ואין פליליה אלא דיינין שנאמר ונתן בפלילים

The Attribute of Justice said to Him: “These also reel through wine, and stagger through strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel through strong drink, they are confused because of wine, they stagger because of strong drink; they reel in vision, they stumble [paku] in judgment [peliliyya]” (Isaiah 28:7). The word paku in this context is referring only to Gehenna, as it is stated: “That this shall not be a cause of stumbling [puka] to you” (I Samuel 25:31), and the word peliliyya here is referring only to judges, as it is stated: “And he shall pay as the judges determine [bifelilim]” (Exodus 21:22). The response of the Attribute of Justice was essentially that the Jewish people have also sinned and are consequently liable to receive punishment.

ותעמד בחצר בית המלך הפנימית אמר רבי לוי כיון שהגיעה לבית הצלמים נסתלקה הימנה שכינה אמרה אלי אלי למה עזבתני שמא אתה דן על שוגג כמזיד ועל אונס כרצון

§ The Gemara returns to its explanation of the verses of the Megilla. The verse states with regard to Esther: “And she stood in the inner court of the king’s house” (Esther 5:1). Rabbi Levi said: Once she reached the chamber of the idols, which was in the inner court, the Divine Presence left her. She immediately said: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalms 22:2). Perhaps it is because You judge an unintentional sin as one performed intentionally, and an action done due to circumstances beyond one’s control as one done willingly.

או שמא על שקראתיו כלב שנאמר הצילה מחרב נפשי מיד כלב יחידתי חזרה וקראתו אריה שנאמר הושיעני מפי אריה

Or perhaps You have left me because in my prayers I called Haman a dog, as it is stated: “Deliver my soul from the sword; my only one from the hand of the dog” (Psalms 22:21). She at once retracted and called him in her prayers a lion, as it is stated in the following verse: “Save me from the lion’s mouth” (Psalms 22:22).

ויהי כראות המלך את אסתר המלכה אמר רבי יוחנן שלשה מלאכי השרת נזדמנו לה באותה שעה אחד שהגביה את צוארה ואחד שמשך חוט של חסד עליה ואחד שמתח את השרביט

The verse states: “And so it was, that when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand” (Esther 5:2). Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Three ministering angels happened to join her at that time: One that raised up her neck, so that she could stand erect, free of shame; one that strung a cord of divine grace around her, endowing her with charm and beauty; and one that stretched the king’s scepter.

וכמה אמר רבי ירמיה שתי אמות היה והעמידו על שתים עשרה ואמרי לה על שש עשרה ואמרי לה על עשרים וארבע במתניתא תנא על ששים וכן אתה מוצא באמתה של בת פרעה וכן אתה מוצא בשיני רשעים דכתיב שיני רשעים שברת ואמר ריש לקיש אל תקרי שברת אלא שריבבת רבה בר עופרן אמר משום רבי אלעזר ששמע מרבו ורבו מרבו מאתים

How much was it stretched? Rabbi Yirmeya said: The scepter was two cubits, and he made it twelve cubits. And some say that he made it sixteen cubits, and yet others say twenty-four cubits. It was taught in a baraita: He made it sixty cubits. And similarly you find with the arm of Pharaoh’s daughter, which she stretched out to take Moshe. And so too, you find with the teeth of the wicked, as it is written: “You have broken the teeth of the wicked” (Psalms 3:8), with regard to which Reish Lakish said: Do not read it as “You have broken [shibbarta],” but as: You have enlarged [sheribavta]. Rabba bar Oferan said in the name of Rabbi Elazar, who heard it from his teacher, who in turn heard it from his teacher: The scepter was stretched two hundred cubits.

ויאמר לה המלך לאסתר המלכה מה בקשתך עד חצי המלכות ותעש חצי המלכות ולא כל המלכות ולא דבר שחוצץ למלכות ומאי ניהו בנין בית המקדש

The verse states: “Then the king said to her” (Esther 5:3), to Esther the queen, “What is your wish, even to half the kingdom, it shall be performed” (Esther 5:6). The Gemara comments that Ahasuerus intended only a limited offer: Only half the kingdom, but not the whole kingdom, and not something that would serve as a barrier to the kingdom, as there is one thing to which the kingdom will never agree. And what is that? The building of the Temple; if that shall be your wish, realize that it will not be fulfilled.

יבא המלך והמן אל המשתה תנו רבנן מה ראתה אסתר שזימנה את המן רבי אלעזר אומר פחים טמנה לו שנאמר יהי שלחנם לפניהם לפח

The verse states that Esther requested: “If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him” (Esther 5:4). The Sages taught in a baraita: What did Esther see to invite Haman to the banquet? Rabbi Elazar says: She hid a snare for him, as it is stated: “Let their table become a snare before them” (Psalms 69:23), as she assumed that she would be able to trip up Haman during the banquet.

רבי יהושע אומר מבית אביה למדה שנאמר אם רעב שונאך האכילהו לחם וגו׳ רבי מאיר אומר כדי שלא יטול עצה וימרוד

Rabbi Yehoshua says: She learned to do this from the Jewish teachings of her father’s house, as it is stated: “If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat” (Proverbs 25:21). Rabbi Meir says: She invited him in order that he be near her at all times, so that he would not take counsel and rebel against Ahasuerus when he discovered that the king was angry with him.

רבי יהודה אומר כדי שלא יכירו בה שהיא יהודית רבי נחמיה אומר כדי שלא יאמרו ישראל אחות יש לנו בבית המלך ויסיחו דעתן מן הרחמים רבי יוסי אומר כדי שיהא מצוי לה בכל עת רבי שמעון בן מנסיא אומר אולי ירגיש המקום ויעשה לנו נס

Rabbi Yehuda says: She invited Haman so that it not be found out that she was a Jew, as had she distanced him, he would have become suspicious. Rabbi Neḥemya says: She did this so that the Jewish people would not say: We have a sister in the king’s house, and consequently neglect their prayers for divine mercy. Rabbi Yosei says: She acted in this manner, so that Haman would always be on hand for her, as that would enable her to find an opportunity to cause him to stumble before the king. Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya said that Esther said to herself: Perhaps the Omnipresent will take notice that all are supporting Haman and nobody is supporting the Jewish people, and He will perform for us a miracle.

רבי יהושע בן קרחה אומר אסביר לו פנים כדי שיהרג הוא והיא רבן גמליאל אומר מלך הפכפכן היה אמר רבי גמליאל עדיין צריכין אנו למודעי דתניא רבי אליעזר המודעי אומר קנאתו במלך קנאתו בשרים

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa says: She said to herself: I will act kindly toward him and thereby bring the king to suspect that we are having an affair; she did so in order that both he and she would be killed. Essentially, Esther was willing to be killed with Haman in order that the decree would be annulled. Rabban Gamliel says: Ahasuerus was a fickle king, and Esther hoped that if he saw Haman on multiple occasions, eventually he would change his opinion of him. Rabban Gamliel said: We still need the words of Rabbi Eliezer HaModa’i to understand why Esther invited Haman to her banquet. As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer HaModa’i says: She made the king jealous of him and she made the other ministers jealous of him, and in this way she brought about his downfall.

רבה אמר לפני שבר גאון אביי ורבא דאמרי תרוייהו בחומם אשית את משתיהם וגו׳ אשכחיה רבה בר אבוה לאליהו אמר ליה כמאן חזיא אסתר ועבדא הכי אמר ליה ככולהו תנאי וככולהו אמוראי

Rabba says: Esther invited Haman to her banquet in order to fulfill that which is stated: “Pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18), which indicates that in order to destroy the wicked, one must first bring them to pride. It can be understood according to Abaye and Rava, who both say that she invited Haman in order to fulfill the verse: “When they are heated, I will make feasts for them, and I will make them drunk, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep” (Jeremiah 51:39). The Gemara relates that Rabba bar Avuh once happened upon Elijah the Prophet and said to him: In accordance with whose understanding did Esther see fit to act in this manner? What was the true reason behind her invitation? He, Elijah, said to him: Esther was motivated by all the reasons previously mentioned and did so for all the reasons previously stated by the tanna’im and all the reasons stated by the amora’im.

ויספר להם המן את כבוד עשרו ורוב בניו וכמה רוב בניו אמר רב שלשים עשרה מתו ועשרה נתלו ועשרה מחזרין על הפתחים

The verse states: “And Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his sons” (Esther 5:11). The Gemara asks: And how many sons did he in fact have that are referred to as “the multitude of his sons”? Rav said: There were thirty sons; ten of them died in childhood, ten of them were hanged as recorded in the book of Esther, and ten survived and were forced to beg at other people’s doors.

ורבנן אמרי אותן שמחזרין על הפתחים שבעים הויא דכתיב שבעים בלחם נשכרו אל תקרי שבעים אלא שבעים

And the Rabbis say: Those that begged at other people’s doors numbered seventy, as it is written: “Those that were full, have hired themselves out for bread” (I Samuel 2:5). Do not read it as: “Those that were full” [seve’im]; rather, read it as seventy [shivim], indicating that there were seventy who “hired themselves out for bread.”

ורמי בר אבא אמר כולן מאתים ושמונה הוו שנאמר ורוב בניו ורוב בגימטריא מאתן וארביסר הוו אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק ורב כתיב

And Rami bar Abba said: All of Haman’s sons together numbered two hundred and eight, as it is stated: “And the multitude [verov] of his sons.” The numerical value of the word verov equals two hundred and eight, alluding to the number of his sons. The Gemara comments: But in fact, the numerical value [gimatriyya] of the word verov equals two hundred and fourteen, not two hundred and eight. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: The word verov is written in the Bible without the second vav, and therefore its numerical value equals two hundred and eight.

בלילה ההוא נדדה שנת המלך אמר רבי תנחום נדדה שנת מלכו של עולם ורבנן אמרי נדדו עליונים נדדו תחתונים רבא אמר שנת המלך אחשורוש ממש

The verse states: “On that night the sleep of the king was disturbed” (Esther 6:1). Rabbi Tanḥum said: The verse alludes to another king who could not sleep; the sleep of the King of the universe, the Holy One, Blessed be He, was disturbed. And the Sages say: The sleep of the higher ones, the angels, was disturbed, and the sleep of the lower ones, the Jewish people, was disturbed. Rava said: This should be understood literally: The sleep of King Ahasuerus was disturbed.

נפלה ליה מילתא בדעתיה אמר מאי דקמן דזמינתיה אסתר להמן דלמא עצה קא שקלי עילויה דההוא גברא למקטליה הדר אמר אי הכי לא הוה גברא דרחים לי דהוה מודע לי הדר אמר דלמא איכא איניש דעבד בי טיבותא ולא פרעתיה משום הכי מימנעי אינשי ולא מגלו לי מיד ויאמר להביא את ספר הזכרונות דברי הימים

And this was the reason Ahasuerus could not sleep: A thought occurred to him and he said to himself: What is this before us that Esther has invited Haman? Perhaps they are conspiring against that man, i.e., against me, to kill him. He then said again to himself: If this is so, is there no man who loves me and would inform me of this conspiracy? He then said again to himself: Perhaps there is some man who has done a favor for me and I have not properly rewarded him, and due to that reason people refrain from revealing to me information regarding such plots, as they see no benefit for themselves. Immediately afterward, the verse states: “And he commanded the book of remembrances of the chronicles to be brought” (Esther 6:1).

ויהיו נקראים מלמד שנקראים מאיליהן וימצא כתוב כתב מבעי ליה מלמד

The verse states: “And they were read before the king” (Esther 6:1). The Gemara explains that this passive form: “And they were read,” teaches that they were read miraculously by themselves. It further says: “And it was found written [katuv]” (Esther 6:2). The Gemara asks: Why does the Megilla use the word katuv, which indicates that it was newly written? It should have said: A writing [ketav] was found, which would indicate that it had been written in the past. The Gemara explains: This teaches

This month's shiurim are dedicated by Jordana and Kalman Schoor on behalf of their daughter Daria who is learning Masechet Megilla for her bat mitzvah. Mazal tov Daria!

This month's shiurim are dedicated by the Hadran Women of Minneapolis in memory of the father of their organizer Shira Krebs, Jerry Katz, Gershon Pinya ben Yitzchak Lev haCohen z”l who will be greatly missed.

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Terri Krivosha for the Refuah Shlemah of her husband Harav Hayim Yehuda Ben Faiga Rivah. 

  • This month's learning is dedicated by Debbie and Yossi Gevir to Rabbanit Michelle and the Hadran Zoom group for their kindness, support, and care during a medically challenging year.

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Megillah: 10-16 – Daf Yomi One Week at a Time

This week we will be learning Megilat Ester, the Book of Esther, in depth. The Gemara quotes numerous verses and...
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Megillah 15

Megilah, Daf 15, Teacher: Tamara Spitz https://youtu.be/zm55zeQ5Zdg

Megillah 15

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Megillah 15

בשלמא אינהו מיפרשי אלא אבהתייהו מנלן

The Gemara asks in reference to the eight prophets descended from Rahab: Granted, with regard to them, it is explicit, i.e., the four sons recorded in the list were certainly prophets, as the Bible states this explicitly: Jeremiah was a prophet, his student Baruch was one of the sons of the prophets, his cousin Hanamel came to him at the word of God (see Jeremiah, chapter 32), and Seraiah was his student. But as for their fathers, Hilkiah, Neriah, Shallum, and Mahseiah, from where do we derive that they were prophets?

כדעולא דאמר עולא כל מקום ששמו ושם אביו בנביאות בידוע שהוא נביא בן נביא שמו ולא שם אביו בידוע שהוא נביא ולא בן נביא שמו ושם עירו מפורש בידוע שהוא מאותה העיר שמו ולא שם עירו בידוע שהוא מירושלים

The Gemara answers: As taught by Ulla, as Ulla said: Wherever one’s name and his father’s name are mentioned with regard to prophecy, it is known that he was a prophet the son of a prophet, and therefore his father’s name is also mentioned. And wherever his name is mentioned but not his father’s name, it is known that he was a prophet but not the son of a prophet. Similarly, wherever his name and the name of his city are specified, it is known that he was from that particular city, and wherever his name is mentioned but not the name of his city, it is known that he was from Jerusalem.

במתניתא תנא כל שמעשיו ומעשה אבותיו סתומין ופרט לך הכתוב באחד מהן לשבח כגון דבר ה׳ אשר היה אל צפניה בן כושי בן גדליה בידוע שהוא צדיק בן צדיק וכל שפרט לך הכתוב באחד מהן לגנאי כגון ויהי בחדש השביעי בא ישמעאל בן נתניה בן אלישמע בידוע שהוא רשע בן רשע

It was taught in a baraita: With regard to anyone whose actions and the actions of his ancestors are obscured and not explained, and the verse mentioned one of them favorably, for example, the way in which Zephaniah the prophet is introduced: “The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah” (Zephaniah 1:1), it is known that not only was he a righteous man, he was also the son of a righteous man. And conversely, whenever the verse mentioned one of them unfavorably, for example, in the verse that introduces Ishmael as the one who killed Gedaliah, which states: “And it came to pass in the seventh month that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama” (Jeremiah 41:1), it is known that not only was he a wicked man, he was also the son of a wicked man.

אמר רב נחמן מלאכי זה מרדכי ולמה נקרא שמו מלאכי שהיה משנה למלך מיתיבי ברוך בן נריה ושריה בן מעשיה ודניאל ומרדכי בלשן וחגי זכריה ומלאכי כולן נתנבאו בשנת שתים לדריוש תיובתא

Rav Naḥman said: Malachi the prophet is in fact Mordecai, and why was he called Malachi? To indicate that he was second to the king [melekh], as Mordecai was appointed such, as is recorded at the end of the Megilla. The Gemara raises an objection from the following baraita: Baruch, the son of Neriah; Seraiah, the son of Mahseiah; Daniel; Mordecai; Bilshan; Haggai; Zechariah; and Malachi; all prophesied in the second year of the reign of Darius. The fact that the baraita mentions Mordecai and Malachi separately indicates that they were two different people. The Gemara concludes: This is indeed a conclusive refutation.

תניא אמר רבי יהושע בן קרחה מלאכי זה עזרא וחכמים אומרים מלאכי שמו אמר רב נחמן מסתברא כמאן דאמר מלאכי זה עזרא דכתיב בנביאות מלאכי בגדה יהודה ותועבה נעשתה בישראל ובירושלם כי חלל יהודה קדש ה׳ אשר אהב ובעל בת אל נכר

It is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa said: Malachi is in fact Ezra. And the Rabbis say otherwise: Malachi was his real name, and it was not merely another name for Ezra or another prophet. Rav Naḥman said: It stands to reason that indeed, they are one and the same person, like the opinion of the one who said that Malachi is Ezra, since there is a similarity between them, as it is stated in Malachi’s prophecy: “Judah has dealt treacherously, and a disgusting thing has been done in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctity of the Lord which he loved, and has married the daughter of a strange god” (Malachi 2:11).

ומאן אפריש נשים גויות עזרא דכתיב ויען שכניה בן יחיאל מבני עילם ויאמר לעזרא אנחנו מעלנו באלהינו ונושב נשים נכריות

And who was the one that removed the foreign women who were married to Jews? It was Ezra, as it is written: “And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra: We have broken faith with our God, and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land” (Ezra 10:2). It therefore appears that Malachi was one of Ezra’s names, as the Bible describes them both as confronting an intermarriage epidemic.

תנו רבנן ארבע נשים יפיפיות היו בעולם שרה (ואביגיל רחב) ואסתר ולמאן דאמר אסתר ירקרוקת היתה מפיק אסתר ומעייל ושתי

To complete the discussion about the prophetesses, the Gemara cites a baraita in which the Sages taught: There were four women of extraordinary beauty in the world: Sarah, and Abigail, Rahab, and Esther. And according to the one who said that Esther was greenish in color, lacking natural beauty, only that a cord of divine grace was strung around her, remove Esther from the list and insert Vashti in her place, for she was indeed beautiful.

תנו רבנן רחב בשמה זינתה יעל בקולה אביגיל בזכירתה מיכל בת שאול בראייתה אמר רבי יצחק כל האומר רחב רחב מיד ניקרי אמר ליה רב נחמן אנא אמינא רחב רחב ולא איכפת לי אמר ליה כי קאמינא ביודעה ובמכירה

The Sages taught in a baraita: Rahab aroused impure thoughts by her name, i.e., the mere mention of her name would inspire lust for her; Yael, by her voice; Abigail, by remembering her; Michal, the daughter of Saul, by her appearance. Similarly, Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Anyone who says Rahab, Rahab, immediately experiences a seminal emission due to the arousal of desire caused by Rahab’s great beauty. Rav Naḥman said to him: I say: Rahab, Rahab, and it does not affect me. Rabbi Yitzchak said to Rav Naḥman: When I said this, I was specifically referring to one who knows her personally and recognizes her beauty. Only for one who has met Rahab in person is the mere mention of her name capable of arousing lust.

ומרדכי ידע את כל אשר נעשה מאי אמר רב אמר גבה המן מאחשורוש ושמואל אמר גבר מלכא עילאה ממלכא תתאה

§ The Gemara returns to its explanation of the verses of the book of Esther. The verse states: “When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry” (Esther 4:1). The Gemara asks: What did Mordecai say when he cried out? Rav said: He said that Haman has risen above Ahasuerus, for he saw that Haman had become even stronger than Ahasuerus himself, and that he controlled all affairs of the empire. And Shmuel said: The upper King has prevailed over the lower king, saying this euphemistically and insinuating just the opposite. In other words, it would appear that Ahasuerus, the lower king, has prevailed over the higher King, God in Heaven, Who desires good for the Jewish people.

ותתחלחל המלכה מאי ותתחלחל אמר רב שפירסה נדה ורבי ירמיה אמר שהוצרכה לנקביה

The verse states: “Then the queen was exceedingly distressed” [vatitḥalḥal] (Esther 4:4). The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of vatitḥalḥal? Rav said: This means that she began to menstruate out of fear, as the cavities, ḥalalim, of her body opened. And Rabbi Yirmeya said: Her bowels were loosened, also understanding the verse as referring to her bodily cavities.

ותקרא אסתר להתך אמר רב התך זה דניאל ולמה נקרא שמו התך שחתכוהו מגדולתו ושמואל אמר שכל דברי מלכות נחתכין על פיו

The verse states: “Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s chamberlains, whom he had appointed to attend upon her” (Esther 4:5). Rav said: Hathach is in fact the prophet Daniel. And why was he called Hathach? Because he was cut down [ḥatakh] from his greatness during Ahasuerus’s reign, as he was demoted from his high position. Previously he had served as a senior minister, and now he had become Esther’s steward. And Shmuel expounded the name Hathach as derived from ḥatakh in the opposite sense, as he said: Daniel was called Hathach because all the affairs of the kingdom were decided [neḥtakhin] by his word.

לדעת מה זה ועל מה זה אמר רבי יצחק שלחה לו שמא עברו ישראל על חמשה חומשי תורה דכתיב בהן מזה ומזה הם כתובים

The verse continues to relate that Esther sent Hathach to Mordecai after hearing about the decree: “To know what this [zeh] was, and why it [zeh] was” (Esther 4:5). Rabbi Yitzḥak said that Esther sent a message to Mordecai, saying: Perhaps the Jews have transgressed the five books of the Torah, as it is written with regard to the two tablets: “On this [zeh] side and on the other [zeh] side were they written” (Exodus 32:15).

ויגידו למרדכי את דברי אסתר ואילו איהו לא אזל לגביה מכאן שאין משיבין על הקלקלה

The verse states: “And they told Esther’s words to Mordecai” (Esther 4:12), but he, Hathach himself, did not go to tell him directly. The Gemara explains: From here we see that one does not bring back a sad report. If one has nothing positive to say, it is best for him to remain silent. This explains why Hathach himself did not report the information to Mordecai, and Esther’s words had to be delivered by other messengers.

לך כנוס את כל היהודים וגו׳ עד אשר לא כדת אמר רבי אבא שלא כדת היה שבכל יום ויום עד עכשיו באונס ועכשיו ברצון וכאשר אבדתי אבדתי כשם שאבדתי מבית אבא כך אובד ממך

Esther sent a message to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night and day; I also and my maidens will fast likewise, and so will I go in to the king, not according to the custom” (Esther 4:16). Rabbi Abba said: It will not be according to my usual custom, for every day until now when I submitted myself to Ahasuerus it was under compulsion, but now I will be submitting myself to him of my own free will. And Esther further said: “And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). What she meant was: Just as I was lost to my father’s house ever since I was brought here, so too, shall I be lost to you, for after voluntarily having relations with Ahasuerus, I shall be forever forbidden to you.

ויעבור מרדכי אמר רב שהעביר יום ראשון של פסח בתענית ושמואל אמר דעבר ערקומא דמיא

There is a dispute with regard to the meaning of the verse: “So Mordecai passed [vaya’avor]” (Esther 4:17). Rav said: This means that he passed the first day of Passover as a fast day, understanding the word vaya’avor in the sense of sin [aveira], as by doing so he transgressed the obligation to rejoice on the Festival. And Shmuel said: It means that he crossed over [avar] a stream in order to bring the message to all.

ויהי ביום השלישי ותלבש אסתר מלכות בגדי מלכות מיבעי ליה אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא מלמד שלבשתה רוח הקדש כתיב הכא ותלבש וכתיב התם ורוח לבשה את עמשי

The verse states: “And it came to pass on the third day, that Esther clothed herself in royalty” (Esther 5:1). The Gemara asks: It should have said: Esther clothed herself in royal garments. Rabbi Elazar said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: This teaches that she clothed herself with a divine spirit of inspiration, as it is written here: “And she clothed herself,” and it is written elsewhere: “And the spirit clothed Amasai” (I Chronicles 12:19). Just as there the reference is to the spirit of divine inspiration, so too here, the term royalty is referring to the spirit of divine inspiration.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא לעולם אל תהי ברכת הדיוט קלה בעיניך שהרי שני גדולי הדור ברכום שני הדיוטות ונתקיימה בהן ואלו הן דוד ודניאל דוד דברכיה ארונה דכתיב ויאמר ארונה אל המלך וגו׳ דניאל דברכיה דריוש דכתיב אלהך די אנת פלח ליה בתדירא הוא ישיזבינך

Apropos a statement that Rabbi Elazar said that Rabbi Ḥanina said, the Gemara records other such statements: And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: One should never regard the blessing of an ordinary person [hedyot] as light in your eyes, as two of the great men of their generations received blessings from ordinary people and those blessings were fulfilled in them. And they were David and Daniel. David, for Araunah blessed him, as it is written: “And Araunah said to the king, May the Lord your God accept you” (II Samuel 24:23), and it was fulfilled. Daniel, for Darius blessed him, as it is written: “Your God Whom you serve continually, He will rescue you” (Daniel 6:17), and this too was fulfilled when Daniel was saved from the lions’ den.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא אל תהי קללת הדיוט קלה בעיניך שהרי אבימלך קלל את שרה הנה הוא לך כסות עינים ונתקיים בזרעה ויהי כי זקן יצחק ותכהין עיניו

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: One should not regard the curse of an ordinary person as light in your eyes, for Abimelech cursed Sarah, saying: “Behold, it is to you a covering of the eyes to all that are with you” (Genesis 20:16), and indeed this was fulfilled in her descendant, as it is stated: “And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see” (Genesis 27:1). Abimelech’s curse of covered eyes was fulfilled through her son Isaac’s blindness.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא בא וראה שלא כמדת הקדוש ברוך הוא מדת בשר ודם מדת בשר ודם אדם שופת קדרה ואחר כך נותן לתוכה מים אבל הקדוש ברוך הוא נותן מים ואחר כך שופת הקדרה לקיים מה שנאמר לקול תתו המון מים בשמים

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: Come and see that the attribute of the Holy One, Blessed be He, is unlike the attribute of a man of flesh and blood; for it is the attribute of flesh and blood that a man places the pot on the fire and then puts in the water. However, the Holy One, Blessed be He, first puts in the water and then places the pot on the fire, to fulfill that which is stated: “At the sound of His giving a multitude of waters in the heavens” (Jeremiah 10:13), which he explains as follows: First God set the multitudes of water in place, and afterward He created the heavens to hold the water.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא כל האומר דבר בשם אומרו מביא גאולה לעולם שנאמר ותאמר אסתר למלך בשם מרדכי

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: Whoever reports a saying in the name of he who said it brings redemption to the world. As it is stated with respect to the incident of Bigthan and Teresh: “And Esther reported it to the king in the name of Mordecai” (Esther 2:22), and this eventually brought redemption, as Mordecai was later rewarded for saving the king’s life, paving the way for the miraculous salvation.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא צדיק אבד לדורו אבד משל לאדם שאבדה לו מרגלית כל מקום שהיא מרגלית שמה לא אבדה אלא לבעלה

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: When a righteous man passes from this earth and is lost, he is lost only for the rest of his generation, who is now deprived of him, not for the righteous individual himself. This is similar to a man who has lost a pearl. The pearl does not care if it is lost, as wherever it is found, it is still a pearl; it is lost only to its owner.

וכל זה איננו שוה לי אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא בשעה שראה המן את מרדכי יושב בשער המלך אמר כל זה אינו שוה לי כדרב חסדא דאמר רב חסדא זה בא בפרוזבולי וזה בא

Haman said: “Yet all this avails me nothing” (Esther 5:13). Rabbi Elazar said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: When Haman saw Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate he said: Yet all this avails me nothing. This may be understood as was suggested by Rav Ḥisda, for Rav Ḥisda said: This one, Mordecai, came as one with the heritage of a rich man [perozebuli], whereas that one, Haman, came

בפרוזבוטי אמר רב פפא וקרו ליה עבדא דמזדבן בטלמי

as one with the heritage of a poor man [perozeboti], as Mordecai had been Haman’s slave master and was aware of Haman’s lowly lineage. Rav Pappa said: And he was called: The slave who was sold for a loaf of bread.

וכל זה איננו שוה לי מלמד שכל גנזיו של אותו רשע חקוקין על לבו ובשעה שרואה את מרדכי יושב בשער המלך אמר כל זה איננו שוה לי

Haman’s previously quoted statement: “Yet all this avails me nothing” (Esther 5:13), teaches that all the treasures of that wicked one were engraved on his heart, and when he saw Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate, he said: As long as Mordecai is around, all this that I wear on my heart avails me nothing.

ואמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא עתיד הקדוש ברוך הוא להיות עטרה בראש כל צדיק וצדיק שנאמר ביום ההוא יהיה ה׳ צבאות לעטרת צבי [וגו׳] מאי לעטרת צבי ולצפירת תפארה לעושין צביונו ולמצפין תפארתו יכול לכל תלמוד לומר לשאר עמו למי שמשים עצמו כשירים

And Rabbi Elazar further said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will be a crown on the head of each and every righteous man. As it is stated: “In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, to the residue of His people” (Isaiah 28:5). What is the meaning of “for a crown of glory [tzevi], and for a diadem [velitzefirat] of beauty”? A crown for those that do His will [tzivyono] and a diadem for those that await [velamtzapin] His glory. One might have thought that this extends to all such individuals. Therefore, the verse states: “To the residue of his people,” to whoever regards himself as a remainder, i.e., small and unimportant like residue. But whoever holds himself in high esteem will not merit this.

ולרוח משפט זה הדן את יצרו וליושב על המשפט זה הדן דין אמת לאמתו ולגבורה זה המתגבר על יצרו משיבי מלחמה שנושאין ונותנין במלחמתה של תורה שערה [אלו תלמידי חכמים] שמשכימין ומעריבין בבתי כנסיות ובבתי מדרשות

Apropos the quotation from Isaiah, the Gemara explains the following verse, which states: “And for a spirit of justice to him that sits in judgment and for strength to them that turn back the battle to the gate” (Isaiah 28:6). “And for a spirit of justice”; this is referring to one who brings his evil inclination to trial and forces himself to repent. “To him that sits in judgment”; this is referring to one who judges an absolutely true judgment. “And for strength”; this is referring to one who triumphs over his evil inclination. “Them that turn back the battle”; this is referring to those that give and take in their discussion of halakha in the battle of understanding the Torah. “To the gate”; this is referring to the Torah scholars who arrive early and stay late at the darkened gates of the synagogues and study halls.

אמרה מדת הדין לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם מה נשתנו אלו מאלו אמר לה הקדוש ברוך הוא ישראל עסקו בתורה אומות העולם לא עסקו בתורה

The Gemara continues with an episode associated with a verse in Isaiah. The Attribute of Justice said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, how are these, referring to the Jewish people, different from those, the other nations of the world, such that God performs miracles only on behalf of the Jewish people? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to it: The Jewish people occupied themselves with Torah, whereas the other nations of the world did not occupy themselves with Torah.

אמר ליה גם אלה ביין שגו ובשכר תעו פקו פליליה אין פקו אלא גיהנם שנאמר ולא תהיה זאת לך לפוקה ואין פליליה אלא דיינין שנאמר ונתן בפלילים

The Attribute of Justice said to Him: “These also reel through wine, and stagger through strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel through strong drink, they are confused because of wine, they stagger because of strong drink; they reel in vision, they stumble [paku] in judgment [peliliyya]” (Isaiah 28:7). The word paku in this context is referring only to Gehenna, as it is stated: “That this shall not be a cause of stumbling [puka] to you” (I Samuel 25:31), and the word peliliyya here is referring only to judges, as it is stated: “And he shall pay as the judges determine [bifelilim]” (Exodus 21:22). The response of the Attribute of Justice was essentially that the Jewish people have also sinned and are consequently liable to receive punishment.

ותעמד בחצר בית המלך הפנימית אמר רבי לוי כיון שהגיעה לבית הצלמים נסתלקה הימנה שכינה אמרה אלי אלי למה עזבתני שמא אתה דן על שוגג כמזיד ועל אונס כרצון

§ The Gemara returns to its explanation of the verses of the Megilla. The verse states with regard to Esther: “And she stood in the inner court of the king’s house” (Esther 5:1). Rabbi Levi said: Once she reached the chamber of the idols, which was in the inner court, the Divine Presence left her. She immediately said: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalms 22:2). Perhaps it is because You judge an unintentional sin as one performed intentionally, and an action done due to circumstances beyond one’s control as one done willingly.

או שמא על שקראתיו כלב שנאמר הצילה מחרב נפשי מיד כלב יחידתי חזרה וקראתו אריה שנאמר הושיעני מפי אריה

Or perhaps You have left me because in my prayers I called Haman a dog, as it is stated: “Deliver my soul from the sword; my only one from the hand of the dog” (Psalms 22:21). She at once retracted and called him in her prayers a lion, as it is stated in the following verse: “Save me from the lion’s mouth” (Psalms 22:22).

ויהי כראות המלך את אסתר המלכה אמר רבי יוחנן שלשה מלאכי השרת נזדמנו לה באותה שעה אחד שהגביה את צוארה ואחד שמשך חוט של חסד עליה ואחד שמתח את השרביט

The verse states: “And so it was, that when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand” (Esther 5:2). Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Three ministering angels happened to join her at that time: One that raised up her neck, so that she could stand erect, free of shame; one that strung a cord of divine grace around her, endowing her with charm and beauty; and one that stretched the king’s scepter.

וכמה אמר רבי ירמיה שתי אמות היה והעמידו על שתים עשרה ואמרי לה על שש עשרה ואמרי לה על עשרים וארבע במתניתא תנא על ששים וכן אתה מוצא באמתה של בת פרעה וכן אתה מוצא בשיני רשעים דכתיב שיני רשעים שברת ואמר ריש לקיש אל תקרי שברת אלא שריבבת רבה בר עופרן אמר משום רבי אלעזר ששמע מרבו ורבו מרבו מאתים

How much was it stretched? Rabbi Yirmeya said: The scepter was two cubits, and he made it twelve cubits. And some say that he made it sixteen cubits, and yet others say twenty-four cubits. It was taught in a baraita: He made it sixty cubits. And similarly you find with the arm of Pharaoh’s daughter, which she stretched out to take Moshe. And so too, you find with the teeth of the wicked, as it is written: “You have broken the teeth of the wicked” (Psalms 3:8), with regard to which Reish Lakish said: Do not read it as “You have broken [shibbarta],” but as: You have enlarged [sheribavta]. Rabba bar Oferan said in the name of Rabbi Elazar, who heard it from his teacher, who in turn heard it from his teacher: The scepter was stretched two hundred cubits.

ויאמר לה המלך לאסתר המלכה מה בקשתך עד חצי המלכות ותעש חצי המלכות ולא כל המלכות ולא דבר שחוצץ למלכות ומאי ניהו בנין בית המקדש

The verse states: “Then the king said to her” (Esther 5:3), to Esther the queen, “What is your wish, even to half the kingdom, it shall be performed” (Esther 5:6). The Gemara comments that Ahasuerus intended only a limited offer: Only half the kingdom, but not the whole kingdom, and not something that would serve as a barrier to the kingdom, as there is one thing to which the kingdom will never agree. And what is that? The building of the Temple; if that shall be your wish, realize that it will not be fulfilled.

יבא המלך והמן אל המשתה תנו רבנן מה ראתה אסתר שזימנה את המן רבי אלעזר אומר פחים טמנה לו שנאמר יהי שלחנם לפניהם לפח

The verse states that Esther requested: “If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him” (Esther 5:4). The Sages taught in a baraita: What did Esther see to invite Haman to the banquet? Rabbi Elazar says: She hid a snare for him, as it is stated: “Let their table become a snare before them” (Psalms 69:23), as she assumed that she would be able to trip up Haman during the banquet.

רבי יהושע אומר מבית אביה למדה שנאמר אם רעב שונאך האכילהו לחם וגו׳ רבי מאיר אומר כדי שלא יטול עצה וימרוד

Rabbi Yehoshua says: She learned to do this from the Jewish teachings of her father’s house, as it is stated: “If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat” (Proverbs 25:21). Rabbi Meir says: She invited him in order that he be near her at all times, so that he would not take counsel and rebel against Ahasuerus when he discovered that the king was angry with him.

רבי יהודה אומר כדי שלא יכירו בה שהיא יהודית רבי נחמיה אומר כדי שלא יאמרו ישראל אחות יש לנו בבית המלך ויסיחו דעתן מן הרחמים רבי יוסי אומר כדי שיהא מצוי לה בכל עת רבי שמעון בן מנסיא אומר אולי ירגיש המקום ויעשה לנו נס

Rabbi Yehuda says: She invited Haman so that it not be found out that she was a Jew, as had she distanced him, he would have become suspicious. Rabbi Neḥemya says: She did this so that the Jewish people would not say: We have a sister in the king’s house, and consequently neglect their prayers for divine mercy. Rabbi Yosei says: She acted in this manner, so that Haman would always be on hand for her, as that would enable her to find an opportunity to cause him to stumble before the king. Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya said that Esther said to herself: Perhaps the Omnipresent will take notice that all are supporting Haman and nobody is supporting the Jewish people, and He will perform for us a miracle.

רבי יהושע בן קרחה אומר אסביר לו פנים כדי שיהרג הוא והיא רבן גמליאל אומר מלך הפכפכן היה אמר רבי גמליאל עדיין צריכין אנו למודעי דתניא רבי אליעזר המודעי אומר קנאתו במלך קנאתו בשרים

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa says: She said to herself: I will act kindly toward him and thereby bring the king to suspect that we are having an affair; she did so in order that both he and she would be killed. Essentially, Esther was willing to be killed with Haman in order that the decree would be annulled. Rabban Gamliel says: Ahasuerus was a fickle king, and Esther hoped that if he saw Haman on multiple occasions, eventually he would change his opinion of him. Rabban Gamliel said: We still need the words of Rabbi Eliezer HaModa’i to understand why Esther invited Haman to her banquet. As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer HaModa’i says: She made the king jealous of him and she made the other ministers jealous of him, and in this way she brought about his downfall.

רבה אמר לפני שבר גאון אביי ורבא דאמרי תרוייהו בחומם אשית את משתיהם וגו׳ אשכחיה רבה בר אבוה לאליהו אמר ליה כמאן חזיא אסתר ועבדא הכי אמר ליה ככולהו תנאי וככולהו אמוראי

Rabba says: Esther invited Haman to her banquet in order to fulfill that which is stated: “Pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18), which indicates that in order to destroy the wicked, one must first bring them to pride. It can be understood according to Abaye and Rava, who both say that she invited Haman in order to fulfill the verse: “When they are heated, I will make feasts for them, and I will make them drunk, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep” (Jeremiah 51:39). The Gemara relates that Rabba bar Avuh once happened upon Elijah the Prophet and said to him: In accordance with whose understanding did Esther see fit to act in this manner? What was the true reason behind her invitation? He, Elijah, said to him: Esther was motivated by all the reasons previously mentioned and did so for all the reasons previously stated by the tanna’im and all the reasons stated by the amora’im.

ויספר להם המן את כבוד עשרו ורוב בניו וכמה רוב בניו אמר רב שלשים עשרה מתו ועשרה נתלו ועשרה מחזרין על הפתחים

The verse states: “And Haman recounted to them the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his sons” (Esther 5:11). The Gemara asks: And how many sons did he in fact have that are referred to as “the multitude of his sons”? Rav said: There were thirty sons; ten of them died in childhood, ten of them were hanged as recorded in the book of Esther, and ten survived and were forced to beg at other people’s doors.

ורבנן אמרי אותן שמחזרין על הפתחים שבעים הויא דכתיב שבעים בלחם נשכרו אל תקרי שבעים אלא שבעים

And the Rabbis say: Those that begged at other people’s doors numbered seventy, as it is written: “Those that were full, have hired themselves out for bread” (I Samuel 2:5). Do not read it as: “Those that were full” [seve’im]; rather, read it as seventy [shivim], indicating that there were seventy who “hired themselves out for bread.”

ורמי בר אבא אמר כולן מאתים ושמונה הוו שנאמר ורוב בניו ורוב בגימטריא מאתן וארביסר הוו אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק ורב כתיב

And Rami bar Abba said: All of Haman’s sons together numbered two hundred and eight, as it is stated: “And the multitude [verov] of his sons.” The numerical value of the word verov equals two hundred and eight, alluding to the number of his sons. The Gemara comments: But in fact, the numerical value [gimatriyya] of the word verov equals two hundred and fourteen, not two hundred and eight. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: The word verov is written in the Bible without the second vav, and therefore its numerical value equals two hundred and eight.

בלילה ההוא נדדה שנת המלך אמר רבי תנחום נדדה שנת מלכו של עולם ורבנן אמרי נדדו עליונים נדדו תחתונים רבא אמר שנת המלך אחשורוש ממש

The verse states: “On that night the sleep of the king was disturbed” (Esther 6:1). Rabbi Tanḥum said: The verse alludes to another king who could not sleep; the sleep of the King of the universe, the Holy One, Blessed be He, was disturbed. And the Sages say: The sleep of the higher ones, the angels, was disturbed, and the sleep of the lower ones, the Jewish people, was disturbed. Rava said: This should be understood literally: The sleep of King Ahasuerus was disturbed.

נפלה ליה מילתא בדעתיה אמר מאי דקמן דזמינתיה אסתר להמן דלמא עצה קא שקלי עילויה דההוא גברא למקטליה הדר אמר אי הכי לא הוה גברא דרחים לי דהוה מודע לי הדר אמר דלמא איכא איניש דעבד בי טיבותא ולא פרעתיה משום הכי מימנעי אינשי ולא מגלו לי מיד ויאמר להביא את ספר הזכרונות דברי הימים

And this was the reason Ahasuerus could not sleep: A thought occurred to him and he said to himself: What is this before us that Esther has invited Haman? Perhaps they are conspiring against that man, i.e., against me, to kill him. He then said again to himself: If this is so, is there no man who loves me and would inform me of this conspiracy? He then said again to himself: Perhaps there is some man who has done a favor for me and I have not properly rewarded him, and due to that reason people refrain from revealing to me information regarding such plots, as they see no benefit for themselves. Immediately afterward, the verse states: “And he commanded the book of remembrances of the chronicles to be brought” (Esther 6:1).

ויהיו נקראים מלמד שנקראים מאיליהן וימצא כתוב כתב מבעי ליה מלמד

The verse states: “And they were read before the king” (Esther 6:1). The Gemara explains that this passive form: “And they were read,” teaches that they were read miraculously by themselves. It further says: “And it was found written [katuv]” (Esther 6:2). The Gemara asks: Why does the Megilla use the word katuv, which indicates that it was newly written? It should have said: A writing [ketav] was found, which would indicate that it had been written in the past. The Gemara explains: This teaches

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