Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Skip to content

Today's Daf Yomi

December 28, 2021 | כ״ד 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 16

Today’s daf is sponsored by Jonathan Stein in honor of Rina Goldberg on the occasion of her birthday from her children and grandchildren. “She is a role model for all of us”. 

Today’s daf is sponsored by Sari Esserman in loving memory of her aunt Miriam Monaver Bat Yosef HaCohen.

Acheshverosh found “it was written” about Mordechai having saved his life. The wording sounds like it had been recently written. What aggada is told about this and what can be learned from here? When his officers told him that nothing was done with Mordechai for saving the king’s life, it was to point a finger at Haman for not having taken care of it. The rabbis expanded on the conversation between Haman and Achashverosh when Achashverosh told Haman to ride Mordechai on the king’s horse, etc. What transpired when Haman reached Mordechai – what did Mordechai think? What conversation took place between Haman and the rabbis that were with Mordechai? How and why did Mordechai delay Haman? When Haman’s daughter saw the scene of someone leading another on the king’s horse, she assumed Mordechai was leading her father and she emptied the chamber pot on her father’s head. When she realized her mistake, she fell from the roof and died. Haman’s wise advisors understood that Haman was going to lose the battle to Mordechai – how did they know this? Haman came to the party in disarray as he did not have time after having the chamber pot dumped on him to clean himself up. Esther told Achashverosh at the party that Haman had advised him to kill Vashti and was now trying to kill her. Esther first wanted to point to Achashverosh to accuse him of being wicked but an angel came and moved her to point at Haman. Achashverosh felt threatened by Haman from a few different directions – what were they? In Egypt, Joseph send 5 extra clothes to Binyamin, which was a foretelling of the five clothes that Mordechai, a descendant of Binyamin wore when he left the king’s palace. The Gemara brings drashot about Binyamin and Joseph meeting up after so many years as well as the interaction between Joseph and his brothers after Jacob’s death. “For the Jews there was light, happiness, etc.” What is that verse referring to? The ten sons of Haman in the megillah should be recited in one breath. They are also written in the form of poetry but different than the way most of the poetry in Tanach is written – in two columns one opposite the other, rather than a “half brick on top of a whole brick and a whole brick on a half brick.” The parchment of the megillah needs scoring – where is this derived from? Why was Mordechai accepted by “most of his brothers” and not all of them? It seems that since he was busy with community needs and neglected Torah study, some were not pleased with him. the Gemara brings several statements about the importance of learning Torah.

 

ששמשי מוחק וגבריאל כותב אמר רבי אסי דרש רבי שילא איש כפר תמרתא ומה כתב שלמטה שלזכותן של ישראל אינו נמחק כתב שלמעלה לא כל שכן

that Shimshai, the king’s scribe who hated the Jews (see Ezra 4:17), was erasing the description of Mordecai’s saving the king, and the angel Gavriel was writing it again. Therefore, it was indeed being written in the present. Rabbi Asi said: Rabbi Sheila, a man of the village of Timarta, taught: If something written down below in this world that is for the benefit of the Jewish people cannot be erased, is it not all the more so the case that something written up above in Heaven cannot be erased?

לא נעשה עמו דבר אמר רבא לא מפני שאוהבין את מרדכי אלא מפני ששונאים את המן

The verse states that Ahasuerus was told with regard to Mordecai: “Nothing has been done for him” (Esther 6:3). Rava said: It is not because they love Mordecai that the king’s servants said this, but rather because they hate Haman.

הכין לו תנא לו הכין

The verse states: “Now Haman had come into the outer court of the king’s house, to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him” (Esther 6:4). A Sage taught in a baraita: This should be understood to mean: On the gallows that he had prepared for himself.

ועשה כן למרדכי אמר ליה מנו מרדכי אמר ליה היהודי אמר ליה טובא מרדכי איכא ביהודאי אמר ליה היושב בשער המלך

The verse relates that Ahasuerus ordered Haman to fulfill his idea of the proper way to honor one who the king desires to glorify by parading him around on the king’s horse while wearing the royal garments: “And do so to Mordecai the Jew who sits at the king’s gate, let nothing fail of all that you have spoken” (Esther 6:10). The Gemara explains that when Ahasuerus said to Haman: “And do so to Mordecai,” Haman said to him in an attempt to evade the order: Who is Mordecai? Ahasuerus said to him: “The Jew.” Haman then said to him: There are several men named Mordecai among the Jews. Ahasuerus then said to him: I refer to the one “who sits at the king’s gate.”

אמר ליה סגי ליה בחד דיסקרתא אי נמי בחד נהרא אמר ליה הא נמי הב ליה אל תפל דבר מכל אשר דברת

Haman said to him: Why award him such a great honor? It would certainly be enough for him to receive one village [disekarta] as an estate, or one river for the levy of taxes. Ahasuerus said to him: This too you must give him. “Let nothing fail of all that you have spoken,” i.e., provide him with all that you proposed and spoke about in addition to what I had said.

ויקח המן את הלבוש ואת הסוס אזל אשכחיה דיתבי רבנן קמיה ומחוי להו הלכות קמיצה לרבנן כיון דחזייה מרדכי דאפיק לקבליה וסוסיה מיחד בידיה מירתת אמר להו לרבנן האי רשיעא למיקטל נפשי קא אתי זילו מקמיה די לא תכוו בגחלתו בההיא שעתא נתעטף מרדכי וקם ליה לצלותא אתא המן ויתיב ליה קמייהו ואוריך עד דסליק מרדכי לצלותיה

The Gemara describes what occurred as Haman went to follow the king’s orders, as the verse states: “Then Haman took the apparel and the horse” (Esther 6:11). When he went, he found Mordecai as the Sages were sitting before him, and he was demonstrating to them the halakhot of the handful, i.e., the scooping out of a handful of flour from the meal-offering in order to burn it on the altar. Once Mordecai saw him coming toward him with his horse’s reins held in his hands, he became frightened, and he said to the Sages: This evil man has come to kill me. Go away from him so that you should not get burnt from his coals, i.e., that you should not suffer harm as well. At that moment Mordecai wrapped himself in his prayer shawl and stood up to pray. Haman came over to where they were and sat down before them and waited until Mordecai finished his prayer.

אמר להו במאי עסקיתו אמרו ליה בזמן שבית המקדש קיים מאן דמנדב מנחה מייתי מלי קומציה דסולתא ומתכפר ליה אמר להו אתא מלי קומצי קמחא דידכו ודחי עשרה אלפי ככרי כספא דידי אמר ליה רשע עבד שקנה נכסים עבד למי ונכסים למי

In the interim, as he waited, Haman said to the other Sages: With what were you occupied? They said to him: When the Temple is standing, one who pledges a meal-offering would bring a handful of fine flour and achieve atonement with it. He said to them: Your handful of fine flour has come and cast aside my ten thousand pieces of silver, which I had pledged toward the destruction of the Jewish people. When Mordecai finished praying, he said to Haman: Wicked man, when a slave buys property, to whom belongs the slave and to whom belongs the property? As I once bought you as a slave, what silver can be yours?

אמר ליה קום לבוש הני מאני ורכוב האי סוסיא דבעי לך מלכא אמר ליה לא יכילנא עד דעיילנא לבי בני ואשקול למזייא דלאו אורח ארעא לאשתמושי במאני דמלכא הכי

Haman said to him: Stand up, put on these garments and ride on this horse, for the king wants you to do so. Mordecai said to him: I cannot do so until I enter the bathhouse [bei vanei] and trim my hair, for it is not proper conduct to use the king’s garments in this state that I am in now.

שדרה אסתר ואסרתינהו לכולהו בי בני ולכולהו אומני עייליה איהו לבי בני ואסחיה ואזיל ואייתי זוזא מביתיה וקא שקיל ביה מזייה בהדי דקא שקיל ליה אינגד ואיתנח אמר ליה אמאי קא מיתנחת אמר ליה גברא דהוה חשיב ליה למלכא מכולהו רברבנוהי השתא לישוייה בלאני וספר אמר ליה רשע ולאו ספר של כפר קרצום היית תנא המן ספר של כפר קרצום היה עשרים ושתים שנה

In the meantime, Esther sent messengers and closed all the bathhouses and all the shops of the craftsmen, including the bloodletters and barbers. When Haman saw that there was nobody else to do the work, he himself took Mordecai into the bathhouse and washed him, and then he went and brought scissors [zuza] from his house and trimmed his hair. While he was trimming his hair he injured himself and sighed. Mordecai said to him: Why do you sigh? Haman said to him: The man whom the king had once regarded above all his other ministers is now made a bathhouse attendant [balanei] and a barber. Mordecai said to him: Wicked man, were you not once the barber of the village of Kartzum? If so, why do you sigh? You have merely returned to the occupation of your youth. It was taught in a baraita: Haman was the barber of the village of Kartzum for twenty-two years.

בתר דשקלינהו למזייה לבשינהו למאניה אמר ליה סק ורכב אמר ליה לא יכילנא דכחישא חילאי מימי תעניתא גחין וסליק כי סליק בעט ביה אמר ליה לא כתיב לכו בנפל אויבך אל תשמח אמר ליה הני מילי בישראל אבל בדידכו כתיב ואתה על במותימו תדרוך

After Haman trimmed his hair, Haman dressed Mordecai in the royal garments. Haman then said to him: Mount the horse and ride. Mordecai said to him: I am unable, as my strength has waned from the days of fasting that I observed. Haman then stooped down before him and Mordecai ascended on him. As he was ascending the horse, Mordecai gave Haman a kick. Haman said to him: Is it not written for you: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls” (Proverbs 24:17)? Mordecai said to him: This statement applies only to Jews, but with regard to you it is written: “And you shall tread upon their high places” (Deuteronomy 33:29).

ויקרא לפניו ככה יעשה לאיש אשר המלך חפץ ביקרו כי הוה נקיט ואזיל בשבילא דבי המן חזיתיה ברתיה דקיימא אאיגרא סברה האי דרכיב אבוה והאי דמסגי קמיה מרדכי שקלה עציצא דבית הכסא ושדיתיה ארישא דאבוה דלי עיניה וחזת דאבוה הוא נפלה מאיגרא לארעא ומתה

The verse states: “And he proclaimed before him: Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor” (Esther 6:11). As Haman was taking Mordecai along the street of Haman’s house, Haman’s daughter was standing on the roof and saw the spectacle. She thought to herself that the one who is riding on the horse must be her father, and the one walking before him must be Mordecai. She then took a chamber pot full of feces and cast its contents onto the head of her father, whom she mistakenly took as Mordecai. When Haman raised his eyes in disgust afterward, and looked up at his daughter, she saw that he was her father. In her distress, she fell from the roof to the ground and died.

והיינו דכתיב וישב מרדכי אל שער המלך אמר רב ששת ששב לשקו ולתעניתו והמן נדחף אל ביתו אבל וחפוי ראש אבל על בתו וחפוי ראש על שאירע לו

And this is as it is written: “And Mordecai returned to the king’s gate” (Esther 6:12). Rav Sheshet said: This means that he returned to his sackcloth and his fasting over the troubles of the Jewish people. Simultaneously, “but Haman hastened to his house, mourning, and having his head covered” (Esther 6:12). “Mourning”; over the death of his daughter. “And having his head covered”; due to what had happened to him, as his head was full of filth.

ויספר המן לזרש אשתו ולכל אוהביו וגו׳ קרי להו אוהביו וקרי להו חכמיו אמר רבי יוחנן כל האומר דבר חכמה אפילו באומות העולם נקרא חכם

The following verse states: “And Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and to all his friends everything that had befallen him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him: If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, be of the seed of the Jews, then you will not prevail over him, but you shall fall before him” (Esther 6:13). The Gemara comments: At the beginning of the verse it calls them “his friends,” and in the continuation of the verse it calls them “his wise men.” Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Whoever says something wise, even if he is from the nations of the world, is called a wise man.

אם מזרע היהודים מרדכי וגו׳ אמרו ליה אי משאר שבטים קאתי יכלת ליה ואי משבט יהודה ובנימין ואפרים ומנשה לא יכלת ליה יהודה דכתיב ידך בערף אויביך אינך דכתיב בהו לפני אפרים ובנימין ומנשה עוררה את גבורתך

The Gemara explains that their wise remark, which earned them their distinction, is contained in their advice: “If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews [Yehudim], then you will not prevail over him” (Esther 6:13). The word Yehudim can also refer to people from the tribe of Judah. Haman’s wise men thereby said to him: If he descends from the other tribes, you can still prevail over him, but if he descends from the tribe of either Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, or Manasseh, you cannot prevail over him. With regard to Judah, the proof of this is as it is written: “Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies” (Genesis 49:8), indicating that Judah will emerge victorious over his enemies. And the proof that Haman cannot prevail over the others that were mentioned is as it is written with regard to them: “Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your might” (Psalms 80:3).

כי נפול תפול לפניו דרש רבי יהודה בר אלעאי שתי נפילות הללו למה אמרו לו אומה זו משולה לעפר ומשולה לכוכבים כשהן יורדין יורדין עד עפר וכשהן עולין עולין עד לכוכבים

The wise men continued: “But you shall fall [nafol tippol] before him” (Esther 6:13). Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai interpreted a verse homiletically: Why are these two fallings, nafol and tippol, mentioned here? The wise men said to Haman: This Jewish nation is compared in the Bible to the dust of the earth and it is also compared to the stars in heaven. This teaches you that when they descend, they descend to the dust, and when they rise, they rise to the stars. Accordingly, when Mordecai is on the rise, you will be utterly incapable of prevailing over him.

וסריסי המלך הגיעו ויבהילו מלמד שהביאוהו בבהלה

The next verse states: “The king’s chamberlains came, and they hastened [vayavhilu] to bring Haman” (Esther 6:14). This teaches that they brought him in disarray [behala], not even giving him a chance to wash himself from the filth.

כי נמכרנו אני ועמי וגו׳ כי אין הצר שוה בנזק המלך אמרה לו צר זה אינו שוה בנזק של מלך איקני בה בושתי וקטלה השתא איקני בדידי ומבעי למקטלי

During the banquet Esther said to Ahasuerus: “For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to be annihilated. But if we had been sold merely for bondmen and bondwomen, I would have held my tongue, since the affliction [tzar] would not have been worth [eino shoveh] the damage to the king” (Esther 7:4). The Gemara explains that she said to him: This adversary [tzar] is not concerned [eino shoveh] about the damage that he is constantly causing to the king. First he was jealous of Vashti and killed her, as it has been explained that Memucan, who suggesting killing Vashti, was Haman; now he is jealous of me and desires to kill me.

ויאמר המלך אחשורוש ויאמר לאסתר המלכה ויאמר ויאמר למה לי אמר רבי אבהו בתחלה על ידי תורגמן כיון דאמרה ליה מדבית שאול קאתינא מיד ויאמר לאסתר המלכה

The verse states: “Then said the king Ahasuerus and said to Esther the queen” (Esther 7:5). The Gemara asks: Why do I need it to say “said” and again “said”? Rabbi Abbahu said: At first he spoke to her through the translator, who would interpret on his behalf, because he thought that she was a common woman of lowly ancestry. Once she told him that she came from the house of Saul, immediately it says: “And said to Esther the queen.” Ahasuerus himself spoke to her, as if she had royal lineage, she was a woman befitting his status.

ותאמר אסתר איש צר ואויב המן הרע הזה אמר רבי אלעזר מלמד שהיתה מחווה כלפי אחשורוש ובא מלאך וסטר ידה כלפי המן

The next verse states: “And Esther said: An adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman” (Esther 7:6). Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches that she was in fact pointing toward Ahasuerus, indicating that in fact he was an adversary and enemy, and an angel came and pushed her hand toward Haman.

והמלך קם בחמתו וגו׳ והמלך שב מגנת הביתן מקיש שיבה לקימה מה קימה בחימה אף שיבה בחימה דאזל ואשכח למלאכי השרת דאידמו ליה כגברי וקא עקרי לאילני דבוסתני ואמר להו מאי עובדייכו אמרו ליה דפקדינן המן

The verse states: “And the king arose from the banquet of wine in his wrath and went into the palace garden” (Esther 7:7), and the next verse states: “Then the king returned out of the palace garden to the place of the wine drinking” (Esther 7:8). The Gemara comments: The verses here compare his returning to his arising: Just as his arising was in wrath, so too, his returning was in wrath. And why did he return in wrath? For when he went out he found ministering angels who appeared to him as people and they were uprooting trees from the garden, and he said to them: What are you doing? They said to him: Haman commanded us to do this.

אתא לביתיה והמן נופל על המטה נופל נפל מיבעי ליה אמר רבי אלעזר מלמד שבא מלאך והפילו עליה אמר ויי מביתא ויי מברא ויאמר המלך הגם לכבוש את המלכה עמי בבית

And when he entered his house he saw that “Haman was falling upon the bed” (Esther 7:8). The Gemara asks: Why does it say “was falling” [nofel] in the present tense, implying that he was currently falling? It should have said “fell” [nafal] in the past tense. Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches that an angel came and pushed him down on it, and every time he would try to stand up, the angel would push him down again. Ahasuerus said: Woe unto me in the house and woe unto me outside, as the verse continues: “Then the king said: Will he even force the queen before me in the house?” (Esther 7:8).

ויאמר חרבונה וגו׳ אמר רבי אלעזר אף חרבונה רשע באותה עצה היה כיון שראה שלא נתקיימה עצתו מיד ברח והיינו דכתיב וישלך עליו ולא יחמול מידו ברוח יברח

“And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman has made for Mordecai, who spoke good for the king, stands in the house of Haman” (Esther 7:9). Rabbi Elazar said: Harbonah was also wicked and involved in that plot, as he too wanted Mordecai executed. Once he saw that his plot had not succeeded, he immediately fled and joined Mordecai’s side. And this is the meaning of that which is written: “It hurls itself at him, and does not spare; he would fain flee out of its hand” (Job 27:22), indicating that when God sends calamity upon a wicked person, his friends immediately flee from him.

וחמת המלך שככה שתי שכיכות הללו למה אחת של מלכו של עולם ואחת של אחשורוש ואמרי לה אחת של אסתר ואחת של ושתי

The verse states: “Then the king’s wrath was assuaged [shakhakha]” (Esther 7:10). The Gemara asks: Why are there two assuagings here? The term shakhakha is used rather than shaka and indicates doubled wrath. There was one assuaging of the wrath of the King of the universe, and one of the wrath of Ahasuerus. And some say: Ahasuerus’s wrath burned within him for two reasons; one due to Haman’s involvement with Esther, and one due to his involvement with Vashti, and now they were both assuaged.

לכלם נתן לאיש חליפות שמלות ולבנימן נתן חמש חליפות אפשר דבר שנצטער בו אותו צדיק

Before continuing its midrashic interpretation of the rest of the book of Esther, the Gemara expounds a verse concerning Joseph that relates to the Megilla: “To all of them he gave each man changes of clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of clothing” (Genesis 45:22). The Gemara asks: Is it possible that in the very thing from which that righteous man Joseph had suffered, as his father’s show of favoritism toward him aroused the enmity of his brothers,

יכשל בו דאמר רבא בר מחסיא אמר רב חמא בר גוריא אמר רב בשביל משקל שני סלעים מילת שהוסיף יעקב ליוסף משאר אחיו נתגלגל הדבר וירדו אבותינו למצרים אמר רבי בנימן בר יפת רמז רמז לו שעתיד בן לצאת ממנו שיצא מלפני המלך בחמשה לבושי מלכות שנאמר ומרדכי יצא בלבוש מלכות תכלת וגו׳

he himself should stumble by showing favoritism to Benjamin? As Rava bar Meḥaseyya said that Rav Ḥama bar Gurya said that Rav said: Due to the weight of two sela of fine wool that Jacob gave to Joseph, which he added to what he gave Joseph beyond what he gave the rest of his brothers, as he made him his special coat, the story progressed and our forefathers went down to Egypt. How then could Joseph have displayed similar favoritism toward Benjamin? Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said: He was not showing favoritism. Rather, he intimated to him that a descendant was destined to issue from him who would go out from the presence of the king wearing five royal garments, as it is stated: “And Mordecai went forth from the presence of the king in royal apparel of sky blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a wrap of fine linen and purple” (Esther 8:15).

ויפול על צוארי בנימן אחיו כמה צוארין הוו ליה לבנימין אמר רבי אלעזר בכה על שני מקדשים שעתידין להיות בחלקו של בנימין ועתידין ליחרב ובנימין בכה על צואריו בכה על משכן שילה שעתיד להיות בחלקו של יוסף ועתיד ליחרב

The Gemara elaborates on certain elements in the story of Joseph and his brothers. The verse states with regard to Joseph: “And he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck [tzavarei] and wept” (Genesis 45:14). The wording of the verse gives rise to a question, as the word tzavarei is plural, meaning necks: How many necks did Benjamin have, such that the verse should use the plural tzavarei rather than the singular tzavar? Rabbi Elazar said: This intimates that Joseph cried over the two Temples that were destined to be in the tribal territory of Benjamin and were destined to be destroyed. The same verse continues: “And Benjamin wept on his neck” (Genesis 45:14); he cried over the tabernacle of Shiloh that was destined to be in the tribal territory of Joseph and was destined to be destroyed.

והנה עיניכם רואות ועיני אחי בנימין אמר רבי אלעזר אמר להם כשם שאין בלבי על בנימין אחי שלא היה במכירתי כך אין בלבי עליכם כי פי המדבר אליכם כפי כן לבי

The verse states: “And behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin” (Genesis 45:12). Rabbi Elazar said: Joseph said to his brothers as follows: Just as I certainly harbor no resentment in my heart toward my brother Benjamin, for he was not even present when I was sold, so too, I harbor no resentment toward you. The verse continues: “That it is my mouth [ki fi] that speaks to you” (Genesis 45:12), i.e., As my mouth [kefi] is, so is my heart.

ולאביו שלח כזאת עשרה חמורים נושאים מטוב מצרים מאי מטוב מצרים אמר רבי בנימין בר יפת אמר רבי אלעזר שלח לו יין [ישן] שדעת זקנים נוחה הימנו

The verse states: “And to his father he sent after this manner ten donkeys laden with the good things of Egypt” (Genesis 45:23). The Gemara asks: What are “the good things of Egypt” that are mentioned but not specified here? Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said that Rabbi Elazar said: He sent him aged wine, which the elderly find pleasing.

וילכו גם אחיו ויפלו לפניו אמר רבי בנימין בר יפת אמר רבי אלעזר היינו דאמרי אינשי תעלא בעידניה סגיד ליה

Following Jacob’s death, it states concerning Joseph: “And his brothers even went and fell down before him” (Genesis 50:18). Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said that Rabbi Elazar said: This explains the folk saying that people say: When the fox is in its hour, bow down to it, i.e., if a fox is appointed king, one must bow down before and submit oneself to it.

תעלא מאי בצירותיה מאחווה אלא אי איתמר הכי איתמר וישתחו ישראל על ראש המטה אמר רבי בנימין בר יפת אמר רבי אלעזר תעלא בעידניה סגיד ליה

The Gemara expresses astonishment at the use of this parable: Are you calling Joseph a fox? What, was he inferior to his brothers such that in relation to them you call him a fox? Rather, if such a statement was stated, it was stated as follows, not in connection with this verse, but rather in connection with a different verse. The verse states: “And Israel bowed himself upon the head of the bed” (Genesis 47:31). With regard to this, Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said that Rabbi Elazar said: When the fox is in its hour, bow down to it, as Jacob had to bow down before his son Joseph, who had reached greatness.

וינחם אותם וידבר על לבם אמר רבי בנימין בר יפת אמר רבי אלעזר מלמד שאמר להם דברים שמתקבלין על הלב ומה עשרה נרות לא יכלו לכבות נר אחד נר אחד היאך יכול לכבות עשרה נרות

It says with regard to Joseph’s remarks to his brothers: “And he comforted them and spoke to their hearts” (Genesis 50:21). Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said that Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches that he spoke to them words that are acceptable to the heart, and alleviated their fears. This is what he said: If ten lights could not put out one light, as all of you were unable to do me harm, how can one light put out ten lights?

ליהודים היתה אורה ושמחה וששון ויקר אמר רב יהודה אורה זו תורה וכן הוא אומר כי נר מצוה ותורה אור שמחה זה יום טוב וכן הוא אומר ושמחת בחגך ששון זו מילה וכן הוא אומר שש אנכי על אמרתך

§ The Gemara returns to its explanation of the Megilla. The verse states: “The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor” (Esther 8:16). Rav Yehuda said: “Light”; this is referring to the Torah that they once again studied. And similarly it says: “For the mitzva is a lamp and the Torah is light” (Proverbs 6:23). “Gladness” [simḥa]; this is referring to the Festivals that they once again observed. And similarly it says: “And you shall be glad [vesamakhta] on your Festival” (Deuteronomy 16:14). “Joy” [sasson]; this is referring to circumcision, as they once again circumcised their sons. And similarly it says: “I rejoice [sas] at Your word” (Psalms 119:162), which the Sages understood as referring to David’s rejoicing over the mitzva of circumcision.

ויקר אלו תפלין וכן הוא אומר וראו כל עמי הארץ כי שם ה׳ נקרא עליך ויראו ממך ותניא רבי אליעזר הגדול אומר אלו תפלין שבראש

“Honor”; this is referring to phylacteries, which they once again donned. And similarly it says: “And all peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord; and they will be afraid of you” (Deuteronomy 28:10). And it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer the Great said: This is referring to the phylacteries worn on the head. Haman had banned the fulfillment of all the mitzvot mentioned, but upon Haman’s demise the Jews returned to their observance.

ואת פרשנדתא וגו׳ עשרת בני המן אמר רב אדא דמן יפו עשרת בני המן ועשרת צריך לממרינהו בנשימה אחת מאי טעמא כולהו בהדי הדדי נפקו נשמתייהו אמר רבי יוחנן ויו דויזתא צריך למימתחה בזקיפא כמורדיא דלברות מאי טעמא כולהו בחד זקיפא אזדקיפו

The verse states: “And in Shushan the capital the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. And Parshandatha…and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman” (Esther 9:6–10). Rav Adda from Jaffa said: When reading the Megilla, the names of the ten sons of Haman and the word “ten” must be said in one breath. What is the reason for this? It is that their souls all departed together. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The letter vav in the name “Vaizatha” is a lengthened vav and must be elongated as a pole, like a steering oar of a ship [liberot]. What is the reason for this? To indicate that they were all hanged on one pole.

אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא דרש רבי שילא איש כפר תמרתא כל השירות כולן נכתבות אריח על גבי לבינה ולבינה על גבי אריח

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa said that Rabbi Sheila, a man of the village of Timarta, interpreted a verse homiletically: All of the songs in the Bible are written in the form of a half brick arranged upon a whole brick and a whole brick arranged upon a half brick, i.e., each line of the song is divided into a stitch of text, referred to as a half brick, which is separated by a blank space, referred to as a whole brick, from the concluding stitch of that line of text.

חוץ משירה זו ומלכי כנען שאריח על גבי אריח ולבינה על גבי לבינה מאי טעמא שלא תהא תקומה למפלתן

The next line of the song inverts the sequence. This is the principle for all songs in the Bible except for this song, referring to the list of Haman’s sons, and the song listing the kings of Canaan who were defeated by Joshua. These two songs are written in the form of a half brick arranged upon a half brick and a whole brick arranged upon a whole brick, i.e., one stitch of text over another, and one blank space over another. What is the reason that these two songs are written in this anomalous fashion? So that they should never rise from their downfall. Just as a wall that is built in this manner will not stand, so too, these individuals should have no resurgence.

ויאמר המלך לאסתר המלכה בשושן הבירה הרגו היהודים אמר רבי אבהו מלמד שבא מלאך וסטרו על פיו

The verse states: “And the king said to Esther the queen: The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the capital, and also the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition and it shall be granted to you; and what more do you request, and it shall be done” (Esther 9:12). Rabbi Abbahu said: This teaches that an angel came and slapped him on his mouth, so that he was unable to finish what he was saying; he started with a complaint about what the Jews were doing, but ended on an entirely different note.

ובבאה לפני המלך אמר עם הספר אמר אמרה מיבעי ליה אמר רבי יוחנן אמרה לו יאמר בפה מה שכתוב בספר

The verse states: “But when she came before the king, he said with a letter” (Esther 9:25). Why does it say: “He said”? It should have said: “She said,” as it was Esther who changed the decree. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: She said to Ahasuerus: Let it be said by word of mouth, indicating that that which is written in the letter should also be ordered verbally.

דברי שלום ואמת אמר רבי תנחום ואמרי לה אמר רבי אסי מלמד שצריכה שרטוט כאמיתה של תורה

With regard to what is stated: “Words of peace and truth” (Esther 9:30), Rabbi Tanḥum said, and some say that Rabbi Asi said: This teaches that a Megilla scroll requires scoring, i.e., that the lines for the text must be scored onto the parchment, as the Torah itself, i.e., as is done in a Torah scroll.

ומאמר אסתר קיים מאמר אסתר אין דברי הצומות לא אמר רבי יוחנן דברי הצומות ומאמר אסתר קיים (את ימי) הפורים האלה

The verses say: “The matters of the fasts and their cry. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim” (Esther 9:31–32). The Gemara asks: Should we say that “the decree of Esther” indeed confirmed these matters of Purim, but “the matters of the fasts” did not? But didn’t the fasts also contribute to the miracle? Rabbi Yoḥanan said: These two verses, “The matters of the fasts and their cry. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim,” should be read as one.

כי מרדכי היהודי משנה למלך אחשורוש וגדול ליהודים ורצוי לרוב אחיו לרוב אחיו ולא לכל אחיו מלמד שפירשו ממנו מקצת סנהדרין

The verse states: “For Mordecai the Jew was second to the king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted by the majority of his brethren” (Esther 10:3). The Gemara comments: The verse indicates that Mordecai was accepted only “By the majority of his brethren,” but not by all his brethren. This teaches that some members of the Sanhedrin parted from him, because he occupied himself with community needs, and was therefore compelled to neglect his Torah study. They felt that this was a mistake and that he should have remained active on the Sanhedrin.

אמר רב יוסף גדול תלמוד תורה יותר מהצלת נפשות דמעיקרא חשיב ליה למרדכי בתר ארבעה ולבסוף בתר חמשה מעיקרא כתיב אשר באו עם זרובבל ישוע נחמיה שריה רעליה מרדכי בלשן ולבסוף כתיב הבאים עם זרובבל ישוע נחמיה עזריה רעמיה נחמני מרדכי בלשן

Rav Yosef said: Studying Torah is greater than saving lives, as initially, when listing the Jewish leaders who came to Eretz Yisrael, Mordecai was mentioned after four other people, but at the end he was listed after five. This is taken to indicate that his involvement in governmental affairs instead of in Torah study lowered his stature one notch. The Gemara proves this: At first it is written: “Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan” (Ezra 2:2); but in the end in a later list it is written: “Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahmani, Mordecai, Bilshan” (Nehemiah 7:7).

אמר רב ואיתימא רב שמואל בר מרתא גדול תלמוד תורה יותר מבנין בית המקדש שכל זמן שברוך בן נריה קיים לא הניחו עזרא ועלה

Rav said, and some say that Rav Shmuel bar Marta said: Studying Torah is greater and more important that building the Temple. A proof of this is that for as long as Baruch ben Neriah was alive in Babylonia, Ezra, who was his disciple, did not leave him and go up to Eretz Yisrael to build the Temple.

אמר רבה אמר רב יצחק בר שמואל בר מרתא גדול תלמוד תורה יותר מכבוד אב ואם שכל אותן שנים שהיה יעקב אבינו בבית עבר לא נענש דאמר מר

Rabba said that Rav Yitzḥak bar Shmuel bar Marta said: Studying Torah is greater and more important than honoring one’s father and mother, and a proof of this is that for all those years that our father Jacob spent in the house of Eber and studied Torah there he was not punished for having neglected to fulfill the mitzva of honoring one’s parents. As the Master said:

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.

Want to explore more about the Daf?

See insights from our partners, contributors and community of women learners

learn daf yomi one week at a time with tamara spitz

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...

Megillah 16

The William Davidson Talmud | Powered by Sefaria

Megillah 16

ששמשי מוחק וגבריאל כותב אמר רבי אסי דרש רבי שילא איש כפר תמרתא ומה כתב שלמטה שלזכותן של ישראל אינו נמחק כתב שלמעלה לא כל שכן

that Shimshai, the king’s scribe who hated the Jews (see Ezra 4:17), was erasing the description of Mordecai’s saving the king, and the angel Gavriel was writing it again. Therefore, it was indeed being written in the present. Rabbi Asi said: Rabbi Sheila, a man of the village of Timarta, taught: If something written down below in this world that is for the benefit of the Jewish people cannot be erased, is it not all the more so the case that something written up above in Heaven cannot be erased?

לא נעשה עמו דבר אמר רבא לא מפני שאוהבין את מרדכי אלא מפני ששונאים את המן

The verse states that Ahasuerus was told with regard to Mordecai: “Nothing has been done for him” (Esther 6:3). Rava said: It is not because they love Mordecai that the king’s servants said this, but rather because they hate Haman.

הכין לו תנא לו הכין

The verse states: “Now Haman had come into the outer court of the king’s house, to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him” (Esther 6:4). A Sage taught in a baraita: This should be understood to mean: On the gallows that he had prepared for himself.

ועשה כן למרדכי אמר ליה מנו מרדכי אמר ליה היהודי אמר ליה טובא מרדכי איכא ביהודאי אמר ליה היושב בשער המלך

The verse relates that Ahasuerus ordered Haman to fulfill his idea of the proper way to honor one who the king desires to glorify by parading him around on the king’s horse while wearing the royal garments: “And do so to Mordecai the Jew who sits at the king’s gate, let nothing fail of all that you have spoken” (Esther 6:10). The Gemara explains that when Ahasuerus said to Haman: “And do so to Mordecai,” Haman said to him in an attempt to evade the order: Who is Mordecai? Ahasuerus said to him: “The Jew.” Haman then said to him: There are several men named Mordecai among the Jews. Ahasuerus then said to him: I refer to the one “who sits at the king’s gate.”

אמר ליה סגי ליה בחד דיסקרתא אי נמי בחד נהרא אמר ליה הא נמי הב ליה אל תפל דבר מכל אשר דברת

Haman said to him: Why award him such a great honor? It would certainly be enough for him to receive one village [disekarta] as an estate, or one river for the levy of taxes. Ahasuerus said to him: This too you must give him. “Let nothing fail of all that you have spoken,” i.e., provide him with all that you proposed and spoke about in addition to what I had said.

ויקח המן את הלבוש ואת הסוס אזל אשכחיה דיתבי רבנן קמיה ומחוי להו הלכות קמיצה לרבנן כיון דחזייה מרדכי דאפיק לקבליה וסוסיה מיחד בידיה מירתת אמר להו לרבנן האי רשיעא למיקטל נפשי קא אתי זילו מקמיה די לא תכוו בגחלתו בההיא שעתא נתעטף מרדכי וקם ליה לצלותא אתא המן ויתיב ליה קמייהו ואוריך עד דסליק מרדכי לצלותיה

The Gemara describes what occurred as Haman went to follow the king’s orders, as the verse states: “Then Haman took the apparel and the horse” (Esther 6:11). When he went, he found Mordecai as the Sages were sitting before him, and he was demonstrating to them the halakhot of the handful, i.e., the scooping out of a handful of flour from the meal-offering in order to burn it on the altar. Once Mordecai saw him coming toward him with his horse’s reins held in his hands, he became frightened, and he said to the Sages: This evil man has come to kill me. Go away from him so that you should not get burnt from his coals, i.e., that you should not suffer harm as well. At that moment Mordecai wrapped himself in his prayer shawl and stood up to pray. Haman came over to where they were and sat down before them and waited until Mordecai finished his prayer.

אמר להו במאי עסקיתו אמרו ליה בזמן שבית המקדש קיים מאן דמנדב מנחה מייתי מלי קומציה דסולתא ומתכפר ליה אמר להו אתא מלי קומצי קמחא דידכו ודחי עשרה אלפי ככרי כספא דידי אמר ליה רשע עבד שקנה נכסים עבד למי ונכסים למי

In the interim, as he waited, Haman said to the other Sages: With what were you occupied? They said to him: When the Temple is standing, one who pledges a meal-offering would bring a handful of fine flour and achieve atonement with it. He said to them: Your handful of fine flour has come and cast aside my ten thousand pieces of silver, which I had pledged toward the destruction of the Jewish people. When Mordecai finished praying, he said to Haman: Wicked man, when a slave buys property, to whom belongs the slave and to whom belongs the property? As I once bought you as a slave, what silver can be yours?

אמר ליה קום לבוש הני מאני ורכוב האי סוסיא דבעי לך מלכא אמר ליה לא יכילנא עד דעיילנא לבי בני ואשקול למזייא דלאו אורח ארעא לאשתמושי במאני דמלכא הכי

Haman said to him: Stand up, put on these garments and ride on this horse, for the king wants you to do so. Mordecai said to him: I cannot do so until I enter the bathhouse [bei vanei] and trim my hair, for it is not proper conduct to use the king’s garments in this state that I am in now.

שדרה אסתר ואסרתינהו לכולהו בי בני ולכולהו אומני עייליה איהו לבי בני ואסחיה ואזיל ואייתי זוזא מביתיה וקא שקיל ביה מזייה בהדי דקא שקיל ליה אינגד ואיתנח אמר ליה אמאי קא מיתנחת אמר ליה גברא דהוה חשיב ליה למלכא מכולהו רברבנוהי השתא לישוייה בלאני וספר אמר ליה רשע ולאו ספר של כפר קרצום היית תנא המן ספר של כפר קרצום היה עשרים ושתים שנה

In the meantime, Esther sent messengers and closed all the bathhouses and all the shops of the craftsmen, including the bloodletters and barbers. When Haman saw that there was nobody else to do the work, he himself took Mordecai into the bathhouse and washed him, and then he went and brought scissors [zuza] from his house and trimmed his hair. While he was trimming his hair he injured himself and sighed. Mordecai said to him: Why do you sigh? Haman said to him: The man whom the king had once regarded above all his other ministers is now made a bathhouse attendant [balanei] and a barber. Mordecai said to him: Wicked man, were you not once the barber of the village of Kartzum? If so, why do you sigh? You have merely returned to the occupation of your youth. It was taught in a baraita: Haman was the barber of the village of Kartzum for twenty-two years.

בתר דשקלינהו למזייה לבשינהו למאניה אמר ליה סק ורכב אמר ליה לא יכילנא דכחישא חילאי מימי תעניתא גחין וסליק כי סליק בעט ביה אמר ליה לא כתיב לכו בנפל אויבך אל תשמח אמר ליה הני מילי בישראל אבל בדידכו כתיב ואתה על במותימו תדרוך

After Haman trimmed his hair, Haman dressed Mordecai in the royal garments. Haman then said to him: Mount the horse and ride. Mordecai said to him: I am unable, as my strength has waned from the days of fasting that I observed. Haman then stooped down before him and Mordecai ascended on him. As he was ascending the horse, Mordecai gave Haman a kick. Haman said to him: Is it not written for you: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls” (Proverbs 24:17)? Mordecai said to him: This statement applies only to Jews, but with regard to you it is written: “And you shall tread upon their high places” (Deuteronomy 33:29).

ויקרא לפניו ככה יעשה לאיש אשר המלך חפץ ביקרו כי הוה נקיט ואזיל בשבילא דבי המן חזיתיה ברתיה דקיימא אאיגרא סברה האי דרכיב אבוה והאי דמסגי קמיה מרדכי שקלה עציצא דבית הכסא ושדיתיה ארישא דאבוה דלי עיניה וחזת דאבוה הוא נפלה מאיגרא לארעא ומתה

The verse states: “And he proclaimed before him: Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor” (Esther 6:11). As Haman was taking Mordecai along the street of Haman’s house, Haman’s daughter was standing on the roof and saw the spectacle. She thought to herself that the one who is riding on the horse must be her father, and the one walking before him must be Mordecai. She then took a chamber pot full of feces and cast its contents onto the head of her father, whom she mistakenly took as Mordecai. When Haman raised his eyes in disgust afterward, and looked up at his daughter, she saw that he was her father. In her distress, she fell from the roof to the ground and died.

והיינו דכתיב וישב מרדכי אל שער המלך אמר רב ששת ששב לשקו ולתעניתו והמן נדחף אל ביתו אבל וחפוי ראש אבל על בתו וחפוי ראש על שאירע לו

And this is as it is written: “And Mordecai returned to the king’s gate” (Esther 6:12). Rav Sheshet said: This means that he returned to his sackcloth and his fasting over the troubles of the Jewish people. Simultaneously, “but Haman hastened to his house, mourning, and having his head covered” (Esther 6:12). “Mourning”; over the death of his daughter. “And having his head covered”; due to what had happened to him, as his head was full of filth.

ויספר המן לזרש אשתו ולכל אוהביו וגו׳ קרי להו אוהביו וקרי להו חכמיו אמר רבי יוחנן כל האומר דבר חכמה אפילו באומות העולם נקרא חכם

The following verse states: “And Haman recounted to Zeresh his wife and to all his friends everything that had befallen him. Then his wise men and Zeresh his wife said to him: If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, be of the seed of the Jews, then you will not prevail over him, but you shall fall before him” (Esther 6:13). The Gemara comments: At the beginning of the verse it calls them “his friends,” and in the continuation of the verse it calls them “his wise men.” Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Whoever says something wise, even if he is from the nations of the world, is called a wise man.

אם מזרע היהודים מרדכי וגו׳ אמרו ליה אי משאר שבטים קאתי יכלת ליה ואי משבט יהודה ובנימין ואפרים ומנשה לא יכלת ליה יהודה דכתיב ידך בערף אויביך אינך דכתיב בהו לפני אפרים ובנימין ומנשה עוררה את גבורתך

The Gemara explains that their wise remark, which earned them their distinction, is contained in their advice: “If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews [Yehudim], then you will not prevail over him” (Esther 6:13). The word Yehudim can also refer to people from the tribe of Judah. Haman’s wise men thereby said to him: If he descends from the other tribes, you can still prevail over him, but if he descends from the tribe of either Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, or Manasseh, you cannot prevail over him. With regard to Judah, the proof of this is as it is written: “Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies” (Genesis 49:8), indicating that Judah will emerge victorious over his enemies. And the proof that Haman cannot prevail over the others that were mentioned is as it is written with regard to them: “Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your might” (Psalms 80:3).

כי נפול תפול לפניו דרש רבי יהודה בר אלעאי שתי נפילות הללו למה אמרו לו אומה זו משולה לעפר ומשולה לכוכבים כשהן יורדין יורדין עד עפר וכשהן עולין עולין עד לכוכבים

The wise men continued: “But you shall fall [nafol tippol] before him” (Esther 6:13). Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai interpreted a verse homiletically: Why are these two fallings, nafol and tippol, mentioned here? The wise men said to Haman: This Jewish nation is compared in the Bible to the dust of the earth and it is also compared to the stars in heaven. This teaches you that when they descend, they descend to the dust, and when they rise, they rise to the stars. Accordingly, when Mordecai is on the rise, you will be utterly incapable of prevailing over him.

וסריסי המלך הגיעו ויבהילו מלמד שהביאוהו בבהלה

The next verse states: “The king’s chamberlains came, and they hastened [vayavhilu] to bring Haman” (Esther 6:14). This teaches that they brought him in disarray [behala], not even giving him a chance to wash himself from the filth.

כי נמכרנו אני ועמי וגו׳ כי אין הצר שוה בנזק המלך אמרה לו צר זה אינו שוה בנזק של מלך איקני בה בושתי וקטלה השתא איקני בדידי ומבעי למקטלי

During the banquet Esther said to Ahasuerus: “For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to be annihilated. But if we had been sold merely for bondmen and bondwomen, I would have held my tongue, since the affliction [tzar] would not have been worth [eino shoveh] the damage to the king” (Esther 7:4). The Gemara explains that she said to him: This adversary [tzar] is not concerned [eino shoveh] about the damage that he is constantly causing to the king. First he was jealous of Vashti and killed her, as it has been explained that Memucan, who suggesting killing Vashti, was Haman; now he is jealous of me and desires to kill me.

ויאמר המלך אחשורוש ויאמר לאסתר המלכה ויאמר ויאמר למה לי אמר רבי אבהו בתחלה על ידי תורגמן כיון דאמרה ליה מדבית שאול קאתינא מיד ויאמר לאסתר המלכה

The verse states: “Then said the king Ahasuerus and said to Esther the queen” (Esther 7:5). The Gemara asks: Why do I need it to say “said” and again “said”? Rabbi Abbahu said: At first he spoke to her through the translator, who would interpret on his behalf, because he thought that she was a common woman of lowly ancestry. Once she told him that she came from the house of Saul, immediately it says: “And said to Esther the queen.” Ahasuerus himself spoke to her, as if she had royal lineage, she was a woman befitting his status.

ותאמר אסתר איש צר ואויב המן הרע הזה אמר רבי אלעזר מלמד שהיתה מחווה כלפי אחשורוש ובא מלאך וסטר ידה כלפי המן

The next verse states: “And Esther said: An adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman” (Esther 7:6). Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches that she was in fact pointing toward Ahasuerus, indicating that in fact he was an adversary and enemy, and an angel came and pushed her hand toward Haman.

והמלך קם בחמתו וגו׳ והמלך שב מגנת הביתן מקיש שיבה לקימה מה קימה בחימה אף שיבה בחימה דאזל ואשכח למלאכי השרת דאידמו ליה כגברי וקא עקרי לאילני דבוסתני ואמר להו מאי עובדייכו אמרו ליה דפקדינן המן

The verse states: “And the king arose from the banquet of wine in his wrath and went into the palace garden” (Esther 7:7), and the next verse states: “Then the king returned out of the palace garden to the place of the wine drinking” (Esther 7:8). The Gemara comments: The verses here compare his returning to his arising: Just as his arising was in wrath, so too, his returning was in wrath. And why did he return in wrath? For when he went out he found ministering angels who appeared to him as people and they were uprooting trees from the garden, and he said to them: What are you doing? They said to him: Haman commanded us to do this.

אתא לביתיה והמן נופל על המטה נופל נפל מיבעי ליה אמר רבי אלעזר מלמד שבא מלאך והפילו עליה אמר ויי מביתא ויי מברא ויאמר המלך הגם לכבוש את המלכה עמי בבית

And when he entered his house he saw that “Haman was falling upon the bed” (Esther 7:8). The Gemara asks: Why does it say “was falling” [nofel] in the present tense, implying that he was currently falling? It should have said “fell” [nafal] in the past tense. Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches that an angel came and pushed him down on it, and every time he would try to stand up, the angel would push him down again. Ahasuerus said: Woe unto me in the house and woe unto me outside, as the verse continues: “Then the king said: Will he even force the queen before me in the house?” (Esther 7:8).

ויאמר חרבונה וגו׳ אמר רבי אלעזר אף חרבונה רשע באותה עצה היה כיון שראה שלא נתקיימה עצתו מיד ברח והיינו דכתיב וישלך עליו ולא יחמול מידו ברוח יברח

“And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman has made for Mordecai, who spoke good for the king, stands in the house of Haman” (Esther 7:9). Rabbi Elazar said: Harbonah was also wicked and involved in that plot, as he too wanted Mordecai executed. Once he saw that his plot had not succeeded, he immediately fled and joined Mordecai’s side. And this is the meaning of that which is written: “It hurls itself at him, and does not spare; he would fain flee out of its hand” (Job 27:22), indicating that when God sends calamity upon a wicked person, his friends immediately flee from him.

וחמת המלך שככה שתי שכיכות הללו למה אחת של מלכו של עולם ואחת של אחשורוש ואמרי לה אחת של אסתר ואחת של ושתי

The verse states: “Then the king’s wrath was assuaged [shakhakha]” (Esther 7:10). The Gemara asks: Why are there two assuagings here? The term shakhakha is used rather than shaka and indicates doubled wrath. There was one assuaging of the wrath of the King of the universe, and one of the wrath of Ahasuerus. And some say: Ahasuerus’s wrath burned within him for two reasons; one due to Haman’s involvement with Esther, and one due to his involvement with Vashti, and now they were both assuaged.

לכלם נתן לאיש חליפות שמלות ולבנימן נתן חמש חליפות אפשר דבר שנצטער בו אותו צדיק

Before continuing its midrashic interpretation of the rest of the book of Esther, the Gemara expounds a verse concerning Joseph that relates to the Megilla: “To all of them he gave each man changes of clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of clothing” (Genesis 45:22). The Gemara asks: Is it possible that in the very thing from which that righteous man Joseph had suffered, as his father’s show of favoritism toward him aroused the enmity of his brothers,

יכשל בו דאמר רבא בר מחסיא אמר רב חמא בר גוריא אמר רב בשביל משקל שני סלעים מילת שהוסיף יעקב ליוסף משאר אחיו נתגלגל הדבר וירדו אבותינו למצרים אמר רבי בנימן בר יפת רמז רמז לו שעתיד בן לצאת ממנו שיצא מלפני המלך בחמשה לבושי מלכות שנאמר ומרדכי יצא בלבוש מלכות תכלת וגו׳

he himself should stumble by showing favoritism to Benjamin? As Rava bar Meḥaseyya said that Rav Ḥama bar Gurya said that Rav said: Due to the weight of two sela of fine wool that Jacob gave to Joseph, which he added to what he gave Joseph beyond what he gave the rest of his brothers, as he made him his special coat, the story progressed and our forefathers went down to Egypt. How then could Joseph have displayed similar favoritism toward Benjamin? Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said: He was not showing favoritism. Rather, he intimated to him that a descendant was destined to issue from him who would go out from the presence of the king wearing five royal garments, as it is stated: “And Mordecai went forth from the presence of the king in royal apparel of sky blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a wrap of fine linen and purple” (Esther 8:15).

ויפול על צוארי בנימן אחיו כמה צוארין הוו ליה לבנימין אמר רבי אלעזר בכה על שני מקדשים שעתידין להיות בחלקו של בנימין ועתידין ליחרב ובנימין בכה על צואריו בכה על משכן שילה שעתיד להיות בחלקו של יוסף ועתיד ליחרב

The Gemara elaborates on certain elements in the story of Joseph and his brothers. The verse states with regard to Joseph: “And he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck [tzavarei] and wept” (Genesis 45:14). The wording of the verse gives rise to a question, as the word tzavarei is plural, meaning necks: How many necks did Benjamin have, such that the verse should use the plural tzavarei rather than the singular tzavar? Rabbi Elazar said: This intimates that Joseph cried over the two Temples that were destined to be in the tribal territory of Benjamin and were destined to be destroyed. The same verse continues: “And Benjamin wept on his neck” (Genesis 45:14); he cried over the tabernacle of Shiloh that was destined to be in the tribal territory of Joseph and was destined to be destroyed.

והנה עיניכם רואות ועיני אחי בנימין אמר רבי אלעזר אמר להם כשם שאין בלבי על בנימין אחי שלא היה במכירתי כך אין בלבי עליכם כי פי המדבר אליכם כפי כן לבי

The verse states: “And behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin” (Genesis 45:12). Rabbi Elazar said: Joseph said to his brothers as follows: Just as I certainly harbor no resentment in my heart toward my brother Benjamin, for he was not even present when I was sold, so too, I harbor no resentment toward you. The verse continues: “That it is my mouth [ki fi] that speaks to you” (Genesis 45:12), i.e., As my mouth [kefi] is, so is my heart.

ולאביו שלח כזאת עשרה חמורים נושאים מטוב מצרים מאי מטוב מצרים אמר רבי בנימין בר יפת אמר רבי אלעזר שלח לו יין [ישן] שדעת זקנים נוחה הימנו

The verse states: “And to his father he sent after this manner ten donkeys laden with the good things of Egypt” (Genesis 45:23). The Gemara asks: What are “the good things of Egypt” that are mentioned but not specified here? Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said that Rabbi Elazar said: He sent him aged wine, which the elderly find pleasing.

וילכו גם אחיו ויפלו לפניו אמר רבי בנימין בר יפת אמר רבי אלעזר היינו דאמרי אינשי תעלא בעידניה סגיד ליה

Following Jacob’s death, it states concerning Joseph: “And his brothers even went and fell down before him” (Genesis 50:18). Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said that Rabbi Elazar said: This explains the folk saying that people say: When the fox is in its hour, bow down to it, i.e., if a fox is appointed king, one must bow down before and submit oneself to it.

תעלא מאי בצירותיה מאחווה אלא אי איתמר הכי איתמר וישתחו ישראל על ראש המטה אמר רבי בנימין בר יפת אמר רבי אלעזר תעלא בעידניה סגיד ליה

The Gemara expresses astonishment at the use of this parable: Are you calling Joseph a fox? What, was he inferior to his brothers such that in relation to them you call him a fox? Rather, if such a statement was stated, it was stated as follows, not in connection with this verse, but rather in connection with a different verse. The verse states: “And Israel bowed himself upon the head of the bed” (Genesis 47:31). With regard to this, Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said that Rabbi Elazar said: When the fox is in its hour, bow down to it, as Jacob had to bow down before his son Joseph, who had reached greatness.

וינחם אותם וידבר על לבם אמר רבי בנימין בר יפת אמר רבי אלעזר מלמד שאמר להם דברים שמתקבלין על הלב ומה עשרה נרות לא יכלו לכבות נר אחד נר אחד היאך יכול לכבות עשרה נרות

It says with regard to Joseph’s remarks to his brothers: “And he comforted them and spoke to their hearts” (Genesis 50:21). Rabbi Binyamin bar Yefet said that Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches that he spoke to them words that are acceptable to the heart, and alleviated their fears. This is what he said: If ten lights could not put out one light, as all of you were unable to do me harm, how can one light put out ten lights?

ליהודים היתה אורה ושמחה וששון ויקר אמר רב יהודה אורה זו תורה וכן הוא אומר כי נר מצוה ותורה אור שמחה זה יום טוב וכן הוא אומר ושמחת בחגך ששון זו מילה וכן הוא אומר שש אנכי על אמרתך

§ The Gemara returns to its explanation of the Megilla. The verse states: “The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor” (Esther 8:16). Rav Yehuda said: “Light”; this is referring to the Torah that they once again studied. And similarly it says: “For the mitzva is a lamp and the Torah is light” (Proverbs 6:23). “Gladness” [simḥa]; this is referring to the Festivals that they once again observed. And similarly it says: “And you shall be glad [vesamakhta] on your Festival” (Deuteronomy 16:14). “Joy” [sasson]; this is referring to circumcision, as they once again circumcised their sons. And similarly it says: “I rejoice [sas] at Your word” (Psalms 119:162), which the Sages understood as referring to David’s rejoicing over the mitzva of circumcision.

ויקר אלו תפלין וכן הוא אומר וראו כל עמי הארץ כי שם ה׳ נקרא עליך ויראו ממך ותניא רבי אליעזר הגדול אומר אלו תפלין שבראש

“Honor”; this is referring to phylacteries, which they once again donned. And similarly it says: “And all peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord; and they will be afraid of you” (Deuteronomy 28:10). And it was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer the Great said: This is referring to the phylacteries worn on the head. Haman had banned the fulfillment of all the mitzvot mentioned, but upon Haman’s demise the Jews returned to their observance.

ואת פרשנדתא וגו׳ עשרת בני המן אמר רב אדא דמן יפו עשרת בני המן ועשרת צריך לממרינהו בנשימה אחת מאי טעמא כולהו בהדי הדדי נפקו נשמתייהו אמר רבי יוחנן ויו דויזתא צריך למימתחה בזקיפא כמורדיא דלברות מאי טעמא כולהו בחד זקיפא אזדקיפו

The verse states: “And in Shushan the capital the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men. And Parshandatha…and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman” (Esther 9:6–10). Rav Adda from Jaffa said: When reading the Megilla, the names of the ten sons of Haman and the word “ten” must be said in one breath. What is the reason for this? It is that their souls all departed together. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The letter vav in the name “Vaizatha” is a lengthened vav and must be elongated as a pole, like a steering oar of a ship [liberot]. What is the reason for this? To indicate that they were all hanged on one pole.

אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא דרש רבי שילא איש כפר תמרתא כל השירות כולן נכתבות אריח על גבי לבינה ולבינה על גבי אריח

Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa said that Rabbi Sheila, a man of the village of Timarta, interpreted a verse homiletically: All of the songs in the Bible are written in the form of a half brick arranged upon a whole brick and a whole brick arranged upon a half brick, i.e., each line of the song is divided into a stitch of text, referred to as a half brick, which is separated by a blank space, referred to as a whole brick, from the concluding stitch of that line of text.

חוץ משירה זו ומלכי כנען שאריח על גבי אריח ולבינה על גבי לבינה מאי טעמא שלא תהא תקומה למפלתן

The next line of the song inverts the sequence. This is the principle for all songs in the Bible except for this song, referring to the list of Haman’s sons, and the song listing the kings of Canaan who were defeated by Joshua. These two songs are written in the form of a half brick arranged upon a half brick and a whole brick arranged upon a whole brick, i.e., one stitch of text over another, and one blank space over another. What is the reason that these two songs are written in this anomalous fashion? So that they should never rise from their downfall. Just as a wall that is built in this manner will not stand, so too, these individuals should have no resurgence.

ויאמר המלך לאסתר המלכה בשושן הבירה הרגו היהודים אמר רבי אבהו מלמד שבא מלאך וסטרו על פיו

The verse states: “And the king said to Esther the queen: The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the capital, and also the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition and it shall be granted to you; and what more do you request, and it shall be done” (Esther 9:12). Rabbi Abbahu said: This teaches that an angel came and slapped him on his mouth, so that he was unable to finish what he was saying; he started with a complaint about what the Jews were doing, but ended on an entirely different note.

ובבאה לפני המלך אמר עם הספר אמר אמרה מיבעי ליה אמר רבי יוחנן אמרה לו יאמר בפה מה שכתוב בספר

The verse states: “But when she came before the king, he said with a letter” (Esther 9:25). Why does it say: “He said”? It should have said: “She said,” as it was Esther who changed the decree. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: She said to Ahasuerus: Let it be said by word of mouth, indicating that that which is written in the letter should also be ordered verbally.

דברי שלום ואמת אמר רבי תנחום ואמרי לה אמר רבי אסי מלמד שצריכה שרטוט כאמיתה של תורה

With regard to what is stated: “Words of peace and truth” (Esther 9:30), Rabbi Tanḥum said, and some say that Rabbi Asi said: This teaches that a Megilla scroll requires scoring, i.e., that the lines for the text must be scored onto the parchment, as the Torah itself, i.e., as is done in a Torah scroll.

ומאמר אסתר קיים מאמר אסתר אין דברי הצומות לא אמר רבי יוחנן דברי הצומות ומאמר אסתר קיים (את ימי) הפורים האלה

The verses say: “The matters of the fasts and their cry. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim” (Esther 9:31–32). The Gemara asks: Should we say that “the decree of Esther” indeed confirmed these matters of Purim, but “the matters of the fasts” did not? But didn’t the fasts also contribute to the miracle? Rabbi Yoḥanan said: These two verses, “The matters of the fasts and their cry. And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim,” should be read as one.

כי מרדכי היהודי משנה למלך אחשורוש וגדול ליהודים ורצוי לרוב אחיו לרוב אחיו ולא לכל אחיו מלמד שפירשו ממנו מקצת סנהדרין

The verse states: “For Mordecai the Jew was second to the king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted by the majority of his brethren” (Esther 10:3). The Gemara comments: The verse indicates that Mordecai was accepted only “By the majority of his brethren,” but not by all his brethren. This teaches that some members of the Sanhedrin parted from him, because he occupied himself with community needs, and was therefore compelled to neglect his Torah study. They felt that this was a mistake and that he should have remained active on the Sanhedrin.

אמר רב יוסף גדול תלמוד תורה יותר מהצלת נפשות דמעיקרא חשיב ליה למרדכי בתר ארבעה ולבסוף בתר חמשה מעיקרא כתיב אשר באו עם זרובבל ישוע נחמיה שריה רעליה מרדכי בלשן ולבסוף כתיב הבאים עם זרובבל ישוע נחמיה עזריה רעמיה נחמני מרדכי בלשן

Rav Yosef said: Studying Torah is greater than saving lives, as initially, when listing the Jewish leaders who came to Eretz Yisrael, Mordecai was mentioned after four other people, but at the end he was listed after five. This is taken to indicate that his involvement in governmental affairs instead of in Torah study lowered his stature one notch. The Gemara proves this: At first it is written: “Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan” (Ezra 2:2); but in the end in a later list it is written: “Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahmani, Mordecai, Bilshan” (Nehemiah 7:7).

אמר רב ואיתימא רב שמואל בר מרתא גדול תלמוד תורה יותר מבנין בית המקדש שכל זמן שברוך בן נריה קיים לא הניחו עזרא ועלה

Rav said, and some say that Rav Shmuel bar Marta said: Studying Torah is greater and more important that building the Temple. A proof of this is that for as long as Baruch ben Neriah was alive in Babylonia, Ezra, who was his disciple, did not leave him and go up to Eretz Yisrael to build the Temple.

אמר רבה אמר רב יצחק בר שמואל בר מרתא גדול תלמוד תורה יותר מכבוד אב ואם שכל אותן שנים שהיה יעקב אבינו בבית עבר לא נענש דאמר מר

Rabba said that Rav Yitzḥak bar Shmuel bar Marta said: Studying Torah is greater and more important than honoring one’s father and mother, and a proof of this is that for all those years that our father Jacob spent in the house of Eber and studied Torah there he was not punished for having neglected to fulfill the mitzva of honoring one’s parents. As the Master said:

Scroll To Top