Purim Pilpul

[Guest post from MD (c) lightly edited by me]

פורים                                    © מאיר דויטש

Here are just some of my thoughts which I am sharing with you.

It is Purim

It came to pass in the days of Achashverosh, who is Achashverosh…?

It is clear that he is Achashverosh, why does the Megila have to certify it?

Is it to point out that he is the one reigning from Hodu to Kush, and not the Ahasverosh mentioned in the book of Daniel (9,   1) who ? reigned only over Paras and Maday?

Why do we read   “וכלים מכלים שונים” in the melody of Eicha?

The Temple’s utensils were taken to Babylon, not Persia. Yes, I know that Persia conquered Babylon and the utensils (see:Ezra ch.one) were with Koresh, but he returned them. Can we see a hint in the Rashi (Esther 1, 7) who says there:   שונים – משונים זה מזה וכן ודתיהם שונות, ורבותינו דרשו מה שדרשו.   Rashi has his own opinion, but says that not all accept it. He does it again also at Esther ch.2 5 & 9

“מרדכי בן יאיר בן שמעי בן קיש … אשר הוגלה עם הגולה ”

Who was carried away to exile? Was it Mordechai or Kish? From the exile till the reign of Achashverosh we have about 110 years, therefore we can assume that it was Kish who was exiled from Judea. If it wasn’t Mordechai, than the story in Megila (13b) is surprising.

The story there is

“אמר רבי יוחנן: בגתן ותרש שני תרסיים הוו, והיו מספרין בלשון תרסי ואומרים: מיום שבאת זו לא ראינו שינה בעינינו, בא ונטיל ארס בספל כדי שימות. והן לא היו יודעין כי מרדכי מיושבי לשכת הגזית היה והיה יודע שבעים לשון. אמר לו: והלוא אין משמרתי ומשמרתך שוה? אמר לו: אני אשמור משמרתי ומשמרתך. והיינו דכתיב “ויבקש הדבר וימצא” שלא נמצאו במשמרתן” (מגילה יג ע”ב). זה לשון הגמרא (ראה גם אבן עזרא האומר: “ויש אומרים כי הוא היה מסנהדרין” – אבן עזרא עצמו אינו אומר כי מרדכי היה מהסנהדרין אבל מצטט דעות אחרים שחושבים שהיה). השאלה היא: אם סבא רבה של מרדכי הוגלה מיהודה, הכיצד יכול להיות שמרדכי עצמו היה מיושבי לשכת הגזית?

Was Mordechai ever in Jerusalem?

Did he go with Zerubavel from Persia to Jerusalem?

Was he the Mordechai Balshan mentioned in the book of Ezra?

While in Jerusalem did he join the judges of the Sanhedrin and learn the 70 languages?

Did he return from Jerusalem to Shushan?

Why would a member of the Sanhedrin, just back home from exile, leave his post and return to Persia?

The Jewish historian,    Josephus Flavius) =   יוסף בן מתתיהו)  describes that incident as follows:

” […] קשרו בגתן ותיאודוסיטס קשר על המלך. לברנבזוס, עבדו של אחד משני הסריסים האלה, יהודי לפי גזעו, נודעה המזימה והוא הגידה לדודה של אשת המלך, ומרדכי גילה את הקושרים למלך על ידי אסתר” (קדמוניות היהודים – אברהם שליט – ספר אחד עשר ע’ 20).

What was the period in time from the sending by Haman of the declaration to dispose of the Jews to the time he was executed?

•On Nissan he cast the dice

•13 Nissan he dispatches the notices (SEFARIM)

•23 Sivan the King’s scribes are writing Mordechai’s notices

The total time is less than two months and ten days.

According to Even Ezra, Haman was taken to the gallows already in Nissan.

Why did Mordechai write to the Jews of the Empire that they have permission to kill their opponents on the 13th of Adar, nearly nine months later?

Didn’t he learn from Haman not to wait such a long time as things change

Let us take note. An order issued by the King cannot be changed, neither the ones distributed by Haman nor those by Mordechai. Now if the two decrees are in force, on 13th Adar the Persian can kill Jews – written by Haman. On the same day, 13th Adar the Jews can kill Persians – written by Mordechai Now, what happens on that day? Persians may kill Jews and Jews may kill Persians. What do the Jews do? They gather in groups to defend themselves and kill Persians and   “איש לא עמד בפניהם” ופחדם נפל על כל העמים”.

If Mordechai had chosen another day, the Jews would not be permitted on 13th Adar to fight back, and the Persians, who were allowed to kill Jews on that day, could do it without any opposition.

Now we have Haman’s 10 sons. If we look at Megilat Esther ch. 9, we see that ten sons were killed, by the King’s permission, on the 13th of Adar, together with the other Persians. If so, why did Esther ask the King the following day to have them hanged?

Did she want to display them to be displayed in public?

Nothing is written about Zeresh, therefore everyone can speculate.

In TARGUM RISHON on Megilat Esther it says

וזרש ברחה עם שבעים בנים שנשארו להמן, שהיו סובבים על השערים ומתפרנסים.

Seventy children!

So many children!

Were they all Zeresh’s?

Others think that:

She became a servant in Esther’s house;

She went to the gallows together with Haman;

She committed suicide by hanging herself.

L’Chayim! Let us drink AD DLO YADA.

Purim Sameach.


Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

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