1 א

(שם, ה) ובמלאות הימים האלה וגו'

רב ושמואל חד אמר מלך פיקח היה

וחד אמר מלך טיפש היה

מאן דאמר מלך פיקח היה שפיר עבד דקריב רחיקא ברישא דבני מאתיה כל אימת דבעי מפייס להו

ומאן דאמר טיפש היה דאיבעי ליה לקרובי בני מאתיה ברישא דאי מרדו ביה הנך הני הוו קיימי בהדיה

שאלו תלמידיו את רשב"י מפני מה נתחייבו שונאיהן של ישראל שבאותו הדור כליה

אמר להם אמרו אתם

אמרו לו מפני שנהנו מסעודתו של אותו רשע

אם כן שבשושן יהרגו שבכל העולם כולו אל יהרגו

אמרו לו אמור אתה אמר להם מפני שהשתחוו לצלם

אמרו לו וכי משוא פנים יש בדבר

אמר להם הם לא עשו אלא לפנים אף הקב"ה לא עשה עמהן אלא לפנים.

“And when these days were fulfilled, the king made a feast for all the people that were present in Shushan the capital” (Esther 1:5). Rav and Shmuel:. One said: he was a clever king. And the other one said: he was a foolish king. The one who said that he was a clever king maintains that he acted well when he first brought close those more distant subjects by inviting them to the earlier celebration, as he could appease the residents of his own city whenever he wished.

And the one who said that he was foolish maintains that he should have invited the residents of his city first, so that if those faraway subjects rebelled against him, these who lived close by would have stood with him.

The students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai asked him: For what reason were the enemies of Jewish people, a euphemism for the Jewish people themselves in that generation deserving of annihilation?

He said to them: Say the answer to your question yourselves.

They said to him: It is because they partook of the feast of that wicked one, Rabbi Shimon responded: If so, those in Shushan should have been killed as punishment, but those in the rest of the world should not have been killed.

They said to him: Then you say your response to our question.

He said to them: It is because they prostrated before the idol that Nebuchadnezzar had made, as is recorded that the entire world bowed down before it, except for Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They said to him: But if it is true that they worshipped idols and therefore deserved to be destroyed, why was a miracle performed on their behalf? Does God play favorites?

He said to them: They did not really worship the idol, but pretended to do so only for appearance. So too, the Holy One, Blessed be He, did not destroy them but did act angry with them only for appearance.

2 ב

ביום השביעי כטוב לב המלך ביין

אטו עד השתא לא טב לביה בחמרא

אמר רבא יום השביעי שבת היה שישראל אוכלין ושותין מתחילין בד"ת ובדברי תשבחות

אבל עובדי כוכבים שאוכלין ושותין אין מתחילין אלא בדברי תיפלות

וכן בסעודתו של אותו רשע הללו אומרים מדיות נאות והללו אומרים פרסיות נאות

אמר להם אחשורוש כלי שאני משתמש בו אינו לא מדיי ולא פרסי אלא כשדיי רצונכם לראותה

אמרו לו אין ובלבד שתהא ערומה

שבמדה שאדם מודד בה מודדין לו מלמד שהיתה ושתי הרשעה מביאה בנות ישראל ומפשיטן ערומות ועושה בהן מלאכה בשבת

היינו דכתיב אחר הדברים האלה כשוך חמת המלך אחשורוש זכר את ושתי ואת אשר עשתה ואת אשר נגזר עליה

כשם שעשתה כך נגזר עליה

ותמאן המלכה ושתי?

מכדי פריצתא הואי דאמר מר שניהן לדבר עבירה נתכוונו מ"ט לא אתאי?

א"ר יוסי בר חנינא מלמד שפרחה בה צרעת

במתניתא תנא [בא גבריאל ועשה לה זנב]

ויקצף המלך מאד: אמאי דלקה ביה כולי האי?

אמר רבא שלחה ליה בר אהורייריה דאבא אבא לקבל אלפא חמרא שתי ולא רוי וההוא גברא אשתטי בחמריה מיד וחמתו בערה בו

“On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine” (Esther 1:10).

Is that to say that until now his heart was not merry with wine?

Rava said: The seventh day was Shabbat when the Jewish people eat and drink, they begin by occupying themselves with words of Torah and words of praise for God. But the nations of the world, when they eat and drink, they begin only with words of licentiousness.

So too, at the feast of that wicked man, Ahasuerus, when the men began to converse, some said: The Median women are the most beautiful, while others said: The Persian women are the most beautiful.

Ahasuerus said to them: The vessel that I use is neither Median nor Persian, but rather Chaldean. Do you wish to see her? They said to him: Yes, provided that she be naked,

For it is with the measure that a man measures to others that he himself is measured.

This teaches that the wicked Vashti would take the daughters of Israel, and strip them naked, and make them work on Shabbat.

This is as it is written: “After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her” (Esther 2:1), just as she had done with the young Jewish women, so it was decreed upon her.

“But the queen Vashti refused to come” (Esther 1:12).

Since she was immodest, as the Master said above: The two of them had sinful intentions, what is the reason that she did not come?

Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina said: This teaches that she broke out in leprosy.

It was taught in a baraita: The angel Gabriel came and fashioned her a tail.

“Therefore the king was very wrathful, and his anger burned in him” (Esther 1:12). The Gemara asks: Why did his anger burn in him so greatly? Rava said: She sent him a message: You, son of my father’s stableman [ahuriyyarei]. Belshazzar, my father, drank wine against a thousand men and did not become inebriated, as the verse in Daniel (5:1) testifies about him: “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand”; and that man, Ahasuerus himself, has become senseless from his wine. Due to her audacity, immediately “his anger burned in him” (Esther 1:12).

3 ג

ויאמר המלך לחכמים

מאן חכמים? רבנן יודעי העתים שיודעין לעבר שנים ולקבוע חדשים

אמר להו דיינוה לי

אמרו היכי נעביד

נימא ליה קטלה למחר פסיק ליה חמריה ובעי לה מינן

נימא ליה שבקה קא מזלזלה במלכותא

אמרו לו מיום שחרב בית המקדש וגלינו מארצנו ניטלה עצה ממנו ואין אנו יודעין לדון דיני נפשות

זיל לגבי עמון ומואב דיתבי בדוכתייהו כחמרא דיתיב על דורדייה

וטעמא אמרו ליה דכתיב (ירמיהו מח, יא) שאנן מואב מנעוריו ושוקט הוא אל שמריו ולא הורק מכלי אל כלי ובגולה לא הלך על כן עמד טעמו בו וריחו לא נמר

מיד והקרוב אליו כרשנא שתר אדמתא תרשיש א"ר לוי כל פסוק זה על שום קרבנות נאמר

“Then the king said to the wise men, who knew the times” (Esther 1:13). Who are these wise men? The Sages “who knew the times,” for they know how to intercalate years and fix the months. Ahasuerus said to them: Judge her for me. The Sages said in their hearts: What should we do? If we say to him: Kill her, tomorrow he will become sober and then come and demand her from us. If we say to him: Let her be, she has scorned royalty. Consequently, they decided not to judge the matter, and they said to him as follows: From the day that the Temple was destroyed and we have been exiled from our land, counsel and insight have been removed from us, and we do not know how to judge capital cases.

Go to the people of Ammon and Moab, who have remained permanently settled in their places like wine that is settled on its lees. And they provided a good reason when they spoke to him: For it is written: “Moab has been at ease from his youth, and he has settled on his lees, and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither has he gone into exile; therefore his taste has remained in him, and his scent is not changed” (Jeremiah 48:11).

Ahasuerus immediately acted on their advice : “And next to him was Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan” (Esther 1:14).

4 ד

ישנו עם אחד

אמר רבא ליכא דידע לישנא בישא כהמן

אמר ליה תא ניכלינהו

אמר ליה מסתפינא מאלהיו דלא ליעביד בי כדעבד בקמאי

אמר ליה ישנו מן המצות

אמר ליה אית בהו רבנן

אמר ליה עם אחד הן

שמא תאמר קרחה אני עושה במלכותך מפוזרין הם בין העמים

שמא תאמר אית הנאה מינייהו

מפורד כפרידה זו שאינה עושה פירות

ושמא תאמר איכא מדינתא מינייהו ת"ל בכל מדינות מלכותך

ודתיהם שונות מכל עם דלא אכלי מינן ולא נסבי מינן ולא מנסבי לן

ואת דתי המלך אינם עושים דמפקי לכולא שתא בשה"י פה"י

ולמלך אין שוה להניחם דאכלו ושתו ומבזו ליה למלכות

ואפילו נופל זבוב בכוסו של אחד מהן זורקו ושותהו ואם אדוני המלך נוגע בכוסו של אחד מהן חובטו בקרקע ואינו שותהו

אם על המלך טוב יכתב לאבדם ועשרת אלפים ככר כסף וגו'

אמר ריש לקיש גלוי וידוע לפני מי שאמר והיה העולם שעתיד המן לשקול שקלים על ישראל לפיכך הקדים שקליהן לשקליו

Haman said to Ahasuerus: “There is [yeshno] one people scattered abroad [mefuzar] and dispersed [meforad] among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; nor do they keep the king’s laws; therefore it does not profit the king to tolerate them” (Esther 3:8).

Rava said: There was none who knew how to slander like Haman.

He said to Ahasuerus: Let us destroy them.

Ahasuerus said to him: I am afraid of their God, lest He do to me as He did to those who stood against them before me. Haman said to him: They have been asleep [yashnu] with respect to the mitzvot

Ahasuerus said to him: There are the Sages among them who observe the mitzvot.

Haman said to him: They are one people.

Perhaps you will say that I am making a bald spot in your kingdom, they are scattered [mefuzarin] among the peoples. Perhaps you will say that there is benefit from them; but this nation is meforad, like this barren mule [pereida] that cannot bear offspring.

And perhaps you will say that there is at least a province that is filled with them. Therefore the verse states that they are scattered “in all the provinces of your kingdom” (Esther 3:8).

Haman continued: “And their laws are diverse from those of every people” (Esther 3:8), as they do not eat from our food, nor do they marry from our women, nor do they marry off their women to us.

“Nor do they keep the king’s laws” (Esther 3:8). They spend the entire year: Shehi pehi, an acronym for: It is Shabbat today [Shabbat hayom]; it is Passover today [Pesaḥ hayom].

The verse continues: “Therefore it does not profit the king to tolerate them,” as they eat and drink and scorn the throne. And a proof of this is that even if a fly falls into the cup of one of them, he will throw the fly out and drink the wine it fell into, but if my master the king were to touch the glass of one of them, he would throw it to the ground, and would not drink it.

Therefore, Haman concluded: “If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed, and I will weigh out ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries” (Esther 3:9).

Reish Lakish said: It is revealed and known in advance to the One Who spoke and the world came into being, that in the future Haman was going to weigh out shekels against the Jewish people; therefore, He arranged that the Jewish people’s shekels that were given to the Temple preceded Haman’s shekels.

5 ה

דָּבָר אַחֵר, יֶשְׁנוֹ עַם אֶחָד.

אֲמַר לֵיהּ שִׁנֵּיהוֹן רַבְרְבָן, שֶׁאוֹכְלִין וְשׁוֹתִין וְאוֹמְרִים עֹנֶג שַׁבָּת, עֹנֶג יוֹם טוֹב, שֶׁהֵן מַכְנִיסִין פיחה בְּמָמוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, חֲדָא לְשִׁבְעָא יוֹמִין, שַׁבַּתָּא. חַד לִתְלָתִין יוֹמִין, רֵישׁ יַרְחָא. בְּנִיסָן, פִּיסְחָא. בְּסִיוָן, עֲצֶרֶת. בְּתִשְׁרֵי, רֵישׁ שַׁתָּא וְצוֹמָא רַבָּא, וְחַגָּא דִּמְטַלַּלְתָּא.

אָמַר לוֹ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ כָּךְ הֵם מְצֻוִּין בְּתוֹרָתָן. אָמַר לוֹ הָמָן, אִלּוּ הָיוּ מְשַׁמְרִין אֶת מוֹעֲדֵיהֶם וּמוֹעֲדֵינוּ, יָפֶה הָיוּ עוֹשִׂין, אֶלָּא שֶׁמְבַזִּים מוֹעֲדֶיךָ, וְאֶת דָּתֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵינָם עוֹשִׂים, שֶׁאֵין מְשַׁמְּרִים לֹא קָלֶנְדָּס, וְלֹא סָטַרְנַלְיָא.

אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא רָשָׁע אַתָּה מַפִּיל עַיִן רָעָה בְּמוֹעֲדֵיהֶם שֶׁלָּהֶם, הֲרֵי אֲנִי מַפִּילְךָ לִפְנֵיהֶם וּמוֹסִיפִים לָהֶם מוֹעֵד אֶחָד עַל מַפַּלְתְּךָ, זֶה יְמֵי הַפּוּרִים, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (משלי יח, ז): פִּי כְסִיל מְחִתָּה לוֹ.

Another interpretation: "There is one (yeshno) nation":

He said to him: Their teach [shinehon] have grown long, for they eat and drink and say it is for "oneg Shabbat," or "oneg Yom Tov," for they bring a breach into the world. Once every seven days is Shabbat, once every thirty days is Rosh Hodesh, in Nissan, Pesah, in Sivan, Shavuot. In Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and Hag Sukkot.

Ahashverosh said to him: This is how they are commanded.

Haman said to him: If they kept their holidays and our holiday, this would be okay. But they disgrace your holiday, and the laws of the king they do not perform, for they do not observe Kalends or Saternilia.

God said to him: Evil one, you are putting an evil eye on their holidays, behold I will cause you to fall before them and I will add another holiday onto your fall. These are the days of Purim. This is what is written, "The fool’s speech is his ruin."

6 ו

(ד) מַהֵר קַח אֶת הַלְּבוּשׁ וְאֶת הַסּוּס [וגו'] וַיִּקַּח הָמָן אֶת הַלְּבוּשׁ וְאֶת הַסּוּס (אסתר ו, י יא),

הָלַךְ לוֹ אֵצֶל מָרְדֳּכַי, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּידוּ לְמָרְדֳּכַי שֶׁהוּא בָּא, נִתְיָרֵא עַד מְאֹד, וְהָיָה יוֹשֵׁב וְתַלְמִידָיו לְפָנָיו.

אָמַר לָהֶם לְתַלְמִידָיו, בָּנַי, רוּצוּ וְהִבָּדְלוּ מִכָּאן שֶׁלֹא תִכָּווּ בְּגַחַלְתִּי, שֶׁהֲרֵי הָמָן הָרָשָׁע בָּא לְהָרְגֵנִי.

אָמְרוּ, אִם תָּמוּת נָמוּת עִמְּךָ.

אָמַר לָהֶם, אִם כֵּן נַעֲמֹד בִּתְפִלָּה וְנִפָּטֵר מִתּוֹךְ הַתְּפִלָּה, וַחֲסַלּוּן צְלוֹתְהוֹן יָתְבוּן וְעָסְקִין בְּהִלְכוֹת מִצְוַת הָעֹמֶר,

שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם ט"ז בְּנִיסָן הָיָה, וּבְאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם הָיוּ מַקְרִיבִין עֹמֶר בִּזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ קַיָּם.

אֲתָא הָמָן לְגַבֵּיהוֹן אֲמַר לוֹן בַּמֶּה אַתּוּן עָסְקִין, אָמְרוּ לוֹ בְּמִצְוַת הָעֹמֶר, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (ויקרא ב, יד): וְאִם תַּקְרִיב מִנְחַת בִּכּוּרִים לַה' וגו',

תַּמָּן אָמְרֵי הִלְכוֹת קְמִיצָה אַחֲווּ לֵיהּ וְדָבָר אֶחָד שֶׁהָיוּ קוֹמְצִין מִן הָעֹמֶר.

אֲמַר לוֹן וְהָדֵין עוּמְרָא מַהוּ דִּדְהַב אוֹ דִּכְסַף, אַמְרֵי לֵיהּ לָא דִּדְהַב וְלָא דִּכְסַף וְלָא דְּחִיטִין, אֶלָּא דִּשְׂעוֹרִין.

אֲמַר לוֹן בְּכַמָּה הוּא טִימֵיהּ דִּידֵיהּ הֲוָה בְּעַשְׂרָה קַנְטְרִין, אָמְרִין לֵיהּ סַגְיָן בְּעַשְׂרָה מָנִין.

אֲמַר לוֹן קוּמוּ דְּנַצְחוּן עַשְׂרָה מִנְכוֹן לְעַשְׂרָה אַלְפֵי קַנְטְרִין דִּכְסַף דִּילִי.

כֵּיוָן דַּחֲסַל מִמִּצְלֵי, אֲמַר לֵיהּ הָמָן לְמָרְדֳּכַי לְבוֹשׁ הָדֵין לְבוּשָׁא דְמַלְכָּא,

אָמַר לוֹ מָה אַתְּ מְבַזֶּה מַלְכוּת, אִית בַּר נָשׁ לָבֵישׁ לְבוּשָׁא דְמַלְכוּתָא וְלָא סָח.

אֲזַל בְּעָא בַּלָּנָא וְלָא אַשְׁכַּח, מָה עֲבַד אֲסַר חַרְצֵיהּ וְעָאל וְאַסְחֵי,

כֵּיוָן דִּנְפַק אָמַר לוֹ סַב לְבֵישׁ הָדֵין כְּלִילָא. אֲמַר לֵיהּ מָה אַתְּ מְבַזֶּה מַלְכוּתָא, אִית בַּר נָשׁ לָבֵישׁ כְּלִילָא דְמַלְכוּתָא וְלָא מְסַפַּר.

אֲזַל בְּעֵי סַפָּר וְלָא אַשְׁכַּח, מָה עֲבֵיד אֲזִיל לְבֵיתֵיהּ וְאַיְיתֵי סַפָּרָא וְיָתֵיב וְקָא מְסַפַּר לֵיהּ,

שָׁרֵי וּמִתְנַח,

אֲמַר לֵיהּ מַה לָּךְ מִתְנַח,

אֲמַר לֵיהּ וַוי לַאֲבוּהּ דְּהַהוּא גַבְרָא מַעֲבֵיר דּוּמִין פַּנְטוֹן קוֹמִין קְלֵטוֹ עֲבֵיד בַּלָּן סַפָּר.

אֲמַר לֵיהּ וּבְהַהִיא שְׁאֵילִית לָךְ לֵית אֲנָא חַכִּים לַאֲבוּי דְּהַהוּא גַבְרָא בַּלָּן וְסַפָּר בִּכְפַר קַרְיָינוּס וְאַתְּ מַשְׁכַּחַת מָאנֵי סַפָּרָא דִידֵיהּ.

אֲמַר לֵיהּ קוּם רְכוֹב עַל הָדֵין סוּסְיָא, אֲמַר לֵיהּ לֵית בִּי כֹּחַ, דַּאֲנָא סָב.

אֲמַר לֵיהּ וְלֵית אֲנָא גְּבַר סָב,

אָמַר לוֹ וְלָא אַתְּ הוּא דִּגְרַמְתְּ לְנַפְשָׁךְ.

אֲמַר לֵיהּ קוּם דַּאֲנָא סָמֵיךְ קָדְלִי וְאַתְּ דָּרֵיס עֲלוֹי וּסְלֵיק וּרְכַב לִמְקַיְימָה לְכוֹן מַה דַּאֲמַר כְּתָבָא (דברים לג, כט): וְאַתָּה עַל בָּמוֹתֵימוֹ תִדְרֹךְ.

(4) He went to Mordechai: Once it was told to Mordechai that he was coming, he became extremely frightened. He was sitting and his students were in front of him. He said to his students, "My sons! Run away from here, so you will not be burned by my coals, for the wicked Haman is coming to kill me." They said, "If you die, we will die with you." He said to them, "If so, let us stand in prayer, and we will pass away in the midst of prayer." They finished praying. They delved into the laws of the commandment of the Omer, for that day was the 16th of Nissan, and on that day they would have been offering the Omer when the Holy Temple was still there. Haman came to them. He said to them, "What are you dealing with?" They said to him, "The commandment of the Omer. That's what is written: [Leviticus 2:1] 'And when you bring a grain offering to God...' There they said the laws of the handful [of the barley for the priest]." They showed it to him. "One of those would they do the handful from the Omer." He said to them, "The Omer, is it of gold or silver?" They said to him, "It is not of gold, nor silver, nor wheat, but barley." He said to them, "How much is its price, 10 Kantars [i.e. a lot]?" They said to him, "It's enough [to buy it] with but 10 Mon [i.e. very little]." He said to them, "Get up from the dirt! The 10 ma'ahs of yours will [surely] triumph over my 10,000 bundles of silver." Once [Mordechai] finished his prayers, Haman said to him, "Get dressed in the royal clothes." He said to him, "What, do you mean to disgrace the kingdom? Is there anyone who dresses in the royal clothes without getting washed [first]?" [Haman] went and sought a bathkeeper, but he could not find. What did he do? He wrapped his loins and brought him in to wash [in his private bath]. Once he left [the bath], [Haman] said to him, "Old man, put on this crown." He said, "What, you mean to disgrace the kingdom? Is there anyone who puts on a royal crown without getting a haircut [first]?" [Haman] sought a barber but couldn't find. What did he do? He went home and brought scissors, and he sat him down and was cutting his hair. He began to groan. [Mordechai] said to him, "What's with you that you're groaning?" He said to him, "Woe to the father of that man [me], who is letting go of his opportunity as king, to control everything, and has become a bathkeeper and a barber!" [Mordechai] said to him, "Is it any wonder? I don't know the father of that man [if he was] a bathkeeper and a barber in Kfar Krainos, but you indeed found his scissors!" [Haman] said to him, "Get up! Ride upon these horses!" [Mordechai] said to him, "I don't have the strength. I'm old!" He said to him, "And I'm not an old man?" He said to him, "Didn't you do this to yourself [i.e. this is your fault]?" He said to him, "Get up, I'll lean my neck, and you can step on top of it, and you will go up and ride, to fulfill for you that which is written, (Deuteronomy 33:29), 'You shall tread on their high places.'"