The NCSY Megillah Project

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The NCSY Megillah Project

The NCSY Megillah Project A Project of JUMP

Copyright © 2021 NCSY All rights reser ved. Published Februar y 2021


With gratitude to the following people who made this project a reality: Rabbi Shimon Abramczik, YULA Boys High School Ms. Rikki Ash, SKA Rabbi Yisroel Yaakov Berman, TABC Rabbi Yisachar Blinder, HAFTR Ms. Kayla Bluman, Naaleh High School for Girls Ms. Aliza Blumenthal, Bruriah High School for Girls Dr. Hillel Broder, DRS Rabbi Tzachi Diamond, Ezra Academy Ms. Hadassah Frankel, YUHSG (Central) Rabbi Chayim Gerson, RKYHS Ms. Shifra Hanon, Yeshiva of Flatbush Ms. Amy Horowitz, KYHS of South Florida Rabbi Allan Houben, Atlanta Jewish Academy NCSY Staff Liasons and Editors: Ms. Sharon Aharonoff Rabbi Jacob Bernstein Rabbi Ariel Bugay Rabbi Yaakov Cohen Ms. Aliza Eisenbach Ms. Shayna Gewirtz Rabbi Manu Hass Rabbi Avi Solomon

Ms. Lynn Kraft, Ida Crown Jewish Academy Rabbi Yosef Kurtz, Bnei Akiva Schools Rabbi Yehoshua Lindenbaum, SAR High School Rabbi Yosef Manne, Hebrew Academy (RASG) Rabbi Zev Prince, Ma’ayanot Yeshiva HS for Girls Ms. Ellie Riesel, Maimonides School Rabbi Shimon Schenker, YUHSB (MTA) Rabbi Kenny Schiowitz, The Ramaz School Ms. Michal Schochet, Hadar High School for Girls Ms. Bruria Siegel, YULA High School for Girls Ms. Tami Stalbow, Westchester Hebrew High School Ms. Nomi Zanjirian, HANC

Layout and Design: Ms. Denah Emerson Ms. Rachel Olson Rabbi Josh Weinberg Production: Rabbi Zev Kahane Editor: Rabbi Josh Grajower

Rina Emerson CEO, NY NCSY Rabbi Aryeh Wielgus Regional Director, NJ NCSY

THE NCSY MEGILLAH PROJECT: AN INTRODUCTION There are few more powerful conversations in Tanach than the dialogue between Mordechai and Esther in the fourth chapter of Megillat Esther. Mordechai informs Esther of the pending destruction of the Jewish people and urges her to approach the king. Esther, understandably, expresses hesitation as she has not been summoned by the king for a long time. Mordechai replies ver y harshly, letting her know she cannot hide in the palace from the plight of the Jewish people - ‫ לְ ִה ָמּ לֵ ט‬,‫תּ ַד ִמּ י ְב נַ ְפ ֵשׁ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ְ ‫ַא‬ ‫הוּד ים‬ ִ ְ‫ה יּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ה ֶמּ לֶ ְך ִמ כּ‬-‫ית‬ ַ ‫בּ‬.ֵ I have always found the last few words of Mordechai’s statement ‫לְ ﬠֵ ת‬-‫א ם‬-ִ ַ‫יוֹד ﬠ‬ ֵ ‫וּמ י‬ ִ ‫ ִה גַּ ﬠַ ְתּ לַ ַמּ לְ כוּת‬,‫“ – כָּ זֹאת‬and who knows if for this exact moment you reached the palace” – to be extremely inspirational. In any situation, in any moment, one must ask why Hashem has put one in a specific circumstance. Mordechai empowers Esther to seize the moment and recognize her unique ability to save the Jewish people. Mordechai’s rhetorical question - ‫ ִה גַּ ﬠַ ְתּ לַ ־‬,‫לְ ﬠֵ ת כָּ זֹאת‬-‫א ם‬-ִ ‫יוֹד ַﬠ‬ ֵ ‫וּמ י‬ ִ ‫ – ַמּ לְ כוּת‬can be asked at ever y stage of our own lives. Ever y

day we can (and should) be asking ourselves, why do I find myself in this situation? What unique skill set do I have that Hashem has placed me here? COVID-19 has unfortunately taken the lives of so many people. It has disrupted all of our lives and has changed our reality. We cannot understand why Hashem would bring this virus onto the world, and it is futile and frustrating to seek to understand it. At the same time, we are charged to take action and react to the moment. Hashem wants ever y person, even (or especially) in these difficult times, to rise to the moment. In the early moments of COVID-19, NCSY organized the Quaranteen Haggadah, having teens from across the countr y connect the stor y of leaving Egypt thousands of years ago, to the pandemic and quarantine. Following the success of the Haggadah, we again unified teens from over 30 schools and JSU clubs to compose a Pirkei Avot, filled with insight and creativity. Once again, we sought to seize the moment and unify a group

of teens around the stories of Jewish histor y and connecting them to our present lives. This megillah is the celebration of the efforts of teens from across the countr y – representing over twenty Jewish Day Schools – expressing their creativity, passion and connection to their heritage. In the spirit of -‫א ם‬-ִ ‫יוֹד ַﬠ‬ ֵ ‫וּמ י‬ ִ ‫ ִה גַּ ﬠַ ְתּ לַ ַמּ לְ כוּת‬,‫לְ ֵﬠ ת כָּ זֹאת‬, we are so excited to share with you this megillah. As Esther had responded to Mordechai thousands of years ago “ ‫לֵ ְך‬ ‫הוּד ים‬ ִ ְ‫ה יּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫כּ‬-‫“ – ”כְּ נוֹס ֶא ת‬go and gather the Jewish people” – we responded to the moment by unifying our teens around the Torah and its timeless lessons. We are extremely grateful to all of our partners on this project, specifically the schools and their leadership, for bringing this project to life. Most importantly, we are grateful to the teens that are the essence of this project and are our future leaders. We hope you enjoy this incredible publication.

Rabbi Josh Grajower,

Director of Day School Engagement, NY and NJ NCSY

,‫וּמ ָאה‬ ֵ ‫שׁ ַבע וְ ֶﬠ ְשׂ ִרים‬--‫כּוּשׁ‬-‫ד‬ ֶ ‫ ַהמֹּלֵ ְך ֵמהֹדּוּ וְ ַﬠ‬,‫ הוּא ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬:‫ ִבּ ֵימי ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬,‫ א וַ יְ ִהי‬:‫אסתר פרק א‬ ,‫ ג ִבּ ְשׁנַ ת ָשׁלוֹשׁ‬.‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה‬ ַ ‫ ְבּ‬,‫ ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫ ַﬠל כִּ ֵסּא ַמלְ כוּתוֹ‬,‫כְּ ֶשׁ ֶבת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬--‫ ָה ֵהם‬,‫ ב ַבּיָּ ִמים‬.‫ְמ ִדינָ ה‬ -‫ ֶאת‬,‫ ד ְבּ ַה ְראֹתוֹ‬.‫לְ ָפנָ יו‬--‫ ַה ַפּ ְר ְתּ ִמים וְ ָשׂ ֵרי ַה ְמּ ִדינוֹת‬,‫וּמ ַדי‬ ָ ‫ ֵחיל ָפּ ַרס‬:‫שׂ ָריו וַ ֲﬠ ָב ָדיו‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫ לְ כ‬,‫ ָﬠ ָשׂה ִמ ְשׁ ֶתּה‬,‫לְ ָמלְ כוֹ‬ ,‫ ה ִוּב ְמלוֹאת ַהיָּ ִמים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה‬.‫וּמ ַאת יוֹם‬ ְ ‫ ְשׁמוֹנִ ים‬,‫ ִתּ ְפ ֶא ֶרת גְּ דוּלָּ תוֹ; יָ ִמים ַר ִבּים‬,‫יְ ָקר‬-‫ וְ ֶאת‬,‫ע ֶֹשׁר כְּ בוֹד ַמלְ כוּתוֹ‬ ‫ גִּ נַּ ת ִבּ ַיתן‬,‫ ַבּ ֲחצַ ר‬:‫שׁ ְב ַﬠת יָ ִמים‬--‫ה‬ ִ ‫ק ָטן ִמ ְשׁ ֶתּ‬-‫ד‬ ָ ‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה לְ ִמגָּ דוֹל וְ ַﬠ‬ ַ ‫ה ָﬠם ַהנִּ ְמצְ ִאים ְבּ‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫ﬠָ ָשׂה ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ כ‬ ‫ ﬠַ ל‬,‫מּוּדי ֵשׁשׁ; ִמטּוֹת זָ ָהב וָ כֶ ֶסף‬ ֵ ‫ וְ ַﬠ‬,‫גְּ לִ ילֵ י כֶ ֶסף‬-‫ ַﬠל‬,‫בוּץ וְ ַא ְרגָּ ָמן‬-‫ ָאחוּז ְבּ ַח ְבלֵ י‬,‫ ו חוּר כַּ ְר ַפּס ְוּתכֵ לֶ ת‬.‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ‫ ח‬.‫ כְּ יַ ד ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ וְ כֵ לִ ים ִמכֵּ לִ ים שׁוֹנִ ים; וְ יֵ ין ַמלְ כוּת ָרב‬,‫ ז וְ ַה ְשׁקוֹת ִבּכְ לֵ י זָ ָהב‬.‫וְ ַדר וְ ס ָֹח ֶרת‬--‫וָ ֵשׁשׁ‬-‫ִרצְ ַפת ַבּ ַהט‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫וָ ִאישׁ‬-‫ כִּ ְרצוֹן ִאישׁ‬,‫לַ ֲﬠשׂוֹת‬--‫רב ֵבּיתוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ ַﬠל כּ‬,‫כֵ ן יִ ַסּד ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ כִּ י‬:‫ ֵאין אֹנֵ ס‬,‫וְ ַה ְשּׁ ִתיָּ ה כַ ָדּת‬

[Based on lyrics of Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen] Tonight the king’s gonna have himself a real good time His party’s alive And the world, he’s conquered most of it, yeah he’s floating around in lots of money So, (don't stop him now) (Don't stop him) 'Cause he’s having a good time, having a good time His party lasts for 180 days For his nobles, and governors of his provinces His next party lasts for seven days, just for the citizens He’s really pop, popular There's no stopping him The Jews party for a while, yeah They had a great time That's why he calls himself the party king It was a little bit overdone Achashverosh really wasn't that humble at all (Don't stop him now) he’s having such a good time He’s having a ball (Don't stop him now) If you wanna have a good time just give him a call (Don't stop him now) 'Cause he’s having a good time (Don't stop him now) Yes, he’s havin' a good time He’s doesn't want to stop at all Okay so now it's 2021, And the times are hard Sometimes it's easier, to go out of control And throw some parties like Achashverosh But it’s Covid now, and the world might Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, explode But let’s tr y and stay positive, yeah And be humble And not be like the party kiiing Who wanted to have ever ything As Jews, being humble it's our mission, it's true.

There are a few numbers mentioned that call to mind the lives of the Avot and Imahot (Sarah died at 127, Yitzchak died at 180). Is this a coincidence or intentional? What would be the relationship between the two? What was the reason for this party? Was this party utilized as a strategic method to ensure Achashverosh’s absolute monarchy or an outlet to glorify the gluttony and depravity of the nation? We are told that ever yone in the capital of Shushan came to this party— including the Jews. Chazal infers that the reason the Jews of Shushan deser ved the threat of extermination was because of their sinful actions during this party. What exactly were the sins of the Jewish people during the party?

Artwork by: Sonia Weiner Creative Writing by: Yaffa Farkas & Elisheva Elbaz Questions by: Tali Novick & Elisheva Zemel


A unique gold cup (1:7) is depicted at Achashverosh’s seven-day feast. It sits on a specific saucer— the Kohen Gadol’s Choshen. This artwork derives from Midrashim connecting this party with the Beit HaMikdash, honing in on textual parallels, like the mention of “teferet” and “kevodo” in both places (1:6, Shemot 28:2). Megillah 12a comments that Achashverosh was wearing the Bigdei Kehunah at the party and that the cups in 1:7 were distinct because they were kalim. This artwork associates a sense of repulsion with the party: our most sacred objects being used for such a mundane purpose. This sets the stage for the tragedy about to befall the Jewish people. 6

‫ כְּ טוֹב‬,‫ ַה ְשּׁ ִביﬠִ י‬,‫ י ַבּיּוֹם‬.‫ לַ ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬,‫ ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫ ַה ַמּלְ כוּת‬,‫בּית‬--‫ים‬ ֵ ‫ ָﬠ ְשׂ ָתה ִמ ְשׁ ֵתּה נָ ִשׁ‬,‫ט גַּ ם וַ ְשׁ ִתּי ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬ ‫ ַה ְמ ָשׁ ְר ִתים‬,‫ ִשׁ ְב ַﬠת ַה ָסּ ִר ִיסים‬,‫ זֵ ַתר וְ כַ ְרכַּ ס‬,‫הוּמן ִבּזְּ ָתא ַח ְרבוֹנָ א ִבּגְ ָתא וַ ֲא ַבגְ ָתא‬ ָ ‫א ַמר לִ ְמ‬--‫ן‬ ָ ִ‫ ַבּיָּ י‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ב‬ ַ ֵ‫ל‬ ‫ לְ ַה ְראוֹת ָהﬠַ ִמּים‬:‫בּכֶ ֶתר ַמלְ כוּת‬--‫ְך‬ ְ ֶ‫ לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּל‬,‫וַ ְשׁ ִתּי ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬-‫ יא לְ ָה ִביא ֶאת‬.‫פּנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬-‫ת‬ ְ ‫ֶא‬ ;‫ ְבּיַ ד ַה ָסּ ִר ִיסים‬,‫ ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫ לָ בוֹא ִבּ ְד ַבר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ יב וַ ְתּ ָמ ֵאן ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה וַ ְשׁ ִתּי‬.‫טוֹבת ַמ ְר ֶאה ִהיא‬-‫י‬ ַ ִ‫ כּ‬,‫יָ ְפיָ הּ‬-‫וְ ַה ָשּׂ ִרים ֶאת‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫ וַ ֲח ָמתוֹ ָבּ ֲﬠ ָרה בוֹ‬,‫וַ יִּ ְקצֹף ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ְמאֹד‬

Part 1: Late into one Persian night, A king and queen feasted with might, The king was drunk, so in delight, Beckoned his queen by word of knight, Desiring an object for guests' sight, The queen refused, which was her right. Part 2: I’ve seen the gold inside souls of tin, I’ve heard symphonies composed by sin, I’ve seen ivy dance on acres of stone, Tasted blood that tears above pure bone, Theodicy is a sun, It burns the brains of those beside the one, Like the Queen before Esther’s shadow, Her refusal faced her eyes, The wooden gallows, But death did not deser ve the soul of her majesty, For it is like Moses’s Tapestr y, To our faces, The sun is a blinding creation, But only the eternal one sees it in all its dimension, She alone answers, Why bad occurs to those with good intention.

Why did Achashverosh send 7 ser vants to go bring Vashti? Wouldn't one or two suffice?

Why wouldn't Vashti want to come? Why doesn’t the Megillah offer any reason for her refusal?

If Achashverosh would have personally asked Vashti himself, would she have come? Are we more likely to do something for someone if they ask us in person? via text? via email?

Artwork by: Arielle Levy & Esther Cabot Commentar y by: Esther Cabot & Rebecca Massel Questions by: Jake Slochowsky 7

There are numerous midrashim and explanations for why Vashti refused to attend Achashverosh’s mishteh. My piece is based on one of the more puzzling midrashim, written in Masechet Megillah 12b: It was taught in a braita that the malach Gavriel came and made Vashti a tail, so she was too embarrassed to attend Achashverosh’s party. Why specifically a tail? According to the Maharsha, Vashti’s tail relates to Adam’s tail or appendage, which he lost when Chava was created from him. This tail symbolizes man’s animalistic nature, which is appropriate for Vashti, who over worked the Jews on Shabbos and threw parties. Vashti’s tail symbolizes the animalistic society of Persia. Esther, despite being raised in Persia, became the opposite of Vashti - focused on the welfare of her people,

In Esther 1:11, Queen Vashti is told to go display her beauty before King Achashverosh and his officials. She is told to wear a “royal diadem” but nothing else, as the Midrash explains. This art piece is a feminist representation of Vashti. In the center of the page, Vashti is depicted with a worried expression on her face. She is thinking about how vulnerable and uncomfortable she would feel attending Achashverosh's party naked (depicted in the top right corner).


‫ כַּ ְר ְשׁנָ א‬,‫ יד וְ ַה ָקּרֹב ֵאלָ יו‬.‫י ְֹד ֵﬠי ָדּת וָ ִדין‬-‫ כָּ ל‬,‫ לִ ְפנֵ י‬,‫ ְדּ ַבר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫כֵ ן‬-‫ כִּ י‬:‫ לַ ֲחכָ ִמים י ְֹד ֵﬠי ָה ִﬠ ִתּים‬,‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֶ ‫יג וַ יּ‬ ,‫ ַהיּ ְֹשׁ ִבים ִראשֹׁנָ ה‬,‫ ר ֵֹאי ְפּנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫וּמ ַדי‬ ָ ‫שׁ ְב ַﬠת ָשׂ ֵרי ָפּ ַרס‬--‫ן‬ ִ ָ‫ ְממוּכ‬,‫ ֶמ ֶרס ַמ ְר ְסנָ א‬,‫ֵשׁ ָתר ַא ְד ָמ ָתא ַת ְר ִשׁישׁ‬ ,‫ ְבּיַ ד‬,‫מ ֲא ַמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ﬠ ְשׂ ָתה‬-‫ֹא‬ ָ ‫ﬠל ֲא ֶשׁר ל‬--‫י‬ ַ ‫ וַ ְשׁ ִתּ‬,‫ ַבּ ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬,‫לַּ ֲﬠשׂוֹת‬-‫ ַמה‬,‫ טו כְּ ָדת‬.‫ַבּ ַמּלְ כוּת‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫ַה ָסּ ִר ִיסים‬

‫ֹאמ ר ַה ֶמּ לֶ ְך לַ ֲח כָ ִמ ים י ְֹד ﬠֵ י ָֽה ﬠִ ִתּ ים כִּ י־כֵ ן ְדּ ַב ר ַה ֶמּ לֶ ְך‬ ֶ ‫וַ יּ‬ ‫לִ ְפ נֵ י כָּ ל־ י ְֹד ﬠֵ י ָדּ ת וָ ִ ֽד ין‬ “ Then the king consulted the sages learned in procedure. For it was the royal practice [to turn] to all who were versed in law and precedent.” The Gemara on the Megillah asks a ver y interesting question. Who exactly did King Achashverosh consult with? The Gemara later answers that he spoke with the wise Jewish sages. Achashverosh chose to ask the Jewish sages to judge Vashti for him, however, the Jewish sages were ver y reluctant. The Sages realized that no matter what their verdict would be, Achashverosh wouldn’t be pleased. Firstly, if the sages were to say kill Vashti, once Achashverosh became sober he would become angr y and regretful. Secondly, if the sages were to tell Achashverosh to let her continue living in the palace, then they would be encouraging the idea of disrespecting royalty, which was not an option for the Rabbis. So, they made a bold decision to not judge Vashti, and rather told Achashverosh to discuss with the nations of Moab and Ammon instead. This idea is ver y relevant to the younger generation of today’s society. Young adults in the twenty-first centur y like to debate on different topics, whether it be politics, religion, athletics, etc. The sages teach teenagers that sometimes it is better to not share your opinion for the good of the other person and to stay quiet in certain situations. They also show us that you can always find a way to resolve issues peacefully, without causing any sort of mayhem. Overall, the sages portray the important concept of courtesy, and how to avoid toxic environments and situations that might cause harm to others.

Was Achashverosh’s anger over Vashti refusing to come to his party justified?

If you had advisers would you blindly follow their advice?

Do you think it was fair for the women to be compared to royalty?

Artwork by: Noami Ohana Commentar y by: Rephael Nahon Questions by: Bailey Spitz 9

In perek aleph, pasuk yud-gimmel, Achashverosh “consulted his closest advisers”. One interpretation of these words is found in Esther Rabbah 4:1. It is stated that, "The impious man destroys his neighbor through speech, but through their knowledge the righteous are rescued”. The statement, "But through their knowledge the righteous are rescued" refers to the tribe of Issachar. Issachar is represented by a donkey, as he was blessed by his father, Yaakov. The owl symbolizes the wisdom of the tribe. The images are resting in a tree of knowledge, as the tribe of Issachar was sought out for its wisdom.


-‫כָּ ל‬-‫ כִּ י ﬠַ ל‬:‫ ָﬠוְ ָתה וַ ְשׁ ִתּי ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ ַבדּוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ל ֹא ַﬠ‬,‫ לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ַה ָשּׂ ִרים‬,(‫)ממוּכָ ן‬ ְ ‫ֹאמר מומכן‬ ֶ ‫טז וַ יּ‬ ,‫הנָּ ִשׁים‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ה ַמּלְ כָּ ה ַﬠל‬-‫ר‬ ַ ‫יֵ צֵ א ְד ַב‬-‫ יז כִּ י‬.‫מ ִדינוֹת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫ ְבּכ‬,‫ ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫ה ַﬠ ִמּים‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ וְ ַﬠל‬,‫ַה ָשּׂ ִרים‬ ‫ יח‬.‫ב ָאה‬-‫ֹא‬ ָ ‫וְ ל‬--‫וַ ְשׁ ִתּי ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה לְ ָפנָ יו‬-‫ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ ָא ַמר לְ ָה ִביא ֶאת‬,‫ ְבּ ָא ְמ ָרם‬:‫לְ ַה ְבזוֹת ַבּ ְﬠלֵ ֶיהן ְבּ ֵﬠינֵ ֶיהן‬ ‫ יט‬.‫ ִבּזָּ יוֹן וָ ָקצֶ ף‬,‫ ָשׂ ֵרי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך; וּכְ ַדי‬,‫ לְ כֹל‬,‫דּ ַבר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬-‫ת‬ ְ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ָשׁ ְמעוּ ֶא‬,‫וּמ ַדי‬-‫ס‬ ָ ‫ֹאמ ְרנָ ה ָשׂרוֹת ָפּ ַר‬ ַ ‫וְ ַהיּוֹם ַהזֶּ ה תּ‬ ,‫תבוֹא וַ ְשׁ ִתּי‬-‫ֹא‬ ָ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ל‬:‫ וְ ל ֹא יַ ֲﬠבוֹר‬,‫וּמ ַדי‬-‫ס‬ ָ ‫ וְ יִ כָּ ֵתב ְבּ ָד ֵתי ָפ ַר‬,‫מלְ כוּת ִמלְּ ָפנָ יו‬-‫ר‬ ַ ‫ יֵ צֵ א ְד ַב‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך טוֹב‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ﬠ‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ִא‬ ‫יַ ﬠֲ ֶשׂה‬-‫ כ וְ נִ ְשׁ ַמע ִפּ ְתגָ ם ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ֶשׁר‬.‫טּוֹבה ִמ ֶמּנָּ ה‬ ָ ‫עוּתהּ ַה‬ ָ ‫ לִ ְר‬,‫כוּתהּ יִ ֵתּן ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ָ ְ‫וּמל‬ ַ ,‫לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬ ‫ ְבּﬠֵ ינֵ י‬,‫ ַה ָדּ ָבר‬,‫ כא וַ יִּ ַיטב‬.‫ק ָטן‬-‫ד‬ ָ ‫ וְ ַﬠ‬,‫לְ ִמגָּ דוֹל‬--‫ יִ ְתּנוּ יְ ָקר לְ ַב ְﬠלֵ ֶיהן‬,‫הנָּ ִשׁים‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ כִּ י ַר ָבּה ִהיא; וְ כ‬,‫מלְ כוּתוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ְבּכ‬ ‫וּמ ִדינָ ה‬ ְ ‫מ ִדינָ ה‬-‫ל‬ ְ ‫א‬--‫ְך‬ ֶ ֶ‫מ ִדינוֹת ַה ֶמּל‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ ֶאל‬,‫ כב וַ יִּ ְשׁלַ ח ְס ָפ ִרים‬.‫ כִּ ְד ַבר ְממוּכָ ן‬,‫ וְ ַה ָשּׂ ִרים; וַ יַּ ַﬠשׂ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫וּמ ַד ֵבּר כִּ לְ שׁוֹן ַﬠמּוֹ‬ ְ ,‫אישׁ שׂ ֵֹרר ְבּ ֵביתוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ִ ָ‫ לִ ְהיוֹת כּ‬:‫ﬠם וָ ָﬠם כִּ לְ שׁוֹנוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ וְ ֶא‬,‫כִּ כְ ָת ָבהּ‬ The law of divine morality supersedes the law of any man. When Memuchan, an advisor of King Achashverosh, declared that Queen Vashti’s refusal to display herself before the King’s drunken minions constituted a violation of the law between husband and wife, queen and king, an act he claimed would destroy the King’s authority, he made a fatal error. Memuchan did not understand that the only source of authority for humans is the word of Hashem as expressed through Torah. In refusing to be objectified, to allow her God-given beauty to be placed in the ser vice of drunken men, Vashti was honoring the ‫ צלם אלוקים‬that is within each of us. Heart and body, women belong to no man. We are a holy gift to be bestowed at our own choosing. Achashverosh, in mistaking human authority for divine authority, believed he could own his wife as an object, betraying her neshama and violating the kedusha of her ‫צלם אלוקים‬. His vanity led him to exile his wife in a bid to hold on to his false sense of power, an action that ultimately brought ruin to Persia and salvation to Am Yisrael.

How does Achashverosh’ decree to make the man more powerful in the household relate to the role Esther takes on later in the stor y?

The decree to empower the man, ‫ל־א י שׁ שׂ ֵֹר ר ְבּ ֵב יתוֹ‬ ִ ָ‫לִ ְה יוֹת כּ‬, flows with the narrative of Vashti's refusal, however, what is the significance of the last words of his decree, ‫וּמ ַד ֵבּ ר‬ ְ ‫?כִּ לְ שׁוֹן ﬠַ ֽמּ וֹ‬ What does the fear Memuchan suggests (that Vashti will empower the other women not to listen to their husbands) imply about the political and social status of women at that time?

Artwork by: Michelle Baum Commentar y by: Simone Amkraut Questions by: Vivian Cohen 11

In the megillah Memuchan says, wives ever ywhere are going to disrespect their husbands and say “ Vashti didn’t listen to her husband.” Let the law be known: women should honor their husbands. ” Vashti should not come before Achashverosh and the king will find a better queen. In this image, we see that a regular woman will see herself as Vashti and will go disrespect her husband. 12

‫ וְ ֵאת‬,‫ﬠָ ָשׂ ָתה‬-‫וַ ְשׁ ִתּי וְ ֵאת ֲא ֶשׁר‬-‫זָ כַ ר ֶאת‬--‫ ֲח ַמת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬,‫ כְּ שְֹׁך‬,‫ ַה ְדּ ָב ִרים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה‬,‫ א ַא ַחר‬:‫אסתר פרק ב‬ ‫ ג וְ יַ ְפ ֵקד‬.‫ טוֹבוֹת ַמ ְר ֶאה‬,‫ ַיְב ְקשׁוּ לַ ֶמּלֶ ְך נְ ָﬠרוֹת ְבּתוּלוֹת‬:‫ ְמ ָשׁ ְר ָתיו‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫י‬ ַ ‫ֹאמרוּ נַ ֲﬠ ֵר‬ ְ ‫ ב וַ יּ‬.‫נִ גְ זַ ר ָﬠלֶ ָיה‬-‫ֲא ֶשׁר‬ ‫בּית‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה ֶא‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫טוֹבת ַמ ְר ֶאה ֶא‬ ַ ‫בתוּלָ ה‬-‫ה‬ ְ ‫נַ ֲﬠ ָר‬-‫כָּ ל‬-‫ וְ יִ ְק ְבּצוּ ֶאת‬,‫מ ִדינוֹת ַמלְ כוּתוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫ ְבּכ‬,‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ְפּ ִק ִידים‬ ,‫תּ ְמֹלְך‬--‫ְך‬ ִ ֶ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ִתּ ַיטב ְבּﬠֵ ינֵ י ַה ֶמּל‬,‫ ד וְ ַהנַּ ֲﬠ ָרה‬.‫ ַתּ ְמ ֻר ֵק ֶיהן‬,‫יַ ד ֵהגֶ א ְס ִריס ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך שׁ ֵֹמר ַהנָּ ִשׁים; וְ נָ תוֹן‬-‫ ֶאל‬,‫ַהנָּ ִשׁים‬ ‫ ֶבּן יָ ִאיר‬,‫וּשׁמוֹ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ ְ ;‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה‬ ַ ‫ ָהיָ ה ְבּ‬,‫הוּדי‬ ִ ְ‫ }ס{ ה ִאישׁ י‬.‫ וַ יַּ ַﬠשׂ כֵּ ן‬,‫ַתּ ַחת וַ ְשׁ ִתּי; וַ יִּ ַיטב ַה ָדּ ָבר ְבּ ֵﬠינֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ --‫הוּדה‬ ָ ְ‫י‬-‫ ִﬠם יְ כָ נְ יָ ה ֶמלֶ ְך‬,‫הגֹּלָ ה ֲא ֶשׁר ָהגְ לְ ָתה‬-‫ם‬ ַ ִ‫ ﬠ‬,‫ירוּשׁלַ יִ ם‬ ָ ‫ ִמ‬,‫ ו ֲא ֶשׁר ָהגְ לָ ה‬.‫אישׁ יְ ִמינִ י‬--‫ישׁ‬ ִ ‫ק‬-‫ן‬ ִ ‫שׁ ְמ ִﬠי ֶבּ‬-‫ן‬ ִ ‫ֶבּ‬ ‫ ָאב וָ ֵאם; וְ ַהנַּ ﬠֲ ָרה‬,‫כִּ י ֵאין לָ הּ‬--‫דֹּדוֹ‬-‫ ִהיא ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַבּת‬,‫ה ַד ָסּה‬-‫ת‬ ֲ ‫ ז וַ יְ ִהי א ֵֹמן ֶא‬.‫ נְ בוּכַ ְדנֶ צַּ ר ֶמלֶ ְך ָבּ ֶבל‬,‫ֲא ֶשׁר ֶהגְ לָ ה‬ .‫ לְ ָק ָחהּ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י לוֹ לְ ַבת‬,‫ ְוּבמוֹת ָא ִב ָיה וְ ִא ָמּהּ‬,‫טוֹבת ַמ ְר ֶאה‬ ַ ְ‫ ו‬,‫תּ ַֹאר‬-‫יְ ַפת‬

In a city called Shushan far away from their land, Mordechai and his people lived under Persian command. In the generation of Mordechai the king of Babylon took the Jews away, And Galus Bavel started on that ver y day. As teenagers living today in 2021, We might forget where our exile started from. With the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash two thousand years ago, We were led into our final exile, Galus Edom. Even with all our blessings we are still living in exile, And we don’t remember the way it was because it has been a while. But if we take the time to think about how we’re living in this era We can realize how much we are missing out on in the diaspora. We don’t have a Jewish leader to tell us how to live, Or a Jewish court to decide what punishment to give. So what can we do as teenagers in this generation, To bring the ultimate redemption to an entire nation? Just like Mordechai fathered Esther when she was alone, We need to stand B’yachad to bring back Hashem’s throne. By working on ourselves and trusting in the true King, Hashem will bring us back to our home on eagles’ wings.

Why does the Megillah give Mordechai such a long title? Why not just introduce him as ‫ָמ ְר ֳדּ כַ י‬ ‫בּ ן יָ ִא יר‬,ֶ Mordecai, son of Jair? Why does the Megillah feel the need to explain his whole family tree? Who were Esther’s parents and what happened to them that resulted in Esther becoming an orphan? In Perek ‫ ב‬Passuk ‫ ז‬the Megillah specifically describes Esther as ‫יְ ַפ ת־‬ ‫טוֹב ת ַמ ְר ֶא ה‬ ַ ְ‫תּ ַֹא ר ו‬, shapely and beautiful. What kind of beauty is this Passuk describing? Is it referencing inner beauty, like some beautiful trait? Or, if the Megillah is explaining that she was physically beautiful, why would that be something worth mentioning?

Artwork by: Shannah Warshawsky Commentar y by: Penina Horowitz Questions by: Adina Eisenmann 13

In Eichah, the Jewish people cr y saying “ We have become orphans, and fatherless”. The Medrash tells how Hashem responded to their cries, saying that because they weep and say they are orphans, their savior and redeemer will also be an orphan. Megillas Esther goes to great lengths to emphasize that Esther was an orphan, and the significance of this is that when Klal Yisrael feels like an orphan abandoned among the nations Hashem will come to save us. Esther relates to the suffering of Klal Yisrael because she is an orphan, and that is why she is chosen to bring about their redemption. 14

,‫בּית ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫יַ ד ֵהגָ י; וַ ִתּלָּ ַקח ֶא ְס ֵתּר ֶא‬-‫ ֶאל‬,‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ְוּב ִה ָקּ ֵבץ נְ ָﬠרוֹת ַרבּוֹת ֶא‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ָדתוֹ‬-‫ר‬ ַ ‫ ְבּ ִה ָשּׁ ַמע ְדּ ַב‬,‫ח וַ יְ ִהי‬ ‫ וְ ֵאת‬,‫נוֹת ָה לָ ֵתת לָ הּ‬ ֶ ‫מ‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫רוּק ָיה וְ ֶא‬ ֶ ‫תּ ְמ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ וַ ַיְב ֵהל ֶא‬,‫ וַ ִתּ ָשּׂא ֶח ֶסד לְ ָפנָ יו‬,‫ ט וַ ִתּ ַיטב ַהנַּ ֲﬠ ָרה ְב ֵﬠינָ יו‬.‫יַ ד ֵהגַ י שׁ ֵֹמר ַהנָּ ִשׁים‬-‫ֶאל‬ ‫ﬠַ ָמּהּ‬-‫ ֶאת‬,‫הגִּ ָידה ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬-‫ֹא‬ ִ ‫ י ל‬.‫ ֵבּית ַהנָּ ִשׁים‬,‫רוֹת ָיה לְ טוֹב‬ ֶ ‫נַ ֲﬠ‬-‫לָ הּ ִמ ֵבּית ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך; וַ יְ ַשׁנֶּ ָה וְ ֶאת‬-‫ֶשׁ ַבע ַהנְּ ָﬠרוֹת ָה ְר ֻאיוֹת לָ ֶתת‬ :‫הנָּ ִשׁים‬-‫ית‬ ַ ‫ לִ ְפנֵ י ֲחצַ ר ֵבּ‬,‫מ ְר ֳדּכַ י ִמ ְת ַהלֵּ ְך‬--‫יוֹם‬ ָ ָ‫יוֹם ו‬-‫ יא ְוּבכָ ל‬.‫תגִּ יד‬-‫ֹא‬ ַ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ל‬,‫ כִּ י ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י צִ וָּ ה ָﬠלֶ ָיה‬:‫מוֹלַ ְד ָתּהּ‬-‫וְ ֶאת‬ ‫ ִמ ֵקּץ ֱהיוֹת לָ הּ כְּ ָדת‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ יב ְוּב ַהגִּ ַיﬠ תֹּר נַ ֲﬠ ָרה וְ נַ ﬠֲ ָרה לָ בוֹא ֶא‬.‫יֵּ ָﬠ ֶשׂה ָבּהּ‬-‫וּמה‬ ַ ,‫שׁלוֹם ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬-‫ת‬ ְ ‫לָ ַד ַﬠת ֶא‬ ‫רוּקי‬ ֵ ‫ ְוּב ַת ְמ‬,‫ וְ ִשׁ ָשּׁה ֳח ָד ִשׁים ַבּ ְבּ ָשׂ ִמים‬,‫ ְבּ ֶשׁ ֶמן ַהמֹּר‬,‫ ִשׁ ָשּׁה ֳח ָד ִשׁים‬:‫רוּק ֶיהן‬ ֵ ‫ יְ ֵמי ְמ‬,‫כִּ י כֵּ ן יִ ְמלְ אוּ‬--‫ַהנָּ ִשׁים ְשׁנֵ ים ָﬠ ָשׂר ח ֶֹדשׁ‬ .‫בּית ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ד‬ ֵ ַ‫ ﬠ‬,‫ ִמ ֵבּית ַהנָּ ִשׁים‬,‫ לָ בוֹא ﬠִ ָמּהּ‬,‫ֹאמר יִ נָּ ֵתן לָ הּ‬ ַ ‫א ֶשׁר תּ‬-‫ל‬ ֲ ָ‫את כּ‬--‫ְך‬ ֵ ֶ‫ה ֶמּל‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ַהנַּ ֲﬠ ָרה ָבּ ָאה ֶא‬,‫ יג ָוּבזֶ ה‬.‫ַהנָּ ִשׁים‬ ‫תבוֹא‬-‫ֹא‬ ָ ‫ ל‬:‫ שׁ ֵֹמר ַה ִפּילַ גְ ִשׁים‬,‫יַ ד ַשׁ ַﬠ ְשׁגַ ז ְס ִריס ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ ֶאל‬,‫בּית ַהנָּ ִשׁים ֵשׁנִ י‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫ ַוּבבּ ֶֹקר ִהיא ָשׁ ָבה ֶא‬,‫יד ָבּ ֶﬠ ֶרב ִהיא ָב ָאה‬ ‫לוֹ‬-‫א ִב ַיחיִ ל דֹּד ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ֲא ֶשׁר לָ ַקח‬-‫ת‬ ֲ ‫א ְס ֵתּר ַבּ‬-‫ֹר‬ ֶ ‫ טו ְוּב ַהגִּ ַיﬠ תּ‬.‫ח ֵפץ ָבּהּ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ נִ ְק ְר ָאה ְב ֵשׁם‬-‫ם‬ ָ ‫ כִּ י ִא‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫עוֹד ֶא‬ ,‫ שׁ ֵֹמר ַהנָּ ִשׁים; וַ ְתּ ִהי ֶא ְס ֵתּר נ ֵֹשׂאת ֵחן‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫יס‬ ַ ‫ֹאמר ֵהגַ י ְס ִר‬ ַ ‫א ֶשׁר י‬-‫ת‬ ֲ ‫כִּ י ִאם ֶא‬--‫ ל ֹא ִב ְק ָשׁה ָדּ ָבר‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫לְ ַבת לָ בוֹא ֶא‬ .‫ר ֶֹא ָיה‬-‫ְבּ ֵﬠינֵ י כָּ ל‬ Despite not having parents of her own, Esther draws inspiration from her ancestors to pursue a fulfilling life. One distinct example of Esther’s emulation of her predecessors is taught in the Midrash Tanchuma Vayeitzei 6 where Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel teaches that silence is the best characteristic that a human can possess. Sometimes silence takes the form of secrecy. Esther was known for her staunch ability to keep the confidentiality of her “nation and her birthplace” when living in the palace (Esther 2:10). Her secrecy, which she had learnt from her ancestors, was ultimately essential to ensuring her safety and the salvation of her nation. Esther comes from Rachel Imeinu, who was the original master of secrets in the family. When Yaakov had been sending presents to Rachel leading up to their marriage -and Lavan would instead give them to Leah -- Rachel never revealed to her sister, Leah, the truth about the intended recipient. True to her family’s legacy, Rachel merited by having a son who was equally discrete. Binyamin’s stone on the choshen was a color called ‫ י שפה‬which can be broken down into the words ‫י ש פה‬, insinuating that he had a mouth (meaning he had something to say), but did not use it. He knew the truth behind ‫מכירת יוסף‬, but did not tell his father what his brothers had done,hence protecting them from his father’s rage. Additionally, Shaul (who comes from Binyamin) preser ves his knowledge that Shmuel Hanavi had foretold to him about his future as a king, and once again maintained his family’s legacy as a secret keeper. Esther was clearly rooted in her ancestors’ abilities to know when to reveal and when to conceal. As Jews living in the 21st centur y, we must learn from Esther Haneviah this prime principle. We must not fall into the trap through which modern social media can deceive us, and instead recognize what is worth sharing, and what would possess more value if left kept secret. Sometimes the most intimate and joyous moments of life are diminished when shared to the public. Some things that are not kept secret within our families can be stained when released into the public eye.Therefore, when approaching social media, we must internalize Esther’s middah of remaining masked and continue the long legacy of secret keepers.

Why didn’t Esther want to tell anyone she was Jewish?

Did Mordechai want Esther to be picked?

Was Esther actually beautiful or was she only beautiful in the eyes of Achashverosh?

Artwork by: Daniella Zisblat Artwork Commentar y by: Arieli Mahler Commentar y by: Meira Ives Questions by: Rina Melamed


Esther comes from a legacy of secret keepers. This theme is drawn out through her ancestors which are portrayed in the art piece above. In the picture, Esther can be seen with her hand coming close to her lips, which is there to guard her mouth, representing the personal information that she withheld in the palace and the secrets that she did not disclose. Additionally, Esther’s dress is formed by the roots of a tree, representing Esther’s deep family roots of appropriate secret keeping. On the bottom right is a crown that symbolizes Shaul, who withheld his knowledge of his future kingship. On the bottom middle, there is an image of a ring that signifies Rachel and Yaakov’s marriage, where Rachel famously did not reveal to her sister the truth about the arrangements of the union. Lastly, in the bottom left is a choshen which represents Binyamin’s stone on the breastplate. Binyamin wisely did not tell his father the truth about the disappearance of Yosef. Esther truly rooted herself in the qualities of her ancestors and demonstrated these traits when living in the palace. 16

,‫שׁ ַבע‬-‫ת‬ ֶ ַ‫בּ ְשׁנ‬--‫ת‬ ִ ‫ח ֶֹדשׁ ֵט ֵב‬-‫ הוּא‬,‫ ַבּח ֶֹדשׁ ָה ֲﬠ ִשׂ ִירי‬,‫בּית ַמלְ כוּתוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫טז וַ ִתּלָּ ַקח ֶא ְס ֵתּר ֶא‬ ‫מלְ ־‬-‫ר‬ ַ ‫ה ְבּתוּלוֹת; וַ יָּ ֶשׂם כֶּ ֶת‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫חן וָ ֶח ֶסד לְ ָפנָ יו ִמכּ‬-‫א‬ ֵ ‫ וַ ִתּ ָשּׂ‬,‫הנָּ ִשׁים‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫א ְס ֵתּר ִמכּ‬-‫ת‬ ֶ ‫ יז וַ יֶּ ֱא ַהב ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֶא‬.‫לְ ַמלְ כוּתוֹ‬ ;‫ ִמ ְשׁ ֵתּה ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬,‫את‬--‫יו‬ ֵ ‫שׂ ָריו וַ ֲﬠ ָב ָד‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫ לְ כ‬,‫ יח וַ יַּ ַﬠשׂ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ִמ ְשׁ ֶתּה גָ דוֹל‬.‫ וַ יַּ ְמלִ יכֶ ָה ַתּ ַחת וַ ְשׁ ִתּי‬,‫ֹאשׁהּ‬ ָ ‫כוּת ְבּר‬ ‫ כ‬.‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ר‬ ַ ‫ י ֵֹשׁב ְבּ ַשׁ ַﬠ‬,‫וּמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ ָ ;‫ ֵשׁנִ ית‬,‫ יט ְוּב ִה ָקּ ֵבץ ְבּתוּלוֹת‬.‫ וַ יִּ ֵתּן ַמ ְשׂ ֵאת כְּ יַ ד ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫וַ ֲהנָ ָחה לַ ְמּ ִדינוֹת ָﬠ ָשׂה‬ ‫ כַּ ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫מ ֲא ַמר ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ֶא ְס ֵתּר ע ָֹשׂה‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ָמ ְר ֳדּכָ י; וְ ֶא‬,‫ כַּ ֲא ֶשׁר צִ וָּ ה ָﬠלֶ ָיה‬,‫ﬠ ָמּהּ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ַמגֶּ ֶדת מוֹלַ ְד ָתּהּ וְ ֶא‬,‫ֵאין ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫ָהיְ ָתה ְב ָא ְמנָ ה ִאתּוֹ‬

Dear Diar y, Sometimes I feel like I’m living behind a mask. I often find myself hiding who I am for the sake of ‘fitting in’. Living in a secular world in the twenty-first centur y, it is easy to lose my true self in a sea of materialistic pursuit. With all of the physicality and emphasis on objects that surround me, maintaining spirituality is a challenge. In ‫פרק ב פסוק כ‬, the pasuk says that “Esther would not reveal her lineage or her nationality”. Esther was forced to mask her Jewish identity in order to sur vive in the palace and went to great lengths to hide her true self in order to protect the Jewish nation. Unlike Esther, I have the gift of being able to safely live life as a proud Jewish teenager. Esther found herself in the royal palace of Persia surrounded by a culture that placed physical satisfaction above all else. As ‫ פסוק יח‬says, “And the king made a great banquet for all his princes and his ser vants, even Esther's feast, and he granted a release to the provinces and gave gifts according to the bounty of the king.” The cultural environment at the palace was antithetical to Jewish values. But despite the environment that she was placed in, Esther was able to secretly maintain her Jewish identity. Esther’s dedication to her identity in challenging circumstances inspires me to hold on to my Jewish identity, even when it is difficult to do so. I know that just as Esther did, I must be true to myself.

Why don’t the pesukim provide any of Esther’s perspective? Why is Esther a passive figure in the description of her abduction? Why does passuk 17 introduce the word “‫”הנָּ ִשׁים‬, ַ when it has been referring to the women as “‫”ה ְבּתוֹּלת‬ ַ consistently until now? Is it referring to a separate group of women? What, specifically, is the passuk referring to when it says “ ‫כַּ ֲא ֶשׁ ר‬ ‫?”ה יְ ָת ה ְב ָא ְמ נָ ה ִא ֽתּ וֹ‬ ָ Why is it drawing a comparison between how Esther obeyed Mordechai’s word when she was living with him and when she was living in the palace?

Artwork by: Molly Seghi Commentar y by: Ariella Greenberg Questions by: Avigail Levine 17

Esther had to take on a passive role and hide her identity. Similarly, women can often feel as though they need to suppress their identity to conform to traditional expectations. However, as Jewish women, we are fortunate enough to not be in Esther’s position. We are able to pursue a Jewish life as women and freely express our identities. As the rock of the family unit, it’s vital for halachic women to find meaning in their roles and in their identities, especially if they are positioned to have to sacrifice one over the other. This image highlights the important role women play in Jewish society. 18

‫ וַ ַיְב ְקשׁוּ‬,‫ ִמשּׁ ְֹמ ֵרי ַה ַסּף‬,‫ס ִר ֵיסי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫י‬ ָ ֵ‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך; ָקצַ ף ִבּגְ ָתן וָ ֶת ֶרשׁ ְשׁנ‬-‫ר‬ ַ ַ‫יוֹשׁב ְבּ ַשׁﬠ‬ ֵ ‫וּמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ ָ ,‫כא ַבּיָּ ִמים ָה ֵהם‬ ‫ ְבּ ֵשׁם ָמ ְר־‬,‫ֹאמר ֶא ְס ֵתּר לַ ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֶ ‫ וַ יַּ גֵּ ד לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה; וַ תּ‬,‫ כב וַ יִּ וָּ ַדע ַה ָדּ ָבר לְ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬.‫ ַבּ ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רֹשׁ‬,‫ֹלח יָ ד‬ ַ ‫לִ ְשׁ‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬--‫ ְבּ ֵס ֶפר ִדּ ְב ֵרי ַהיָּ ִמים‬,‫ﬠץ; וַ יִּ כָּ ֵתב‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫ וַ יִּ ָתּלוּ ְשׁנֵ ֶיהם ַﬠ‬,‫ כג וַ ֻיְב ַקּשׁ ַה ָדּ ָבר וַ יִּ ָמּצֵ א‬.‫ֳדּכָ י‬

Once upon a time there were two persian men Standing on the side conspiring with each other But little did they know stood a tzaddik named Mordechai Who listened and was learning their plan He heard and had it told the king, that someone was tr ying to kill him Esther told the king their plan and the king was saved But even the tzaddik Mordechai didn’t know That this was a part of the refuah of a future makah You see Hashem appears to put up things to hurt us But even before that, the remedy is among us We just have to believe that even in these dark times That somewhere out their is our refuah And that someday will be time for the final Geula

Why is the stor y of Bigtan and Teresh necessar y for the purpose of the stor y? Esther is portrayed until this point in the story as the one who follows Mordechai’s orders. What prompted Esther to relate the information to Achashveirosh in Mordechai’s name? If you were in Mordechai’s position would you have done the same thing or would you have allowed the man who abducted your family member to get killed?

Artwork by: Leilah Brown Art Commentar y by: Alan Vashovsky Commentar y by: Matthew Mizrahi Questions by: Haftr HS Beit Medrash Program 19

I wonder what I would have done if I were in Mordechai’s shoes. My niece or wife was stolen from me against her will to live with a man who killed his first wife for refusing to come to his party. Now I have a chance of getting him killed and either getting my niece/wife back or maybe even becoming king myself! I think I might of let Bigtan and Teresh do their thing and hope for the best. I don’t think you’d blame me for doing that, but that doesn’t make it right! Notice in the picture Mordechai is standing upright under the heavens. Mordechai does what is right, not what is convenient or good for him. Allowing the king to be assassinated is wrong even if you have been hurt by him. Mordechai does what is right, because it is the right thing to do. The lesson we learn from this is: you can never go wrong by doing what is right. Because Mordechai had emunah in Hashem’s plan and continued to do what was right even when it wasn’t easy, in the end, the Jewish people were saved. 20

,‫וַ יְ נַ ְשּׂ ֵאהוּ; וַ יָּ ֶשׂם‬--‫ה ְמּ ָד ָתא ָה ֲאגָ גִ י‬-‫ן‬ ַ ‫ה ָמן ֶבּ‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ גִּ ַדּל ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ ֶא‬,‫ א ַא ַחר ַה ְדּ ָב ִרים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה‬:‫אסתר פרק ג‬ -‫וּמ ְשׁ ַתּ ֲחוִ ים לְ ָה ָמן‬ ִ ‫ כּ ְֹר ִﬠים‬,‫בּ ַשׁﬠַ ר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ר‬ ְ ‫ﬠ ְב ֵדי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ֶשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ ב וְ כ‬.‫ה ָשּׂ ִרים ֲא ֶשׁר ִאתּוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ כּ‬,‫ ֵמ ַﬠל‬,‫כִּ ְסאוֹ‬-‫ֶאת‬ --‫בּ ַשׁﬠַ ר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ר‬ ְ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁ‬,‫ֹאמרוּ ַﬠ ְב ֵדי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ְ ‫ ג וַ יּ‬.‫ וְ ל ֹא יִ ְשׁ ַתּ ֲחוֶ ה‬,‫ל ֹא יִ כְ ַרע‬--‫וּמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ ָ ;‫לוֹ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ צִ וָּ ה‬,‫כֵ ן‬-‫כִּ י‬;‫ ֲאלֵ ֶיהם‬,‫ וְ ל ֹא ָשׁ ַמע‬,‫ באמרם )כְּ ָא ְמ ָרם( ֵאלָ יו יוֹם וָ יוֹם‬,‫ ד וַ יְ ִהי‬.‫ ֵאת ִמצְ וַ ת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫עוֹבר‬ ֵ ‫דּוּﬠ ַא ָתּה‬ ַ ‫ ַמ‬:‫לְ ָמ ְר ֳדּכָ י‬ .‫הוּדי‬ ִ ְ‫הוּא י‬-‫ ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫הגִּ יד לָ ֶהם‬-‫י‬ ִ ִ‫כּ‬--‫ לִ ְראוֹת ֲהיַ ַﬠ ְמדוּ ִדּ ְב ֵרי ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬,‫וַ יַּ גִּ ידוּ לְ ָה ָמן‬

To Bow or Not To Bow: That Tis’ the Question ‫וּמ ְשׁ ַתּ ֲחוִ ים לְ ָה ָמן כִּ י־כֵ ן צִ וָּ ה־לוֹ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֽ ִ ‫ר־בּ ַשׁﬠַ ר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך כּ ְֹרﬠִ ים‬ ְ ‫וְ כָ ל־ﬠַ ְב ֵד י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ֶשׁ‬ ‫וּמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ל ֹא יִ כְ ַרע וְ ל ֹא ִ ֽי ְשׁ ַתּ ֲחוֶ ֽה׃‬ ָ All the king’s courtiers in the palace gate knelt and bowed low to Haman, for such was the king’s order concerning him; but Mordechai would not kneel or bow low. (Sefaria Esther.3.2) Why wouldn’t Mordechai bow down to Hamman, like the king ordered everyone to do? Why was Mordechai being so stubborn? There are two very intriguing answers to this question. The midrash explains that the reason Mordechai refused to bow down to Hamman was because Haman wore an idol under his clothes. Hamman thought that everyone, including Mordechai would bow down to him when he passed by, because the king commanded everyone to do as such and out of spite, Hamman wanted Mordechai to bow down to an idol. If Hamman wore an idol under his clothes and Mordechai bows down to him, indirectly Mordechai would have also bowed down to the idol. Mordechai saw Hamman’s plan, and therefore, refused to bow down to Hamman when he passed by. Rashi explains slightly differently, that Mordechai refused to bow down to Hamman because Haman became an idol himself. Rashi believed that just like Pharaoh, Hamman treated himself like an idol. Hamman made the people bow down to him and practically worship him. If Hamman really did become an idol-like figure, bowing down to him would be considered Avodah Zarah, hence Mordechai refused to bow down to him.

Why do you think that Haman didn’t realize that Mordechai was refusing to bow to him until he was told by the people?

How did Mordechai find out about the idol under Haman’s clothing or how Haman was treating himself like a god? What is the difference between bowing to someone in greeting rather than bowing to someone as a way of worship, if there is a difference?

Even though this story may seem outdated and unrealistic to our modern times, there are many meaningful lessons and morals one can derive from Megillat Esther. Mordechai refusing to bow down to Hamman is symbolic of a challenge we all face, namely not losing our identity. Every second, every day, this problem becomes more challenging to teenagers and adults alike. As teenagers many things pull us away from Jewish tradition. The pull is so strong, it feels almost irresistible and impossible not to give in. Yet just like Mordechai, who risked so much to not bow down to idols, we must Artwork by: Ruthie Isler stand strong and firm and make sure that we do not lose our culture Commentary by: Keira Efrusy and Aliza Kornblum or religion due to modernity. Questions by: Keira Efrusy and Aliza Kornblum


This picture presents Mordechai revealing the attempted murder of Achashverosh by Bigtan and Teresh. The pasuk (3:1) is about Mordechai refusing to bow down to Haman, which led to Haman plotting to kill the Jews. The Gemara (Megillah 13b) says Hashem had known about this and had provided the medicine before the wound occurred. They are standing inside of a medicine bottle because if Mordechai had not gone to Achasverosh, which was Hashem providing the medicine, then he wouldn’t have remembered his help and the Jews would have perished. 22

-‫ֹלח יָ ד ְבּ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י לְ ַבדּוֹ‬ ַ ‫ לִ ְשׁ‬,‫ ו וַ ֶיִּבז ְבּ ֵﬠינָ יו‬.‫ ֵח ָמה‬,‫וּמ ְשׁ ַתּ ֲחוֶ ה לוֹ; וַ יִּ ָמּלֵ א ָה ָמן‬ ִ ‫ כּ ֵֹר ַﬠ‬,‫אין ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬-‫י‬ ֵ ִ‫כּ‬--‫ה וַ יַּ ְרא ָה ָמן‬ ‫ﬠַ ם‬--‫מלְ כוּת ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫הוּדים ֲא ֶשׁר ְבּכ‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ לְ ַה ְשׁ ִמיד ֶאת‬,‫ﬠם ָמ ְר ֳדּכָ י; וַ ַיְב ֵקּשׁ ָה ָמן‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫הגִּ ידוּ לוֹ‬-‫י‬ ִ ִ‫כּ‬‫גּוֹרל‬ ָ ‫ ִה ִפּיל פּוּר הוּא ַה‬:‫ לַ ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬,‫ ִבּ ְשׁנַ ת ְשׁ ֵתּים ֶﬠ ְשׂ ֵרה‬,‫ח ֶֹדשׁ נִ ָיסן‬-‫ הוּא‬,‫ ז ַבּח ֶֹדשׁ ָה ִראשׁוֹן‬.‫ָמ ְר ֳדּכָ י‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫ח ֶֹדשׁ ֲא ָדר‬-‫הוּא‬--‫ﬠ ָשׂר‬-‫ים‬ ָ ֵ‫וּמח ֶֹדשׁ לְ ח ֶֹדשׁ ְשׁנ‬ ֵ ‫ ִמיּוֹם לְ יוֹם‬,‫לִ ְפנֵ י ָה ָמן‬

Haman was a man so vile and despicable that his name has become synonymous with evil. Nevertheless, Hamas highlighted a truth about ‫עם ישראל‬, whose full power he himself did not understand. When Haman grew angr y at Mordechai for not bowing before him, Haman's anger did not stop with Mordechai. Haman understood that the man named ‘Mordechai' could not be separated from the ‘Jew’ inside him, because ever y single Jew is a link in the chain of Am Yisrael. Haman concluded that he would “not lay hands on Mordechai alone... but sought to destroy... Mordechai’s people.” Haman was acting in this moment with extreme insight into the nature of the Jewish people. ‫כל י שראל ערבים זה לזה‬. Each Jew is a link of love and responsibility, faith and erudition, whose bonds to each other are forged in the commitment to Torah, as the tree of life. Our enemies should remember that if you come for one of us, you come for all of us - and you will be no match for the power of the blessing that Hashem gave to Avraham: ‫וּמ ַק לֶּ לְ ָך ָא ֹא ר וְ נִ ְב ְר כוּ ְב ָך ֹכּ ל‬ ְ ‫וַ ֲא ָב ֲר כָ ה ְמ ָב ְר כֶ יָך‬ ‫ִמ ְשׁ ְפּ ֹח ת ָה ֲא ָד ָמ ה‬

What is the significance of " ‫י־ה גִּ י ־‬ ִ ‫ִ ֽכּ‬ ‫ "דוּ לוֹ ֶא ת־ ﬠַ ם ָמ ְר ֳדּ כָ י‬in the middle of the pasuk? Was Haman's decision to inflict harm upon the Jewish nation merely due to Mordechai's refusal to bow down to him? Why is Haman described as passive with regards to the lotter y " ‫ִה ִפּ יל פּוּר‬ ‫גּוֹר ל לִ ְפ נֵ י ָה ָמ ן‬ ָ ‫?"הוּא ַה‬

Why is the word ‫ ֹח ֶד שׁ‬repeated five times?

"I will bless those who bless you and curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.” Artwork by: Ginger Ammar & Daniela Nacmias Commentar y by: Simone Amkraut Questions by: Vivian Cohen 23

I made this piece to show strength through the eyes of our oppressors. You can see in this sense Moredchai stands when haman forces ever yone to bow. I wanted to use extreme reds for Haman’s eyes to represent his corrupt strength and power which made it even scarier for Mordachi to rebel. You can see Mordecai in Haman’s eyes and I believe this scene is ver y powerful. I feel that the anger expressed by haman only proves how morsechi got the best of him by just ignoring him.

As Haman went through the streets of Persia, all would bow at his feet in honor. However, one day as all bowed before Haman, Mordechai- leader of the Jewish people- remained standing. This act of defiance enraged Haman greatly and is what ultimately led him to conduct a lotter y that would potentially lead to a massacre of all Jews in Persia. This drawing depicts this monumental tipping point seen in the Megillah, as it captures Haman’s rage and Mordechai’s resilience. While the scene itself is a rather serious one, the use of vibrant colors keeps to the cheerful and joyous aura of the holiday of Purim and hints at an ending that is joyous as well.


‫כוּתָך; וְ ָד ֵת ֶיהם‬ ֶ ְ‫ ְבּכֹל ְמ ִדינוֹת ַמל‬,‫וּמפ ָֹרד ֵבּין ָה ַﬠ ִמּים‬ ְ ‫א ָחד ְמ ֻפזָּ ר‬-‫ם‬ ֶ ‫יֶ ְשׁנוֹ ַﬠ‬--‫ לַ ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬,‫ֹאמר ָה ָמן‬ ֶ ‫ח וַ יּ‬ ‫ יִ כָּ ֵתב לְ ַא־‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך טוֹב‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ﬠ‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ ט ִא‬.‫ לְ ַהנִּ ָיחם‬,‫שֹׁוֶ ה‬-‫ וְ לַ ֶמּלֶ ְך ֵאין‬,‫דּ ֵתי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֵאינָ ם ע ִֹשׂים‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ וְ ֶא‬,‫ﬠָ ם‬-‫שֹׁנוֹת ִמכָּ ל‬ -‫ י וַ יָּ ַסר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֶאת‬.‫גִּ נְ זֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ ֶאל‬,‫ לְ ָה ִביא‬,‫יְ ֵדי ע ֵֹשׂי ַה ְמּלָ אכָ ה‬-‫ ֶא ְשׁקוֹל ַﬠל‬,‫כֶּ ֶסף‬-‫ְבּ ָדם; וַ ֲﬠ ֶשׂ ֶרת ֲאלָ ִפים כִּ כַּ ר‬ ;‫ ַהכֶּ ֶסף נָ תוּן לָ ְך‬,‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ ָה ָמן‬ ֶ ‫ יא וַ יּ‬.‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫צ ֵֹרר ַהיּ‬--‫ה ְמּ ָד ָתא ָה ֲאגָ גִ י‬-‫ן‬ ַ ‫ לְ ָה ָמן ֶבּ‬,‫ ֵמ ַﬠל יָ דוֹ; וַ יִּ ְתּנָ הּ‬,‫ַט ַבּﬠְ תּוֹ‬ .‫ לַ ֲﬠשׂוֹת בּוֹ כַּ טּוֹב ְבּ ֵﬠינֶ יָך‬,‫וְ ָהﬠָ ם‬

Haman’s Lesson There will be laws There will be hate Surrounding the Jewish nation with lives at stake Haman coerced the power The potential to do right or wrong Yet his hate does not diminish the Jewish song Today, years after the decree Hatred still prevails in the world that we see. Mass shootings, labor camps, and baseless hatred Whipped, insulted, murdered, and isolated. These acts still happening today for the purpose of hate not loving one another from ever y state Haman grabs the power The strength of the ring The ability to go into the city To shout and scream. The power to kill or save, Yet he chooses to kill and appear strong, powerful, and brave. To this day, the power is still here Ringing in each and ever y one of our ears The taste of jealousy and hate Is still apparent with lives at stake In Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C Races, religions, and republics being annihilated and destroyed, part of Haman’s dream Together as Jews we hold on to one another Preser ving the dignity of our Jewish brother With the fragrance of Torah learning, acts of giving, and prayers as a symphony Showing Haman that benevolence still prevails from adulthood to infancy.

Part of Haman’s pitch involves giving the king money; what does this reveal about Achoshverosh’s rulership? Although he returns the money to Haman, why was it necessar y? Achashverosh grants Haman control over an entire ethnicity of his empire, based on his testimony alone—Haman doesn’t even explicitly mention which people it is! What happens when a monarch passes over power to the whims of his ministers? In pasuk chet, before he slanders the Jews, he is simply referred to as Haman, but in pasuk yud, after he convinces Achashverosh to grant him power to oppress the Jews, he is called “Haman the son of Hamdata of Agag, the inflictor of suffering upon the Jews”. What does this show about how we should evaluate people?

Artwork by: Rachel Margolin Commentar y by: Sarah Friedman Questions by: Yinon Gur vich 25

Haman informs King Achashverosh about the Jewish people living in his kingdom who have different laws than ever yone else. Ibn Ezra explains that Haman was accusing them of not following the king’s laws, and that they were the only people not following the laws. When the king hears this he gives his signet ring to Haman and allows him to do whatever he needs to do. Rashi explains that anyone who possesses the ring has the power to do anything they want with it. The ring and fist in the middle of the collage represent Hamman and the power he holds when he is in possession of the king’s ring. In the middle of the ring is a lion holding a sword with a sun on its back, which is the ancient Persian symbol of royalty and strength. The background collage is made out of newspaper clippings about anti-semitism starting in 1935 until present day. When Hamman tells the king about the Jews not following his laws, he begins their persecution in that land. 26

‫צִ וָּ ה ָה ָמן ֶאל ֲא ַח ְשׁ ַדּ ְר ְפּנֵ י־‬-‫א ֶשׁר‬-‫ל‬ ֲ ָ‫ וַ יִּ כָּ ֵתב כְּ כ‬,‫לוֹשׁה ָﬠ ָשׂר יוֹם בּוֹ‬ ָ ‫ ִבּ ְשׁ‬,‫יב וַ יִּ ָקּ ְראוּ ס ְֹפ ֵרי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ַבּח ֶֹדשׁ ָה ִראשׁוֹן‬ :‫וּמ ִדינָ ה כִּ כְ ָת ָבהּ וְ ַﬠם וָ ﬠָ ם כִּ לְ שׁוֹנוֹ‬ ְ ‫ ְמ ִדינָ ה‬,‫שׂ ֵרי ַﬠם וָ ָﬠם‬-‫ל‬ ָ ‫וּמ ִדינָ ה וְ ֶא‬ ְ ‫מ ִדינָ ה‬-‫ל‬ ְ ‫ה ַפּחוֹת ֲא ֶשׁר ַﬠ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ֶא‬ -‫מ ִדינוֹת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ ֶאל‬,‫לוֹח ְס ָפ ִרים ְבּיַ ד ָה ָרצִ ים‬ ַ ‫ יג וְ נִ ְשׁ‬.‫ וְ נֶ ְח ָתּם ְבּ ַט ַבּ ַﬠת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ְבּ ֵשׁם ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רֹשׁ נִ כְ ָתּב‬ ‫לוֹשׁה ָﬠ ָשׂר לְ ח ֶֹדשׁ ְשׁנֵ ים־‬ ָ ‫ ִבּ ְשׁ‬,‫זָ ֵקן ַטף וְ נָ ִשׁים ְבּיוֹם ֶא ָחד‬-‫הוּדים ִמנַּ ַﬠר וְ ﬠַ ד‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫כּ‬-‫לְ ַה ְשׁ ִמיד לַ ֲהרֹג וּלְ ַא ֵבּד ֶאת‬--‫הﬠַ ִמּים‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫ לְ כ‬,‫ גָּ לוּי‬,‫וּמ ִדינָ ה‬ ְ ‫מ ִדינָ ה‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫ לְ ִהנָּ ֵתן ָדּת ְבּכ‬,‫ יד ַפּ ְת ֶשׁגֶ ן ַהכְּ ָתב‬.‫ לָ בוֹז‬,‫וּשׁלָ לָ ם‬ ְ ;‫ח ֶֹדשׁ ֲא ָדר‬-‫ﬠָ ָשׂר הוּא‬ ‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה; וְ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ָה ָמן‬ ַ ‫ ְבּ‬,‫ וְ ַה ָדּת נִ ְתּנָ ה‬,‫ ִבּ ְד ַבר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫חוּפים‬ ִ ‫ טו ָה ָרצִ ים יָ צְ אוּ ְד‬.‫ לַ יּוֹם ַהזֶּ ה‬,‫לִ ְהיוֹת ֲﬠ ִת ִדים‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫שׁוּשׁן נָ בוֹכָ ה‬ ָ ‫ וְ ָה ִﬠיר‬,‫יָ ְשׁבוּ לִ ְשׁתּוֹת‬

Haman had a strong desire His heart was filled with rage and fire So to Achashverosh he made the case He wanted the Jews destroyed and erased Fast for ward to a later year And Haman's plan was to Hitler so dear Bringing hatred and striking fear Six million gone, the remaining left broken with tear And in our life time too, evil plans have been the same After the massacres, stronger we became Pittsburgh, San Diego and Monsey too This is part of the life of a Jew All the nations, might come after you So trust in Hashem and He'll get you through.

What triggered Haman that he wanted the Jews out so quickly?

How was it so easy for Haman to convince the King to kill all the Jews?

How was it that all the people, in all the provinces were so compliant with Haman’s plan?

Artwork by: Luzzy Junger Commentar y by: Shlomo Dahan & Eli Spaethn Questions by: Eli Spaeth & Jonah Gerson 27

This picture shows Haman taking over the world. The pesukim tell us how Haman sent messengers to all the provinces and to the people around the world to eradicate the Jewish people. This type of propaganda is still present, as it was used during World War II and even in our time by anti-Zionist organizations. 28

‫ וַ יִּ לְ ַבּשׁ ַשׂק וָ ֵא ֶפר; וַ יֵּ צֵ א ְבּתוְֹך‬,‫בּגָ ָדיו‬-‫ת‬ ְ ‫ וַ יִּ ְק ַרע ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ֶא‬,‫א ֶשׁר נַ ֲﬠ ָשׂה‬-‫ל‬ ֲ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ יָ ַדע ֶאת‬,‫וּמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ ָ ‫ א‬:‫אסתר פרק ד‬ ‫ ג‬.‫ ִבּלְ בוּשׁ ָשׂק‬,‫שׁ ַﬠר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ כִּ י ֵאין לָ בוֹא ֶא‬:‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ר‬ ַ ַ‫ ַﬠד לִ ְפנֵ י ַשׁﬠ‬,‫ ב וַ יָּבוֹא‬.‫וּמ ָרה‬ ָ ‫ וַ יִּ זְ ַﬠק זְ ָﬠ ָקה גְ דוֹלָ ה‬,‫ָהﬠִ יר‬ ,‫וּמ ְס ֵפּד; ַשׂק וָ ֵא ֶפר‬ ִ ‫ וְ צוֹם ְוּבכִ י‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫א ֶבל גָּ דוֹל לַ יּ‬-ֵ ‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ָדתוֹ ַמגִּ ַיﬠ‬-‫ר‬ ַ ‫ ְמקוֹם ֲא ֶשׁר ְדּ ַב‬,‫וּמ ִדינָ ה‬ ְ ‫מ ִדינָ ה‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫ְוּבכ‬ .‫יֻ צַּ ע לָ ַר ִבּים‬

As Purim time approaches, it is appropriate to reflect on the past year. It was around Purim time in 2020 that the pandemic that still affects all of our ever yday lives was just getting started. If we think about the last year, there has been a lot of darkness, solitude, and tragedy in the world. We have all struggled together through histor y in the past year, and it might be hard to see the light ahead. So it was for the Jewish people in Shushan at the time of Mordechai and the stor y of Purim. They lived through a lot of darkness as well. Haman planned to kill all of the Jews and there didn’t seem to be much they could do to stop him. But Mordechai and the Jewish nation never gave up. They always continued to follow in the ways of Hashem in hopes that they would be saved. This resilience rescued them. Had they given up on Hashem and the Torah he would not have liberated them. We should act just the same. If we continue to follow in the ways of Hashem and His Torah, just like the Jews at the time of Purim, we will reach the light at the end of the tunnel and we will live through the pandemic, just like they sur vived all those years ago. We can learn from the stor y of Purim that we, joined together as klal yisroel, should never give up, and Hashem will always be there to help us.

When Mordechai heard what was happening to the Jewish people, he tore off his clothing and dressed in sackcloths and ashes. How would you respond to something bad set to happen to you and the Jewish people? Upon hearing of the impending tragedies, all of the people tore their clothing off like Mordechai. Why do you think they chose this specific action, to tear their clothes? In the Purim stor y, the Jews immediately turned to Hashem for help. At what point do you feel it is appropriate to turn to Hashem and let Him handle the situation?

Artwork, Commentar y, and Questions by: Matthew Rosenberg 29

The artwork depicts the darkness amongst the Jewish people at the time of the Purim stor y. In the front of the picture, Mordechai is shown dressed in sackcloth and ashes as described in the pesukim. The background behind Mordechai represents the good times that are now in the past, while also looking for ward to the redemption in the future. The buildings in the background are of the beautiful city of Shushan. The man with the crown riding the horse is Mordechai in the future, when Hashem will redeem them and the Jews will no longer be in danger. 30

‫ ְמאֹד; וַ ִתּ ְשׁלַ ח ְבּגָ ִדים לְ ַהלְ ִבּישׁ‬,‫ וַ ִתּ ְת ַחלְ ַחל ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬,‫ וַ יַּ גִּ ידוּ לָ הּ‬,‫ד ותבואינה )וַ ָתּבוֹאנָ ה( נַ ֲﬠרוֹת ֶא ְס ֵתּר וְ ָס ִר ֶיס ָיה‬ ,‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ֶה ֱﬠ ִמיד לְ ָפנֶ ָיה‬,‫ ה וַ ִתּ ְק ָרא ֶא ְס ֵתּר לַ ֲה ָתְך ִמ ָסּ ִר ֵיסי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬.‫וְ ל ֹא ִק ֵבּל‬--‫ וּלְ ָה ִסיר ַשׂקּוֹ ֵמ ָﬠלָ יו‬,‫מ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ֶא‬ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר לִ ְפנֵ י‬,‫רחוֹב ָה ִﬠיר‬-‫ל‬ ְ ‫א‬--‫י‬ ֶ ָ‫מ ְר ֳדּכ‬-‫ל‬ ָ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ ו וַ יֵּ צֵ א ֲה ָתְך‬.‫זֶּ ה‬-‫מה‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ וְ ַﬠ‬,‫זֶּ ה‬-‫לָ ַד ַﬠת ַמה‬--‫מ ְר ֳדּכָ י‬-‫ל‬ ָ ‫ ַﬠ‬,‫וַ ְתּצַ וֵּ הוּ‬ ‫גִּ נְ זֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ָא ַמר ָה ָמן לִ ְשׁקוֹל ַﬠל‬,‫א ֶשׁר ָק ָרהוּ; וְ ֵאת ָפּ ָר ַשׁת ַהכֶּ ֶסף‬-‫ל‬ ֲ ָ‫ ֵאת כּ‬,‫לוֹ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬-‫ ז וַ יַּ גֶּ ד‬.‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ר‬ ַ ַ‫ַשׁﬠ‬ ‫לְ ַה ְראוֹת‬--‫ נָ ַתן לוֹ‬,‫שׁוּשׁן לְ ַה ְשׁ ִמ ָידם‬ ָ ‫נִ ַתּן ְבּ‬-‫ה ָדּת ֲא ֶשׁר‬-‫ב‬ ַ ‫פּ ְת ֶשׁגֶ ן כְּ ָת‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ח וְ ֶא‬.‫לְ ַא ְבּ ָדם‬--(‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫)בּיּ‬ ַ ‫ביהודיים‬ ,‫ ט וַ יָּבוֹא‬.‫ﬠ ָמּהּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ﬠ‬--‫יו‬ ַ ָ‫לוֹ וּלְ ַב ֵקּשׁ ִמלְּ ָפנ‬-‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ ִה ְת ַחנֶּ ן‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ לָ בוֹא ֶא‬,‫ וּלְ ַהגִּ יד לָ הּ; וּלְ צַ וּוֹת ָﬠלֶ ָיה‬,‫א ְס ֵתּר‬-‫ת‬ ֶ ‫ֶא‬ .‫ ֵאת ִדּ ְב ֵרי ָמ ְר ֳדּכָ י‬,‫ֲה ָתְך; וַ יַּ גֵּ ד לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬

While ‫ מרדכי‬was unable to speak face to face with ‫אסתר‬, they had to come up with a way to communicate despite their situation. Speaking through ‫’אסתר‬s assigned ser vant, ‫ מרדכי‬struggles to inform ‫ אסתר‬of the evil decree stating that the Jews will be murdered on ‫י״ג אדר‬. Hatach, ‫’אסתר‬s ser vant, was sent to greet ‫ מרדכי‬in the city square. Hatach was sent with clothes in the hopes of ‫ מרדכי‬removing his sackcloth. Meanwhile ‫אסתר‬ was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Hatach with the messages from her dear cousin ‫מרדכי‬. While being in this unfortunate situation, teenagers around the world are attending school, keeping up with family matters and staying in touch with friends all through technology. The global pandemic has increased teenagers’ use of technology as well as adapting new forms of communication. COVID-19 has changed the way of life for ever yone. For those who are still in school, technology has become a necessity for learning.

Why does Hatach play such an important role in the saving of the Jewish people? How could the story have ended up differently without him?

Why did it bother Esther that Mordechai was in sackcloth and ashes? Why was it so upsetting and agitating for her? What does this tell you about Esther's mindset and her relationship with Mordechai? When Esther heard that Mordecai was mourning, why was her first instinct to send him clothing? Why is sending him clothes so significant and important to Esther?

Like ‫ אסתר‬and ‫מרדכי‬, the pandemic has put us in a predicament. For example, learning of the struggle ‫ מרדכי‬and ‫ אסתר‬had communicating, we see the similarities of their struggle to teenagers today. The opportunity of face to face communication with friends, family and others is seen in both situations. Although both presented situations are difficult to live with, teenagers as well as ‫ מרדכי‬and ‫ אסתר‬adapted to Artwork by: Aviva Rosenthal & Avital Davidowitz the way of communication that was available. Commentary by: Dassie Jaffe & Maya Rose Questions by: Talia Zachter


During the time of mourning for Mordechai and the Jewish people, Esther and Mordechai communicated through a royal messenger named Hatach. The Midrash explains that Mordechai instructs Hatach to tell Esther about a dream he once had when he was young. In his dream, two sea-giants battled against each other and a small nation was stuck in between them. In response, the small nation cried out to Hashem because of the immediate danger. Fortunately, a stream of water surged between the sea-giants, separating them as the stream gushed through the whole land. When the sun came up, the small nation was saved and raised above all of the others. The seagiants represent Mordechai and Haman, and the small nation, the Jews. The stream that saved the Jews was their teshuva and tefillah to Hashem, which eventually wiped out Haman’s decree. This message for Esther was a way for Mordechai to give her hope that their nation would overcome Haman’s decree in the end. (Esther Rabba 8:5). 32

‫אישׁ‬-‫ל‬ ִ ָ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר כּ‬,‫מ ִדינוֹת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך י ְֹד ִﬠים‬-‫ם‬ ְ ַ‫ﬠ ְב ֵדי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ﬠ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ יא כּ‬.‫מ ְר ֳדּכָ י‬-‫ל‬ ָ ‫ וַ ְתּצַ וֵּ הוּ ֶא‬,‫ֹאמר ֶא ְס ֵתּר לַ ֲה ָתְך‬ ֶ ‫י וַ תּ‬ ‫לוֹ‬-‫יוֹשׁיט‬ ִ ‫ לְ ַבד ֵמ ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫יִ ָקּ ֵרא ַא ַחת ָדּתוֹ לְ ָה ִמית‬-‫ה ָחצֵ ר ַה ְפּנִ ִימית ֲא ֶשׁר ל ֹא‬-‫ל‬ ֶ ‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֶא‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫א‬-‫יָבוֹא‬ ֶ ‫וְ ִא ָשּׁה ֲא ֶשׁר‬ ‫ ֵאת‬,‫ יב וַ יַּ גִּ ידוּ לְ ָמ ְר ֳדּכָ י‬.‫לוֹשׁים יוֹם‬ ִ ‫ ְשׁ‬,‫זֶ ה‬--‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫אתי לָ בוֹא ֶא‬ ִ ‫ ל ֹא נִ ְק ֵר‬,‫ וְ ָחיָ ה; וַ ֲאנִ י‬,‫שׁ ְר ִביט ַהזָּ ָהב‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֶא‬ ‫ יד‬.‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ִמכּ‬-‫ית‬ ַ ‫ לְ ִה ָמּלֵ ט ֵבּ‬,‫תּ ַד ִמּי ְבנַ ְפ ֵשְׁך‬-‫ל‬ ְ ‫ ַא‬:‫א ְס ֵתּר‬-‫ל‬ ֶ ‫ לְ ָה ִשׁיב ֶא‬,‫ֹאמר ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ ֶ ‫ יג וַ יּ‬.‫ִדּ ְב ֵרי ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ ‫וּמי‬ ִ ;‫ֹאבדוּ‬ ֵ ‫א ִביְך תּ‬-‫ית‬ ָ ‫ וְ ַא ְתּ ֵוּב‬,‫הוּדים ִמ ָמּקוֹם ַא ֵחר‬ ִ ְ‫רוַ ח וְ ַהצָּ לָ ה יַ ֲﬠמוֹד לַ יּ‬--‫ֹאת‬ ֶ ‫ ָבּ ֵﬠת ַהזּ‬,‫ישׁי‬ ִ ‫ה ֲח ֵרשׁ ַתּ ֲח ִר‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫כִּ י ִא‬ .‫ ִהגַּ ַﬠ ְתּ לַ ַמּלְ כוּת‬,‫לְ ֵﬠת כָּ זֹאת‬-‫אם‬-ִ ַ‫יוֹדﬠ‬ ֵ

We are put on this Earth with a mission, a purpose that was created by God. Even though we don't know what we have to do in life, it's a feeling that we know we have to complete. Without this sense of fulfillment, we in turn do not feel complete. Our life is meaningless without purpose, and if you don't complete this purpose then someone else will do it for you. The stor y of Esther was all about a woman tr ying to find her purpose in life, while still overcoming the self-doubt that we often feel when we tr y to find who we are in our life. She had a role to fill, a role that God had given her. She was able to overcome her feeling of being doubtful, a feeling of worthlessness. She understood what it took to follow her destiny, to save her people, to let no one stand in her way and to take on the role of becoming the hero that saved the Jewish people. We learn from Esther the importance of overcoming our fears and self-doubt in order to complete our purpose and fulfill God’s wishes.

Why does Mordechai think that by telling Esther that her “father’s house” will perish, it would motivate her? Didn’t she just explain that by going into the king she would be killed? Why was it necessar y to have a messenger go back and forth between Mordechai and Esther? Doesn’t that help create more suspicion than simply having a direct conversation together? Mordechai tells Esther, “don’t imagine that you will be able to escape the decree more than any other Jewish person”. Did Mordechai really think that was Esther’s intent?

Artwork by: Moshe Khaimov Commentar y by: Elissa Neimov Questions by: Leah Abramov 33

Hatach was given an important, but extremely dangerous mission. He was to deliver messages between Mordechai in the king’s courtyard and Esther living in the palace. However, when Hatach was on his way to deliver a message with bothersome information, he just couldn’t do it. He felt that it was too difficult to be the bearer of bad news to Mordechai. He therefore passed the message off to another person to give it to Mordechai.


-‫ וְ צוּמוּ ﬠָ לַ י וְ ַאל‬,‫שׁוּשׁן‬ ָ ‫הוּדים ַהנִּ ְמצְ ִאים ְבּ‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ טז לֵ ְך כְּ נוֹס ֶאת‬.‫מ ְר ֳדּכָ י‬-‫ל‬ ָ ‫ לְ ָה ִשׁיב ֶא‬,‫ֹאמר ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ ֶ ‫טו וַ תּ‬ ,‫כַ ָדּת‬-‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ל ֹא‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ָאצוּם כֵּ ן; ְוּבכֵ ן ָאבוֹא ֶא‬,‫אנִ י וְ נַ ֲﬠר ַֹתי‬-‫ם‬ ֲ ַ‫גּ‬--‫ֹלשׁת יָ ִמים לַ יְ לָ ה וָ יוֹם‬ ֶ ‫תּ ְשׁתּוּ ְשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ִ ‫תֹּאכְ לוּ וְ ַא‬ .‫צִ וְּ ָתה ָﬠלָ יו ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬-‫ כְּ כֹל ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫ ָמ ְר ֳדּכָ י; וַ יַּ ַﬠשׂ‬,‫ יז וַ יַּ ֲﬠבֹר‬.‫ ָא ָב ְד ִתּי‬,‫וְ כַ ֲא ֶשׁר ָא ַב ְד ִתּי‬

Song: B’yachad: Mordechai Shapiro Esther needed some help She went to Mordechai To get her fellow Jews to fast Cuz Achashverosh was mad So Esther was afraid But yet she still held on strong. So Esther realized that To get Hashem on her side She needed ever yone as one So together they came and, Hashem helped them out So ever ything was okay-ayay We can all pray We can all pray We can all pray B'yachad yachad We're praying B'yachad It's a special harmony If we all pray If we all pray If we all pray B'yachad yachad When we pray B'yachad Hashem hears a special harmony Here we’re in 2021 But we still need some help As this time is ver y hard We all need the vaccine And we are all afraid So lets be like Esther and stay strong So lets realize that We have a Hashem on our side And we need ever yone as one So together lets all come As a nation and hope that Hashem will hear our song We can all pray We can all pray We can all pray B'yachad yachad We're praying B'yachad It's a special harmony If we all pray If we all pray If we all pray B'yachad yachad When we pray B'yachad Hashem hears a special harmony

Chazal hold that the three fast days Esther commands the Jews of Shushan to follow take place on the first day of Pesach. How could one argue that fasting on one of the Shalosh Regalim is necessar y? When responding to Mordechai’s request regarding saving the Jewish people, why does Esther need to say that the Jews must fast and also abstain from eating and drinking? Is there something more to fasting than the restrictions on what an individual is allowed to consume? When describing how Mordechai travels around Shushan to implement Esther’s request, the pasuk uses the phrase “Va’Yaavor Mordechai,” “Mordechai passed over.” Does this phrase simply mean that Mordechai traveled around Shushan or did Mordechai have to “pass over,” something? If so, what physical and/or emotional obstacles did Mordechai have to overcome while delivering Esther’s message?

Artwork by: Rachel Kritchevski Commentar y by: Yaffa Farkas & Elisheva Elbaz Questions by: Tali Novick & Elisheva Zemel 35

The wisdom and courage of Queen Esther unite the nation: Haman was able to convince Achashveirosh to issue a decree against the Jewish people by speaking Lashon Hara about them. “ There is a certain people, scattered and dispersed among the other people... If it pleases Your Majesty, let an edict be drawn to their destruction” (Esther 3:8-9). Similarly, Haman’s decree was brought down by Jewish unity. In order to bring down Haman’s decree, Esther told Mordechai two things were necessar y: 1) Unifying the Jewish Nation. 2) Teshuvah. 36

‫ נֹכַ ח ֵבּית‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ַה ְפּנִ ִימית‬-‫ית‬ ַ ‫ וַ ַתּ ֲﬠמֹד ַבּ ֲחצַ ר ֵבּ‬,‫ וַ ִתּלְ ַבּשׁ ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַמלְ כוּת‬,‫ישׁי‬ ִ ִ‫ א וַ יְ ִהי ַבּיּוֹם ַה ְשּׁל‬:‫אסתר פרק ה‬ ‫א ְס ֵתּר‬-‫ת‬ ֶ ‫ ב וַ יְ ִהי כִ ְראוֹת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֶא‬.‫ ֶפּ ַתח ַה ָבּיִ ת‬,‫ נֹכַ ח‬,‫ ְבּ ֵבית ַה ַמּלְ כוּת‬,‫כִּ ֵסּא ַמלְ כוּתוֹ‬-‫יוֹשׁב ַﬠל‬ ֵ ‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך; וְ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ,‫ וַ ִתּ ְק ַרב ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬,‫שׁ ְר ִביט ַהזָּ ָהב ֲא ֶשׁר ְבּיָ דוֹ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫יּוֹשׁט ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ ֶ ַ‫ ְבּ ֵﬠינָ יו; ו‬,‫נָ ְשׂ ָאה ֵחן‬--‫ ע ֶֹמ ֶדת ֶבּ ָחצֵ ר‬,‫ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬ .‫וַ ִתּגַּ ע ְבּרֹאשׁ ַה ַשּׁ ְר ִביט‬

The Moment You’ve Been Waiting For Esther awoke early that gray morning with a bitter taste in her mouth. She felt herself getting weaker and weaker by the second. Esther had prayed, fasted, and pleaded for so long that her already-pale skin had an other worldly glow. Esther recalled her last Yom Kippur with her uncle, Mordechai. She felt just like this then, calling out to Hashem like never before, until her lungs could take no more. Praying, fasting, and pleading. She wondered to herself, why was I in such anguish on this Yom Kippur? And then, it came to her: something inside her knew, right then and there, before Achashverosh was even looking for a wife, that someday soon, her people would be in danger, and only she could stop it. On that fateful Yom Kippur, Esther felt the grief and anguish that would soon come to her people. In those moments of revelation, Esther supplicated to Hashem. She learned to access a different, deeper part of herself that day. This is what I have been preparing for, she whispered to herself. With the help of her ladies in waiting, Esther put on her most beautiful gown and the prized tiara of Shushan, complete with shining rubies and sapphires. She refused to look in the mirror, but if she had, she would have seen a waxen, worried face, adorned with the most luxurious fabrics and jewels that money could buy. She was beautiful, powerful, and most importantly, she knew exactly what she had to do.

Why does the megillah use the word ‫( נכח‬opposite) to describe both the location of Esther and Achashverosh?

The megillah describes how Esther garbed herself in royalty. Was the queen not always garbed in royalty?

How do you think Esther felt at the moment when Achashverosh was accepting of her visit? Have you ever felt that same feeling?

Artwork by: Gefen Beldie & Shayna Shapiro Commentar y by: Jemima Schoen 37

Esther: “Fashion Sketch” The passuk states that Esther dressed in “ ‫”מלכות‬. Rashi understands this phrase in two ways: 1) simply that she was wearing royal clothing, & 2) that she was enrobed in ‫רוח הקוד ש‬, the divine spirit, since the passuk just says she wore “ ‫ ”מלכות‬and not the expected “ ‫”בגד י מלכות‬. In order to showcase both perspectives in a literal and physical sense, Esther is drawn with gold details that indicate not only her royal garments, but also her bright and lively aura, or, the “divine spirit” radiating from within her. The King is awestruck at the sight of Esther, a woman who had just fasted three days and probably wore garments typical of other women who regularly stood before the King. We see, through Rashi’s understanding, that it is not the physical garments we bare, but how we wear our inside colors outside as well. 38

,‫ֹאמר ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ ֶ ‫ ד וַ תּ‬.‫ וְ יִ נָּ ֵתן לָ ְך‬,‫חצִ י ַה ַמּלְ כוּת‬-‫ד‬ ֲ ‫בּ ָקּ ָשׁ ֵתְך ַﬠ‬-‫ה‬ ַ ‫וּמ‬ ַ ;‫לָּ ְך ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬-‫ ַמה‬,‫ֹאמר לָ הּ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֶ ‫ג וַ יּ‬ -‫מ ֲהרוּ ֶאת‬--‫ְך‬ ַ ֶ‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּל‬ ֶ ‫ ה וַ יּ‬.‫ﬠ ִשׂ ִיתי לוֹ‬-‫ר‬ ָ ‫ה ִמּ ְשׁ ֶתּה ֲא ֶשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫יָבוֹא ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ָה ָמן ַהיּוֹם‬--‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך טוֹב‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ﬠ‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ִא‬ ‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ ֶ ‫ ו וַ יּ‬.‫ﬠ ְשׂ ָתה ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬-‫ר‬ ָ ‫ה ִמּ ְשׁ ֶתּה ֲא ֶשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫דּ ַבר ֶא ְס ֵתּר; וַ יָּ בֹא ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ָה ָמן‬-‫ת‬ ְ ‫ לַ ֲﬠשׂוֹת ֶא‬,‫ָה ָמן‬ ,‫ ְשׁ ֵאלָ ִתי‬:‫ֹאמר‬ ַ ‫ וַ תּ‬,‫ ז וַ ַתּ ַﬠן ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬.‫ וְ ֵת ָﬠשׂ‬,‫חצִ י ַה ַמּלְ כוּת‬-‫ד‬ ֲ ‫בּ ָקּ ָשׁ ֵתְך ַﬠ‬-‫ה‬ ַ ‫וּמ‬ ַ ;‫שּׁ ֵאלָ ֵתְך וְ יִ נָּ ֵתן לָ ְך‬-‫ה‬ ְ ‫ ַמ‬,‫ְבּ ִמ ְשׁ ֵתּה ַהיַּ יִ ן‬ ‫יָבוֹא‬--‫בּ ָקּ ָשׁ ִתי‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ וְ לַ ֲﬠשׂוֹת ֶא‬,‫שׁ ֵאלָ ִתי‬-‫ת‬ ְ ‫ לָ ֵתת ֶא‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך טוֹב‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ﬠ‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ וְ ִא‬,‫אתי ֵחן ְבּ ֵﬠינֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ִ ָ‫מצ‬-‫ם‬ ָ ‫ ח ִא‬.‫ַוּב ָקּ ָשׁ ִתי‬ .‫ כִּ ְד ַבר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫וּמ ָחר ֶא ֱﬠ ֶשׂה‬ ָ ,‫ה ִמּ ְשׁ ֶתּה ֲא ֶשׁר ֶא ֱﬠ ֶשׂה לָ ֶהם‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ָה ָמן‬

The Purpose Of A Feast A feast is a large meal. Our father Avraham made a feast for his child when he was weaned, though the fast’s purpose was to mark his son’s transition from infancy to boyhood. Lavan may have made Yaakov a feast at his wedding yet the purpose of the feast was based on deceit. Hashem redeemed the Jews from Egypt, marking a Pesach feast; the feast’s purpose being a way to remember His miracles. In the times of Mashiach, Hashem will mark a feast for the holy tzadikim as they will rejoice in the name of Hashem. Why do regular people have feasts? In themselves, they have no purpose. People dining over delicacies from different countries while talking about sports games and political problems. A feast is defined by the content within; characterized by a purpose. When a feast has no purpose, what makes it any different than men and women feasting over garbage. A feast without Torah is a feast like vomit! So what do we call this feast in Esther? One would call it a pointless feast! Haman and Achashverosh drinking and laughing while Esther asks them to feast again? What’s the true purpose! It’s a point to contemplate, though while not clear at first glance, Esther’s feast truly had a purpose. Without this feast, would there even be Haman hanging from the gallows? Would the Jews have had salvation? Come, let us learn from Esther, and make a purpose of our own feasts.

What is the purpose of Queen Esther asking for a second feast? Why doesn’t she tell Achashverosh what she wanted to say the first time? Why does Achashverosh repeat his question twice? The first time he asks Esther what her question is, then asks what she requests of him and that until half of the kingdom could be Esther’s if she wants it. It seems repetitive. When Esther is answering Achashverosh’s question, she seems very tentative to ask the king and Haman to come back for another feast. Why does she seem so wary to ask a second time, knowing that they already accepted the first time?

Artwork by: Avishai Tebeka Commentar y by: Shalom Feuer Questions by: Mordechai Wolfson 39

Esther is about to ask the king to dinner and the tension rises - she becomes ner vous and afraid. She gets quite scared that since she wasn’t summoned, she wouldn’t be welcomed by the king and her request would be rejected. Despite her fear, she asks the king to a dinner party with Haman and he accepts graciously. The three of them sit and instead of revealing her concerns about Haman tr ying to kill the Jews, she asks Achashveirosh and Haman to come the next night for another dinner party, even though it's another inconvenience for them. 40

--‫זָ ע ִמ ֶמּנּוּ‬-‫קם וְ ל ֹא‬-‫ֹא‬ ָ ‫ וְ ל‬,‫מ ְר ֳדּכַ י ְבּ ַשׁ ַﬠר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ ָשׂ ֵמ ַח וְ טוֹב לֵ ב; וְ כִ ְראוֹת ָה ָמן ֶא‬,‫ט וַ יֵּ צֵ א ָה ָמן ַבּיּוֹם ַההוּא‬ ‫ יא‬.‫זֶ ֶרשׁ ִא ְשׁתּוֹ‬-‫ וְ ֶאת‬,‫א ֲֹה ָביו‬-‫בּיתוֹ; וַ יִּ ְשׁלַ ח וַ ֵיָּבא ֶאת‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫ וַ יָּבוֹא ֶא‬,‫ י וַ יִּ ְת ַא ַפּק ָה ָמן‬.‫ ֵח ָמה‬,‫מ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬-‫ל‬ ָ ‫וַ יִּ ָמּלֵ א ָה ָמן ַﬠ‬ ‫ה ָשּׂ ִרים וְ ﬠַ ְב ֵדי‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ַﬠ‬,‫א ֶשׁר גִּ ְדּלוֹ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ֵאת ֲא ֶשׁר נִ ְשּׂאוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ֲ ָ‫ וְ רֹב ָבּנָ יו; וְ ֵאת כּ‬,‫כְּ בוֹד ָﬠ ְשׁרוֹ‬-‫וַ יְ ַס ֵפּר לָ ֶהם ָה ָמן ֶאת‬ ;‫אוֹתי‬-‫ם‬ ִ ‫ כִּ י ִא‬,‫ﬠָ ָשׂ ָתה‬-‫ה ִמּ ְשׁ ֶתּה ֲא ֶשׁר‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֶא‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ה ִב ָיאה ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה ִﬠ‬-‫ֹא‬ ֵ ‫אף ל‬--‫ן‬ ַ ‫ ָה ָמ‬,‫ֹאמר‬ ֶ ‫ יב וַ יּ‬.‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ‫מ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ֲאנִ י ר ֶֹאה ֶא‬,‫ﬠת‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ָ‫ ְבּכ‬:‫ ֵאינֶ נּוּ שֹׁוֶ ה לִ י‬,‫זֶ ה‬-‫ יג וְ כָ ל‬.‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ ִﬠ‬,‫לָ הּ‬-‫לְ ָמ ָחר ֲאנִ י ָקרוּא‬-‫וְ גַ ם‬ ‫ ַוּבבּ ֶֹקר‬,‫ﬠץ גָּ ב ַֹהּ ֲח ִמ ִשּׁים ַא ָמּה‬-‫שׂוּ‬ ֵ ‫ יַ ֲﬠ‬,‫א ֲֹה ָביו‬-‫ֹאמר לוֹ זֶ ֶרשׁ ִא ְשׁתּוֹ וְ כָ ל‬ ֶ ‫ יד וַ תּ‬.‫ ְבּ ַשׁ ַﬠר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫יוֹשׁב‬--‫י‬ ֵ ‫הוּד‬ ִ ְ‫ַהיּ‬ .‫ וַ יַּ ﬠַ שׂ ָהﬠֵ ץ‬,‫ה ִמּ ְשׁ ֶתּה ָשׂ ֵמ ַח; וַ יִּ ַיטב ַה ָדּ ָבר לִ ְפנֵ י ָה ָמן‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֶא‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ﬠ‬-‫ֹא‬ ִ ‫ וּב‬,‫מ ְר ֳדּכַ י ָﬠלָ יו‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ֱאמֹר לַ ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ יִ ְתלוּ ֶא‬ {‫}ס‬

In pesukim ‫י״ד‬-‘‫ט‬, we can see many similarities between Haman’s actions and people on social media today. ‘ ‫ פסוק ט‬starts with Haman feeling joyous. However, the moment he sees Mordechai, he gets angr y immediately. The following pesukim explain that Haman goes home and brags about his wealth and promotions to his family. He then proceeds to say that Esther has invited only him and the king to a feast. He also explains that all of the good things that happened had been tainted by the fact that he saw Mordechai by the king’s gate. His wife and sons said that he should tell the king to prepare a gallow to hang Mordechai on. With Mordechai dead, Haman would be able to go into the feast happily, and not feel anger and jealousy. People today often get caught up in comparing themselves to others. People scroll on social media and get filled with jealousy. This is how Haman felt. He got so caught up in comparing himself to Mordechai that he couldn’t appreciate the good in his own life. He was second in command, yet when he heard Mordechai’s name he was filled with rage and all his power felt worthless. People today often feel the same. They focus on other people's successes and not on their own achievements. We must learn not to be like Haman. We can’t allow ourselves to be jealous of others. At the end of the day, it is our own achievements that matter most.

Why do you think Haman was so jealous of Mordechai?

Has jealousy ever interfered with your ever yday life? Explain.

What are ways we can work on ourselves to not be jealous of others? Ho will this benefit us?

Artwork by: Aviva Eizicovics Commentar y & Questions by: Chani Shull & Ceecee Bergman 41

When reading the pesukim in which Haman gets jealous of Mordechai, what immediately comes to mind is social media. This may be a new technology, but seeing what others have and wanting to trade with them traces back to the beginning of time - thousands of years before the first follow or like. The Megillah shows us what happens to Haman when jealousy takes hold of his life, and we too should not let our own lives be pulled off track by wanting what other people have. 42

‫ וַ יִּ ְהיוּ נִ ְק־‬,‫ס ֶפר ַהזִּ כְ רֹנוֹת ִדּ ְב ֵרי ַהיָּ ִמים‬-‫ת‬ ֵ ‫ לְ ָה ִביא ֶא‬,‫ֹאמר‬ ֶ ‫ נָ ְד ָדה ְשׁנַ ת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך; וַ יּ‬,‫ א ַבּלַּ יְ לָ ה ַההוּא‬:‫אסתר פרק ו‬ :‫ ַה ַסּף‬,‫משּׁ ְֹמ ֵרי‬--‫ְך‬ ִ ֶ‫בּגְ ָתנָ א וָ ֶת ֶרשׁ ְשׁנֵ י ָס ִר ֵיסי ַה ֶמּל‬-‫ל‬ ִ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ִהגִּ יד ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ַﬠ‬,‫ ב וַ יִּ ָמּצֵ א כָ תוּב‬.‫ לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ָר ִאים‬ ‫ֹאמרוּ‬ ְ ‫זֶ ה; וַ יּ‬-‫ ַﬠל‬,‫נַּ ֲﬠ ָשׂה יְ ָקר וּגְ דוּלָּ ה לְ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬-‫מה‬--‫ְך‬ ַ ֶ‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּל‬ ֶ ‫ ג וַ יּ‬.‫ ַבּ ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬,‫ֹלח יָ ד‬ ַ ‫ֲא ֶשׁר ִבּ ְקשׁוּ לִ ְשׁ‬ .‫ ָדּ ָבר‬,‫נַ ֲﬠ ָשׂה ִﬠמּוֹ‬-‫ ל ֹא‬,‫ ְמ ָשׁ ְר ָתיו‬,‫נַ ﬠֲ ֵרי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬

One night Way past his bedtime King Achashverosh unable to sleep Called for the book of records in his keep From the book was read The stor y of Mordechai who saved the king’s head “ What has been done for this man?” the king asked Nothing was his answer “Call for me an adviser to tell me what to reward this man with” Proud Haman was found on his way in To talk to the king “ What shall be done For the king's good man?” ‘ Why he should ride a high horse Dressed in kings clothes With a crown on his head - now that would be fine. Have someone call out before him ‘Here is what is done To the one Whom the king does want to honor’” “So it shall be Go rush out quick Do this for Mordechai Lickety split” So Haman went out dragging his feet To do what he had said To the man he wanted dead All through the streets Haman with great shame did shout “ This is what is done To the one Whom the king does want to honor” Once he was done Head covered in shame Haman ran home To tell his wife and kids his bad news of the day “Don’t worr y we’ll get him. We’ll make him pay” His wife did say As Haman was summoned to Queen Esther’s feast

Some commentators on these verses explain that Hashem wasn't able to "sleep" because of what Haman had planned to do to Bnei Yisrael. Do you feel like Hashem is with you in bad times?

When was the last time you reviewed your actions? Why is doing this important?

Is there anyone you owe a favor to that you haven't paid back? How do you think you can do that?

Artwork by: Elke Bentley Commentar y by: Binyamin Orkaby Questions by: Avi Berlove 43

I chose to draw Rashi’s commentar y on the first three verses of the sixth Perek of Megillat Esther. The verses describe the restless king Achashverosh who is unable to sleep. Rashi says that the king’s sleeplessness was caused either by a miracle, or by the fact that just a few verses before, queen Esther had invited both him and Haman to a banquet. This made Achashverosh paranoid that perhaps Esther and Haman were plotting to overthrow him. I chose to depict this by drawing a window into the mind of the cautious king, showing what was keeping him up at night. 44

‫הﬠֵ ץ‬-‫ל‬ ָ ַ‫מ ְר ֳדּכַ י ﬠ‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ לִ ְתלוֹת ֶא‬,‫ לֵ אמֹר לַ ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ַה ִחיצוֹנָ ה‬-‫ית‬ ַ ‫ לַ ֲחצַ ר ֵבּ‬,‫ ִמי ֶב ָחצֵ ר; וְ ָה ָמן ָבּא‬,‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֶ ‫ד וַ יּ‬ ,‫ ָה ָמן‬,‫ ו וַ יָּבוֹא‬.‫ יָבוֹא‬,‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֶ ‫ ע ֵֹמד ֶבּ ָחצֵ ר; וַ יּ‬,‫הנֵּ ה ָה ָמן‬--‫יו‬ ִ ָ‫ ֵאל‬,‫ֹאמרוּ נַ ֲﬠ ֵרי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ְ ‫ ה וַ יּ‬.‫הכִ ין לוֹ‬-‫ר‬ ֵ ‫ֲא ֶשׁ‬ ‫ לְ ִמי יַ ְחפֹּץ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך לַ ﬠֲ שׂוֹת‬,‫ ְבּלִ בּוֹ‬,‫ֹאמר ָה ָמן‬ ֶ ‫לַּ ֲﬠשׂוֹת ָבּ ִאישׁ ֲא ֶשׁר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ָח ֵפץ ִבּ ָיקרוֹ; וַ יּ‬-‫ ַמה‬,‫ֹאמר לוֹ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֶ ‫וַ יּ‬ .‫יוֹתר ִמ ֶמּנִּ י‬ ֵ ,‫יְ ָקר‬

Haman was faced with a question he could only dream of, “ ‫”מ ה־לַ ֲﬠ שׂוֹת ָבּ ִא ישׁ ֲא ֶשׁ ר ַה ֶמּ לֶ ְך ָח ֵפ ץ ִבּ ָיק רוֹ‬. ַ Haman envisions himself as the honoree dressed in attire suited for a king. By thinking so highly of himself, he cannot even conceptualize the honoree as any other individual. Haman prepared gallows for Mordechai, yet he was the one who was hanged. Only once one gains perspective, or completes a stor y, can they then understand that life has an undetermined course. Moshe, a child placed in a basket in the river, would later be found by Batya, raised in a palace, and eventually become a great prophet and leader of Bnei Yisrael; a king orders a baby boy to be killed yet this boy lives and frees all of his enslaved people. Joseph, the favored son, goes from being sold into slaver y and thrown into jail, to becoming the King’s second in command; the same boys who sold their brother into slaver y, later bow down to him as they plead for food. We learn throughout the course of Jewish histor y that fate isn’t sealed. Individuals cannot allow positive or negative moments to cloud their judgement for there is always an unexpected course for the future. This moral applies to how the pandemic (Covid-19) affects our ever yday lives. No one could have foreseen a worldwide virus forcing the closure of public spaces, yet here we are. Even though this virus is excruciating (the deaths and suffering it has imposed), there is hope. Already thousands of people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Scientific research that would have other wise taken years to conduct, has been accomplished within months. Our reality has been completely shattered, nonetheless as we see in histor y, “the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn”.

What was King Ahasuerus’ motive for consulting Haman regarding how to honor an individual if the king could have chosen any method that seemed fit himself?

How did the writer(s) of Megillat Esther know Haman’s thoughts when it is written “ ‫ויאמר המן בלבו‬ ‫?”למי יחפץ המלך לעשות יקר יותר ממני‬

What can be inferred from the different language used in ‫פרק ו‬ ‫ פסוק ה‬when Haman approaches the king versus in ‫ פרק ה פסוק ב׳‬when Esther approaches the king?

Artwork by: Reyna Perelis Commentar y by: Beth Levin Questions by: Ian Fuller 45

I drew a hand holding a heart, with veins running into fingers. This interconnectedness of heart and body is a characteristic of the righteous, in contrast to Haman, who speaks “be-libo”, in his heart. The midrash praises people who speak “al-leiv”, on their hearts, who can share the contents of their heart openly, calling them righteous.


,‫בּוֹ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך; וְ סוּס‬-‫ ֲא ֶשׁר לָ ַבשׁ‬,‫ ח ִיָביאוּ לְ בוּשׁ ַמלְ כוּת‬.‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ָח ֵפץ ִבּ ָיקרוֹ‬,‫ ִאישׁ‬:‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ֹאמר ָה ָמן‬ ֶ ‫ז וַ יּ‬ ‫אישׁ ִמ ָשּׂ ֵרי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ד‬ ִ ַ‫י‬-‫ ַﬠל‬,‫ ט וְ נָ תוֹן ַהלְּ בוּשׁ וְ ַהסּוּס‬.‫ ְבּרֹאשׁוֹ‬,‫ וַ ֲא ֶשׁר נִ ַתּן כֶּ ֶתר ַמלְ כוּת‬,‫ֲא ֶשׁר ָרכַ ב ָﬠלָ יו ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ‫ כָּ כָ ה‬,‫ וְ ָק ְראוּ לְ ָפנָ יו‬,‫ ִבּ ְרחוֹב ָה ִﬠיר‬,‫הסּוּס‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ָח ֵפץ ִבּ ָיקרוֹ; וְ ִה ְרכִּ ֻיבהוּ ַﬠ‬,‫ה ִאישׁ‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ וְ ִהלְ ִבּישׁוּ ֶא‬,‫ַה ַפּ ְר ְתּ ִמים‬ ,‫הסּוּס כַּ ֲא ֶשׁר ִדּ ַבּ ְר ָתּ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫הלְּ בוּשׁ וְ ֶא‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ַמ ֵהר ַקח ֶא‬,‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ ָה ָמן‬ ֶ ‫ י וַ יּ‬.‫יֵ ﬠָ ֶשׂה לָ ִאישׁ ֲא ֶשׁר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ָח ֵפץ ִבּ ָיקרוֹ‬ ‫הלְּ בוּשׁ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ יא וַ יִּ ַקּח ָה ָמן ֶא‬.‫ ִמכֹּל ֲא ֶשׁר ִדּ ַבּ ְר ָתּ‬,‫תּ ֵפּל ָדּ ָבר‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ַא‬:‫יּוֹשׁב ְבּ ַשׁ ַﬠר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֵ ‫ ַה‬,‫הוּדי‬ ִ ְ‫כֵ ן לְ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ַהיּ‬-‫וַ ﬠֲ ֵשׂה‬ ‫ כָּ כָ ה יֵ ָﬠ ֶשׂה לָ ִאישׁ ֲא ֶשׁר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ָח ֵפץ ִבּי־‬,‫ וַ יִּ ְק ָרא לְ ָפנָ יו‬,‫ ִבּ ְרחוֹב ָה ִﬠיר‬,‫מ ְר ֳדּכָ י; וַ יַּ ְרכִּ ֵיבהוּ‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ וַ יַּ לְ ֵבּשׁ ֶא‬,‫הסּוּס‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫וְ ֶא‬ ,‫ יג וַ יְ ַס ֵפּר ָה ָמן לְ זֶ ֶרשׁ ִא ְשׁתּוֹ‬.‫ ָא ֵבל וַ ֲחפוּי רֹאשׁ‬,‫בּיתוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫שׁ ַﬠר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך; וְ ָה ָמן נִ ְד ַחף ֶא‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ יב וַ יָּ ָשׁב ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬.‫ָקרוֹ‬ ‫לּוֹת‬ ָ ‫הוּדים ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ֲא ֶשׁר ַה ִח‬ ִ ְ‫ ִאם ִמזֶּ ַרע ַהיּ‬,‫ֹאמרוּ לוֹ ֲחכָ ָמיו וְ זֶ ֶרשׁ ִא ְשׁתּוֹ‬ ְ ‫א ֶשׁר ָק ָרהוּ; וַ יּ‬-‫ל‬ ֲ ָ‫ כּ‬,‫ ֵאת‬,‫א ֲֹה ָביו‬-‫וּלְ כָ ל‬ ‫ וְ ָס ִר ֵיסי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ִהגִּ יעוּ; וַ ְיַּב ִהלוּ לְ ָה ִביא‬,‫עוֹדם ְמ ַד ְבּ ִרים ִﬠמּוֹ‬ ָ ‫ יד‬.‫ לְ ָפנָ יו‬,‫נָ פוֹל ִתּפּוֹל‬-‫כִּ י‬--‫תוּכַ ל לוֹ‬-‫לִ נְ פֹּל לְ ָפנָ יו ל ֹא‬ .‫ﬠ ְשׂ ָתה ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬-‫ר‬ ָ ‫ה ִמּ ְשׁ ֶתּה ֲא ֶשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ה ָמן‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ֶא‬ Who? Excitement flowing through his veins as his King called for him, and asked a simple but fateful question. A question that meant the world to him. “At long last,” the advisor thought, “I am destined to get what I deserve!” Word by word he described the scene; how he wished to be dressed in the attire of royalty and treated as such, as well. Paraded across the streets of the kingdom and celebrated for the glorious man he thought he was. “Now, go fetch the young Jew and do to him exactly what you described,” said the king as he shooed him off.

Why does Achashverosh command Haman, who is his second in command, to perform this embarrassing act of leading Mordechai through the streets of Shushan?

Fury! Fire! Rage! Flowing through his mind and body. “How could a peasant Jew take my spot??”

Why does Zeresh, Haman's wife, tell Haman that if Mordechai is a Jew, his plan to destroy the Jewish people will not be fulfilled?

Yet he did as he was told with nothing but misery and fury in the wicked man's heart. He made the young Jew look like royalty, dressing him in the finest of for a king. He sat him in a glorious chariot, carried through the city by the strongest of steeds, as everyone celebrated this ‘hero.’ “This is what is done for the man the king decides to honor,” the wicked man chants. The hole in his heart only grows deeper as he plots his revenge. He thinks, “I’ll show you all who deserves to be honored.”

Why do Achashverosh's men rush Haman, in the middle of speaking to his wife, just to go to a party? Shouldn't he be treated with more respect?

Artwork by: Ariela Hope Commentar y by: Lizzy Zirkiev Questions by: Benny Zabner 47

In the picture, you can see Mordechai in the king's clothes parading around on a horse while Haman leads him through the town. Haman is upset, because before this, the king had asked him what gift he should give to a person he wished to honor. Haman being a selfish person, assumed that it was him and told the king ever ything he wanted for himself. In the end, it turned out to be Mordechai who got the gift. So now Haman had to give Mordechai, the man he hated, ever ything that he himself wanted. 48

,‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר גַּ ם ַבּיּוֹם ַה ֵשּׁנִ י‬ ֶ ‫ ב וַ יּ‬.‫א ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬-‫ם‬ ֶ ‫ לִ ְשׁתּוֹת ִﬠ‬,‫ א וַ יָּ בֹא ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ָה ָמן‬:‫אסתר פרק ז‬ ‫ ג וַ ַתּﬠַ ן‬.‫ וְ ֵתﬠָ שׂ‬,‫חצִ י ַה ַמּלְ כוּת‬-‫ד‬ ֲ ‫בּ ָקּ ָשׁ ֵתְך ַﬠ‬-‫ה‬ ַ ‫וּמ‬ ַ ;‫ וְ ִתנָּ ֵתן לָ ְך‬,‫שּׁ ֵאלָ ֵתְך ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬-‫ה‬ ְ ‫מ‬--‫ן‬ ַ ִ‫ְבּ ִמ ְשׁ ֵתּה ַהיַּ י‬ ‫ וְ ﬠַ ִמּי‬,‫לִ י נַ ְפ ִשׁי ִבּ ְשׁ ֵאלָ ִתי‬-‫ ִתּנָּ ֶתן‬:‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך טוֹב‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ﬠ‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ וְ ִא‬,‫אתי ֵחן ְבּ ֵﬠינֶ יָך ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ִ ָ‫מצ‬-‫ם‬ ָ ‫א‬--‫ר‬ ִ ‫ֹאמ‬ ַ ‫ וַ תּ‬,‫ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬ ‫כִּ י ֵאין‬--‫ ֶה ֱח ַר ְשׁ ִתּי‬,‫ לְ ַה ְשׁ ִמיד לַ ֲהרוֹג וּלְ ַא ֵבּד; וְ ִאלּוּ לַ ֲﬠ ָב ִדים וְ לִ ְשׁ ָפחוֹת נִ ְמכַּ ְרנוּ‬,‫ ד כִּ י נִ ְמכַּ ְרנוּ ֲאנִ י וְ ַﬠ ִמּי‬.‫ְבּ ַב ָקּ ָשׁ ִתי‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫ ְבּנֵ זֶ ק ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ַהצָּ ר שֹׁוֶ ה‬

A Moment of Truth - A Moment of Desperation Stepping closer to the alluring and intricate mosaics on the wall, the image of slaves jump out at me. They remind me of my people. It is as if they are calling out to me, ”Esther! Save us!” Hearing footsteps, I turn and notice a ser vant coming towards me. “King Achashverosh and Haman are here.” Taking a deep breath in, I become uneasy. I don’t know if I can do this. By defending my people, I am risking my own life. I am the Queen of Persia. I am safe. Should I take this risk? Suddenly, I hear the door begin to open, and the King appears before me, his royal robe down to the floor. Haman is behind him. Achashverosh takes my hand and sits me down on a chair with a smile plastered on his face, “Queen Esther, what is your wish?” This is it. This is the moment that I can save thousands. I hear Mordechai's words, “Perhaps it was for this moment you have become the Queen.” He was right. This is the moment. Do not stand idly by. “If it pleases Your Majesty, let my life be granted as my wish, and my people as my request. For we have been sold to be destroyed, massacred, and exterminated.” After expressing these words, I swell with pride. What will happen? Will I be punished, tortured, or killed? Nonetheless, I know I did the right thing. That's all that matters. I was not a bystander.

Why does the text refer to Esther as “Esther Hamalka” in some places and simply as “Esther” in others?

Would Esther truly have remained silent had her nation been simply sold as slaves instead of decreed to be destroyed?

What is the difference in the words “ ‫ ”בשאלתי‬and “ ‫ ”בבקשתי‬as they related to Esther’s life and the lives of her people when she responds to Achashverosh.

Artwork by: Noa Berger Commentar y by: Ruti Frohlich 49

This illustration depicts Esther, standing facing away from Achashverosh and Haman, at the part where she will reveal all that had been going on. Although Esther is worried, Achashverosh seems pretty confident, as he knows he is willing to give up to half of his kingdom for her, and according to Malbim, this is why he calls her “HaMalka.” Here, she is presented as an elegant queen, with her gold trimmings and beautiful castle behind her. Even though Esther is extremely ner vous, she is still standing up for herself and her nation, as she should. 50

‫ ו‬.‫מלָ אוֹ לִ בּוֹ לַ ﬠֲ שׂוֹת כֵּ ן‬-‫ר‬ ְ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁ‬,‫זֶ ה הוּא‬-‫ ִמי הוּא זֶ ה וְ ֵאי‬:‫ֹאמר לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬ ֶ ‫ וַ יּ‬,‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬ ֶ ‫ה וַ יּ‬ ,‫ ז וְ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ָקם ַבּ ֲח ָמתוֹ‬.‫ ִמלִּ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬,‫ ָה ָמן ָה ָרע ַהזֶּ ה; וְ ָה ָמן נִ ְב ַﬠת‬,‫אישׁ צַ ר וְ אוֹיֵב‬--‫ר‬ ִ ‫ֹאמר ֶא ְס ֵתּ‬ ֶ ‫וַ תּ‬ ‫כָ לְ ָתה ֵאלָ יו ָה ָרﬠָ ה‬-‫ כִּ י‬,‫כִּ י ָר ָאה‬--‫נַ ְפשׁוֹ ֵמ ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬-‫ לְ ַב ֵקּשׁ ַﬠל‬,‫ ַה ִבּ ָיתן; וְ ָה ָמן ָﬠ ַמד‬,‫גִּ נַּ ת‬-‫ ֶאל‬,‫ִמ ִמּ ְשׁ ֵתּה ַהיַּ יִ ן‬ ‫ֹאמר‬ ֶ ‫ וַ יּ‬,‫ה ִמּ ָטּה ֲא ֶשׁר ֶא ְס ֵתּר ָﬠלֶ ָיה‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ וְ ָה ָמן נ ֵֹפל ַﬠ‬,‫בּית ִמ ְשׁ ֵתּה ַהיַּ יִ ן‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫ ח וְ ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ָשׁב ִמגִּ נַּ ת ַה ִבּ ָיתן ֶא‬.‫ֵמ ֵאת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ .‫ ָחפוּ‬,‫ ְוּפנֵ י ָה ָמן‬,‫ יָ צָ א ִמ ִפּי ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ה ַמּלְ כָּ ה ִﬠ ִמּי ַבּ ָבּיִ ת; ַה ָדּ ָבר‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ֲהגַ ם לִ כְ בּוֹשׁ ֶא‬,‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬

In Troublesome Times King Achashverosh demands Queen Esther to tell him the man responsible for her and her nation’s suffering. She identifies Haman, the sinister person who is present at their feast. In the next couple pesukim the megillah depicts a scene where Achashverosh, who seems to be infuriated, walks out of the feast. Knowing that the King must be contemplating his consequence, despicable Haman pleads to Esther to take back her statement. As the King returns back to the palace, he is shocked to see Haman lying next to his own wife. The Vilna Gaon explains this occurrence as Haman’s utter agony causing him to be unbalanced. However, the Gemarah reveals that an angel had pushed him. Similar to our modern day lives, we can make a correlation between this angel and those who push us to become a better person in these tough times. Especially in times like these, where the Coronavirus negatively impacts our lives, we need to always push ourselves and others to act as a community. In addition, unlike Haman, who throughout the megillah had always wanted the best for himself, we need to act in a way where arrogance does not impact our motivations. By taking on the characteristics of good role models and by not letting our egos control us, we can cope with these difficult times and improve society and ourselves.

Why does Achashverosh ask two questions, which both seem to mean the same thing?

Esther calls Haman ‫צר ואויב‬, both terms which mean enemy. What is the difference between ‫ צר‬and ‫?אויב‬

Why does Achashverosh think it is a good idea to leave Esther alone with Haman who wants to kill her and her people?

Artwork by: Caleb Astrof Commentar y by: Raphy Amsellem Questions by: Akiva Brookler 51

Caleb Astrof ‘22

Haman is in a room with Esther because he was begging for forgiveness when he realized that she too is Jewish, and then Achashverosh comes in. Right before Achashverosh comes in an Angel pushes Haman into the couch next to Esther and freezes him in this position. When Achashverosh sees this he thinks that Haman was tr ying to seduce Esther and orders Haman to be hanged. Haman pleads for mercy, but is stuck on the couch in the same position and cannot move. Achashverosh becomes even more furious. Achashverosh says “would you assault the queen when I’m in the house?”


‫טוֹב‬-‫ﬠ ָשׂה ָה ָמן לְ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ֲא ֶשׁר ִדּ ֶבּר‬-‫ר‬ ָ ‫ה ֵﬠץ ֲא ֶשׁ‬-‫ה‬ ָ ֵ‫ גַּ ם ִהנּ‬,‫ה ָסּ ִר ִיסים לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ן‬ ַ ‫ֹאמר ַח ְרבוֹנָ ה ֶא ָחד ִמ‬ ֶ ‫ט וַ יּ‬ ,‫הﬠֵ ץ‬-‫ל‬ ָ ַ‫ ﬠ‬,‫ה ָמן‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ י וַ יִּ ְתלוּ‬.‫ ְתּלֻ הוּ ָﬠלָ יו‬,‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֶ ‫ ֲח ִמ ִשּׁים ַא ָמּה; וַ יּ‬,‫גָּ ב ַֹהּ‬--‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ע ֵֹמד ְבּ ֵבית ָה ָמן‬-‫ל‬ ַ ַ‫ﬠ‬ {‫ }ס‬.‫ ָשׁכָ כָ ה‬,‫הכִ ין לְ ָמ ְר ֳדּכָ י; וַ ֲח ַמת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ר‬ ֵ ‫ֲא ֶשׁ‬

Who is Char vona that he merited to be included with the heroes of the Purim stor y mentioned in Shoshanat Yaakov? Pirkei D’Rabi Eliezer offers a fascinating answer that Char vona was in fact Eliyahu Hanavi, swooping in at the right moment to save the Jews. The fact that Eliyahu Hanavi was sent in the form of Char vona, a common soldier of Achashverosh’s court, imparts a timeless message on struggle and salvation. Although some are more prominent than others, ever yone has struggles in their life. The lesson learned from Char vona is that salvation is more accessible than we think. While we might be waiting for the big thing that will release us from our struggle, we are passing up on the ‘life jackets’ Hashem throws us, dismissing them as mundane parts of our lives. Hashem is constantly sending us the tools we need to solve and get past our problems whether in the form of another person, an experience, or any other life event. Our job as Jews is to tap into Hashem’s salvations in whichever form He sends them. During the time of the Purim stor y, ever yone thought Char vona was just a regular soldier, but he turned out to be Eliyahu Hanavi, sent from Hashem to set up Geulah for the Jewish nation, teaching us that yeshua can come from anywhere, even the places we least expect it to come from. May we all be zoche to notice and take advantage of the yeshuot Hashem and to be released from all of our personal struggles.

There is a concept that ever y time it says Hamelech in the Megillah, it really refers to Hashem. What significance can this new definition offer to the meaning of passuk tet? Mordechai is characterized by the good deed he did for Achashverosh. This teaches us that one’s deeds form one’s reputation. How can we apply this to our own lives with the idea of making a Kiddush Hashem? “ ‫ב־א י שׁ וַ ﬠֲ צַ ת יְ ֹה וָ ה ִה יא‬ ִ ֶ‫ַר בּוֹת ַמ ֲח ָשׁ בוֹת ְבּ ל‬ ‫”ת קוּם‬ָ “Many thoughts are in the heart of man, but [only]Hashem’s counsel will endure” How does this idea relate to the events seen in these pesukim?

Artwork by: Atarah Mandel Commentar y by: Tali Finkelstein Questions by: Leora Goldstein 53

Who is Char vona, and why have we never heard of him previously? The Pirkei D'Rabi Eliezer solves this myster y by explaining to us that Char vona was Eliyahu Hanavi. Possibly the most well-known stor y of Eliyah Hanavi is that of Har Hacarmel. To prove Hashem’s existence, Eliyahu brought a korban, but first covered it in water. The miracle was that Hashem’s fire still accepted the korban and it burned regardless of the water. We see from here that even though Eliyahu Hanavi is known for his incredible feats, he is also found as a seemingly minute character in the Purim stor y. This can give us chizuk about salvation, that it can come at any time and in any form. 54

;(‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫)היּ‬ ַ ‫ צ ֵֹרר היהודיים‬,‫בּית ָה ָמן‬-‫ת‬ ֵ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ נָ ַתן ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬,‫ א ַבּיּוֹם ַההוּא‬:‫אסתר פרק ח‬ ,‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ֶהﬠֱ ִביר ֵמ ָה ָמן‬,‫ט ַבּ ְﬠתּוֹ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ב וַ יָּ ַסר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֶא‬.‫לָ הּ‬-‫ ַמה הוּא‬,‫הגִּ ָידה ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬-‫י‬ ִ ִ‫כּ‬--‫ ָבּא לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫וּמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ ָ ,‫ וַ ִתּפֹּל‬,‫ וַ ְתּ ַד ֵבּר לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫תּוֹסף ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ ֶ ַ‫ }ס{ ג ו‬.‫בּית ָה ָמן‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫ ַﬠ‬,‫מ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ לְ ָמ ְר ֳדּכָ י; וַ ָתּ ֶשׂם ֶא ְס ֵתּר ֶא‬,‫וַ יִּ ְתּנָ הּ‬ ‫ ד‬.‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ָח ַשׁב ַﬠ‬,‫ וְ ֵאת ַמ ֲח ַשׁ ְבתּוֹ‬,‫ר ַﬠת ָה ָמן ָה ֲאגָ גִ י‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫ לְ ַה ֲﬠ ִביר ֶא‬,‫לוֹ‬-‫לִ ְפנֵ י ַרגְ לָ יו; וַ ֵתּ ְבךְּ וַ ִתּ ְת ַחנֶּ ן‬ ‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך טוֹב‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ﬠ‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ֹאמר ִא‬ ֶ ‫ ה וַ תּ‬.‫ וַ ַתּ ֲﬠמֹד לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ ֵאת ַשׁ ְר ִבט ַהזָּ ָהב; וַ ָתּ ָקם ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬,‫יּוֹשׁט ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ ֶ ַ‫ו‬ ‫ ַמ ֲח ֶשׁ ֶבת‬,‫ה ְסּ ָפ ִרים‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫יִ כָּ ֵתב לְ ָה ִשׁיב ֶא‬--‫ ְבּ ֵﬠינָ יו‬,‫טוֹבה ֲאנִ י‬ ָ ְ‫ ו‬,‫ וְ כָ ֵשׁר ַה ָדּ ָבר לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫אתי ֵחן לְ ָפנָ יו‬ ִ ָ‫מצ‬-‫ם‬ ָ ‫וְ ִא‬ ,‫ וְ ָר ִא ִיתי‬,‫ ו כִּ י ֵאיכָ כָ ה אוּכַ ל‬.‫מ ִדינוֹת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ְבּכ‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר כָּ ַתב לְ ַא ֵבּד ֶא‬,‫ה ְמּ ָד ָתא ָה ֲאגָ גִ י‬-‫ן‬ ַ ‫ָה ָמן ֶבּ‬ ‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רֹשׁ לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ ֶ ‫ }ס{ ז וַ יּ‬.‫ ְבּ ָא ְב ַדן מוֹלַ ְד ִתּי‬,‫ﬠ ִמּי; וְ ֵאיכָ כָ ה אוּכַ ל וְ ָר ִא ִיתי‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫יִ ְמצָ א ֶא‬-‫ ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫ָבּ ָרﬠָ ה‬ ‫ ביהודיים‬,‫שׁלַ ח יָ דוֹ‬-‫ר‬ ָ ‫ﬠל ֲא ֶשׁ‬--‫ץ‬ ַ ֵ‫הﬠ‬-‫ל‬ ָ ‫ וְ אֹתוֹ ָתּלוּ ַﬠ‬,‫ה ָמן נָ ַת ִתּי לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬-‫ית‬ ָ ‫ ִהנֵּ ה ֵב‬:‫הוּדי‬ ִ ְ‫ וּלְ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ַהיּ‬,‫ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬ ‫כְ ָתב ֲא ֶשׁר־‬-‫ כִּ י‬:‫ ְבּ ַט ַבּ ַﬠת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ וְ ִח ְתמוּ‬,‫ ְבּ ֵשׁם ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫הוּדים כַּ טּוֹב ְבּ ֵﬠינֵ יכֶ ם‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ ח וְ ַא ֶתּם כִּ ְתבוּ ַﬠ‬.(‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫)בּיּ‬ ַ .‫אין לְ ָה ִשׁיב‬--‫ְך‬ ֵ ֶ‫ וְ נַ ְחתּוֹם ְבּ ַט ַבּ ַﬠת ַה ֶמּל‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫נִ כְ ָתּב ְבּ ֵשׁ‬ The eighth perek describes the aftermath of the climax of the Purim stor y, with Haman already hanged. A new letter is sent out (to Achashveirosh’s provinces) declaring that the Jews have full right to defend themselves on the 14th of Adar. However, I'd like to focus on the first 2 pesukim, to see how significant they are to the stor y of Purim and our main heroes Esther and Mordechai. Achashveirosh in the first pasuk gives Esther the house (meaning the political stature) of Haman, and in addition has Mordechai brought before him in the palace. In the second pasuk, Achashveirosh takes his ring and gives it to Mordechai and he receives Haman’s house from Esther. Haman has lost ever ything, and Mordechai has gained ever ything. The entire Purim stor y is completed, in the ‫ ונהפוך הוא‬fashion, reversing all the evil plans Haman intended for the Jewish people into their salvation. Haman, fueled with hate, built gallows to hang Mordechai, but in the end was hanged himself. The plot of Haman to destroy the Jewish people, was reversed on that ver y day they were able to destroy their enemies. While Mordechai and Esther clearly played a role, we need to remember who is really in charge. Ever ything comes from Hashem, measure for measure, and we need to remember that He runs the world.

Achashverosh saw that when he gave the ring to Haman, it made things problematic. Why did he do the same act again and give Mordechai the ring?

Why was Achashverosh inclined to give Haman’s estate to Mordechai as opposed to holding onto it for himself?

Esther revealed that she was Jewish at the party she held with Achashverosh and Haman, but when did she reveal that she was related to Mordechai? What significance does that bear at this point in the Megillah?

Artwork by: Joseph Borokhov Commentar y by: Benjamin Nektalov Questions by: Ellea Harkins 55

The Medrash tells us that there was a similarity between Yosef Hatzadik and Mordechai. They both were placed in a dire situation, with a seemingly slim chance of success. However, this did not prevent either from doing what they knew was proper in the eyes of Hashem. Ultimately, they were both placed high within the king's palace. This included the privilege of wearing the king’s ring and riding on the king’s horse. 56

‫צִ וָּ ה‬-‫א ֶשׁר‬-‫ל‬ ֲ ָ‫ וַ יִּ כָּ ֵתב כְּ כ‬,‫לוֹשׁה וְ ﬠֶ ְשׂ ִרים בּוֹ‬ ָ ‫ ִבּ ְשׁ‬,‫ח ֶֹדשׁ ִסיוָ ן‬-‫ישׁי הוּא‬ ִ ִ‫ה ִהיא ַבּח ֶֹדשׁ ַה ְשּׁל‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך ָבּ ֵﬠ‬-‫י‬ ַ ‫ט וַ יִּ ָקּ ְראוּ ס ְֹפ ֵר‬ ,‫וּמ ָאה ְמ ִדינָ ה‬ ֵ ‫כּוּשׁ ֶשׁ ַבע וְ ﬠֶ ְשׂ ִרים‬-‫וְ ַה ַפּחוֹת וְ ָשׂ ֵרי ַה ְמּ ִדינוֹת ֲא ֶשׁר ֵמהֹדּוּ וְ ﬠַ ד‬-‫הוּדים וְ ֶאל ָה ֲא ַח ְשׁ ַדּ ְר ְפּנִ ים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ֶא‬ ,‫ וַ יַּ ְחתֹּם‬,‫ ְבּ ֵשׁם ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רֹשׁ‬,‫ י וַ יִּ כְ תֹּב‬.‫ וְ כִ לְ שׁוֹנָ ם‬,‫כִּ כְ ָת ָבם‬--‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫וּמ ִדינָ ה כִּ כְ ָת ָבהּ וְ ַﬠם וָ ָﬠם כִּ לְ שֹׁנוֹ; וְ ֶא‬ ְ ‫ְמ ִדינָ ה‬ ‫ יא ֲא ֶשׁר נָ ַתן ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬.‫ ָה ַר ָמּכִ ים‬,‫בּנֵ י‬--‫ים‬ ְ ִ‫ ָה ֲא ַח ְשׁ ְתּ ָרנ‬,‫סּוּסים רֹכְ ֵבי ָה ֶרכֶ שׁ‬ ִ ‫ְבּ ַט ַבּ ַﬠת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך; וַ יִּ ְשׁלַ ח ְס ָפ ִרים ְבּיַ ד ָה ָרצִ ים ַבּ‬ ‫וּמ ִדינָ ה ַהצָּ ִרים‬ ְ ‫חיל ﬠַ ם‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ָ‫כּ‬-‫לְ ַה ְשׁ ִמיד וְ לַ ֲהרֹג וּלְ ַא ֵבּד ֶאת‬--‫נַ ְפ ָשׁם‬-‫ לְ ִה ָקּ ֵהל וְ לַ ֲﬠמֹד ַﬠל‬,‫וָ ִﬠיר‬-‫ﬠיר‬-‫ל‬ ִ ָ‫הוּדים ֲא ֶשׁר ְבּכ‬ ִ ְ‫לַ יּ‬ ,‫ﬠָ ָשׂר‬-‫לוֹשׁה ﬠָ ָשׂר לְ ח ֶֹדשׁ ְשׁנֵ ים‬ ָ ‫בּ ְשׁ‬--‫רוֹשׁ‬ ִ ֵ‫מ ִדינוֹת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁו‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫ ְבּכ‬,‫ יב ְבּיוֹם ֶא ָחד‬.‫ לָ בוֹז‬,‫וּשׁלָ לָ ם‬ ְ ;‫ ַטף וְ נָ ִשׁים‬,‫א ָֹתם‬ (‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫)היּ‬ ַ ‫הﬠַ ִמּים; וְ לִ ְהיוֹת היהודיים‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫ לְ כ‬,‫ גָּ לוּי‬,‫וּמ ִדינָ ה‬ ְ ‫מ ִדינָ ה‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫ לְ ִהנָּ ֵתן ָדּת ְבּכ‬,‫ יג ַפּ ְת ֶשׁגֶ ן ַהכְּ ָתב‬.‫ח ֶֹדשׁ ֲא ָדר‬-‫הוּא‬ ‫ ִבּ ְד ַבר‬,‫חוּפים‬ ִ ‫ יָ צְ אוּ ְמב ָֹהלִ ים ְוּד‬,‫ ָה ֲא ַח ְשׁ ְתּ ָרנִ ים‬,‫ יד ָה ָרצִ ים רֹכְ ֵבי ָה ֶרכֶ שׁ‬.‫ לְ ִהנָּ ֵקם ֵמא ֵֹיְב ֶיהם‬,‫)ﬠ ִת ִידים( לַ יּוֹם ַהזֶּ ה‬ ֲ ‫עתודים‬ ‫ וַ ﬠֲ ֶט ֶרת זָ ָהב‬,‫ ִבּלְ בוּשׁ ַמלְ כוּת ְתּכֵ לֶ ת וָ חוּר‬,‫וּמ ְר ֳדּכַ י יָ צָ א ִמלִּ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ָ ‫ }ס{ טו‬.‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה‬ ַ ‫ ְבּ‬,‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך; וְ ַה ָדּת נִ ְתּנָ ה‬ ‫ יז ְוּבכָ ל־‬.‫ וִ ָיקר‬,‫ וְ ָשׂשֹׂן‬,‫אוֹרה וְ ִשׂ ְמ ָחה‬ ָ ‫ ָהיְ ָתה‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫ טז לַ יּ‬.‫ צָ ֲהלָ ה וְ ָשׂ ֵמ ָחה‬,‫שׁוּשׁן‬ ָ ‫ וְ ַתכְ ִריְך בּוּץ וְ ַא ְרגָּ ָמן; וְ ָה ִﬠיר‬,‫גְּ דוֹלָ ה‬ ‫ ִמ ְשׁ ֶתּה וְ יוֹם טוֹב; וְ ַר ִבּים‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫ ִשׂ ְמ ָחה וְ ָשׂשׂוֹן לַ יּ‬,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ָדתוֹ ַמגִּ ַיﬠ‬-‫ר‬ ַ ‫ ְמקוֹם ֲא ֶשׁר ְדּ ַב‬,‫ﬠיר וָ ִﬠיר‬-‫ל‬ ִ ָ‫וּמ ִדינָ ה ְוּבכ‬ ְ ‫ְמ ִדינָ ה‬ .‫ ֲﬠלֵ ֶיהם‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ד‬ ַ ‫נָ ַפל ַפּ ַח‬-‫כִּ י‬--‫ ִמ ְתיַ ֲה ִדים‬,‫ֵמ ַﬠ ֵמּי ָה ָא ֶרץ‬ Not just the end of Shabbat A separation, a mourning, But the beginning of a new light: A magnificent crown A royal robe The colors of the Mishkan, A rebuilt Shushan in Blue, white, gold, purple. Where there was fear There is joy. Mordechai emerges Like a king, honored, Rising out of darkness And into joy. Have you ever felt like your enemies Could become your friends? That when riding a roller coaster, You would crash or be released into the air? Or that speaking, in public, you couldn’t get past The pit in your stomach? For Mordechai, stepping into these robes He befriended his enemy, and it wasn’t just the end, but the beginning: Two sides of the same coin, Haman’s lotter y to kill the Jews Had Mordechai’s face on both sides, A threat no matter the day or time-And Hashem always ready to save them.

Have you ever experienced a dramatic reversal, and if so, how did it make you feel?

Mordechai wears the colorful robes and clothing of the king; where else in the Torah do we see such colorful fabrics being used? What is the significance of this? Esther 8:16 is the verse that we recite and repeat during Havdalah. Why do you think this is the verse used as we close out Shabbos and begin our week?

Artwork, Commentar y & Questions by: Moshe Vaiselberg 57

This piece shows the symbolic change from darkness to light, of mourning to joy, in the Purim stor y. In this image, Mordechai is dressed in the king's own royal purple robes and golden crown. This was done to show that Mordechai was now honored, as a king, and that he had ascended to greatness, now well known and respected throughout the kingdom. As Mordechai walks up the stairs, he emerges into the sunlight from the darkness below him, representing the change that the Jewish people experienced from the darkness of the decree of Haman to their celebration of miraculously being saved. The left and right sides of the image offer contrasting images--two sides of a coin, which according to the Midrash, were printed in Mordechai’s honor and embossed on the coin. These images correspond as well to the dramatic reversal experienced here. 58

,‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך וְ ָדתוֹ‬-‫ר‬ ַ ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ִהגִּ ַיﬠ ְדּ ַב‬,‫לוֹשׁה ָﬠ ָשׂר יוֹם בּוֹ‬ ָ ‫ ִבּ ְשׁ‬,‫ח ֶֹדשׁ ֲא ָדר‬-‫ א ִוּב ְשׁנֵ ים ָﬠ ָשׂר ח ֶֹדשׁ הוּא‬:‫אסתר פרק ט‬ .‫הוּדים ֵה ָמּה ְבּשֹׂנְ ֵא ֶיהם‬ ִ ְ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר יִ ְשׁלְ טוּ ַהיּ‬,‫ וְ נַ ֲהפוְֹך הוּא‬,‫הוּדים לִ ְשׁלוֹט ָבּ ֶהם‬ ִ ְ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ִשׂ ְבּרוּ א ֵֹיְבי ַהיּ‬,‫ ַבּיּוֹם‬:‫לְ ֵהﬠָ שׂוֹת‬ ‫ﬠָ ַמד לִ ְפ־‬-‫ ִבּ ְמ ַב ְק ֵשׁי ָר ָﬠ ָתם; וְ ִאישׁ ל ֹא‬,‫ֹלח יָ ד‬ ַ ‫ לִ ְשׁ‬,‫מ ִדינוֹת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫ ְבּכ‬,‫הוּדים ְבּ ָﬠ ֵר ֶיהם‬ ִ ְ‫ב נִ ְק ֲהלוּ ַהיּ‬ ‫ וְ ע ֵֹשׂי ַה ְמּלָ אכָ ה ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫שׂ ֵרי ַה ְמּ ִדינוֹת וְ ָה ֲא ַח ְשׁ ַדּ ְר ְפּנִ ים וְ ַה ַפּחוֹת‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫ ג וְ כ‬.‫ה ַﬠ ִמּים‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫כּ‬-‫נָ ַפל ַפּ ְח ָדּם ַﬠל‬-‫ כִּ י‬,‫נֵ ֶיהם‬ ‫ וְ ָשׁ ְמעוֹ הוֹלֵ ְך‬,‫גָ דוֹל ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ְבּ ֵבית ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ ד כִּ י‬.‫ ֲﬠלֵ ֶיהם‬,‫מ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬-‫ד‬ ָ ‫נָ ַפל ַפּ ַח‬-‫ כִּ י‬:‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫מנַ ְשּׂ ִאים‬--‫ְך‬ ְ ֶ‫לַ ֶמּל‬ ‫ח ֶרב וְ ֶה ֶרג וְ ַא ְב ָדן; וַ יַּ ﬠֲ שׂוּ‬-‫ת‬ ֶ ַ‫ ַמכּ‬,‫א ֵֹיְב ֶיהם‬-‫הוּדים ְבּכָ ל‬ ִ ְ‫ ה וַ יַּ כּוּ ַהיּ‬.‫ הוֹלֵ ְך וְ גָ דוֹל‬,‫ה ִאישׁ ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬-‫י‬ ָ ִ‫ כּ‬:‫ה ְמּ ִדינוֹת‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ְבּכ‬ .‫ כִּ ְרצוֹנָ ם‬,‫ְבשֹׂנְ ֵא ֶיהם‬

V ’nahafochu And so the day came, the thirteenth of Adar, But on the decreed day of destruction, arose something bizarre. On the appointed day that we were to be defeated, The Jews united against their enemies until they retreated. Throughout the provinces of King Achashverosh, the Jews accumulated success and respect. And proved time and time again that against any attack they can deflect. For Mordechai had gained power in the royal palace, Thereby protecting the Jews from all malice. And as Haman’s decree was proven untrue, Our nation proved that with God’s help we can persevere and thrive: v’nahafochu. And even today, we must prove once more, That we can emerge victorious, though this time not through war. We can grow individually, with learning, chesed, and kindness, Proving to the world and to ourselves, of our brightness. And as a people, we can do arbitrary acts of good and right And even through our current situation of virus and politics, we can attempt to fight the darkness with light. All it takes is prayer, tzedakah, compassion, and unity And even while apart, we can maintain our feeling of community. For that is the beauty and essence of a Jew, With God’s help we can overcome our challenges together: v’nahafochu.

Why does it say in Passuk 2 “ ‫נפל‬ ‫”פחדם על כל העמים‬, but than in passuk 3, “ ‫?”נפל פחד־מרדכי עליהם‬

How did Mordechai’s fame and influence grow so fast?

Why do we read in Passuk 2, ‫וְ ִא י שׁ‬ ‫יה ם‬ ֶ ֵ‫ ל ֹא־ ﬠָ ַמ ד לִ ְפ נ‬and then after wards repeat and say ‫יה ם‬ ֶ ֵ‫בפ נ‬ ְ ‫ֹא־ﬠ ַמ ד‬ ָ ‫?וְ ִא ישׁ ל‬

Artwork by: Madeline Schwartz Commentar y by: Sigal Holtzman Questions by: Abigail Wunder 59

This watercolor painting was made to depict the idea of V'nahafochu. In the Purim story, the Jews came so close to their demise, due to the fact that Haman was trying to wipe them out by getting king Achashverosh to make a decree against them. However, Hashem flipped that decree around and the Jews were saved. Haman was the one who was killed in the end. The painting shows a vivid sunset and garden with bright colors in one half, but when flipped, a black grey and dreary scene with wilting flowers and dark clouds is shown. This is to highlight the idea of V ’nahafochu. The two halves of the drawing contrast each other, and show what happens when things are flipped around. 60

,‫ }ס{ ז וְ ֵאת }ר{ ַפּ ְר ַשׁנְ ָדּ ָתא }ס{ וְ ֵאת }ר{ ַדּלְ פוֹן‬.‫}ר{אישׁ‬ ִ ,‫ח ֵמשׁ ֵמאוֹת‬--‫ד‬ ֲ ‫הוּדים וְ ַא ֵבּ‬ ִ ְ‫ ָה ְרגוּ ַהיּ‬,‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה‬ ַ ‫ו ְוּב‬ ‫ }ס{ ט וְ ֵאת‬.‫ }ס{ וְ ֵאת }ר{ ֲא ִר ָיד ָתא‬,‫פּוֹר ָתא }ס{ וְ ֵאת }ר{ ֲא ַדלְ יָ א‬ ָ {‫ }ס{ ח וְ ֵאת }ר‬.‫}ס{ וְ ֵאת }ר{ ַא ְס ָפּ ָתא‬ -‫ }ס{ י ﬠֲ ֶשׂ ֶרת }ר{ ְבּנֵ י ָה ָמן ֶבּן‬.‫ }ס{ וְ ֵאת }ר{ ֲא ִר ַידי }ס{ וְ ֵאת }ר{ וַ יְ זָ ָתא‬,‫}ר{ ַפּ ְר ַמ ְשׁ ָתּא }ס{ וְ ֵאת }ר{ ֲא ִר ַיסי‬ ‫לִ ְפנֵ י‬--‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה‬ ַ ‫ ָבּא ִמ ְס ַפּר ַה ֲהרוּגִ ים ְבּ‬,‫ יא ַבּיּוֹם ַההוּא‬.‫יָ ָדם‬-‫ ֶאת‬,‫ל ֹא ָשׁלְ חוּ‬--‫ה ָרגוּ; ַוּב ִבּזָּ ה‬--‫ים‬ ָ ‫הוּד‬ ִ ְ‫ צ ֵֹרר ַהיּ‬,‫ַה ְמּ ָד ָתא‬ -‫ה ָמן‬-‫י‬ ָ ֵ‫הוּדים וְ ַא ֵבּד ֲח ֵמשׁ ֵמאוֹת ִאישׁ וְ ֵאת ﬠֲ ֶשׂ ֶרת ְבּנ‬ ִ ְ‫שׁוּשׁן ַה ִבּ ָירה ָה ְרגוּ ַהיּ‬ ַ ‫ ְבּ‬,‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך לְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה‬ ֶ ‫ יב וַ יּ‬.‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ‫ה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ﬠ‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ ִא‬,‫ֹאמר ֶא ְס ֵתּר‬ ֶ ‫ יג וַ תּ‬.‫בּ ָקּ ָשׁ ֵתְך עוֹד וְ ֵתﬠָ שׂ‬-‫ה‬ ַ ‫וּמ‬ ַ ,‫שּׁ ֵאלָ ֵתְך וְ יִ נָּ ֵתן לָ ְך‬-‫ה‬ ְ ‫וּמ‬ ַ ;‫ ֶמה ָﬠשׂוּ‬,‫בּ ְשׁ ָאר ְמ ִדינוֹת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ִ ‫ֹאמר ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬ ֶ ‫ יד וַ יּ‬.‫הﬠֵ ץ‬-‫ל‬ ָ ַ‫ יִ ְתלוּ ﬠ‬,‫ה ָמן‬-‫י‬ ָ ֵ‫ לַ ֲﬠשׂוֹת כְּ ָדת ַהיּוֹם; וְ ֵאת ֲﬠ ֶשׂ ֶרת ְבּנ‬,‫שׁוּשׁן‬ ָ ‫הוּדים ֲא ֶשׁר ְבּ‬ ִ ְ‫מ ָחר לַ יּ‬-‫ם‬ ָ ַ‫יִ נָּ ֵתן גּ‬--‫טוֹב‬ ‫ גַּ ם ְבּיוֹם ַא ְר־‬,‫שׁוּשׁן‬ ָ ‫בּ‬-‫ר‬ ְ ‫הוּדים( ֲא ֶשׁ‬ ִ ְ‫)היּ‬ ַ ‫ טו וַ יִּ ָקּ ֲהלוּ היהודיים‬.‫ ָתּלוּ‬,‫ה ָמן‬-‫י‬ ָ ֵ‫שׁוּשׁן; וְ ֵאת ֲﬠ ֶשׂ ֶרת ְבּנ‬ ָ ‫ וַ ִתּנָּ ֵתן ָדּת ְבּ‬,‫לְ ֵהﬠָ שׂוֹת כֵּ ן‬ ‫הוּדים ֲא ֶשׁר ִבּ ְמ ִדינוֹת‬ ִ ְ‫וּשׁ ָאר ַהיּ‬ ְ ‫ טז‬.‫יָ ָדם‬-‫ ֶאת‬,‫ל ֹא ָשׁלְ חוּ‬--‫ ְשֹׁלשׁ ֵמאוֹת ִאישׁ; ַוּב ִבּזָּ ה‬,‫שׁוּשׁן‬ ָ ‫ וַ יַּ ַה ְרגוּ ְב‬,‫ָבּﬠָ ה ָﬠ ָשׂר לְ ח ֶֹדשׁ ֲא ָדר‬ ‫ יז‬.‫יָ ָדם‬-‫ ֶאת‬,‫ל ֹא ָשׁלְ חוּ‬--‫ ֲח ִמ ָשּׁה וְ ִשׁ ְבﬠִ ים ָאלֶ ף; ַוּב ִבּזָּ ה‬,‫ וְ ָהרוֹג ְבּשֹׂנְ ֵא ֶיהם‬,‫נוֹח ֵמא ֵֹיְב ֶיהם‬ ַ ְ‫ ו‬,‫נַ ְפ ָשׁם‬-‫ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך נִ ְק ֲהלוּ וְ ָﬠמֹד ַﬠל‬ (‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫ יח והיהודיים )וְ ַהיּ‬.‫ יוֹם ִמ ְשׁ ֶתּה וְ ִשׂ ְמ ָחה‬,‫ וְ ָﬠשֹׂה אֹתוֹ‬,‫ ְבּ ַא ְר ָבּ ָﬠה ָﬠ ָשׂר בּוֹ‬,‫נוֹח‬ ַ ְ‫ לְ ח ֶֹדשׁ ֲא ָדר; ו‬,‫לוֹשׁה ָﬠ ָשׂר‬ ָ ‫שׁ‬-‫יוֹם‬ ְ ‫ְבּ‬ .‫ יוֹם ִמ ְשׁ ֶתּה וְ ִשׂ ְמ ָחה‬,‫ וְ ﬠָ שֹׂה אֹתוֹ‬,‫ ַבּ ֲח ִמ ָשּׁה ﬠָ ָשׂר בּוֹ‬,‫נוֹח‬ ַ ְ‫ בּוֹ; ו‬,‫ ְוּב ַא ְר ָבּ ָﬠה ָﬠ ָשׂר‬,‫לוֹשׁה ָﬠ ָשׂר בּוֹ‬ ָ ‫ נִ ְק ֲהלוּ ִבּ ְשׁ‬,‫שׁוּשׁן‬ ָ ‫בּ‬-‫ר‬ ְ ‫ֲא ֶשׁ‬ This section of the Megillah tells of the execution of Haman and his ten sons. Many communities have the custom to read these pesukim in a single breath, as the Gemara explains, to teach us that all ten sons died at the same moment. However, there must be some deeper, more applicable lesson to learn from the listing of Haman’s ten sons. Although their execution may appear to be an obvious consequence of the Jewish victory, it is actually quite an integral part of the Megillah that offers many learning opportunities. Haman’s children being hanged from the gallows, aside from validating the Jewish victory, also confirms and justifies the destruction of any enemies that rise up against Israel. Haman and his sons represented wicked and evil in trying to rise up against Hashem’s nation of Israel, which is equivalent to rebelling against Hashem Himself. Anybody who tries to defy and defeat the Master and Creator of the Universe is surely deserving of extermination, and so the execution of Haman and his 10 sons is justified in this regard. The Amalekim hated the Jews and denied Hashem’s singular existence. Therefore, as a deserving punishment, their deaths occurred simultaneously, as their elimination revealed and confirmed Hashem’s true Oneness to the world. The manner in which this section of the Megillah is written offers further insight into the significance of the portion and its effect on us today. The listing of Haman’s ten sons occurs in the format of a song, however, unlike other songs that are written in the Torah, such as Shirat Hayam, this listing lacks interwoven words and spaces; instead, the names of Haman’s ten sons are listed uniformly, in a straight, closed and organized fashion. But why? The many songs that are written in the Torah are meant to convey the extent of salvation and redemption that Bnei Yisrael experienced from their enemies. Therefore, the songs are written in a very spacious and expansive format in order to convey the great, celebratory joy of the occasion. However, in the event of Haman and his sons being executed, we are celebrating our joy over their utter destruction and obliteration. Consequently, the Megillah is less expansive in its formatting, and rather follows a strict, linear style in order to convey our more conservative, less celebratory emotions over the strict justice that was carried out towards our enemies. The execution of Haman’s sons, although an indicator of the Jewish victory, also brings to light the truth of Hashem’s Oneness on a grand scale, which is part of the reason why we make sure to read this section in one, single breath. However, this specific manner of reading also places a limit on the extent to which we should enjoy the destruction and suffering of our enemies. Although Haman and his ten sons were most certainly deserving of the strict justice that was done unto them, we still recite their names from a strict, closed format and in a single breath in order to minimize our gloating over their fate.

Why must we read the 10 sons of Haman in one breath while reading the Megillah?

After winning the war, why didn’t the Jews treat themselves to the spoils of their enemy?

Why does the Passuk call Haman the ‘enemy of the Jews’? After 9 perakim of his character, isn’t him being the enemy obvious?

Artwork by: Haddasah Reich Commentar y by: Esther Nahon Questions by: Menachem Levy 61

This on the the midrash midrashtaught taughtininthe theEin EinYaakov. Yaakov.It Itsays says that Haman’s sons This art artpiece piece is is based based on that allall of of Haman’s sons must be be mentioned mentioned in the same same breath their souls leftleft at the exact same moment. In theIn must in the breathbecause because their souls at the exact same moment. painting, each of the son’s hearts are connected together and leave this world in the same spirit. the painting, each of the son’s hearts are connected together and leave this world in the same Rabbi Yochanan includes in this commentar y that the letter Vav in the name Vaizatha must be spirit. includes this the commentary that theon. letter in the name Vaizatha made Rabbi longer Yochanan to symbolize the treeinthat sons were hanged TheVav tree-gallow in the painting represents this idea. must be made longer to symbolize the tree that the sons were hanged on. The tree-gallow in the painting represents this idea. By Haddasah Reich 62

‫וּמ ְשׁ ֶתּה וְ יוֹם‬ ִ ‫ ִשׂ ְמ ָחה‬,‫ע ִֹשׂים ֵאת יוֹם ַא ְר ָבּ ָﬠה ָﬠ ָשׂר לְ ח ֶֹדשׁ ֲא ָדר‬--‫ ַהיּ ְֹשׁ ִבים ְבּﬠָ ֵרי ַה ְפּ ָרזוֹת‬,(‫)ה ְפּ ָרזִ ים‬ ַ ‫הוּדים הפרוזים‬ ִ ְ‫כֵּ ן ַהיּ‬-‫יט ַﬠל‬ ‫מ ִדינוֹת ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬-‫ל‬ ְ ָ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר ְבּכ‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ה ְדּ ָב ִרים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה; וַ יִּ ְשׁלַ ח ְס ָפ ִרים ֶאל‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ ֶא‬,‫ כ וַ יִּ כְ תֹּב ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬.‫ ִאישׁ לְ ֵרﬠֵ הוּ‬,‫ֹלח ָמנוֹת‬ ַ ‫וּמ ְשׁ‬ ִ ;‫טוֹב‬ :‫ח ִמ ָשּׁה ָﬠ ָשׂר בּוֹ‬-‫יוֹם‬ ֲ ‫ וְ ֵאת‬,‫לִ ְהיוֹת ע ִֹשׂים ֵאת יוֹם ַא ְר ָבּ ָﬠה ָﬠ ָשׂר לְ ח ֶֹדשׁ ֲא ָדר‬--‫ ﬠֲ לֵ ֶיהם‬,‫ כא לְ ַקיֵּ ם‬.‫חוֹקים‬ ִ ‫ וְ ָה ְר‬,‫רוֹבים‬ ִ ‫ה ְקּ‬--‫רוֹשׁ‬ ַ ֵ‫ֲא ַח ְשׁו‬ ‫וּמ ֵא ֶבל לְ יוֹם טוֹב; לַ ֲﬠשׂוֹת‬ ֵ ,‫ וְ ַהח ֶֹדשׁ ֲא ֶשׁר נֶ ְה ַפְּך לָ ֶהם ִמיָּ גוֹן לְ ִשׂ ְמ ָחה‬,‫הוּדים ֵמא ֵֹיְב ֶיהם‬ ִ ְ‫נָ חוּ ָב ֶהם ַהיּ‬-‫ ֲא ֶשׁר‬,‫ כב כַּ יָּ ִמים‬.‫ וְ ָשׁנָ ה‬,‫שׁנָ ה‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫ְבּכ‬ ‫ לַ ֲﬠשׂוֹת; וְ ֵאת ֲא ֶשׁר־‬,‫ה ֵחלּוּ‬-‫ר‬ ֵ ‫ ֵאת ֲא ֶשׁ‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫ ַהיּ‬,‫ כג וְ ִק ֵבּל‬.‫וּמ ָתּנוֹת לָ ֶא ְביֹנִ ים‬ ַ ,‫ֹלח ָמנוֹת ִאישׁ לְ ֵרﬠֵ הוּ‬ ַ ‫וּמ ְשׁ‬ ִ ,‫ יְ ֵמי ִמ ְשׁ ֶתּה וְ ִשׂ ְמ ָחה‬,‫אוֹתם‬ ָ ‫ לְ ֻה ָמּם‬,‫גּוֹרל‬ ָ ‫ לְ ַא ְבּ ָדם; וְ ִה ִפּל פּוּר הוּא ַה‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ח ַשׁב ַﬠ‬--‫ים‬ ָ ‫הוּד‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ צ ֵֹרר כּ‬,‫ה ְמּ ָד ָתא ָה ֲאגָ גִ י‬-‫ן‬ ַ ‫ כד כִּ י ָה ָמן ֶבּ‬.‫ ֲאלֵ ֶיהם‬,‫כָּ ַתב ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ ,‫בּנָ יו‬-‫ת‬ ָ ‫רֹאשׁוֹ; וְ ָתלוּ אֹתוֹ וְ ֶא‬-‫הוּדים ַﬠל‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ‫ח ַשׁב ַﬠ‬-‫ר‬ ָ ‫ יָ שׁוּב ַמ ֲח ַשׁ ְבתּוֹ ָה ָרﬠָ ה ֲא ֶשׁ‬,‫ה ֵסּ ֶפר‬-‫ם‬ ַ ִ‫ ָא ַמר ﬠ‬,‫ לִ ְפנֵ י ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך‬,‫ כה ְוּבב ָֹאהּ‬.‫וּלְ ַא ְבּ ָדם‬ ‫וּמה ִהגִּ ַיﬠ‬ ָ ,‫כָּ כָ ה‬-‫ראוּ ַﬠל‬-‫ה‬ ָ ‫וּמ‬ ָ ;‫דּ ְב ֵרי ָה ִאגֶּ ֶרת ַהזֹּאת‬-‫ל‬ ִ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ ﬠַ ל‬,‫כֵּ ן‬-‫ﬠַ ל‬--‫שׁם ַהפּוּר‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ַ‫ ﬠ‬,‫פוּרים‬ ִ ‫כֵּ ן ָק ְראוּ לַ יָּ ִמים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה‬-‫ כו ﬠַ ל‬.‫ה ֵﬠץ‬-‫ל‬ ָ ‫ַﬠ‬ ,‫לִ ְהיוֹת ע ִֹשׂים ֵאת ְשׁנֵ י ַהיָּ ִמים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה‬--‫ וְ ל ֹא יַ ֲﬠבוֹר‬,‫הנִּ לְ וִ ים ﬠֲ לֵ ֶיהם‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫זַ ְרﬠָ ם וְ ﬠַ ל כּ‬-‫הוּדים ﬠֲ לֵ ֶיהם וְ ﬠַ ל‬ ִ ְ‫ כז ִקיְּ מוּ וקבל )וְ ִק ְבּלוּ( ַהיּ‬.‫ֲאלֵ ֶיהם‬ ;‫ וְ ִﬠיר וָ ִﬠיר‬,‫וּמ ִדינָ ה‬ ְ ‫ ְמ ִדינָ ה‬,‫וּמ ְשׁ ָפּ ָחה‬ ִ ‫ ִמ ְשׁ ָפּ ָחה‬,‫דּוֹר וָ דוֹר‬-‫ כח וְ ַהיָּ ִמים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה נִ זְ כָּ ִרים וְ נַ ﬠֲ ִשׂים ְבּכָ ל‬.‫ וְ ָשׁנָ ה‬,‫שׁנָ ה‬-‫ל‬ ָ ָ‫ ְבּכ‬:‫כִּ כְ ָת ָבם וְ כִ זְ ַמנָּ ם‬ ‫וּמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ ָ ,‫א ִב ַיחיִ ל‬-‫ת‬ ֲ ‫ }ס{ כט וַ ִתּכְ תֹּב ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ כָּ ה ַב‬.‫יָ סוּף ִמזַּ ְרﬠָ ם‬-‫ ל ֹא‬,‫ וְ זִ כְ ָרם‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫ ל ֹא יַ ﬠַ ְברוּ ִמתּוְֹך ַהיּ‬,‫פּוּרים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה‬ ִ ‫וִ ֵימי ַה‬ -‫וּמ ָאה ְמ ִדינָ ה‬ ֵ ‫שׁ ַבע וְ ֶﬠ ְשׂ ִרים‬-‫ל‬ ֶ ‫ ֶא‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫היּ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫כּ‬-‫ ל וַ יִּ ְשׁלַ ח ְס ָפ ִרים ֶאל‬.‫ה ֵשּׁנִ ית‬--‫ֹאת‬ ַ ‫ ֵאת ִאגֶּ ֶרת ַה ֻפּ ִרים ַהזּ‬,‫ לְ ַקיֵּ ם‬:‫תּ ֶֹקף‬-‫כָּ ל‬-‫את‬--‫י‬ ֶ ‫הוּד‬ ִ ְ‫ַהיּ‬ ‫הוּדי וְ ֶא ְס ֵתּר ַה ַמּלְ ־‬ ִ ְ‫ כַּ ֲא ֶשׁר ִקיַּ ם ֲﬠלֵ ֶיהם ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י ַהיּ‬,‫יְ ֵמי ַה ֻפּ ִרים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה ִבּזְ ַמנֵּ ֶיהם‬-‫ לא לְ ַקיֵּ ם ֶאת‬.‫ וֶ ֱא ֶמת‬,‫ ִדּ ְב ֵרי ָשׁלוֹם‬:‫ ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬,‫מלְ כוּת‬ַ {‫ }ס‬.‫ ַבּ ֵסּ ֶפר‬,‫ ִדּ ְב ֵרי ַה ֻפּ ִרים ָה ֵאלֶּ ה; וְ נִ כְ ָתּב‬,‫קיַּ ם‬--‫ר‬ ִ ‫וּמ ֲא ַמר ֶא ְס ֵתּ‬ ַ ‫ לב‬.‫ וְ זַ ﬠֲ ָק ָתם‬,‫ ִדּ ְב ֵרי ַהצּוֹמוֹת‬:‫זַ ְרﬠָ ם‬-‫ וְ ﬠַ ל‬,‫נַ ְפ ָשׁם‬-‫ וְ כַ ֲא ֶשׁר ִקיְּ מוּ ﬠַ ל‬,‫כָּ ה‬

This portion of the Megillah explains what and how we should do to celebrate the holiday of Purim. The megillah goes on to explain that the celebration of Purim should be a time of happiness. These posukim is also one of the sources for the phrase “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B'simcha”. This comes to show us how when we are ser ving Hashem we must be doing it with our ultimate happiness possible. Also, the whole holiday of Purim we are giving back to others and allowing them to achieve their own happiness, but how does this connect to our avodas Hashem? In addition, Hashem’s name does not appear even once in all of Megilas Esther. This comes to show us how even though Hashem hid himself from the Megillah, we must unmask ourselves by inviting one another into our homes and celebrating the great miracles that occured. As was stated earlier “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B'simcha”, the idea of us increasing our joy in the month of Adar must be done in the best way possible, to show that Hashem is not masked in our world but ser ved openly and with excitement. The ideas stated in this portion of Megillas Esther: Matanos L'evyonim (Gifts to the poor), Mishloach Manot (sending delicacies), feasting, all need to be done with others involved. Despite Hashem’s name being ‘masked’ in the megillah, we must show ourselves to each other by dressing up and celebrating with one another.

What does your community mean to you?

How does happiness add to our avodas Hashem?

How can we use the resources and skills we have to uplift the people around us to become better people?

Artwork by: Natan Horowitz Commentar y & Questions by: Eitan Rochwarger & Noah Spear 63

The picture shows the hands of a boy and his father holding a basket full of different assorted foods meant to be part of their ‫ שלח מנות‬and bringing it to the doorstep of a fellow Jew. The mitzvah for bringing ‫ שלח מנות‬comes from Perek 9: Pasuk 19 of Megillas Esther. The Pasuk says how Jews celebrate the miracle of Purim through festivities and bringing packages of food and drink to their neighbors. The following pesukim describe how Mordechai then sent letters to Jews all over the Persian kingdom instructing them to obser ve this day as a holiday forever. 64

‫ ָוּפ־‬,‫בוּרתוֹ‬ ָ ְ‫ וּג‬,‫מ ֲﬠ ֵשׂה ָת ְקפּוֹ‬-‫ל‬ ַ ָ‫ ב וְ כ‬.‫ וְ ִאיֵּ י ַהיָּ ם‬,‫ה ָא ֶרץ‬-‫ל‬ ָ ‫)א ַח ְשׁוֵ רֹשׁ( ַמס ַﬠ‬ ֲ ‫ א וַ יָּ ֶשׂם ַה ֶמּלֶ ְך אחשרש‬:‫אסתר פרק י‬ ‫ ג כִּ י ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬.‫ ָמ ַדי ָוּפ ָרס‬,‫ לְ ַמלְ כֵ י‬,‫ס ֶפר ִדּ ְב ֵרי ַהיָּ ִמים‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫ ַﬠ‬,‫תוּבים‬ ִ ְ‫הם כּ‬-‫לוֹא‬ ֵ ‫ה‬--‫ְך‬ ֲ ֶ‫ ֲא ֶשׁר גִּ ְדּלוֹ ַה ֶמּל‬,‫ָר ַשׁת גְּ ֻדלַּ ת ָמ ְר ֳדּכַ י‬ {‫ }ש‬.‫זַ ְרעוֹ‬-‫ וְ ד ֵֹבר ָשׁלוֹם לְ כָ ל‬,‫דּ ֵֹרשׁ טוֹב לְ ַﬠמּוֹ‬--‫ וְ ָרצוּי לְ רֹב ֶא ָחיו‬,‫הוּדים‬ ִ ְ‫ וְ גָ דוֹל לַ יּ‬,‫ ִמ ְשׁנֶ ה לַ ֶמּלֶ ְך ֲא ַח ְשׁוֵ רוֹשׁ‬,‫הוּדי‬ ִ ְ‫ַהיּ‬

Throughout Megillat Esther, Mordechai Hatzadik’s willingness to advocate for and support the Jews of Persia is evident. Esther Hamalka follows his example when she speaks on behalf of the Jewish people’s need to be saved. Her plea is due to Mordechai’s encouragement. Additionally throughout the sefer, Mordechai makes sure to remain true to his Jewish identity. For example, when he refuses to bow down to Haman HaRasha (BOOOOOO!). Mordechai’s unique middos portray his strong and dauntless character. These attributes are highlighted by what is written in Perek Yud. In Pasuk Bet it says, “ ‫בוּר תוֹ‬ ָ ְ‫ל־מ ﬠֲ ֵשׂ ה ָת ְק פּוֹ וּג‬ ַ ָ‫וְ כ‬ ‫ל־ס ֶפ ר‬ ֵ ַ‫תוּב ים ﬠ‬ ִ ְ‫לוֹא־ה ם כּ‬ ֵ ‫וּפ ָר ַשׁ ת גְּ ֻד לַּ ת ָמ ְר ֳדּ כַ י ֲא ֶשׁ ר גִּ ְדּ לוֹ ַה ֶמּ לֶ ְך ֲה‬ ָ ‫וּפ ָ ֽר ס׃‬ ָ ‫”דּ ְב ֵר י ַה יָּ ִמ ים לְ ַמ לְ כֵ י ָמ ַד י‬, ִ “All his mighty and powerful acts, and a full account of the greatness to which the king advanced Mordechai, are recorded in the annals of the Kings of Madai and Persia.” This quote shows that Achashveirosh notices Mordechai’s character and promotes him to a position with respected authority and power. This brings us to Passuk Gimmel. With this new power that Mordechai receives, he could do whatever he wants. However he chooses, as it says “ ‫וְ ָר ־‬ ‫ ”צוּי לְ רֹב ֶא ָח יו דּ ֵֹר שׁ טוֹב לְ ַﬠ מּוֹ וְ ד ֵֹב ר ָשׁ לוֹם לְ כָ ל־זַ ְר ֽע וֹ׃‬to sought the good of his people and interceded for the welfare of all his children.” Mordechai chooses to use his authority to protect the Jewish people and advocate on their behalf when necessar y. The Anshei Knesset Hagedolah, who wrote down Megillat Esther must have specifically chosen to end it in this way. Therefore, as part of the Jewish youth in America, we should attempt to emulate these middos of Mordechai that are clearly highlighted in Perek Yud. Since we live in America, we have constant opportunities, like Mordechai had, to advocate on behalf of all the Jews in the world. We need to take advantage of our opportunities and emulate the behavior of Mordechai Hatzadik.

Why is it necessar y for the Megillah to end with these last 3 pesukim? Why didn’t the stor y conclude with the end of Perek Tet, with the passuk of Esther making Purim a holiday? Why does Passuk Gimmel repeat, in two different ways, that Mordechai took care of the Jews?

Why, in Passuk Gimmel, when the passuk is discussing Mordechai and the Jews, does it say “Mordechai HaYehudi,” while in Passuk Bet, it just says “Mordechai”?

Artwork by: Gabi Zahavi Commentar y & Questions by: Gitty Kahn & Leora Strauss 65

Mordechai the King There is a midrash (Esther 10:3) that describes Mordechai like a king. Midrash Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer writes that Mordechai dressed in purple, wore a golden crown, and that Mordechai’s money was all over the land. The midrash describes the money as having Mordechai’s face on one side and Esther’s on the other. Perhaps the message this midrash is conveying is that even though Achashverosh was technically still king, our true leaders are those who lead us in Torah, like Mordechai. 66

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