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Purim: To Do as Esther Did


We read in the megilla, that Achashverosh asks Esther what she would like to do further, after he emphasizes that on the first day they had killed 500 of the enemies of the Jew’s; Esther responds that she wants another day to do “the order of the day”!

One might expect, that after that first day, when speaking to Achashverosh she would thank him for what he did yesterday, praise him, give him a medal, tell him that he will be recorded for posterity, that he is a wise king etc. - but what does Esther actually do? Just the opposite: She asks for another day to do “the order of the day”?!

Our Sages state “do not incite a small nation” – Achashverosh was a king over 127 countries; he was a Jew-hater; and the whole decree against the Jew’s began because Mordechai did not bow down to the idol, thus “instigating” the subsequent events – so how did Esther ask for another day of dealing with the enemies?!

The explanation to Esther’s response, is that she was obligated to forewarn that the enemies of the Jew’s not implement their plans, as the gemara (Eruvin 45a. Shulchan Oruch hil Shabbos # 329) states that there is a concern that they might capture the city, and then they will have the entire land open for them.

Also after the 500 of Haman’s followers were killed on the first day, there still remained some followers of Haman; Indeed Haman and his son’s were already not a threat, because they were already killed, however, some of Haman’s followers remained, as is obvious from the fact that on the second day an additional 300 men were killed. So when there is a danger that the land will be open for them, it is an obligation to ensure the safety of the Jewish people, and Esther had to ask for another additional day to eliminate the danger. 

If they would have killed (on the second day) only 299 of the enemy, it would not have mattered to the Jew’s as they did not take from the spoils of the enemy, but they had to eliminate also the 300th of the enemy, because he was from the followers of Haman.

In Judaism there is no random unnecessary bloodshed; Only when the Torah commands it, when there is no other alternative, like for example, when a Jew is given the thirty-nine lashes, or the passuk (Shoftim 20:16)“You shall not allow any people to remain alive” of the seven Canaanite nations, or when goyim are surrounding a Jewish city, and there is the threat of “the land becoming open for them” – when it’s a life-threatening situation.

Then, there is no alternative but to confront the enemy with weapons, power and determination – similar to how Esther did. When goyim are threatening Jew’s – one does not calculate and consider about “inciting a small nation of goyim” or even a “large goy” – this can be done in a case where there is no threat of danger to life.

However, when there is a life-threatening situation - that overrides the entire Torah – including “not to incite a small nation.” Especially when we see that those parts of Eretz Yisrael were given to us from Above in a miraculous way, so although the Sages say about not inciting goyim, and although there is an “oath to not mount the walls” (Kesubos 111a) – that doesn’t, however, change the fact that Hashem gave these areas to us in a miraculous way, and everyone is prohibited to give up even one step.

Like in the miracle of Purim: Anyone who wants to give away from the areas which Hashem gave us, is eliminating the miracles which he made.

(Sichas Shabbos Parshas Tzav, Shushan Purim 5741)

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11 Adar 5777