Megillas Mordechai

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By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Why is Megillas Esther named after Esther and not named after Mordechai? It would seem like it should have been called Megillas Mordechai since Mordechai Hatzaddik was involved in its writing as the posuk in EstherPerek Tes, posuk chof tes says that both Esther and Mordechai wrote the history of the Megillah.

There are a couple of explanations for why it is actually called Megillas Esther. The Sefer Maharya in Parshas Voeschanan explains that since Esther was moser nefesh to save the Jews by approaching the king despite not being called she merited having the Megillah called after her. This is what we see in the Gemara in Megillahdaf zayin, amud alef when Esther sent a message to the Chachamim to establish her Megillah for the future. She requested that the Yidden should celebrate a Yom Tov and Rashi says that part of Esthers request was that the Megillah should be called by her name.

The Yaaros Dvash asks the following question. Mordechai was moser nefesh by not bowing down to the tzelem around Haman’s neck so why isn’t the Megillah called by his name also? The Yaaros Devash answers that there is a distinction between the mesiras nefesh of Esther and Mordechai. He compares it to the famous question the mefarshim ask concerning why the Torah does not mention the great miracle of Avraham being thrown in the oven of Nimrod after smashing all his father’s idols? The Torah only mentions it bderech remez. The Mefarshim explain that since this is not a story we need to learn from since there is no halacha that one must go and break idols. It is enough for a person not to serve avoda zara; however, one need not put himself into danger by breaking the idols. The Torah therefore does not mention it explicitly. The same concept may be applied to Mordechai since there was no need for Mordechai to walk in front of Haman and look to start up with him. His mesiras nefesh was therefore not mandatory and so we don’t call the Megillah by his name. On the other hand, Esther needed to do what she did and was moser nefesh, therefore the Megillah is called by her name.

Another explanation that is explained by the Sifsei Chachamim in his hakdama to Meseches Megillah is that Esther was an orphan having lost her father while her mother was pregnant and then her mother died during childbirth while giving birth to her. Despite her being such an underdog, the great salvation of the Yidden came because of her and by her actions. This is a nechama for all people who are downtrodden and feel like they are completely lost. They should strengthen themselves and know that they have the koach to do great things as Esther was able to do. The Gemara in Yuma, daf chof tes, amud alef says that Esther was the “sof -” end of all miracles. It teaches us that even when a person feels like he is at the end of the rope and feels like the end has come, he should be mechazek himself and learn from Megillas Esther that Yeshuas Hashem k’heref ayin.

May we all be zocheh to the geulah k’heref ayin.

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  1. “Mordechai was moser nefesh by not bowing down to the tzelem around Haman’s neck………….”
    What type of tzelem are you referring to? The xtian tzelem wasn’t made-up yet. Too early. So what kind of tzelem did Humon wear?

  2. Check out the Gemara in Megilah daf yud bais amud alef that discusses the Jews bowing down to a Tzeilem. The Gemara does not give details on that tzeilim.

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