Purim Dvar Torah By Gavi Teller
The Megillah has some very odd moments and seemingly unnecessary details. For instance, at the beginning of the story, the motivation behind Achashverosh’s party does not seem to make sense. Why does he have a party for so many people over a year’s time? What does Achashverosh think he will achieve by shaming Vashti when she actually had royal blood? On top of this, why does he have her banished for ignoring his obviously strange request? Doesn’t he realize what the consequences will be?
Regardless of these questions, the story unfolds with Achashverosh looking for a new queen. Rather than looking for a woman of similar royal stature, as one might expect, he picks a totally unknown woman who cannot even tell him anything about her family.
As the Megillah continues, Achashverosh’s actions become more bizarre. The Megillah relates the story of Mordechai foilling Biktan and Teresh’s assassination attempt. One might think that Achashverosh would reward Mordechai for his loyalty, but, instead, he just makes a note of it.
One has to ask why Achashverosh would do all of this. Achashverosh doesn’t do what most normal people would have done in this situation. Maybe Achashveirosh was a foolish king — in which case, none of this has to make sense. If Achashverosh was foolish, his actions were simply not thought through. On the other hand, if he were a wise king, this opens up so many more questions.
Questions about the different characters’ motivations continue throughout the Megillah. Why does Haman do what he does? Why does Queen Esther wait to reveal her true identity to everyone? What prompts her to request parties?
Only at the conclusion of the Megillah do all the pieces start to come together. When learning the Megillah, we are taught that Hashem is hidden. When we see the Megillah through this lens, we can see how His hand guides all the strange events whose reasons we previously questioned. While the actions of some of the characters may seem irrational, Hashem guides those characters with motivations of their own to finish his plan.
For example, maybe Achashverosh makes the party in order to consolidate his rule over everyone. He calls Vashti specifically to embarrass her, in order to show that he is the ruler and not her. He has her banished to show his power. However, Hashem has motivation for these actions as well; they open the way for Esther to be queen. Achashverosh purposely picks an unknown commoner so that he can have full control over his kingdom, but,once again, this is crucial to God’s plan. This guidance from Hashem does not just apply to Achashverosh. We may not know Esther’s motivation, but she listens to Mordechai and does not share her lineage with Achashverosh. This is what allows her to save the Jews just as Hashem planned. Achashverosh forgets to reward Mordechai, but the chronicles are needed so that he can be reminded of it later — which turns out to be an important part of the story. From that point on, everything turns topsy turvy. We learn from this that no matter how hidden God is, He is always in our corner helping us.