[Avodah] Esther and the King

Michael Feldstein michaelgfeldstein at gmail.com
Wed Feb 27 05:33:55 PST 2013

While it is clear that the original plan called for taking just betulot
(Esther 2:2-3), it seems from a later reference that the 'pekidim' who
circulated around grabbing women for the palace, did not hesitate to take
married women as well (Esther 2:17)--'mikol hanashim...umikol
habetulot...'.  Ahashverosh had absolute power and absolutely no scruples.
 In a society which viewed people as essentially dispensable, it's not hard
to see how one of his officers might hear about a beautiful woman and
simply take her in to the palace without worrying too much about her
status.  Consider that in the flood of women being shlepped to the harem,
Esther had no difficulty concealing her identity--it's not like they were
checking people's personal information on a computerized data base.
 Ahashverosh's paranoia about enemies may have been grounded partially in
the fact that he was taking women indiscriminately, married or not.
This subject piqued my curiosity about something, too.  Was the concept of
adultery as a yeharog v'al ya'avor in place at the time of the Purim story?
 Or was that a later concept?  It certainly seemed that Mordechai took the
practice of bowing down and idolatory pretty seriously.  One can certainly
question whether it was proper for Esther to engage in an adulterous
relationship if, in fact she was already married to Mordechai.
Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT
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