[Avodah] Why did Achashverosh's feast last so long?

Prof. L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Mon Feb 22 12:08:10 PST 2021

The following is from the Sefer The Vilna Gaon on Megillas Esther by Rabbi Asher Baruch Wegbreit. This Sefer contains many interesting insights into the Megillah.

Pasuk !:4 says "when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and
the splendor of his excellent majesty, many days, one hundred and eighty days."

Question: Why did Achashverosh's
feast last so long?

Answer: The answer lies in
understanding the real purpose
of the feast. Vashti's grandfather
Nevuchadnezzar had hidden 1,080
treasure houses near the Euphrates
River, but Hashem revealed them
to Koresh, the king who preceded
Achashverosh, because Hashem had
designated Koresh to rebuild the Beis
Hamikdash. Achashverosh inherited
these treasures from him.

Achashverosh decided to display
his vast wealth to the officers and
noblemen of all the provinces of his
empire in order to awe them into
submission and thereby solidify his
kingship, and he used the feast as
a context for the presentation. The
feast was thus a pretense to allow
what would have otherwise been
ostentatious display of his wealth. The
pasuk describes this in passive form
"in his showing of his treasures,"
to hint that this display, which was
actually the purpose of the feast, was
conducted in a casual manner, as if it
were merely a secondary goal.

Achashverosh showcased his
1,080 treasure houses at a rate of
six per day- as alluded to in the
six words in the pasuk describing his
wealth and power ("riches," glorious,"
"kingdom," "honor," "sp1endorous, "
and "greatness")-on each of the 180
days of the feast (180 x 6 = 1,080).

At the feast, Achashverosh also
donned the Kohen Gadol's garments,
to convey his personal greatness and
royal dominion.
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