You May Say that Esther has a Bad Reputation yet She was Worthy that the Holy Spirit be Clothed in Her

by tillerofthesoil

Image“It is certainly unnecessary to remove a woman to another place unless her husband so commands and gives her permission to go. [Accordingly] one first of all informs her husband and placates him so that he should command her and give her permission to go to that place… How do we know this? From the Righteous One of the world [Yesod] who gave Malkhut permission to abide among the righteous in this world, and She dwells among them as a bride in all Her jewellery, and the Righteous One of the world sees it, and is happy. She lies in the arms of Her husband but returns to be with the righteous [in this world], then returns [again] to Her husband, as it is written: In the evening she would come, and in the morning she would go (Esther 2:14). In the evening she would come—to her husband; and in the morning she would go—to be among the righteous of the world, everything being done with the permission of Her husband” (Zohar 3:219b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas, cf. Zohar 2:135a).

“Rabbi Zera said: Why was Esther compared to a אַיֶּלֶת (ayyelet), doe [BT Megillah 15b]? To tell you that just as a doe has a narrow womb and is desirable to her mate at all times as at the first time, so was Esther precious to King Ahasuerus at all times as at the first time” (BT Yoma 29b).

“You may say that Esther has a bad reputation, that she was defiled with Ahasuerus [cf. BT Megillah 13a: The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she won his grace and favor more than all the other virgins (Esther 2:17). Rav said, ‘If he wished to taste the flavor of a virgin (when coupling with Esther) he tasted it; the flavor of a married woman, he tasted it.’ Cf. Zohar 3:58b] yet she was worthy that the Holy Spirit be clothed in her, as is written, Esther donned מַלְכוּת (Malkhut), royal garb (Esther 5:1). Yet the blessed Holy One said, I am YHWH: that is My Name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to פְּסִילִים (pesilim), graven images (Isaiah 42:8). [However] the Holy Spirit is the Shekhinah [who is פָּסוּל (pasul), rejected, cf. Isaiah 50:1] a name that was clothed with Esther.

The Masters of Mishnah say: It is said of the Matronita: and His kingdom rules over all (Psalms 103:19). After Esther put on [royal garb/Malkhut] she ruled over Ahasuerus and his people, and it is said of them, [And the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces assembled and defended their lives and had respite from their enemies] and killed of foes, [seventy-five thousand, but they did not lay hands on the spoils] (Esther 9:16). If you say that [Ahasuerus] mated with her, perish the thought, though they were in the same house. Rather it was like Joseph of whom it says, and she [the wife of potiphar] laid out בִּגְדוֹ (bigdo), his garment, by her (Genesis 39:16). בִּגְדוֹ (Bigdo), his garment—similarly treacherous dealers have dealt very בָּגָדוּ (bagadu), treacherously (Isaiah 24:16).

There is a great mystery here, which is why אֶסְתֵּר (Ester), Esther, is derived from סֵתֶר (seter), secret, as is written, You are סֵתֶר (seter), a hiding place, for me (Psalms 32:7), since the Shekhinah hid her from Ahasuerus and gave him a female demon instead while she returned to Mordecai’s arm. And Mordecai, who knew the explicit Name and the seventy tongues, did all this with wisdom [see BT Sanhedrin 17a]” (Zohar 3:276a-b, Ra’aya Meheimna Ki Tetze, cf. Zohar 2:277a).

“יוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים (Yom ha-Kippurim), the Day of Atonements (Leviticus 23:27)—in the future we will delight in that day and transform it from suffering to delight [i.e., יוֹם כִּפּוּר (Yom Kippur), the Day of Atonement, will become יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים (yom ha-ki-Purim), the day like Purim (a joyous holiday)]… and just as on that day [the priest (Ḥesed)] adorns himself with the garments of atonement so too, regarding Esther it is written, she donned royal garb (Esther 5:1). Just as with these [white garments of the priest] he enters the innermost sanctuary [hoping to obtain atonement for Israel], so too, she stood in the inner court of the king’s house… and she found favor in his eyes (ibid. 2) [cf. Zohar 3:67a; ibid. 109a: ‘And with each and every mere (mention of), הַמֶּלֶךְ (ha-melekh), the king, this is the blessed Holy One’].

Now, what caused the Shekhinah to suffer exile? The mystery of the matter: And so, I shall come to the king not according to rule (Esther 4:16). Because she came without her husband, of whom it says, at His right hand was a fiery law (Deuteronomy 33:2) they abandoned Torah and this caused the destruction of the First Temple and the Second Temple, as it is written, and if I perish, I perish! [alluding to two destructions] (Esther 4:16).

Nevertheless, even though she entered without her husband, [namely] words of Torah, she still entered with the [merit of the] Patriarchs [who are]: three days, night and day (ibid.) for which she fasted. They were witnesses that the young woman went before the king, as it says, and in this fashion would the young woman come to the king (ibid. 2:13). She who went in to the king indeed remained a virgin young woman, for no man knew her other than her husband.

… Regarding this it is written, and he became guardian to Hadassah (Esther 2:7) [cf. BT Megillah 13a]—[Mordecai] was faithful to her, and she was faithful to him, and this is what is written: [and Esther did what Mordecai had charged her,] and Esther did what Mordecai said, for she was under his guardianship (ibid. 2:20)” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 21, 57b).