Achashveirosh’s excessive partying

February 19, 2019 at 6:04 PM , ,

“….White, green and blue fabrics, embroidered with cords of linen and purple wool, were draped on silver rods and marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a pavement of green, white, shell, and onyx marble…” – Esther 1:6

חוּר כַּרְפַּס וּתְכֵלֶת אָחוּז בְּחַבְלֵי בוּץ וְאַרְגָּמָן עַל גְּלִילֵי כֶסֶף וְעַמּוּדֵי שֵׁשׁ מִטּוֹת זָהָב וָכֶסֶף עַל רִצְפַת בַּהַט וָשֵׁשׁ וְדַר וְסֹחָרֶת – מגילת אסתר א, ו

The Megillah recounts Achashveirosh’s excessive partying as a prelude to the salvation of the Jews through Esther. For after months of revelry, when “the king’s heart was merry with wine,” Achashveirosh summoned Queen Vashti to appear before him. Her refusal resulted in her death, and paved the way for Esther to take her place as queen.

Even so, the Megillah’s elaborate description of these feasts seems entirely unnecessary, if not misplaced, in this holy volume of the Torah. Is it relevant for us to read each year, in exhaustive detail, about the food, drink and décor of Achashveirosh’s more-than-six-months of partying?!

Evidently, Achashveirosh’s knack for hosting contains a message for us as well.


After three years as king, Achashveirosh felt that his authority was well-established; it was now time to properly celebrate his rise to the throne of the greatest empire in the world. Eager to demonstrate his confidence in his crown, Achashveirosh invited all his subjects to partake in extravagant affairs, the likes of which could be hosted by no one but a ruler of one hundred and twenty seven lands. A feast of any lesser proportions, even if well beyond any other living person’s capabilities or means, simply wouldn’t convey the full extent of his power and wealth.

This teaches us an extraordinary lesson about measuring success. Success in one’s Divine mission in this world cannot be defined by a job well-done, nor can it be measured in comparison to the achievements of others. Rather, Achashveirosh taught us that you can’t call it a success until you have maximized the potentials that G-d has granted you to their absolute fullest! Only when you benefitted as many people as you could possibly reach, and have made the greatest impact on the world that you – and only you – can accomplish, can your “heart be merry,” having truly succeeded in the mission that G-d entrusted to you.

—Sichos Kodesh 5733, vol. 1, pp. 410-414

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