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how speech mix-up caused Vashti’s death (the inside story!)

Written by D Fine

One of the later authorities points out something remarkable about the events leading up to the execution of queen vashti by achashveirosh in the first perek of the megilla. As an intro, the word ‘amira’ always means soft words, whilst ‘dibur’ connotes harsh speech. If you look at the psukim in the megillah, when Achashveirosh orders his servants to bring Vashti to his banquet, he uses ‘amira’ ie. he asked her softly (pasuk 10). But when Vashti refuses to come, it says that she refused the ‘dibur’ of the king (12). What happened was that the messangers reported Achashveirosh’s pleasant request to Vashti as a harsh sharp order, and that’s why she didn’t want to come. And after Vashti refuses, Achashveirosh asks his advisors what he should do when vashti ignored my ‘amira,'(15) my pleasant request – he didn’t know that his servants had made his request a harsh one. And this mix up in speech ulimately caused Vashti’s death. As the Ramban says in his letter to his son; ‘always speak calmly [/ & pleasantly] to everyone.’

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