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Hamolech me’Hodu v’ad Kush sheva v’esrim u’meah medinah (1:1)

Written by Oizer Alport

The Medrash relates that Rav Akiva was once in the middle of teaching a class when he noticed his students beginning to doze off. He digressed from the subject he had been discussing and asked, “Why did Queen Esther deserve to rule over 127 countries? She merited this because she was descended from Sorah, who lived 127 perfect years.” Why did Rav Akiva interrupt his class specifically to interject this tangent at this time? The Chiddushei HaRim explains that a person could view Esther’s kingdom as simply a collection of countries, and for each year of Sorah’s life she merited

to rule over another one. In reality, each country consists of states, cities, neighborhoods, streets, and even houses. Similarly, a year can be subdivided into months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. Rav Akiva explained that Sorah didn’t live a “mostly” good life which allowed Esther to receive the same number of countries as the years of her life. If Sorah would have let up for a week or even a second, it would have resulted in a corresponding deficiency in Esther’s empire, causing her to be lacking a city or even just a house. It was only because Sorah’s life was equally good from the beginning until the end (Rashi Bereishis 23:1), every second of every day, for her entire life, that Esther’s kingdom was complete.

Rav Akiva’s students were obviously quite tired, and they assumed that if they would take a short nap and miss a little of the class, it wouldn’t have any substantial ramifications. Realizing this,

Rav Akiva wanted to teach them that every second of our lives, every word that we say, and every action that we take, have very real and direct consequences.

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