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Biblical Personalities: Esther: The Builder

“Esther built a court and a Bet Midrash, a house of Torah study, for Mordechai in the King’s gate. (Targum Esther 5:9) When did Esther do this? Was it before Haman’s death and Mordechai’s elevation in the palace, when she had the power to do this and Mordechai did not? Was she not ‘hiding’ her relationship with Mordechai and her background? Does this hint to the “Sha’ar Shushan,” the Shushan Gate in the second Beit Hamikdash?


Please allow me to use my imagination: Perhaps this midrash is telling us that Esther convinced the King to allow Mordechai to seat his Bet Din and Bet Midrash in the King’s palace, arguing that this would transform Achashveirosh’s palace into a replacement for the Jewish Temple. Having Mordechai seat his court and Study Hall would make the King’s Gate the center of the Jewish world.

If true, Mordechai’s court and Bet Midrash would have (intentionally) provoked Haman, and provided more ammunition when he argued before the King that the Jews rejected his ideas and values, right there in the King’s gate!

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