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How could Esther have had sex with Achashverosh?


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#1 Moshi

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:36 PM

So Esther was married to Mordechai.

And Achashverosh was an idol-worshipper.

Yet, Esther married and had sex with Achashverosh.

Does the giluy arayot thing and the adultery thing not apply in this case? If it's with a goy it's not adultery? And she doesn't have to give up her life and rather than have sex with an idol worshipper?


Side question:

Where does the gemara's suggestion that Vashti would bring in naked Jewish girls to do work for her on Shabbos come from? Seems like a totally random thing to say.

[Yes I know Purim is over]

[Megillah 12]

#2 razie

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:42 PM

So Esther was married to Mordechai.

And Achashverosh was an idol-worshipper.

Does the giluy arayot thing and the adultery thing not apply in this case?

Not sure it's super clear they were married -- maybe just intended or something.
But with the sex thing - that's why it was such a big deal for her to approach Achashveirosh.

Until that point, it was always halachically rape. When she approached him (and he extended his "sceptor" :P) it became consensual sex.

Maybe that's an obscure side thing, but that's the story I always heard. And once she had consensual sex with Achashveirosh, she could never return to Mordechai. That was the big deal. It wasn't a fear that he'd kill her, but the implications of consensual sex. Or such was my understanding.

#3 Elana

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:50 PM

in addition to what Razie said, i also heard that she was still going to mikva for Mordechai while being in the palace, until she approached Achashverosh on her own.

#4 Moshi

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:55 PM

Chazal say in the gemara right there that Achashverosh thought that sex with Esther was the best thing ever. And this is before she "approached" him.

Also right here it says that Eshter was Mordechai's "beit" -- meaning that she was his wife.

[The other weird thing is that I've always heard that Mordechai was Esther's uncle. But here it says that Esther was Mordechai's uncle's daughter -- i.e. his cousin. Where does the Uncle Mordechai story come from?]

[Also pretty funny that according to one opinion Esther was fed fancy bacon in the palace, but then apparently there is a different girsa which says that she was fed heads of lettuce. Minor difference!]

#5 razie

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:56 PM

Chazal say in the gemara right there that Achashverosh thought that sex with Esther was the best thing ever. And this is before she "approached" him.

But what does that have to do with whether it was halachically consensual?
The issue is that until that point, he was king and there was the understanding that she could not turn him down for fear of death (see: Vashti). So whether it was explicitly with a sword to her neck, it could be chalked up as rape. When she WENT to him at a time when he hadn't called her, there wasn't any justification for calling it rape.
What does the fact that he enjoyed sex with her have anything to do with anything?

Also right here it says that Eshter was Mordechai's "beit" -- meaning that she was his wife.

Since when does "beit" mean wife? Why not use the word "Isha" or whatever. I don't think it's clear cut by any standard. Also, there are various ways it could be "wife" - i.e. not yet consummated or whatnot.

#6 Moshi

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:04 PM

But what does that have to do with whether it was halachically consensual?
The issue is that until that point, he was king and there was the understanding that she could not turn him down for fear of death (see: Vashti). So whether it was explicitly with a sword to her neck, it could be chalked up as rape. When she WENT to him at a time when he hadn't called her, there wasn't any justification for calling it rape.
What does the fact that he enjoyed sex with her have anything to do with anything?


Where does it say that she was being raped? And even so, it's yehareg v'al yaavor.



Ah, boruch Hashem for the Internet:
http://vbm-torah.org...o69/03metho.htm

Though a bit of a confusing article, it seems that at least according to Rabbeinu Tam, relations with a gentile is not giluy arayot based in part on Esther's conduct. But then others disagree -- and if so, what do they do with Eshter?

#7 Xi'le

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:06 PM

She sent a sheid to do it. Duh.

#8 Moshi

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:11 PM

Since when does "beit" mean wife? Why not use the word "Isha" or whatever. I don't think it's clear cut by any standard. Also, there are various ways it could be "wife" - i.e. not yet consummated or whatnot.


It's part of the same gemara (13a).... it's clear cut in the sense that this is how Chazal darshen in.

Also the Megillah itself says that the king loved Esther, and that he did all kinds of favors for her, and she was his favorite. Not consistent with the rape theory.

#9 razie

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:15 PM

It's part of the same gemara (13a).... it's clear cut in the sense that this is how Chazal darshen in.

Also the Megillah itself says that the king loved Esther, and that he did all kinds of favors for her, and she was his favorite. Not consistent with the rape theory.

How is it not consistent with the rape theory?
No one is saying physically forceful rape.
He had the power to kill her and he probably would have if she refused him. Halachically that can be rape, even if they had sex with flowers and chocolate. He may have loved her, but she didn't have a choice. Nothing you say about how much he loved her and how much he loved sex with her changes that.
She never had a choice to refuse.

#10 Moshi

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:21 PM

How is it not consistent with the rape theory?
No one is saying physically forceful rape.
He had the power to kill her and he probably would have if she refused him. Halachically that can be rape, even if they had sex with flowers and chocolate. He may have loved her, but she didn't have a choice. Nothing you say about how much he loved her and how much he loved sex with her changes that.
She never had a choice to refuse.


Ok but if it's giluy arayot, not having a choice doesn't help?

#11 brianna

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:26 PM

She sent a sheid to do it. Duh.

So she was summoning demons? Isn't that more problematic than cheating on your husband?

#12 int

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:42 PM

Maybe that's an obscure side thing, but that's the story I always heard. And once she had consensual sex with Achashveirosh, she could never return to Mordechai. That was the big deal. It wasn't a fear that he'd kill her, but the implications of consensual sex. Or such was my understanding.


Why didn't she just get a get from Mordechai then and problem solved?

#13 egomaniac

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:09 PM

Ok but if it's giluy arayot, not having a choice doesn't help?

For a woman being raped, there is the excuse/apologetic of Karka Olam (i.e. Lie back and think of England/Sweden), and she doesn't need to actively participate. AIUI in that case, while its not muttar, it doesn't carry the death penalty.
The way I remember being taught, when she says כאשר אבדתי אבדתי, its a reference to actively going to "sin".
(Here is one of the few examples of an Aveira L'Shem Shamayim, cf. Yael and Sisera)

Why didn't she just get a get from Mordechai then and problem solved?

Because its still assur.
If the only way we can sell our children Torah is by forbidding everything else, then we are bankrupt. -R Shlomo Freifeld

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke

Before donning the vestments of zealotry one should ascertain the exact facts. - Indigo

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#14 dqowitz

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 12:53 AM

She sent a sheid to do it. Duh.


I'd wanna sleep with a demon. It sounds like fun.

#15 egomaniac

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:38 AM

So she was summoning demons? Isn't that more problematic than cheating on your husband?

Why is it problematic at all?
If the only way we can sell our children Torah is by forbidding everything else, then we are bankrupt. -R Shlomo Freifeld

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke

Before donning the vestments of zealotry one should ascertain the exact facts. - Indigo

Judaism...making me feel more like a supermodel every day... - aseeker

#16 Snag

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:16 AM

Why didn't she just get a get from Mordechai then and problem solved?

The Gemara asks that question, and answers that Mordechai was afraid that if he gave her a get, which requires witnesses, the matter would become known to the king, and the whole plan of secrecy would be ruined.
" All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind."

#17 Indigo

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:48 AM

Moshi,
Listen to this shiur. It is great.
Discusses the problem and the views if what Esther did was correct and if it is a precedent.

http://www.yutorah.o...y_to_save_Lives


The point is what Esther did was problematic and rabbis struggle to deal with it.

They have creative solutions like she sent a sheid that looked like her. But the fact that the rabbis had to resort to such absurd and fantastical explanations just emphasizes how problematic the scriptural story is.

#18 Snag

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:21 AM

Rav Nissim Kaplan once asked Rav Berel Povarsky how Esther was allowed to stop Bigson and Seresh from killing Achashveirosh, since that would have effectively ended her rapes. He answered that, back then, when they killed the king they killed the queen, too, so she was also saving her own life. Rav Kaplan later found this written in the Targum, that the plot was to kill the king and the queen
" All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind."

#19 smishu

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:50 AM

Wow, I've been following the pshat translation (as depicted in the Artscroll Youth Megillah) pretty much my whole life, this thread is eye opening, that the whole approaching part is Esther approaching Achashvarosh for sex. Oh man, my eyes have been opened lol.

But I dont see the problem, wasnt she summoned by the king? Presumably she woul've been killed if she didnt submit to him?

#20 Indigo

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:53 AM

At the beginning, yes.

But later in the story she seemingly went voluntarily and chazal on ka'asher avadeti avedeti say she knew she was making it impossible to return to Mordechai bc it was now not rape.






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