Throughout the Megillah, the term משתה is consistently used to refer to feasts (ex. 1:3,5,9; 2:18). Rashi on Esther 5:4 writes:

אֶל הַמִּשְׁתֶּה. כָּל סְעוּדָה נִקְרֵאת עַל שֵׁם הַיַּיִן שֶׁהוּא עִיקָר:

"To the משתה" – any feast is called after the wine, which is the primary part.

(Seemingly Rashi is addressing the usage of משתה, from the root שתה, to drink.)

The term appears nineteen times in the Megillah. But in three of them, 7:2,7, and 8, all in the context of Esther's second banquet, the Megillah instead refers to it as a משתה היין, a feast of wine.

If the term משתה already implies that the main part of the feast was the wine, why does the Megillah add the term היין, of wine, in these three pesukim?

  • Interesting question. I tried looking for a comparative comment in pasrhat Vayetze where the word mishteh is used regarding Lavan who made on for Ya'akov and Leah. So far, I didn't find anything, but, again, I haven't checked every mefaresh.
    – DanF
    Mar 12, 2020 at 21:23
  • whenever the pesukim say משתה היין it is talking about a women making a feast. I don't know if this is true but men usually are the ones who must have wine for the feast but the fact that the feast is being made by the opposite gender might have caused the text to add on this extra word. Apr 27, 2020 at 22:51
  • @Mordechai But the converse isn’t true, ex. 1:9, משתה נשים. Not every time that a feast is made by women is it labeled as a משתה יין.
    – DonielF
    Apr 28, 2020 at 0:45
  • what i was saying that this was something out of the ordinary and that is why they say משתה יין otherwise there משתה does not usually have wine. This is just how I understood it. Apr 28, 2020 at 17:18
  • @Mordechai But Esther’s first banquet wasn’t unusual? Then why was she concerned that Achashveirosh would want to kill her for it? Yet that one is referred to as just a משתה in 5:4. And even the second feast we’ve been talking about is called just a משתה in 6:14!
    – DonielF
    Apr 28, 2020 at 18:18

2 Answers 2


My rebbe said-Every time the passuk says משתה היין the participants are realizing the wine is there. Usually, when people drink wine there is no concern, but here everyone was on edge. Ester was worried if her plan would work, Achashverosh was worried that Haman and Ester were plotting together to take his throne, and Haman, who was happy to come, was now worried why he was here. Everyone was nervous and they realized the wine was there, they were scared of the wine and what it would unveil. This idea my rebbe said can be proved from the Midrashim, the Midrashim talk about how each participant was very nervous. We see that this little feast held everything in balance, they became cognizant of the wine and realized what it can entail. That is why this is the only place in Tanach where they have to emphasize the wine.

  • Interesting idea, but why would the passuk still use משתה היין in 7:7-8, after Esther’s already laid all the cards on the table?
    – DonielF
    May 3, 2020 at 13:54
  • That very moment is the climax. Everyone is aware of the wine, to the point that achasverosh needs to step away from it and think. When Achashverosh comes back The passuk says that Achashverosh thought that Haman was doing what he feared most, trying to Get Ester. We know he was asking for forgiveness but all the uncertainty and all the fear is represented in the passuk adding in the word יין. May 3, 2020 at 15:47
  • Since this idea was my rebbe's, I will ask him if my thought on his Chidush is what my rebbe meant. Nevertheless, I can still learn an idea based on what my rebbe said. May 3, 2020 at 15:49
  • Please do, thank you.
    – DonielF
    May 3, 2020 at 22:15
  • My rebbe said it's not the point in the party but the actual party itself that get's that title. Even though everything was brought up, it is still part of that party and keeps the same title. May 4, 2020 at 13:41

Esther 5;5

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ מַהֲרוּ֙ אֶת־הָמָ֔ן לַעֲשׂ֖וֹת אֶת־דְּבַ֣ר אֶסְתֵּ֑ר וַיָּבֹ֤א הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ וְהָמָ֔ן אֶל־הַמִּשְׁתֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁר־עָשְׂתָ֥ה אֶסְתֵּֽר׃

Then the king said: 'Cause Haman to make haste, that it may be done as Esther hath said.' So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

The first party made by Esther was a full meal, the proof is that it says "Esther made/prepared". If it was just wine, the Passuk wouldn't say that.

משתה could be with or without wine.

As by Avraham there wasn't wine yet called "mishteh" - וַיַּעַשׂ לָהֶם מִשְׁתֶּה וּמַצּוֹת אָפָה וַיֹּאכֵלוּ - He made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

As by Pharoah there was wine yet called "mishteh" -

וַיַּ֥עַשׂ מִשְׁתֶּ֖ה לְכׇל־עֲבָדָ֑יו וַיִּשָּׂ֞א אֶת־רֹ֣אשׁ׀ שַׂ֣ר הַמַּשְׁקִ֗ים וְאֶת־רֹ֛אשׁ שַׂ֥ר הָאֹפִ֖ים בְּת֥וֹךְ עֲבָדָֽיו - he made a feast for all his servants, and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer (wine) and the head of the chief baker among his servants.

Regarding משתה יין it is specifically a wine event.

After the Main meal there is a Banquet of Wine. This is When the conversations between The King and Esther happened. (both days).

It would also make sense, as it is not proper to speak during the meal. Especially a King. (The Gemarah mentions it as well for health related reasons)

וַיֹּ֩אמֶר֩ הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּ֜ר גַּ֣ם בַּיּ֤וֹם הַשֵּׁנִי֙ בְּמִשְׁתֵּ֣ה הַיַּ֔יִן - And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine

Now back to your question: Rashi is rather explaining the Root of the Word, For you information. As Rashi always does.

How it's used, is another story. As it's used for all food events wine and not wine related, hence the need to add the word היין when specifically talking about a wine event.

In fact Rashi is answering the obvious question, Of Why do we refer to a Meal Event as משתה, when it means to drink at the Root.

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