With the plan to topple Haman seemingly coming to fruition, the Gemara Megillah (16a) says the Esther was going to point at Achashveirosh as the anonymous enemy of her people.

ותאמר אסתר איש צר ואויב המן הרע הזה אמר ר' אלעזר מלמד שהיתה מחווה כלפי אחשורוש ובא מלאך וסטר ידה כלפי המן: The next verse states: “And Esther said: An adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman” (Esther 7:6). Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches that she was in fact pointing toward Ahasuerus, indicating that in fact he was an adversary and enemy, and an angel came and pushed her hand toward Haman.

Seemingly, such an act would have undermined her plan and have Achashveirosh get upset at least - if not killer her - what was Esther's thinking?

2 Answers 2


This question is addressed by the Rema MiPano in his Asara Ma'amaros Eim Kol Chai 1:7 (cited by the Chasam Sofer Al HaTorah to Genesis 32:5 s.v. כה), and subsequently by the Vilna Gaon in his commentary on that verse in Esther.

They both say that while Esther appeared to be speaking to Achashverosh, her true intent was that she was praying to Hashem. She was telling Him that this man, Achashverosh, is trying to kill her people, and she was praying for Divine assistance.

The Rema MiPano describes this as the trait of the righteous. They often appear to be speaking to earthly beings, but they're really praying to Hashem. He demonstrates this with Daniel (see Daniel 4:16 and Shevuos 35b) and Nechemiah (2:4). This idea has roots in the Zohar I p. 171b, which says that when Dovid was speaking to Naval (I Samuel 25:6), he was really speaking to Hashem.

I think the intent here was that Esther's faith in Hashem was so strong that she didn't fear the ramifications of her words, with regards to how they would sound out loud to Achashverosh. Her faith paid off, as Hashem sent an Angel to move her finger towards Haman, saving herself and bringing about their salvation.


The Ben Ish Chai on that Gemara Megillah (16a) suggests that Esther was telling Achashveirosh - this man is your enemy as well! (Which he had reason to suspect Haman wanted the crown - see here)

ועוד נראה לי בס"ד כונתה לא היתה רוצה לומר לאחשורוש 'אִישׁ צַר וְאוֹיֵב' אלא אמרה לו זה הָמָן הָרָע הוא אִישׁ צַר וְאוֹיֵב לך, והיא לא רוצה לומר לך בפירוש אלא אמרה אותה ברמז בתנועת ידיה שאמרה אִישׁ צַר וְאוֹיֵב והראתה בידיה עליו, כלומר הוא צר ואויב לך והמלאך סטר ידה כלפי המן כדי שלא יטעה אחשורוש ויבין שעליו אומרת איש צר ואויב.

However, since the king may have misinterpreted the pointing, the angel moved her finger pointing at Haman instead.

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