Does anyone know how many angels were involved in the story of the Megillah? For example, one came to say about the tree, and one turned back the pages on the book by Shimshi.

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


It is hard to give a definitive answer as there are instances like by the tree that you mentioned where it notes that there were angels present there without quantifying the number. However, needless to say there are many instances where chazal tell us about Angelic assistance in the Purim story. Here are some such examples:

  1. The Gemara in Megillah 12b notes that one of the reasons why Vashti did not show up was because:

בָּא גַּבְרִיאֵל וְעָשָׂה לָהּ זָנָב

Gavriel came and made her a tail.

  1. Like you noted, there is the Gemara in Megillah 16a:

שֶׁשִּׁמְשַׁי מוֹחֵק וְגַבְרִיאֵל כּוֹתֵב.

Shimshai kept on erasing and Gavriel kept on writing

  1. Esther 5:2

וַיְהִי֩ כִרְא֨וֹת הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ אֶת־אֶסְתֵּ֣ר הַמַּלְכָּ֗ה עֹמֶ֙דֶת֙ בֶּֽחָצֵ֔ר נָשְׂאָ֥ה חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינָ֑יו וַיּ֨וֹשֶׁט הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּ֗ר אֶת־שַׁרְבִ֤יט הַזָּהָב֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּיָד֔וֹ וַתִּקְרַ֣ב אֶסְתֵּ֔ר וַתִּגַּ֖ע בְּרֹ֥אשׁ הַשַּׁרְבִֽיט

As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won his favor. The king extended to Esther the golden scepter which he had in his hand, and Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

The Gemara in Megillah 15b says on this verse:

״וַיְהִי כִרְאוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת אֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה״. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: שְׁלֹשָׁה מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת נִזְדַּמְּנוּ לָהּ בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה, אֶחָד שֶׁהִגְבִּיהַּ אֶת צַוָּארָהּ, וְאֶחָד שֶׁמָּשַׁךְ חוּט שֶׁל חֶסֶד עָלֶיהָ, וְאֶחָד שֶׁמָּתַח אֶת הַשַּׁרְבִיט

The verse states: “And so it was, that when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand” (Esther 5:2). Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Three ministering angels happened to join her at that time: One that raised up her neck, so that she could stand erect, free of shame; one that strung a cord of divine grace around her, endowing her with charm and beauty; and one that stretched the king’s scepter.

  1. Gemara Megillah 16a - An angel pushed Esther's hand towards Haman

״וַתֹּאמֶר אֶסְתֵּר אִישׁ צַר וְאוֹיֵב הָמָן הָרָע הַזֶּה״. אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר: מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיְתָה מַחְווֹה כְּלַפֵּי אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ, וּבָא מַלְאָךְ וְסָטַר יָדָהּ כְּלַפֵּי הָמָן.

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.

  1. The gemara there continues:

״וְהַמֶּלֶךְ קָם בַּחֲמָתוֹ וְגוֹ׳ וְהַמֶּלֶךְ שָׁב מִגִּנַּת הַבִּיתָן״. מַקֵּישׁ שִׁיבָה לְקִימָה: מָה קִימָה בְּחֵימָה, אַף שִׁיבָה בְּחֵימָה. דַּאֲזַל וְאַשְׁכַּח לְמַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת דְּאִידְּמוֹ לֵיהּ כְּגַבְרֵי, וְקָא עָקְרִי לְאִילָנֵי דְּבוּסְתָּנֵי, וַאֲמַר לְהוּ: מַאי עוֹבָדַיְיכוּ? אֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ: דְּפַקְּדִינַן הָמָן.

The verse states: “And the king arose from the banquet of wine in his wrath and went into the palace garden” (Esther 7:7), and the next verse states: “Then the king returned out of the palace garden to the place of the wine drinking” (Esther 7:8). The Gemara comments: The verses here compare his returning to his arising: Just as his arising was in wrath, so too, his returning was in wrath. And why did he return in wrath? For when he went out he found ministering angels who appeared to him as people and they were uprooting trees from the garden, and he said to them: What are you doing? They said to him: Haman commanded us to do this. (sefaria translation & Notation)

  1. Read on further on that daf and you see another occurrence of Angelic assistance...

אֲתָא לְבֵיתֵיהּ, ״וְהָמָן נוֹפֵל עַל הַמִּטָּה״, ״נוֹפֵל״ — ״נָפַל״ מִיבְּעֵי לֵיהּ! אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר: מְלַמֵּד שֶׁבָּא מַלְאָךְ וְהִפִּילוֹ עָלֶיהָ, אֲמַר: וַיי מִבֵּיתָא, וַיי מִבָּרָא. ״וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ הֲגַם לִכְבּוֹשׁ אֶת הַמַּלְכָּה עִמִּי בַּבָּיִת״.

And when he entered his house he saw that “Haman was falling upon the bed” (Esther 7:8). The Gemara asks: Why does it say “was falling” [nofel] in the present tense, implying that he was currently falling? It should have said “fell” [nafal] in the past tense. Rabbi Elazar said: This teaches that an angel came and pushed him down on it, and every time he would try to stand up, the angel would push him down again. Ahasuerus said: Woe unto me in the house and woe unto me outside, as the verse continues: “Then the king said: Will he even force the queen before me in the house?” (Esther 7:8). (Sefaria translation & notation)

  1. The gemara continues further on 16b:

״וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה הָרְגוּ הַיְּהוּדִים״. אָמַר רַבִּי אֲבָהוּ: מְלַמֵּד שֶׁבָּא מַלְאָךְ וּסְטָרוֹ עַל פִּיו.

The verse states: “And the king said to Esther the queen: The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the capital, and also the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition and it shall be granted to you; and what more do you request, and it shall be done” (Esther 9:12). Rabbi Abbahu said: This teaches that an angel came and slapped him on his mouth, so that he was unable to finish what he was saying; he started with a complaint about what the Jews were doing, but ended on an entirely different note. (Sefaria translation & notation)


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