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It is well known that Mordechai had warned the jewish people not to attend the feast of King Achashverosh, and nevertheless, many did attend.

Under what permission did those Jews attend? Is this discussed anywhere? Were there rabbis who did permit the Jews to attend? Seemingly, if there was kosher food for the Jewish attendees, they had some concern for halacha, does this mean they had found a loophole or a heter in allowing themselves to attend?

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  • What makes you think they had permission?
    – Dov
    Oct 22, 2023 at 17:37
  • this links to this question?
    – Dov
    Oct 22, 2023 at 17:47
  • There are sources that say it was non-Kosher food and wine, precisely because Achashveirosh wanted to lead them to sin.
    – Dov
    Oct 22, 2023 at 17:49
  • @Dov Yes, and there are many commenariestha say it was kosher food.
    – The Targum
    Oct 22, 2023 at 18:02

1 Answer 1

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You ask:

Under what permission did those Jews attend?

The simple answer - they did not have permission...

The whole thing was orchestrated by Achashveirosh - It was a ruse to show the people he cared about them and valued both the high-ranking and low placed civilians of Shushan (Malbim 1:5), but really it was motivated to lead the Jewish people to sin. (e.g. see Megillah 12a)

Once they arrived, he ensured that things like wine were bountiful especially due to the Persian custom to drink quite heavily out of big goblets - nothing was forced etc. (See Esther Rabbah 2:13).

As far as food, the Yad Hamelech (Rav Shmuel Valerio) suggests the Jews ate both non-kosher food and wine. It did not come from a place of coercion as Achashveirosh wanted the Jews to sin of their own volition - i.e. it had to be set up as a scenario of "אין אונס" - non-coerced sin and thus liable to punishment (see here). Also see Shir HaShirim Rabbah 7:8 which writes:

אִם כֵּן לָמָּה בָּאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּסָפֵק בִּימֵי הָמָן, רַבָּנָן וְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחָאי, רַבָּנָן אָמְרֵי עַל שֶׁעָבְדוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים, וְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אָמַר עַל שֶׁאָכְלוּ מִתַּבְשִׁיל הַגּוֹיִם.

If so, why did Israel’s existence become uncertain during the days of Haman? The Rabbis and Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai, the Rabbis say: Because Israel engaged in idol worship. Rabbi Shimon said: Because they ate from the cooked dishes of the gentiles.

As far as what you ask:

Were there rabbis who did permit the Jews to attend?

Rabbi Elisha Gallico in his peirush on the Megillah here (starting top line) suggests that Mordechai was the only Jew in Shushan not to participate in the feast - in other words the Megillah takes pains to introduce Mordechai as:

אִ֣ישׁ יְהוּדִ֔י הָיָ֖ה בְּשׁוּשַׁ֣ן הַבִּירָ֑ה

There was a Jewish man in Shushan the capital (Esther 2:5)

In order to teach you that:

שלא נשאר ביהדותו וכשרותו שלא נהנה מסעודתו של אותו רשע

There did not remain anyone who in his Judaism and Kosher-state that did not benefit from the meal (feast) of that evil one (i.e. Achashveirosh)

Like you say, he warned them not to attend, but his exhortations fell on deaf ears.

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