I was told that the Chacmie Tzarfas said that Vashti was never Killed Does anyone have a source for this view in a shiur or inside?

Rashi (Esther 1:19) says that she was executed.

  • In addition to the Rashi you cite in your question, Rashi to Esther 1:12 also says she was killed: > וַתְּמָאֵן הַמַּלְכָּה וַשְׁתִּי. רַבּוֹתֵינוּ אָמְרוּ: לְפִי שֶׁפָּרְחָה בָהּ צָרַעַת כְּדֵי שֶׁתְּמָאֵן וְתֵהָרֵג. לְפִי שֶׁהָיְתָה מַפְשֶׁטֶת בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲרֻמּוֹת וְעוֹשָׂה בָהֶן מְלָאכָה בַּשַּׁבָּת, נִגְזַר עָלֶיהָ שֶׁתִּפָּשֵׁט עֲרֻמָּה בַּשַּׁבָּת: > Queen Vashti refused. Our Rabbis said because leprosy broke out on her, so that she should refuse and be executed. Because she would forc
    – alicht
    Mar 20 '19 at 17:29

This can be found on page 5 of this pdf of "Kadmonim Tzarfatim" (linked from this page).

ומה היא הגזירה שיגזור עליה? "אשר לא תבא ושתי לפני המלך אחשורוש", שכשם שמיאנה לבא בדבר המלך אשר ביד הסריסים, כן לא תבוא עוד לפניו. וכל האומר שקצוה משפט מות טועה הוא בפשוטו של מקרא, שאם הרגוה מה צורך לכתוב דבר זה בדתי פרס ומדי שלא תיבטל לאחר שיהרגהה?


The חכמי צרפת are not the only ones with that pshat. First, however, the full quote for the חכמי צרפת would be:

מה היא הגזירה שיגזור עליה? "אשר לא תבא ושתי לפני המלך אחשורוש", שכשם שמיאנה לבא בדבר המלך אשר ביד הסריסים, כן לא תבוא עוד לפניו. וכל האומר שקצוה משפט מות טועה הוא בפשוטו של מקרא, שאם הרגוה מה צורך לכתוב דבר זה בדתי פרס ומדי שלא תיבטל לאחר שיהרגהה, דבר זה אין להשיב מפני שום פיוס. אבל אין משיבין על דברי אגדה

Emphasis added. I think that is a very relevant part of the quote.

However, that is not the only perush that learns Vashti was not killed.

The רי"ד writes:

ומלכותה יתן המלך: ולפי הפשט לא מצאנו שהרגוה

The ר"מ חלאיו writes:

אשר לא תבוא ושתי לפני המלך אחשורוש: פירושי שיגרשנה מן המלכות ולא תהיה עוד גברת ולא תתראה עוד לפניו ולא מצאנו שהרגה כללי ואין משיבין בהגדה וקבלת רבותינו ז"ל דברי אלהים חיים (ירמיה כג לו) עכ"ל

  • 1
    אַ חַ ר, הַ דְּ בָ רִ ים הָ אֵ לֶּ ה, כְּ שֹׁ ךְ , חֲ מַ ת הַ מֶּ לֶ ךְ אֲ חַ שְׁ וֵרוֹ שׁ--זָכַ ר אֶ ת-וַשְׁ תִּ י
    – 05467923
    Feb 24 '13 at 6:38
  • 1
    sounds like she was dead
    – 05467923
    Feb 24 '13 at 6:38
  • That just says he remembered her. It may not have befitted him to change his mind. Or, more likely, once she hand been banished - written into the laws of Persia and Media that she not appear before the king - it was irreversible. Like we see later in the megillah, a decree issued with the king's signet could not be reversed, even by the king.
    – nagah
    Feb 24 '13 at 7:04
  • can you spell out the acronyms
    – 05467923
    Feb 24 '13 at 15:21
  • @nagah making up a pshat that she was banished doesn't sound more plausible in the pashut pshat than sayingshe was killed. We could apply the Tzarfatist's own logic: who needs a decree to listen to a husband once the wife has been banished?
    – user6591
    Mar 13 '19 at 14:10

I can offer an indirect answer to this question...

It is never mentioned that she was killed in the Megillah. The Ibn Ezra (1:1 on the megillah) writes that Mordechai wrote the megillah and omits G-d's name in order to avoid the extant Kings replacing Hashem's name with the name of their gods:

המגילה חברה מרדכי וזה טעם וישלח ספרים וכולם משנה ספר אחד שהוא המגילה כטעם פתשגן והעתיקוה הפרסיים ונכתבה בדברי הימים של מלכיהם והם היו עובדי עבודה זרה והיו כותבין תחת השם הנכבד והנורא שם תועבתם כאשר עשו הכותים שכתבו תחת בראשי' ברא אלהים ברא אשימא והנה כבוד השם שלא יזכרנו מרדכי במגילה.

Rabbi Normann Lamm (although not mentioning this Ibn Ezra) has a sermon in a similar vein. He notes that Mordechai wrote the megillah with "divrei shalom ve'emet" (a quote directly from the Megillah). The 'shalom' aspect was to appease King Achashverosh. To this end Mordechai describes at length the extravagant party laid out by Achashverosh (the word mishteh featuring in Esther 17 out of the 34 times it features in the whole Tanach). Mordechai always protrays Achashverosh as passive and meek, and certainly not as a 'murderer of the queen'. Were Mordechai to have written a stark, fact filled, blow by blow account it would not have engendered the 'shalom' necessary to maintain the Jewish community in galut (under a non-Jewish king). Rabbi Lamm gives a few more examples, noting that Achashverosh is placed at the centre of the story without actually doing... much. The style of the Megillah is 'apologetic'.

He sums up by saying:

The Book of Esther is, indeed, the story of hastir. Megillat Esther, the document of divvrei shalom ve'emet, words of peace and truth, is most appropriate to our own day. For we, not only one day a year, but throughout the twelve months, live a life of Purim. You will recall that the derivation of the word "Purim" is from the pur, the lots that Haman threw. Purim therefore means "fateful days" and in these fateful days, with the imminent threat of cosmic catastrophe, all human beings, but especially Jews, must learn the two lessons of the Book of Esther. They are, first, that we must seek to accomodate the principles of shalom and emet; that is possible for them to co-exist, to maintain the integrity of emet or truth, and at the same time live a life of shalom or peacefulness.

I understand this may not be a popular approach. But, it is at least an indirect answer, showing that Mordechai had to invoke shalom when writing the Megillah; including not making explicit mention of Vashti's capital punishment.

  • 3
    The OP didn’t ask why the Megillah doesn’t say that she wasn’t executed. He asked for a source that she actually wasn’t executed.
    – DonielF
    Mar 13 '19 at 12:43

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