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In the book of Ester (6:1), Achashverosh can't sleep and asks to bring the book of records to him. Rashi says that the reason why is in case he was done a favor by someone and didn't repay it and that person was plotting against him or ignoring a plot against him. It turns out that he forgot to repay Mordechai's favor of saving the king's life, so he immediately sets out to repay it.

My question is why the king thought that Mordechai would be so bothered that his favor wasn't repayed, but he didn't think that Mordechai would be bothered by the fact that there was an outstanding decree to destroy every single Jew, Mordechai included.

  • This is a question on the Midrash. – mevaqesh Aug 1 '16 at 19:56
  • @mevaqesh Rashi's explanation can be taken as pshat. – b a Sep 25 '16 at 17:05
  • Rashi admitted that his commentary incorporates too much Midrash to even fit his own standard of peshat (let alone that of the likes of Rasag, Ibn Ezra, Rashbam, etc.) You can take his commentary however you like. Furthermore, Rashi himself quotes mutually exclusive Midrashim, so it does not appear that even he assumes that they are to be taken as factual. – mevaqesh Sep 25 '16 at 17:53
  • @mevaqesh His explanation is pshat. That has nothing to do with whether or not he is a pashtan. – b a Sep 30 '16 at 10:56
  • His explanation is pshat. That is a meaningless tautology. – mevaqesh Sep 30 '16 at 14:42
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2 potential answers, neither of which has been researched. First, psychological: Achashverosh didn't want to owe anyone anything. He didn't actually care about Mordechai or his people; he cared about his record (the potentially public knowledge that he doesn't repay his debts).

Second, textual: As far as I can tell, Haman never identifies his target as the Jewish people He describes a people and asks for permission to kill them. His scribes, in his name, identify the Jews but the king never mentions them. Maybe Haman didn't identify the because he knew the king would object because of his debt to Mordechai.

  • Concerning your second answer, please see Anaf Yosef, introduction to Ester Rabbah 1 who mentions what you said (not in answer to this question though). – b a Feb 24 '13 at 19:12
  • I noticed your point #2 in the reading this morning -- the king gave over his authority but may have never even seen the decree. (Ester apparently hadn't seen it either, so there might not have been much buzz in the palace.) – Monica Cellio Feb 24 '13 at 20:12

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