In Esther 9:7,9 there are letters in the names of Haman's sons which are written smaller than usual in the megillah. Barring the purimfest 1946 explanation, what is the reason for these letters being written this way?


1 Answer 1


I discovered that the מגילת אסתר of the תורה שלֵמה has some answers:

For פרמשתא, citing מדרש רבי עקיבא בן יוסף על אותיות קטנות:‎

פרמשתא, ש׳ ת׳ של פרמשתא קטנה, הסר פ׳ ור׳ וישאר שמתא.‏

This one is hard to translate and explain. So I'll leave it as is.

For ויזתא:

  • The Gemara in Megila (16b) says in the name of Rav Yochanan - the Vav of ויזתא needs to be stretched out vertically to represent the fact that all 10 sons were hung on one tree - one on top of the other.

אמר רבי יוחנן וי"ו דויזתא צריך למימתחה בזקיפא כמורדיא דלברות מאי טעמא כולהו בחד זקיפא אזדקיפו

  • The מדרש רבי עקיבא בן יוסף על אותיות קטנות says that the Vav is large because they were all hung in one breath.

ויזתא, ו' דויזתא במגילה גדולה, לפי שכולם נתלו במשימה אחת.‏

  • The מדרש רבי עקיבא בן יוסף על אותיות קטנות says that the small Zayin in ויזתא is to hint to the seven things that Haman lied to the king about the Jews:

ויזתא, ז' קטנה, לפי שהמן הלשין מז' דברים,‏

ישנו עם אחד - א'‏

מפוזר - ב'‏

מפורג - ג'‏

בכל מדינות מלכותך - ד'‏

ודתיהם שונות מבל עם - ה'‏

ואת דתי המלך - ו'‏

ולמלך אין שוה להניחם - ז'.‏

  • Apologies for the terse format; I didn't want to lose the info and have no time to flesh it out today. Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 9:45
  • 1
    Anyone who has time (especially Danny Schoemann), can you please change the images to block quotations so people with screen readers can see it, so people needn't download images, and so search engines can see the text?
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 17:47
  • Is this work available online? Is it in one of the volumes on hebrewbooks?
    – user6591
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 15:50
  • @user6591 - nope, it's not there, I just checked. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 8:04
  • @DannySchoemann about the bit that is "hard to ... explain" - can you at least explain, please, why it is hard to explain. Thank you!
    – ninamag
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 8:04

You must log in to answer this question.