Mordechai seems to push Esther to entreat Achashveirosh right after telling her about Haman's decree (Esther 4:14)

כִּ֣י אִם־הַֽחֲרֵ֣שׁ תַּֽחֲרִישִׁי֮ בָּעֵ֣ת הַזֹּאת֒ רֶ֣וַח וְהַצָּלָ֞ה יַֽעֲמ֤וֹד לַיְּהוּדִים֙ מִמָּק֣וֹם אַחֵ֔ר וְאַ֥תְּ וּבֵית־אָבִ֖יךְ תֹּאבֵ֑דוּ וּמִ֣י יוֹדֵ֔עַ אִם־לְעֵ֣ת כָּזֹ֔את הִגַּ֖עַתְּ לַמַּלְכֽוּת׃

This exchange took place in the month of Nissan, a full 11 months before Haman's decree was set to go into effect. For what reason did Mordechai feel the need to push Esther to act immediately?

As support for the preference towards waiting for an opportune time instead of forcing the matter it says in Eiruvin 13b

וכל הדוחק את השעה שעה דוחקתו וכל הנדחה מפני שעה שעה עומדת לו

And anyone who attempts to force the moment and expends great effort to achieve an objective precisely when he desires to do so, the moment forces him too, and he is unsuccessful. And conversely, anyone who is patient and yields to the moment, the moment stands by his side, and he will ultimately be successful.

(Translation [in bold] and commentary from Sefaria)

To preempt a possible answer I understand that the Jewish people were facing extermination and that it is important to act. I believe Esther understood that as well yet her initial response to Mordechai indicated that the current time was inopportune. Nevertheless Mordechai's response to her ignored (or perhaps disagreed with) her assessment and urged for immediate action not because of the threat faced ("salvation will come from another place").

  • To me, the simplest answer is that the decree was issued, and the decree was deadly. Keep in mind that Esther told Mordechai that she had not been called to see the king in 3 months. Who knows how much longer it might have been until the king did call her? So, technically, there probably was no ideal time for her to appear. I think that may have been implied in Mordechai's response. It seems that Esther was more afraid of her being killed just for appearing without permission, in which case, nothing would have happened. It seems Mordechai implied that she would be accepted anyway.
    – DanF
    Nov 27, 2017 at 15:56
  • @DanF I believe it was 30 days, not 3 months, but your point is well taken. Nov 27, 2017 at 16:22
  • Yes, it was 30 days. Thanks for correcting.
    – DanF
    Nov 27, 2017 at 16:28
  • Note that the end of the verse you stated, "Who knows if it was for this time" could have the following idea. Esther, you are afraid to put your life on the line, because you can't approach Ahashverush without being called, because he might kill you. Well, you're entire nation's life is on the line. Maybe, it was for this occasion or situation that you became queen. I.e., it may have been for this specific reason - to place your life on the line for your people, that you were made the queen.
    – DanF
    Nov 27, 2017 at 16:32
  • @DanF perhaps I should clarify in the question but my point was not that the word עֵ֣ת meant it has to be done at this specific instant in time but rather that Mordechai was pressing to have her go to the king immediately (hence her response, 'I can't go till I'm called') as opposed to telling her to make a plan that will unfold over however much time is necessary until she sees the opportune moment to act and save the Jews (which is what she actually does). Nov 27, 2017 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


Rashi there states that Mordechai clearly was worried that when the time came for the killing the king may not be happy with her, and it is now that she came to the Queenship, which is suggesting that it was not just the reason she became queen, but the reason she became Queen now.

Another answer: There was a genuine danger that people would 'jump the gun'- Rashi explaining the gemara in megila states explicitly that the reason for Haman's ridiculous 'husband's the boss'decree was passed was so that people wouldn't be too eager to go ahead with the second decree and go ahead before time.

Furthermore the Jews were in mortal terror. We see by Kriyas Yam suf that Hashem rebuked Moshe for delaying, as it caused unnecessary anguish to the benei yisroel. So too here.

And a further interesting thought: we have midrashim that the decedents of Shaul (Mordechai and Ester) 'rectified' Saul's mistake with Agag. That mistake was caused by delaying killing Agag, so it is only right that the 'rectification' should come about by lack of delay.

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