Sunday, March 13, 2011

Parshas Vayikra:Esther Karka Olam

I'm finally getting around to updating my blog. I hope noone missed me too much.


I spoke this week about the sugyah in Sanhedrin that discusses Esther's marriage to Achashveirosh. The gemara says that for any aveirah done b'pharhesia-in public one must give up their life. The gemara asks what about Esther-she married Achashveirosh which was an aveirah b'pharhesia. The gemara gives 2 answers 1) Abayei says  Esther was "karka olam" 2) Rava says since Achshveirosh did it for his own hana'ah it was mutar.

What is meant by "karka olam". The simple understanding is that since she went to Achashveirosh against her will we don't view it as if she did an aveirah. Rav Elchanan in Kovetz Ha'Oras (Siman 48) wants to explain that neither pikuach nefesh is docheh aveirah b'pharhesia and an aveira b'pharhesia isn't doche pikuach nefesh. Therefore, the best cause of action is "shev v'al ta'aseh"-do nothing. Since Esther was forced to live with Achashveirosh, she is considered in a state of shev v'al ta'aseh and it was muttar.

The Rishonim ask what do you do about the fact that she was married to Mordechai and there is an issur of adultry which is one of the big 3 aveiros.

1) Rabeinu Tam says sleeping with a non Jew is not an aveirah of giloy arayos.
2) The Rivam says the heter of karka olam applies to giloy arayos as well.
3) One can also say based on the Rashba in Megillah (15a) that Mordechai gave Esther a get.


Another question that needs to be answered is that when Esther invited Achashveirosh to the party she went to him willingly. The heter of karka olam no longer applies. How then is it mutar? The Maharik (shoresh 167) and Noda Beyehuda (tanyana y.d. siman 161) answer that to save klal yisroel it was mutar. The Kovetz Heoros also suggests that she did it b'issur-it was an aveirah lishma. But elsewhere (siman 45) he quotes the Maharik as well.

A nafka mina l'maaseh is the question whether a married woman can give herself over to a robber to save others.The Shevua Yaakov (chelek 2 siman 117) based on the Maharik says it is muttar and the rayah is Esther. The Noda BeYehuda disagrees. First of all he says we see the Rashba holds Mordechai divorced Esther-so there is no issur eishes ish. Even if you learn like Rahsi that she was married, the heter is only to save all of klal yisorel. to save a few Jews is assur.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

L'maysah what's the makor to the musag that one could commit an issur yaharog v'al yaavor for the sake of klal yisroel?

Chaim said...

Both the Noda Beyehuda and Maharik assume the rayah is from Esther herself.

Anonymous said...

I saw the shtikel in kovetz haaros. First of all, after all is said and done, R' Elchonon ztvk"l bleibs tzarich iyun.

The question is, if we are going to conclude that a chet (which normally would require yahrog v'al yavor) done for the sake of klal yisroel is permitted, then why was Esther in a new dimension than before when it was b'ones?

In other words, what was the "k'asher avadity..." if her status of living with achashveirosh remained b'heter?

Also, do we see this concept (of an additional patur if it's for klal yisroel)brought down l'halacha (eg: Shulchan Aruch)?

Chaim Markowitz said...

That is exactly the Mahariks point. Even though it was a maaseh heter she is still assur to her husband. The Chasam Sofer in kesuvos (3b) understands it is a halacha in me'ila b'ba'al. Since teh maa'seh was b'rotzon there is a me'ila and she is assur to him.